Friday, June 10, 2016


The city does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is it lamp. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. Revelation 21:23, 25

Another good thing about Heaven: nobody will ever be late—because there won’t be time anymore. That concept is beyond me.

But it’s fun to play with. 

I used to never be late, hate, hate, hated it. But my husband hates to waste that five minutes before we have to leave for somewhere. Yeah, you know what he uses it for. A ten minute task.

So I’m a little desensitized to it, but I still hate it.

What about waiting all day for someone who doesn’t show and doesn’t call to cut you loose to spend your day on something besides waiting, and you can’t get them on the phone? And what about waiting for computer repairs so you can post your blog on time? Or how about sitting forever on hold because it took too long to get to the (hopefully) right person and you can’t afford to hang up and start over?

Not so with You, Avi. When You say You’ll be here, You’re here. Anytime I call on You in prayer, You hear. And when it’s time to go home, I know You’ll be here, not one nanosecond late.

I can hardly wait.

In Your holy name, Amen.





Monday, May 30, 2016


Remember me with favor, O my God. Nehemiah 13:31 NIV

As my mother’s health failed, she worried that no one would long remember her, that no one would visit her grave. She was worried that, after a short time, we’d forget her.
No, she isn’t forgotten. Things remind us of her. We reread her poetry. We mention her more often than we visit her grave, but we get there, too.
But I believe the sight of our heavenly home blew that concern right out of her mind. Especially since she knew loved ones would be joining her there. I believe she laughs now at this earthly concern for the frequency of our memories and visits. And I believe she saw more clearly the greater responsibility we have to spend most of our time and energies on the living.  
Three times Nehemiah asked God to remember him.
What do you want God to remember you for?
What do I want Him to remember me for?
That I’ve believed Him and believed in Him. That I’ve trusted Him and sought His friendship, and been a friend to Him.

That I’ve honored Him and served Him faithfully. That I’ve fed, comforted and encouraged His sheep.
That I’ve been salt, light, and a voice whispering to those stumbling in darkness, “Here. This is the way. The Shepherd hasn’t forgotten you.”
Fruit matters, and I want to see bushels and bushels when I get home. But I want Him to remember me not so much for what I’ve done, but for what I’ve been. Not so much for what I’ve accomplished, but for who I am: His kid.
Avi, Your memory is long and strong, but Your forgetter is just as strong. Please remember the things in my life that have pleased you, and forgive me where I’ve sinned and fallen short. Remember that I am dust. Remember how much I want to please You. In Your holy name, Amen.


Saturday, May 28, 2016


If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV

My husband left me. For three days and two nights, alone in the belly of a whale. That’s in case anyone has been wondering where I was this week.

But the sun has come up this third day, and I’m beginning to see daylight.

When he told me his plans, I asked if he realized how very dangerous it is for him to leave me here unsupervised for that long. I know where the Good Will store is, and I have a truck, and I’m not afraid to use it.

But I didn’t have much time for collecting stuff for Good Will. Instead, I went through this house and collected every scrap of paper I own.

The paper storm is finally abating, y’all. The whale has found its way to shore and is about to spit me out. I’ve filed and organized, and have almost finished filling the third dog food bag with jetsam. Big bags, three dogs, packed tight. 

That ‘everyone’ in the verse above that I’m to live at peace with includes me—and I feel so much more peaceful. I’ve found things I’d forgotten about—short stories, ideas, letters, journal notes, study notes, insights. I’ve found things I’d wasted time and energy puzzling over and searching hopelessly for. I found my Jim Conway letter, the one he told me (in his book, Friendship) to write to myself from God telling me how much He loves me.

Somehow, that whale just doesn’t seem so big now.

Avi, You are the God of order, the God who makes things happen, the God who’s never at a loss because He can’t find what He needs to work with. Make me like You in this, too. Help me to reclaim my purpose. In Your holy name, Amen.









Wednesday, May 18, 2016


…God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.*” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; what can man do to me? **” Hebrews 13:5,6 NIV


Riding in the car. I was maybe 4 years old, maybe less. Small enough to stand behind the driver’s seat. My daddy was speeding down a narrow dirt road through a thick forest. I leaned forward to stare upward, chattering my wonder at the giant trees towering high against the overcast sky.

Too much for my mama. She turned and snarled, “If you don’t sit down and shut up, we’re going to stop this car and put you out and leave you here.” Just then the car skidded around a bend and slammed to a stop. A dark, wind-whipped lake stretched far and wide to the horizon.


Fast forward. I’m 21, driving her somewhere, my 5 & 6 year old niece and nephew in the back seat. Déjà vu. She turned to them and said, “If y’all don’t sit down and shut up, Grace is going to stop the car and put y’all out.”

“No, I’m not.”

Stunned, she stared at me. I’d never in memory talked back to her. I said no more, nor did she.

Nothing is more terrifying to a vulnerable child than the threat of abandonment. And, once our eyes have been opened to the war raging around us, nothing could be more terrifying to a child of God than the threat of abandonment in the middle of this spiritual battlefield called Earth.
“But fear not,” He tells us. “It ain’t gonna happen. You know why? It’s because I love you, and I want you. It’s because I worked too hard to make you, came to far to save you, paid too much to redeem you. Add to that, I LOVE YOU!”
Avi, thank You for this promise, and thank You for teaching me how very much it’s worth. In Your holy name, Amen

* Joshua 1:5

** Psalm 118:6,7

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day, the LORD made a covenant with Abram…                  Genesis 15:17, 18 NIV

One of my favorite scriptures. I’ll tell you why.

In Abram’s culture, the strongest covenants would be sealed by butchering sacrificial animals and laying the halves opposite each other on the ground. Then each party to the covenant would walk between the pieces. In effect, each was saying, “May what happened to these animals happen to me if I fail to keep this covenant.”

Serious god, serious covenant.

Notice something? Abram didn’t walk through the pieces. He slept through the whole thing, nothing worse than some pretty bad nightmares.

But God knew Abram, sinful like every one of us, could never keep that covenant—and the wages of sin is death.

So what did our loving God do? He took upon Himself both sides of the covenant, passed through the pieces in smoking firepot and blazing torch. He took Abram’s part—and ours—both responsibility and penalty, and carried it all the way to Calvary.
Avi, the darkness around us deepens every day, so much so that sometimes it feels like we’re living through Abram’s nightmares. It’s hard for weary pilgrims to keep on keeping on when the path is rough and the load grows too heavy. Remind us again, Avi: You are the Light of the world that darkness cannot overcome. You are the One within us who is greater than the prince of darkness who is in the world. You are the God who began Your good work in us, the God who will complete it.  In Your holy name, Amen.                                           


Thursday, May 5, 2016


The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 NIV

Been watching the news lately? Or, is it too discouraging for you?

Ted Cruz suspended his campaign Tuesday. Big disappointment after many disappointments.

Yesterday, John Kasich suspended. One left, the presumptive nominee.

We need strong leaders. We need fighters. But we need godly leaders. We need godly fighters with godly wisdom. Which is why I can’t understand why so many evangelicals are so on fire for Donald Trump. Can anyone explain that?

Sounds like bad news to me.

But you know what? Even this news is good news, even if it doesn't feel like it. God is in control, and will always be in control, and His purpose is the ultimate good of those who love Him. No matter how long that takes.

My comfort is that God not only has the king’s heart in His hand, He has yours and mine, and every heart that lives, that ever lived, that will ever live. Every politician, every statesman—and no, they’re not the same thing.

It really sticks in my craw to think of having to vote for Donald Trump—but God not only moves the hearts of our leaders, He chooses our leaders, too. And if this man is God’s pick for us—especially if the alternative is so much worse—well, that’s a no-brainer.

Avi, today is National Day of Prayer, and we really need it. I wonder how many people prayed. Me, I forgot until later in the day, but I’m praying now. Please help us, Avi. You still have a remnant here, and we need You. Please make it right. Real right, that will end with true healing for our nation. In Your holy name, Amen.




Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and fasting, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.    Philippians 4:6,7 NIV
Our Sunday School teacher urged us to make time in our hectic mornings to give Jesus the first moments of our day. Wednesday night, he asked how it had gone. Well, if I go to bed after some quality time with Jesus, I wake up with Him on my mind, too. But, my morning still starts on the run with fixing breakfast while the morning souls on TV—not my choice—yell at me. And no, I can’t get up any earlier. Even if I could, I’m on automatic pilot, nothing much to give to anyone.  

This Sunday, the teacher gave us each a slip of paper. At the top was written, MY PRAYER; at the bottom, THE MASTER IS LISTENING. We’re to write in whatever’s most pressing to us, and post it in a prominent place.

A Wayne Watson song popped into my head: “Do you miss Me, child, when you’re running, the way that I miss you.” I wrote it down. Then a Faith and Melanie song: “Slow me down, Lord.” A praise chorus, “I will seek You in the morning.” A Michael Card song: “When the morning falls on the farthest hills…”

But I’m still tangled in the rush, no time for myself or for Jesus.

Found another song on my computer yesterday. I love, love, love Celtic music, so I had to check this one out. “I heard the voice of Jesus say, come unto me and rest…”

I’m about to wear my pocket tape recorder out on that one.

This morning I woke with that song in my head. Then, when I stepped outside, I realized I do have a few minutes most mornings. While my dogs sniff around the yard and take care of business, I’m just standing there looking for peace—and breathing in the new day the Lord has made. 

“Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.”

Avi, please fill my head with Your song again today, and give me rest in You even as I work. Give me words to tell this lonely world who You are. In Your holy name, Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


…and on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and
they were all scattered… Acts 8:1 NIV
The stones that struck Stephen fell smack into the middle of the newborn church and sent Christians fleeing in every direction like ripples on a pond. Wherever the believers were scattered to, they preached the good news. Everywhere they preached, many believed, and the church grew, even in the face of persecution.
Or was it because of the persecution?
Last Sunday, TV preacher James Merritt quoted Billy Graham: “Mountaintops are for the view and inspiration, but fruit grows in the valleys.”
The church grows explosively in seasons of persecution. Worldly wisdom says, “Look what’s happening there to those people! No way I’m getting anywhere near that storm.” But people hungry for more look and say, “Wonder what they have that’s worth so much? I’m gonna check it out.”
When the things of the world—civil rights, property, livelihood, even life—are taken from you, you learn what you really need. And you learn what you really have that can never be taken away.
Avi, I like the life You’ve blessed me with here. I like being free to worship You openly. I like being able to talk to You out loud. I like being able to talk about You anytime I want to. I don’t want to be persecuted for my faith.
But if I’m tested with the things that have happened, and are still happening, to so many Christians, help me to remember what an honor it is to stand with You in the sight of that great cloud of witnesses and face down the enemy.           
Help me to trust You with my life, Avi.  
In Your holy name, Amen.


Thursday, April 14, 2016


Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.              Hebrews 13:17 NIV
Our Creator placed the man He created in charge of the family He created. As head, man has to answer to God not only for himself, but for his wife and children. As head of our home, my husband answers to God for how he leads and loves and teaches—but I feel I, his wife, need to do all I can to make his job easier and to insure his success. I don’t want to watch on judgment day as Jesus blames my husband for my failures.   

The same is true of our church leaders. Though we elect them, it’s God who puts them in place and gives them authority, and it’s God to whom they will ultimately answer.
I don’t want to make their jobs any harder than they have to be. I don’t want to be a stumbling block. I don’t want it on my conscience before God that I failed these hard-pressed men. I don’t want to stand before God on judgment day and see Him come down hard on them for my failures, to hear Him turn to me and ask, “What did you do with these, my servants?”  

I want to help them succeed. I want to build them up, not crush them. I want to hold them up in prayer, encourage them, share any small wisdom I have with them, help in practical ways where I’m able.
Moses couldn’t do it alone, and neither can our guys. We have to step in like Aaron and Hur and hold them up, hold them to God’s standards, not ours.

Avi, give us peace in our homes, in our nation, in our congregations. Help us to see each other as You see us, to love each other as You love us. Give us the unity You prayed for us, and help us to value it as You value it. Help us to build up, and not to tear down. Give our leaders courage to follow Your way, not the world’s. In Your holy name, Amen.





















Wednesday, April 6, 2016


You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5 NIV
Darkness will never understand light—but what about the captives of that darkness? Men and women and children groping a way through impenetrable darkness to the Light who is life, the Light no human can understand.
They must see the Light and come to it if they're to live—but how can they when they're blinded by the darkness?
We’re it, Christians. Tiny candles shining through vast stretches of darkness. Sometimes it’s pretty tempting to crouch under one of those handy bowls.
Yeah, if we go low profile and put our candles under a bowl, we have the illusion of safety—but there’s a second consequence. Our flames will flicker and die for lack of air.
What is our light, our breath? The Spirit of God living in us. We are not alone with our burden.
We have to kick that bowl and the fear that pushes us under it back into the darkness it came from.
Never forget. He who is in us is greater than the Prince of Darkness who is in the world. Give light and hope fearlessly to the captives, that they may see the way of escape.
Avi, You are the Light of the world—but the darkness is growing. The world cannot see Your light, except through the cracks in these vessels of clay that we are. Too often, all they seem to see is our brokenness.
What an awful responsibility You’ve left to us tiny candles! 
Hold us high, Avi, and light the way.
In Your holy name, Amen.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016


By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. Hebrews 11:4 NIV

Think what it would be like to write all these words—books, blog posts, songs, poems, devotionals, journal notes—then get called to Heaven and leave them here on Earth. Spend my seven years up there while all h*** breaks loose on planet Earth.

Then, come back on that 1000 year mission trip—and find that people are singing my songs, reciting my poems, reading my books and devotionals and journal notes.

Think how it would feel to learn that what I had left as my legacy was still making a difference, paving the way for seekers, encouraging the faltering, showing my Jesus to a lost world.

What if I hadn’t written them?  

Avi, writing is an amazing gift, one that I’m really glad You’ve given me. When it’s going well, there’s no feeling like it, and I’m amazed at what comes through me and lands on that plain sheet of paper.                                                        
But writing is hard and lonely. Sometimes it’s frustrating, whether because the words just won’t come, or because the burdens of life deny me the freedom of time and place to work in peace. When the pressure of those words churning inside me reaches critical mass, something will give. Either the words will find a way out onto paper, or my frustration will wind up in somebody's face.
Don't let me give up, Avi. Bless my offering of words.
In Your holy name, Amen.

P.S. And don't let me take my frustrations out on people we both love.


Thursday, March 10, 2016


                                                Grace S. Potts

I shared this story with a woman whose godly old father had just died after a long, debilitating, dignity-robbing illness. It’s a lot for a blog post, but I’m convinced someone out there needs the same hope.

In a time of wickedness no worse than our own, there remained one righteous man. "Build an ark," God said to Noah, "and take your family to safety." As the ark was being built, another old man lived the last of his days. He, too, found his Maker faithful.

Palpable darkness crushed him. Then, as its weight swirled up from him, Methuselah tried to stretch away the pain. His old bones creaked in protest, but the pain in his soul screamed, for he was still caught in a dream of the wickedness that surrounded him.
He woke, and could not open his burning eyes. He listened for the sounds of his family, longing to speak with his grandson Noah. The house echoed with emptiness, but an unfamiliar hammering rang from somewhere outside. He stirred to rise and look, but his body would not obey him. He lifted a wizened hand and forced open an eye.      

There, before him, a figure waited quietly.

Methuselah tried to greet his friend, but his mouth was dry and made no sound. The friend lifted the old man’s head and gave him a few drops of water, then a few more, until his tongue worked again. 

“Elohe,” he croaked. “I’ve been asleep. Have you been here long?”

“As long as the days of your life.”

Methuselah closed his eye and rubbed it. “What’s that noise?” he asked.

"That’s Noah. I told him to build an ark.”

“A what?”

Elohe laughed. “An ark,” he said. “For I’ve heard your cries, and Noah’s, and will give you peace. I will open the storehouse of heaven and send rain upon the earth, and I will open the gates of the deep. I will send waters to drown every creature, for I regret having made these wicked men. Only those I keep safe within the ark, Noah and his family, will live.”

Elohe wet a cloth and washed Methuselah’s eyes, then gave him more water to drink. Methuselah looked long at his friend, then closed his eyes and drifted into sleep. Elohe sat by him and waited.


“I’m here.”

“I was thinking of my father. Do you remember when you walked with him in the evenings?”

Elohe smiled. “Yes.”

“I watched him go out alone every evening,” said Methuselah. “He’d come back and tell me of his visit with you. More than anything I wanted to go with him and be with you, but he only said, ‘A man must walk alone with God. You will learn.'”

Methuselah sighed. “Then I called out to you, and you came to me, and walked with me, too.”

“It took you long enough. I was waiting for you.”

“I know."

A woman came in and, seeing Methuselah’s lips move, smiled as one smiles at a child. “He’s talking in his sleep again,” she said to someone who waited behind her. “Maybe he’s lonely.”

“But that’s how it is with the old ones,” said another soft voice. “It does no good to try to talk with him. Before you can speak, he’s asleep again. Besides, his memories are all the company he needs.”


“I’m here.”

“What’s rain, Elohe?”

Elohe started to explain, but Methuselah had fallen asleep.


“I’m here.”

“When you took my father away with you, I worried about my grandfather, for they were close. He longed for the comfort of his son in his old age.”

“He had you.”

“Yes, and I was a son to him. But now I’m old, and I understand. The pain I saw in him was my own. He was old enough to see the joy beyond the pain. I think he felt so much joy that it overcame his sorrow. Noah is so much like him.”

Elohe smiled, and the friends waited together, listening as the music of Noah’s obedience filled the room.

“Grandfather. Wake up, Grandfather. We have to bathe you. You’ve soiled yourself.”

Methuselah bore these indignities with patience, but when his granddaughters had finished and left him, he said, “How dreadful this must be for you, Elohe, to sit with an old man who cannot keep himself clean. I don’t know I have to relieve myself, and I don’t know that I have. When you come to me, how will I know if I’m clean enough to receive you.”

“Is your heart clean, Methuselah?”


Methuselah heard the voice of his grandson Noah, and roused himself. “You’ve come! I’ve waited for you.”

"I have something to tell you. I’ve worked all day. Did you hear the sounds?”

“I heard.”

“We’ll be making a journey! God came to me and said to build an ark! We’ll go to sea in a floating house, while He makes the earth clean again! I’m making a room for you near the cattle, where you’ll be warm…”

“I know all about it.”

“What? How could you know?”

But Methuselah had fallen asleep again.


“I’m here.”

“Once I climbed to the top of the eastern mountain, to see if my eyes could see the ends of your creation.”

“What did you see?”

“I saw the day and the night. I saw an eagle… Elohe, when I’m here, I watch the eagles and wonder what it would be to fly. But there, in his land… Even there, he flew so far above me that I… My heart followed him, Elohe, and when I lost him, I lost my heart.”

“And what did you hear on the mountaintop?”

Methuselah was quiet, remembering. Finally he said, “I heard the wind whistling through the stars.”


“I’m here.”

“I’ve been under this roof for a very long time. I’d like to see the stars again before I die.”

Elohe lifted the frail old man, and felt the lightness of his burden. He carried Methuselah from the house and stood with him beneath the night sky.

“Ah, Elohe! The stars have faded. I can see them better with my eyes closed.”

Elohe smiled. “Close your eyes, then,” he said. “Be still and listen. The stars are singing as they sang at the creation.”

“I hear them, Elohe! They sing of peace to me.”

When the stars had sung Methuselah to sleep, Elohe turned and carried him to his bed.


“I’m here.”

“Noah comes to me every evening and tells me what he’s done. He tells me how all the people come to mock him. One man shouted today that the ark is a house of fools who follow a god of fools. They don’t know what they don’t know, so who is the fool?”

“To a small man, both great and small are foolish.”


“I’m here.”

“My father didn’t get to say goodbye to me when he left. Tonight he came to me in a dream and said ‘Hello.’”

“Soon you’ll see him again.”

“My father pleased you.”

“Yes. Enoch is my friend.”

“But you gave him few years.”

“His years have ended, but his life hasn’t.”

“Why did you give me so many years? Was it to reward my father?”

“I’ve blessed you because you please me.”

Methuselah closed his eyes and rested, but his thoughts were too heavy for sleep. Elohe waited, knowing his friend hadn’t finished.

“Noah’s building me a room on the ark.”

“I know.”

“Can I bear it?” Methuselah asked. Then, wearied by the long journey before it had even begun, Methuselah slept.

“Grandfather? Are you awake?”

“I am now, Noah.”

“I’ve finished, Grandfather! The ark is ready, and filled with food. My sons are settling the animals. There are so many of them that it will take a long time. We’ll move you last, after everything is ready. Or, would you rather go now and watch?”

Methuselah closed his eyes.


“In the night I heard the stars sing, Noah. I’m still listening.”

“Good night, Grandfather.”


“I’m here.”

“Is it morning?”


“Noah came yesterday and told me my room is ready.”

“You’re sad today.”



“I’m here.”

“I’m weary of this world, Elohe. I’m weary of this old body. Of what use to me is the ark? My children have all they can do with caring for the animals. I’ll only be more work for them. And if I die, where will they lay my bones? Even if I don’t die, the smell of an old man’s weakness… I’ll be too much for them."

“Soon,” said Elohe.


“I’m here.”

“What will it be like to leave this world?” asked Methuselah.

“Remember the eagle who took your heart?”


Methuselah stirred, and wondered if the whisper he heard was part of his dream.

“Methuselah, wake up.”

“I’m here, Elohe.”

“Methuselah. Why sleep in this old body anymore? Come home with me now.  We’ll look down on the eagle, and he’ll yearn to follow.“










Sunday, March 6, 2016


But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 NIV

Hi, I’m Grace, and I’m a charter member of Procrastinators Anonymous.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t my fault. Like this past week. Three unproductive days on pain pills (long story; old ladies need to be more careful), then all day Saturday was mine. But that was the day the guys could finally string wires and antennas to put WiFi in my cottage.

You think I’m gonna turn that down!

Sometimes somebody throws the wrong switch just when you’re on a roll across a mountain railroad trestle. Whatever, whether you jump or you’re helped over the edge, you’re still in freefall. Where’s my parachute?

Could it be that all of us encouragers are each other’s parachutes? Who will I turn to this time? To fallible human hands, sometimes absent, sometimes absent-minded?

Maybe, if He chooses them—but Jesus is always there. As I was trying to decide how to end this post, a gentle reminder came: “Remember the bookshelves.”

Disorganized stacks of underutilized books lining my walls. But, hey, I had a hammer and a saw and a tape measure, and I could use them. I scheduled all my vacation time, put all the lumber for built-in bookshelves on my credit card—and got scared. That was a lot of money stacked in my floor.

Two days of painful prayer, then a decision. I’d do this with His help, and I’d make the labor an act of worship.

For 21 years, the sight of those bookshelves, straight and solid and true, has been a witness of His faithfulness, a daily reminder that worship doesn’t have to be perfect, just heart-felt.  

Avi, sometimes You say, “You can do this. I’ve given you what it takes.” Sometimes You say, “No, this way. It doesn’t matter how deep the water is; I’m Master of this sea, too.” You are, Avi, but often I let my small self be overwhelmed by the size of the task You’ve given me, by the knowledge of how very much people need what I have to share. Forgive me for staring at the storm while You’re waiting for me to trust You. Help me to worship You in truth and in deed. In Your holy name, Amen.







Wednesday, February 24, 2016


This is my entry for the WRITERS CRUSHING DOUBT contest, hosted by The theme is Overcoming: what knocked me down, and how I got back up.
See more at: 

With me it wasn’t a single rock; it was a rockslide. A long, slow, never-ending rockslide, until I was buried under stones too deep to shove off my back.

I’ve always made up stories, always wanted to write them down so I could hold them in my hand and read them anytime I wanted. When I became a Christian at 45, I asked Jesus to teach me to write, to give me things to write for Him. And, I promised I’d do whatever it takes.

The world had other ideas.

To write, I have to go deep into the story world, so deep that being jerked out is as painful as bone surgery. Enough of that, and I grew afraid to even try.

I used to have the luxury of time for Jesus, time for writing. Then I remarried. My life is so much easier, so much richer, with this one Jesus chose for me—but there went my time. Too busy with too many things. Too much competition for my time when I did try to reclaim a share.

It wasn’t just the lack of time to write. It was the lack of time for my long journaling visits with my Source.

Discussion, and the busy got better; the distractions didn’t. My husband is inventive, but not creative in the sense a writer is, and he isn’t strong on body language. He’s eager to help, to encourage, but he can’t tell when I’m actually working, when I’m getting psyched up to write, or when an idea hits me and I have to catch it before it darts back into its hole.

Answer: a writer’s hat. When I put it on, I’m not to be disturbed. Except sometimes, when an idea strikes, I can’t get to the hat fast enough, even if I can think of hats at such a time.

I went to conferences, got fired up, came home to write. Joined writers’ groups, local and online, got fired up, sat down to write. Same problems, same results.

Lots of helpful writers—and now I had another problem: trying to follow advice to build a platform before I even finished a book. I couldn’t handle that much.

Then one super-frustrating day I said to myself, “Hey, Self! We’re old, and trying to learn all this strange new stuff takes all our brain power. If we’re so busy and worn out with these things that we never finish a book, what’s the point, anyway?” So I hopped off that wheel-spinner and got back to writing—but with half my mind on the safety of my dogs outside and the other half anticipating the next interruption, it was a no-go.

Still, Jesus wouldn’t let me alone. He didn’t tell me to control my circumstances. He didn’t tell me to spend myself on social media and platform. He didn’t even tell me to publish. He told me to write these stories He’s given me. Talk about a sense of failure… I’m not keeping my promise to Him, not doing whatever it takes.

That sense of failure pushed me even further away from my God-given purpose.  

For years I prayed for His help with focus. I prayed for come-alongside people to help me with craft, with marketing, with techie stuff. I prayed for a place to write.

Not even prayer seemed to help.

I know I can’t write these books. I know He can. I know His plan is to write them through me, no Plan B. I have to write.

I searched for a place—but there was nowhere I could go and set aside my fear. Even if I had found a place where I wouldn’t be jerked out of my story, I couldn’t have had my dogs with me there.

The only place I was at all productive was under the trees up in the dog pen. AHA! “Hey, Self! We have a yard. We’ll have a building! Even if we have to convert our ragged little chicken house.”

Jesus took care of that, too. I ended up with way more than I’d dreamed of for far less than it should have cost. There I found my God-time again—but my creative enthusiasm was gone. I was still afraid to dive in deep and write.

I prayed for words. Silence. I prayed for mentors. Silence. I prayed for a refilling of enthusiasm. Silence.

I dreaded going home at the end of my life a disappointment to Him.

Then came insight: maybe I wasn’t having success with the big things I longed to write because I hadn’t been faithful with the small things I’ve written. I started an inspirational blog to post smaller pieces. What a life-saver. I was sharing my God; I wasn’t a total failure.

But I was still afraid to dive back into my novels.

Does Jesus answer prayer through email?

Jerry Jenkins was starting up a new guild, and I was invited to join. Was this the answer to my prayers? Must be; with this reassurance that Jesus has heard me, that rockslide just slid right off me, and my enthusiasm is back. The distractions are still here—I’m having to live more and more of my life on other peoples’ schedules—but I’m writing again, really writing.  

Thank you, Jerry Jenkins. You have a share in whatever fruit I bear.

PS. I’m still praying for that techie mentor.