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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Monday, December 27, 2010


So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and glory.” Psalm 63: 2

As a struggling writer, I’ve often asked myself, “Why did I ever think I could do this? Whatever possessed me to try to write a book? What was I thinking?” No doubt the same questions most writers have asked themselves at some point in their writing journey.

Somewhere along the way I learned perseverance. Other writers came alongside my sinking hope and threw me a life line. Workshop teachers pounded the lesson home until my brain convinced my heart that I shouldn’t give up. Every time I entreated God for direction, He whispered the same thing: Keep on working. Don’t quit. Endure. Endurance drives determination. Determination fuels stamina. Stamina encourages diligence. Diligence nurtures perseverance. Perseverance builds character. That list sounds ominously similar to what we try to teach our children. >>Light bulb moment<< That’s what my heavenly Father was trying to teach me. Keep trying, keep learning, keep honing your craft, don’t quit.

With this realization, I understood where those questions were coming from. I was afraid of my own weakness. But God tells us in His word our weakness is a pedestal to display His power and glory. If we strive to stay close to God so that we recognize His voice and persevere along the path on which He directs us, we can expect to witness His hand at work in our lives.

Once I “got” the perseverance thing, God asked me to take another step. He called it surrender. This was much easier than learning perseverance. Lifting up my writing to God each day was a concept I relished. More than anything else, I want to please Him with what I write. In all I do and all I write, honoring God takes first priority. When I get stuck or my plot line lacks energy, when my characters don’t cooperate or I uncover a tidbit in research that throws me a curve, I look to the Lord and ask Him what I should do. Where does He want this story to go? How can this character demonstrate honoring God? What does He want me to communicate to a reader? What I learned was so sweet and so exciting—every time I strive to surrender my writing to Him, He never lets my questions go unanswered.

I always thought it would take a miracle to get published. Like Martha in the book of John, chapter eleven, I told the Lord, “I can’t do this.” Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” And God said to me, “All I have asked you to do is persevere, and by doing so to look for Me to show my power and glory.” So, fortified by God’s strength, I kept on.

Miracles do happen. Within the next three weeks, thousands of Heartsong Presents book club members (http://www.heartsongpresents.com) will hold my debut novel in their hands. I stand in awe of the way God has carried me—and is continuing to carry me—along this writing journey. Only He knows what direction we will take next. Steering isn’t my job. I’m a passenger on this journey, and the scenery along the way is magnificent.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

Monday, December 13, 2010


"The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones. You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:11

Like many of you, I regard Christmas as a special, holy time. It is indeed a time of giving. God gave on that first Christmas more than two thousand years ago. Of course, with the help of television ads, retail and online merchants, and junk mail that overstuffs our mailboxes, the whole concept of “giving” at Christmas time has gotten skewed way out of proportion. We sometimes hear a report on the news how different charities are collecting toys to give to needy children or some group is calling for volunteers to help feed the homeless during this season—and those are wonderful things to do. But in the effort to roll back the clutter and cacophony of the commercialism, I try to set aside a specific block of time every day to simply be quiet before God. It was during one of these times recently that my heart was especially stricken with the desire to give Jesus a gift.
Granted, it’s not a unique idea. Christians over the centuries have proclaimed the message of giving a gift to Jesus on His birthday. Likewise, we’ve all heard it said we can’t out-give God. But I was determined to discover what I could give Jesus.

During my quiet times with Him, I asked Him to lay on my heart what He wanted from me: more dedication? More love? Greater faithfulness? Boldness in witnessing? Should I step up my service? Everything that crossed my mind seemed pitifully anemic. Don’t misunderstand me, the time spent in His presence wasn’t anemic, but what I discovered wasn’t what I asked or expected. During those times of quiet communication, He led me through some memories that evoked smiles of remembrance. It was like He was whispering, “Do you remember this?” “Remember the time you were strangling on your fear?” “Remember when you felt so alone?” “Remember when your heart was so broken, you believed it would never be whole again?” How did my prayer turn from a time of me asking Jesus what He wanted from me to a time of Him drawing from our well of memories?

And so we continued, Jesus speaking in loving tones and me wiping away sweet tears of recollection. Those times to which He gently turned my mind were difficult journeys. They were times I entered feeling I was a strong Christian, ready to tackle anything the world threw at me. But I soon discovered my glaring weakness, my pitiful neediness in the midst of the desert through which I found myself traveling. I remembered those desolate places—places in which I thought I was so isolated.

“But Lord, I want You to tell me what I can give You for Your birthday. How can I serve You better?”

I felt His warm smile in my heart and He simply kept reminding me of the many times I felt lost or afraid or tempted or hurt. In every instance, it was His closeness that carried me through the difficult time. Gradually, understanding dawned within me. I’d long grasped the concept of hard times and difficult journeys deepening my level of trust and faith. But a new enlightenment emerged. During those times when I was utterly alone or drained empty or completely helpless, I learned how to NEED Him, and I now realize that needing Him is the key to KNOWING Him. Intimate communion with Jesus is such a priceless gift. Now I understood His purpose in our time of remembrance. The gift He has given me has birthed the gift He wants from me: continuing communication, praise, gratitude, trust…and love. Never-ending love.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.