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.


















Tuesday, February 23, 2016


He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”                         Acts 9:4 NIV

Do you learn from other people’s mistakes? Or, do you prefer to learn the hard way? Me, I don’t want to get knocked down blind on some dusty road somewhere.

Saul tried to destroy the newborn church by killing Christians. It’s easy to understand why the world hates the Church, but why do some within the church try to tear it down with gossip?

Maybe they’re right about some issues, but they’re very wrong in their methods. 

Saul was persecuting the church, but Jesus asked, “Why Me?” The church is His bride, as in “the two shall become one”. Whether you badmouth the church at large or a particular congregation, you’re persecuting Him.

Our congregation has suffered a split recently. Differences of opinion, hurt and angry feelings, disgruntled folks lashing out, talking about each other behind each other’s backs, taking their ball and heading out to find another church home.

Then the rumors and accusations started. “The reason there are only 20 people going here anymore is that the pastor and associate pastor were running them off so they could take control of the building fund money. Only, it’s mainly the associate pastor because the old pastor has Alzheimer’s, and that’s why he isn’t preaching much now.”

None of the above is true. Our pastors and elders and deacons shepherd us with love. We have far more than 20 members, and are growing. The building fund is sitting there safe. The pastor, though wearied by all the strife, is still sharp and preaches almost every Sunday. Add to that, there’s a much more peaceful spirit among us without all the backbiters.

Think before you speak. Are those words meant to build up or to tear down? If you’re cutting down any part of His church, you’re thumbing your nose at that perfect blood He shed for all us imperfect humans. 

Avi, we are Your body, Your brothers, Your children. You prayed for our unity, then You died to give birth to Your church. Make us one in love. Show the world through us that You are the God of life, the truth they ache for. In Your holy name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 NIV

Sunday School lesson: Zebedee’s wife asked Jesus, “Please let my sons sit on Your right and left in Heaven.” Jesus answered, “That isn’t mine to grant; My Father will choose.”

The teacher said, “I think we’ll walk in, look up and see Jesus on the throne, then stop in shock at the sight of those sitting beside Him. We’ll say, ‘Who are they?’ Because they’ll be people nobody ever heard of, people who did their mighty works in some quiet, lonely corner behind the scenes: prayer warriors.”

At once a picture popped into my head: an elderly woman I knew, bedbound and smiling, surrounded by phone and prayer journals.

What if it were you? How would I feel if it were me? I’d be incredibly honored, thrilled beyond words to be close enough to my Savior to lay my head against His heart as John did at the last supper.

But wait.

I’ve read that Alex Haley, author of Roots, has a picture over his desk of a turtle perched atop a fencepost. The message? “It didn’t get where it is by itself, and neither did I.”

Neither did I, in this world or the next. Surely those who stood behind me, affirmed me, encouraged me, upheld me in prayer, helped me on my journey through this life have a share in whatever fruit I’ve borne. Surely they deserve a share in whatever rewards and honors I’m blessed with. Surely they, not I, deserve this seat beside Him.

Avi, when I imagine being close to You in Heaven, I see myself on Your shoulders as You show me around. I see us walking together, or riding side by side across fertile plains, or working together on some carpentry project. When I imagine us indoors, I’m at a table, looking at You way up there across the crowd—not seated beside You in the highest place of honor with all of Heaven watching.
I’m proud of You, Avi. I’m honored to be seen with You—but I have no love for the public stage. Here in this world, I can’t imagine such a place of visible honor. But there? No seat will be a place of dishonor. No seat will be a place removed from You. Choose for me, Avi.

In Your holy name, Amen.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.          Psalm 13:5 NIV

Be my valentine, Avi. You’re my everything, my #1. You’re the God of love—and because You’re #1, I can love my husband with my whole heart, the heart You’ve made new in me. Make me like You, Avi.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. John 14:13 NIV
In Some Folks Feel the Rain, Others Just Get Wet, P59, James W. Moore poses a question: “If you had the power right now to perform one miracle, what would it be? What would you do?”

Oh, wow. How big a miracle? How broad? How high should I jump?
Would my miracle be selfish? Would I zap my mind into being a super prolific, best-selling author? A slim, young, vibrant, energetic, efficient author? A public speaker extraordinaire?

Would I be altruistic? Would I end poverty and hunger? Would I end domestic violence? Change the hearts of all who have ever abused anyone, human or animal, or themselves? Would I zap peace into the Middle East? Would I zap peace and unity into His very human church? Or, would I rescue one lonely soul?

Yeah, if I could.

But wait… if I did any of these things, would I be getting in God’s way? Would I be tearing down someone’s classroom before their lessons are learned? Or, would I be part of the answer to their desperate prayers? Would my choice, my actions, bring them good and glorify the God whose I am?

How am I to know? Such decisions are way, way beyond my pay grade. I’d have to go straight to the Boss on any of those options.

But I already have miracle-working powers. I can go anytime I want with anything I want to the God of Miracles. And He, my Father, with His infinite love and wisdom, will choose the best answer—and do it.

If any of you were hoping to be my miracle, just tell me and I’ll ask my Father for you.

You know what, Avi? All this speculation about performing a miracle? I like being a miracle. I like being Your miracle, Your new creation, Your child. Ahavcha, Avi. In Your holy name, Amen.



Thursday, February 4, 2016




Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.                             Philippians 4:8 NIV

But what if your mind is already full of a lifetime of pain and injustice?

A major part of my own healing was years of letters to Jesus. A lot of my filling has been Scripture and songs that remind me of His love and strength and faithfulness. As my trust in Him grew, I realized nothing can happen to me unless He lets it, and if He lets it, He has a good reason. A long time later, I realized it really didn’t matter what had been done to me in the past, because those were the very things that brought me to the end of myself—and to Him. Jesus knows exactly the lessons I needed—and still need—and loves me enough to allow them. But, He loves me so much that He won’t let even one unnecessary pain slip past His guard.

I still get down—that’s the nature of this world we travel through—but He still lifts me up. Letters to Him still help. And, music is a major part of that lifting.

I walk our long driveway with my dogs at night. It’s my best God-time of the day, alone with Him under the stars. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I enjoy His companionable silence. Often I listen to music on my small recorder. Lately it’s been You Raise Me Up.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on Your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.

That reminds me of a Saint Patrick quote: “Belong to God and become a wonder to yourself.” True. The who-I-was could never have imagined the who-I-am-now—in Jesus. The writer-I-dreamed-of-being could never have imagined what comes from my pen at His direction.

In his book Friendship, Jim Conway suggested I write myself a letter from God, telling myself how much He loves me. That letter seemed to come not from me, but through me. “I like that you want to write; I like that you want to write letters to Me.”    

I’ve had my share of discouraging words because I write fiction—but Jesus Himself made up stories to get his point across. In Finding God in The Lord of the Rings, one of the authors said (paraphrase mine) that when someone has closed the front door of his heart to God’s message, a good story can find a way in through the unguarded back.  

He, the Word, gives words to we who are made in His image. Don’t deny that part of yourself. DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR DETRACTOR, EVEN IN MEMORY. His stinky words, if you eat them, leave a scent for that hungry prowling lion of I Peter 5:8 to track you by.

Listen to the Word who has gifted you, not the words of the enemy.

Happy Writing—in Him!

Grace Potts



Tuesday, February 2, 2016


For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33 NIV
I’ve felt God’s leading, and joined the new writers’ guild. I’m excited, eager to get to work on my novel. I’m surfing the crests of the waves, jotting notes as I cook breakfast and gather my necessaries to tote up to my neat creative solitude cottage.

But first, fill the wheelbarrow with firewood so my husband can roll it down to the porch. Finished, I grab my bag and hurry in to tell him I’ll be incommunicado.
“Did you leave the gloves with the wheelbarrow?”
No—but the gloves are nowhere to be found, and my peaceful excitement has also vanished.
My old eyes can’t see what’s in front of my nose if there are too many things to try to focus on.

My surfboard has crashed into a pair of work gloves and been upended. And, yeah, I know how small they are.

Sometimes it’s like I, lonely survivor, have been called to walk to Jesus on the water. But the waves are not only storm-tossed, they’re filled with flotsam—there’s far too little jetsam at our house—and every step threatens to trip me face-first into the waves and under.

Fruitless search eating up more minutes and more peace.

Whatever. There are other gloves, and I’m not going to waste any more of my morning on this. I grabbed my bag and marched off to the literary wars, praying that I could recover my sanity before clock-in time.

Avi, hear my cry for help across the waves. Kids want to be like their Daddy, and I want to be like You—but You are a God of order, and I have a long, long way to go. If we can’t have order in our home here, please give me order and peace in my mind and my heart. Show me a safe path through the waves, and when I cannot walk on water, please carry me. In Your holy name, Amen.