Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recently I volunteered to write some summer devotionals for my church, and it is an honor and a priveledge. However, I really don't know what I was thinking at the time. I had never written a devotional before this. . . sure some of my journal entries kind of fit the bill, but really, how arrogant was I being to blithely say, "oh, I could do that . . . just as well as some of the free devotionals on the internet. . ."
I guess that is the crux of my anxiety now that I am writing those devotionals. Am I really equipped? Is it arrogant of me to think that I can do this? I love to write. I write every day. I read God's Word every day, either a verse, a chapter, or several chapters. Still, wouldn't it have been better to ask the Pastors to write these devotionals? Should I ask them to write some of them so I don't write so many? Even if I do them well, will people at my church think I've been arrogant?
So, I'm writing devotionals. I've got a deadline. And I feel both honored and a little worried.
In my Bible Study today, I read Matthew 14, and the verses that shouted out at me today were verses 28 through 32. This is the section where, having seen Jesus walking on the water, Peter asks if he can join him. Jesus says "Come." "Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus." Wow! For some reason, until last year's VBS, I had overlooked this verse almost entirely. Sure, Peter got out of the boat, but it seems like I've always missed the point that he walked on water too. Of course it goes on in verse 29 and 30:
"But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me.'
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'"

Maybe this is my moment to attempt to walk on water. Maybe when I worry over my possible arrogance, Jesus is asking me, "why are you doubting?"
God has entrusted me with gifts. He's give me an opportunity. My Pastors, and the staff at my church have given me their support. It's my turn to trust God, and take a step out of my boat.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Bitter Made Sweet

In Exodus, the Israelites wander in the Desert of Shur, after their miraculous journey through the Red Sea. They come to Marah, and they could not drink the water because it was bitter. Moses cries out to the Lord, and then the Lord made the water sweet. This is paraprasing Exodus 15, but as I was praying and asking God to show me an insight in this Bible passage, I kept coming back to this idea. The Lord makes the bitter water sweet. The Lord makes the bitter into something sweet, healthy drinkable, and life-giving. How many times has God done this in my life? Countless times. Praise God for his greatness! Praise God for his eternal love! Praise him for his life-giving salvation given to us in his son Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Friday, May 29, 2009

We are experiencing a high level of exciting opportunities and changes these days. Some of the changes are less welcome than others, but overall the view is bright. However, there is just enough going on that I feel a little on edge, as if I'm trying to keep all the pieces of a puzzle on a tray table on an airplane experiencing turbulence. The bumpy ride is fun, but I don't want to lose even one puzzle piece.
Last night, I found myself part of a gripe session that started spiraling downward . . . and I don't want to do that. So for this morning I pray,
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Changes

Have to write my lists
Keep track before we spin
Out of control . . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Great weekend, wishy washy optimism

Days fly by when we are busy or having fun. We had the best Memorial Day Weekend we've ever had as a family. We went to see a movie. Then we worked around the house, then had a small group meeting that included Bible study, dinner, fellowship, and jumping on a trampoline! There is so much joy in jumping on a trampoline! On Sunday we worshipped, swam in our chilly pool that we opened up for the first time, and visited with friends for the evening. Monday we visited the cemetary where my Grandpa Schneider, and my Grandma Pearl were buried. Flags flapping over our heads, we took in the sights of so many flags, so many flowers, and a beautiful peaceful day. Red, white and blue, with green grass, blue sky and a multitude of flowers is a wonderful sight to behold. Then we picnicked at the park I grew up playing at, and looked at our old home. Change means that a place is alive, but of all the changes there, I just wish they hadn't cut down my favorite climbing tree. I used to sit in those branches to think . . . but I still can remember that feeling of peacefulness there and hold the picture of it in my mind complete with the feeling of bark beneath my hands.
Then we came home, swam again, and had softball practice with our church softball team. A great way to end a great weekend.
Yesterday however, was painful. I didn't want to get back into any kind of "normal" routine with homeschooling and dance classes, errand running and housework. But I did it, and today I'll do it again . . . but I think I'll add some joy into the mix somehow.
I've started writing devotionals and so far, so good. However, I've given myself an aggressive writing schedule to fulfill and I'm not sure how well it will work. And yet . . . I think it will. I'm suffering from wishy washy optimism today . . . I guess. Lol.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

so many words, so little time

Whew! The days are rolling by with little time to write. A few lines of poetry, and a few e-mails just don't quite satisfy the urge to overflow a word document. So, I have 13 minutes to write and I had better get at it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wave vs Seas of Doubt

Waking with a sore throat and the need to find a craft for 300+ people by tomorrow is like waking to a towering wave with no surfboard in sight. Not that I know how to surf . . . but that's the image that popped into my head.
After taking a few minutes to wake up, and read my Bible, I find new peace. Today I read chapters 13 and 14 from Exodus. In chapter 13, the Lord asks the Israelites to consecrate their firstborn. In chapter 14, the Lord divides the sea, and the Israelites cross, with the pillar of fire and cloud guarding their backs.
So . . . if I take my image of the towering wave, and the image of the Israelites crossing the divided sea with a pillar of fire and cloud guarding their backs . . . I get peace. Maybe that doesn't compute quickly, but if God can part the sea and use a pillar of fire and cloud to guard his people, then I have nothing to worry about.
My wave of worry over a sore throat and a craft project that didn't get mailed to me on time is so small compared to the Israelites flight from the Egyptians. I can drink some throat soother tea, take my vitamins, and find a craft . . . after I ask God to guide me, heal me, and show me the way.
And crazily enough as I finish up this post, I think . . . I hope God gives me the chance to write today . . . fiction or poetry that is . . . not just blog. There's that third chapter of the Crystal Sword that I never finished properly, and then onto chapter 4 . . . I've already got the ideas. Plus, a few poems I started yesterday that I would like to finish . . . there's always lots to write . . . and that is wonderful.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Black Funk Lives

A new day, and yet the black funk lives. It seems like the appropriate monster in some kind of spiritual horror story, just lurking above a woman's shoulder as she writes at her computer. It kind of gives me chills actually, since I don't believe that this world is all there is . . . and the Bible states "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Does this make the black funk something I should give into . . . on the contrary, "Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." These quotes are from 1 Peter 5:8-9.
Amazing, isn't it . . . how real life and spirituality are so intertwined . . . one does not exist without the other. I think that "black funk" that I've been feeling, that I read about just a few minutes ago in an awesome author interview at everdayfiction.com, is a symptom of spiritual duress. I could say that it's just my writing and my life undergoing stress that is part of everyday life. I could dismiss it, or let it get to me, or accept it . . . but that would be missing the point.
Tackling the black funk, taking back my writing and my life, with prayer and faith, is about accepting that there is more to this world than I can see in front of me. Asking for God's protection in my writing is the only way to really tackle it, and that doesn't mean I just sit and wait for God to do everything. I trust that He is big enough to take on the black funk, and then I move on, writing and living.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Whew! It's been two weeks since I blogged last . . . didn't realize the time was going by so quickly. My writing has been down as well. I could blame it on a busy family schedule, but that wouldn't be right. I always have some free time during the day. My writing has been stilted, painful and frustrating lately. I received two rejection letters two days in a row, and I let it kill my confidence. I have been writing less often, and without as much skill. However, I have been playing a few word games, trying to liven up my vocabulary. Hew, hue, don, dun, swirl . . . none of these are exciting or even all that new, but sometimes I think I need to be beyond "the, that, was, and is" which seem to make up most of my writing. So, I'm frustrated, and lacking some confidence, but I'm getting to the point where I'm ready to rock on . . . get back into the groove, pick up where I left off, etc.
And, I've been back to reading my Bible again everyday instead of just reading a devotional. Devotionals are great, but they just don't have enough meat to fill me up.
So here's my quote for the day:
Romans 5:7-8 "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
This is the kind of verse I need to post on my kitchen cupboards, and write on my heart. Somehow, in the midst of busyness I have forgotten God's amazing love . . . and living like that is useless. God is my hope and salvation, my guide and my rock.