Sunday, April 17, 2011

Growing in Faith

I was cleaning out our apartment in preparation of moving into our new home when I came across this note. It was written a few weeks before I learned my first book was going to be published but the lesson is one I hope I carry with me throughout the rest of my life:


June 18, 2010


Something the pastor said this morning really pricked my heart this morning--when the children of Israel was stuck in the wildness because of their fears, God wanted them to remember all the things He'd done for them. That way, when they reached the Jordan River, they'd have a faith and strength in God to take that first step into the water's edge.


That got me to thinking. Is this time I'm waiting to hear about my manuscript a time I need to remember all God has done to encourage me to this point in my writing journey? Looking back, I'm amazed at God's goodness and incredible patience in my life, especially when I think about how it has unfolded.


What if:

1) My mom hadn't bothered to put aside an hour every night to help me learn how to read when I struggled in second grade? Having raised two girls, I know the days are never long enough to do all the chores and errands that need to be done, but my mother always found time to listen to me read, correct me when I messed up, even went so far as to get books she thought I'd enjoy reading. Without her, I never would have developed my love of books and stories. And my dad deserves a shout-out as well--even with his busy work schedule, Dad always managed to find time to take me to the county library every week.


2)Ms Collins, my tenth grade English teacher, hadn't assigned our class to write a fictional story on anything we wanted to? Better yet, what if my friends who were assigned to my group hadn't bailed out, leaving me to write the ending?. Little did they know(and me, for that matter of act) that my 'ending' was ten more chapters and our five page assignment turned into a 56 page novella. Bless Ms Collins' heart, she didn't jump me when I turned it in--besides the A+ she gave us, she popped three dollars down on my desk and encouraged me to keep writing.


3) my grandma hadn't given me that two dollars to buy a book from a new romance line I'd discovered in the book section at the local Woolworth's? I was eleven at the time and just had my heart broken by a boy for the first time. I loved that book, but better yet, I fell in love with that line--Harlequin.


4) Years later, after college and raising kids, Jody(the women's minstry director at our church) hadn't given me a journal at the ladies retreat and urged me to write? I started out with a paragraph or two every day, but within a month, I was filling up ten pages, front and back.


5) I hadn't seen an ad in the back of a Harlequin about a set of tapes on how to write for Harlequin? Now that may not sound so out of the ordinary if not for the fact that I ordered these tapes NINE YEARS before I ever even thought of writing historical romance. Those tapes sparked my imagination and if I could find them, I'd listen to them every day.


I could go on and on--about the Genesis win or the various articles that were published along the way. All of these events are a God thing--putting people in my way to encourage me to write. And I will never forget God's call for me to write in 1999. The joy I felt when I wrote, the way I still feel writing is an act of worship. God is so good to me! And like those children of Israel standing at the edge of the Jordan, I can do anything with Him!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Resolutions

With each passing new year, I've made a list of resolutions. Sometimes, I do okay like last year, when I made the decision to write at least 4 hours every day. But for every one I manage to complete, there are others I don't even come close to achieving like dropping enough poundage to fit into last year's jeans.

So this year, I've taken up the practice of picking out a word that can sum up what I would like to accomplish in 2011. And trust me, it was hard. Being a wordsmith, narrowing down the vast words to one word was next to impossible. I mean, ONE WORD! Gracious Gravy, how can one person make that kind of selection. But one word kept coming to mind and I can only think it was God who placed it in my heart. My word for the year is:

FOCUS

Some people may wonder about my choice. But each time I prayed, I heard the words of the old hym, 'Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in his wonderful face.'

So that's what I want to do--focus on Jesus, on my relationship with my heavenly Father, on the job He's given me and on myself. That last part may throw some for a loop--but I got the idea from a pastor. He said that if I would concentrate some of my time on myself instead of running about doing for others, I'd find that the others in my life would find their needs met.

Focus is a great word, one I'm glad to carry into the new year.