Tremble In Fear and Do It Anyway

I once knew a man who belonged to a chat room called, “Young Millionaires”. He wasn’t even close to being a millionaire, but he was convinced that everyone else in the room was a millionaire and so he pretended to be one too. I quickly pointed out to him that they could just as easily be making up their financial picture as he was, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He believed them to be completely sincere despite his insincerity.

Last week, at the Write To Publish Conference, I had my first experience at a cyber-friendship made real life or (RL). I was really quite nervous about it.

“What if she doesn’t like the real me?” I wondered. “What if I’ve accidentally created a virtual me that doesn’t reflect the real me, like the guy in the young millionaire chat room?”

But the moment I saw her all fears were chased away. It was like I had known her my whole life…and I should have known all would be well, because Adela Crandell Durkee is a pretty amazing woman! She writes with wisdom and wit. She tells side-splittingly funny stories. She smiles under pressure, and everyone is stronger for her being in their presence.

She was the very first blogger to offer her friendship, writing to me an e-mail that stated, “Let’s be Best Blogging Girlfriends!” And that’s just what we are.

It occurs to me that our relationship with God can be much like a virtual friendship. We don’t see Him face to face, although we could get nervous about when we will someday.

When I do see Him in RL, will I stand before Him realizing how much of the time I was trying to be someone I am not? Will my insincerity drive me away from His presence?

I only know that I am told that I can stand in His presence boldly and that my faith pleases Him. It takes faith to stand in His presence. He sees right through our pretending. But when I do? He welcomes me the way my friend welcomed me, with open arms and loving acceptance, pleased by my reliance on His grace…the outpouring of grace which I gladly receive to tremble and go anyway.

On In Around button

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

My Holy Land – TOYS Community Linkup

I just got back from the Write To Publish Writer’s Conference at Wheaton College.  It was a wonderful time. I learned much, met many and generally felt in awe of God’s presence in my life.

I have never been to the Holy Land.
But I have been to many a holy land.

Places of personal significance,
Where bush burns brightly,
and I turn over new leaf.

Where little known men
have taught great men,
and those great men have gone on
to teach myriads more men.

Places I have overcome overwhelming odds.
Places I have left fear in my room and ventured out of myself.
Places I have discovered new sisters, teachers, mentors…friends.
Places I have found more of me.

And I wonder how they got there,
those pieces of me.
So far from where I dwell in the ordinary every day.
So far outside myself that it makes me tremble,
distant from all that feels familiar.

For He has scattered drops of me
to be found by me
like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel.
And when I follow them back, I find that they lead to Him
where the Father has planned all along.

Won’t you join me on Fridays for a new series and linkup called, “Take Off Your Shoes, You’re On Holy Ground!”? Each week a post will be shared about the significance of a place and you will be able to share as well!! Just 1) Write a post about how a place has ministered to you. 2) Add your post to the linkup. 3) Add the button to your post. 4)Visit and encourage your neighbors!


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Jesus Came To My Door

It was the day before I left for the 4 day, 5 night Write To Publish writer’s conference. I hadn’t finished my fiction manuscript, and I wondered if by some miracle I could swing it. I wanted more than anything to become an influential voice for Christ through my writing. Experience had told me that my manuscript must be finished for a publisher to consider it. But, there was laundry to be done. The house needed attention…and I wanted to walk the dog because I knew that the kids would just let him out back while I was gone.

I completed the twenty minute chore of watering the plants, hoping beyond all reason that someone would remember to do that in my absence. Finally, I snapped the leash on the dog. He waddled down the street happy someone was paying attention to him. The neighbor boy who had been placed with foster parents and was only here on a visit stopped me. Oh, dear, I really don’t have time, I thought. I gave him a quick hug. “Hello Xandan!” I said, “It’s so good to see you! But I’m really in a hurry, can you come by another time?”

“I hope so,” he hesitated, then waved.

I hurried on. The mentally challenged woman ran up to me all child-like and said, “Can I pet your dog?”

“O, Ethyl, I really don’t have time today, I’m sorry.” The dog and I rushed on.

I wonder why it seems like everybody and everything wants my attention today, I wondered.

I continued down the block when Gina, the depressed alcoholic stopped me, “What are you doing for the weekend?” she asked, sober for a change.

“Oh, actually I have a really busy weekend, in fact, I really need to run. I’m sorry.”

Rrrrr…why does everyone NEED me today? I asked God. Don’t they know that I have things to do? I have an ENTIRE book to finish for goodness sake!

A breeze blew into my ear, and His voice whispered clear.
“They don’t need you, they need Me in you.”

And oh, how I wanted to run back to Xandan and ask him how his school year had been. I wanted to sit with Ethyl and let her pet the dog to her heart’s content, even if it meant her asking the same question fifty times. I wanted to ask Gina what she was doing for the weekend, and let her share her sorrows, but they were all gone. Suddenly the book seemed silly and vain, because, “Jesus came to my door…and I left Him out on the street.” Keith Green

Sharing with Jen today!

The Tale of the Cannibal Squirrel

Yesterday, I witnessed an amazing thing. I wish I had a camera so that you could see it. Buddy, my dog, was begging to go outside, and as it was a perfect sunny morning, I stepped out onto the deck with him. He started to bark at two squirrels crossing an electrical line behind our house. One of the squirrels scolded him profusely, the other laid flat on the wire, tail hanging limp. Buddy lost interest. I did not. The first squirrel began pacing away from and toward the still squirrel. After several minutes, I ran in to get my phone and prepared to call animal control, suspecting that something was wrong with the rodent who refused to move. When I came back they were both gone. My eyes followed the line to the tree where I knew the squirrels had their nest. The healthy squirrel was jumping from line to tree with the other squirrel of equal size in its mouth.

I had been praying when all of this happened. I was asking God for direction because I was preparing for the Write To Publish Conference and was feeling frightened and unprepared…stuck in the middle of many tasks not sure which direction to take. I found myself frozen, much like the flattened squirrel, tail hanging limp. After I received my new job, I felt uncertain about where this left my writing career and I didn’t know whether I should move on toward the goal, or forget the whole thing.

As I continued to research squirrel behavior for this post I found several disturbing articles. I thought that my squirrel was being friendly, and helping his fellow furry friend. What I found instead was horrific! The truth is that squirrels are cannibals, and the little beast was carrying the other squirrel to its demise. I thought that the horrible noises I had heard were the healthy squirrel crying for his injured companion. Instead, I found out that the screams were from the injured squirrel being eaten alive. I felt sick. I assumed that I was getting a beautiful revelation about how we need to help each other when one is too frightened to continue alone, and instead I had a tale of a cannibal squirrel.

But then, I thought about that paralyzed squirrel. It would not move forward. It would not fight for the ground that it had conquered. I think that I can tend to be like him, and when I let the enemy terrify me that way, I allow him to destroy me. The truth is that God has equipped us. He has equipped us to move forward. When we look back, we become like Lot’s wife and we are destroyed. Moving forward keeps us from being eaten alive by our fears and by our enemies.

The fact of the matter is: I haven’t finished either of my novels. I have very little published. But…Phil. 3:13 says,

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…

What lies directly ahead for me?  The Write To Publish Conference.  So, I will spend the bulk of my days this next week preparing for what lies ahead.  What is that “one thing” that I need to focus on?

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus, the author.  Jesus is an author!  He knows what it is to have an incomplete work set before Him, because that incomplete work is me!  Jesus, the finisher.  He knows how to finish what He has started, and He will help me to do the same.  He finished for the joy that was set before Him.  I will finish for the same purpose, the joy of completion.  Because it is this joy that makes the suffering of the journey worth it.

I wonder what would have happened if the injured squirrel would have pressed forward to what was ahead instead of stopping dead in his tracks?  I am determined to keep moving, even if it is at a crawl.  I focus on moving forward with the tasks that I know He has placed in my hand, and because He is an author and a finisher, I can be too!