This morning I awoke to an old song:
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!
Until Next Time,
This morning I awoke to an old song:
I will rejoice for He has made me glad!
Until Next Time,
To Re-Joy or find joy again
To feel or show great joy or delight
To cause joy to
To be well or thrive
These are the thoughts that jumped out at me as I nosed around the Internet this morning, checking dictionaries, commentaries, and blogs. But here’s my favorite:
To experience God’s favor and be conscious (glad) for His grace.
I found that one on a blog. It said, “In the Greek text, the word is chairete which comes from the word chairo which comes from the root char meaning “favorably disposed, leaning toward . . . [It] is also a cognate of charis which means “grace.” Thus, we are not favorably disposed and leaning toward our circumstances; we are favorably disposed and leaning toward God’s grace.
So here’s the Paula version:
Rejoice – To thrive in God’s grace and live in joy by leaning toward relationship with God and not toward my circumstances. To “Re-joy” when joy feels distant by stopping to remember who God is and who I am in Him.
Loved your comments yesterday about YOUR rejoicing. I hope to hear from more of your today–and another rejoicing from those already participating! They encourage me–and I believe it encourages us to write these out. Here’s my rejoicing today.
I rejoice that Jesus made a way for us to live in constant, intimate relationship with our Creator. I rejoice that we can know He is there for us every single moment of our lives. I rejoice that sometimes He lets us actually feel His presence. And that when He doesn’t, ww have the promise of God’s own Word that He is there. I rejoice that because of Jesus the Holy Spirit dwells with us. Since we have leaned our hope upon Jesus and His saving grace, we are always, every second, day in and out, connected to all the love, hope, and power of the King of Kings. I rejoice that that we are never alone. When we feel loneliness, we can stop and thank God that He will never leave us by ourselves. I rejoice that Jesus made us ONE with God and that for the rest of our lives we can live in the perfection of community that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rejoice in.
I am also grateful for His earthly gifts–which though I experience them here feel like a taste of heaven. Today I rejoice in precious relationships with His people here on earth. I’m rejoice that He has given me a loving husband, beautiful children, a joy-giving granddaughter, and good friends. I rejoice that He gives moments of fun, peace, and refueling. Like spending time with those I love. Reading a good book. Watching a good movie.
What do you rejoice in today?
Will you rejoice with me?
Here’s the thing. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’m in a time of questioning. Not God. Not faith. Just how to navigate the recent challenges of life. It’s been hard for me to be consistent posting here while I’m processing–and balancing the joys and demands (there are both) of life change. But yesterday I was challenged to one simple thing. To rejoice.
Will you help me? Can we do this together? Over the next week, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment here that is focused on rejoicing in our God. We can always rejoice in Him, no matter our circumstance, right?
So here’s my rejoicing:
I rejoice that our God is a good God. A loving God. A God who never leaves us. I rejoice that God is personal. That Holy Spirit is always working within us and also in our life situation to shape us and grow us and make us more like Jesus. I rejoice that Jesus is good and that He offers us His goodness to replace the darkness that once dwelt in us. I rejoice in God’s many good gifts. Right now one of the most healing of His gifts is time spent with my baby granddaughter. I am very grateful. But there are other gifts, too. Like the crisp autumn air. Like cobalt blue skies. Like yellow leaves. I rejoice in the cheerful color of sunflowers and the fact that I could buy a small bouquet of them at the grocery store. A little splurge that lights up my kitchen.
Until Next Time,
(BTW, this post is also on my author/speaker page on facebook)
Need a quick pick-me-up each morning?
I post short, encouraging thoughts on my author/speaker page on Facebook daily.
Just follow me there! If you pin my page to the top of your feed, Flourishing Moments will automatically post to your timeline so you don’t have to go looking for them.
Here’s a sample:
The true essence of our destiny is living as a masterpiece. It’s easy to let our good works or our service become the focus. But God didn’t say our work is the masterpiece, He says we are.
Flourishing Moments are that pause in your day that helps you take a breath and refocus.
Hope to see you there!
(Lurk and read, like and share, or comment. I love to interact with readers there!)
Did you really begin writing A Packaged Deal when you were high school, you ask. Yup. True story. I have roughly fifty pages of cursive on lined notebook paper to prove it.
Yesterday I said that the stories that don’t go away are the ones you eventually have to write. This story stayed with me. Even though I didn’t complete it in that nine week creative writing class, I lived it in my mind, and it lurked there for many years. When it shouted for attention, I had my own seventeen year-old. Now that it is ready for the public, my children are grown and (usually) out of the house.
The call to finish the story which became A Packaged Deal grew louder when my middle son, Stephen, and my nephew Caleb competed with the Nederland Middle School ski team. Life was busy for the writing of the great American novel, but I thought I might be able to handle penning a romance amidst the hustle and bustle of four teenager’s activities. As I wound through mountain curves to drive Stephen and Caleb to Eldora Mountain, the little story I started as a seventeen year-old began once again to take shape, only this time the setting was a quaint ski town full of quirky and caring supporting characters. Now the heroine became a downhill racer, and the hero waltzed in as the handsome GM of a small-town resort.
Here’s the back cover copy of the NOW story:
Snuggle next to a fireplace in Towering Pines, the Colorado ski town where friendship is served up in hearty helpings and love is as true as the cobalt blue sky.
When Olympic hopeful Aspen Carlisle gave up her ski-racing dreams to raise her orphaned siblings, she found out the hard way that men aren’t interested in a “packaged deal.” Thrust into a stiff learning curve on motherhood, Aspen discovers the love and support of her friends in Towering Pines, but when the handsome new resort manager Stephen Wallace shows kindness to her little family, can she drop her guard long enough to allow him into that trusted circle—and her heart?
As Aspen struggles to believe in him, Stephen battles ghosts of his own. Time with Aspen and her family causes old issues to bubble to the surface. Does he have what it takes to push through the fear and regret, or will he stay stuck in the pain of the past? If he can believe in himself enough to become the husband and father they need, he’ll discover how wonderful a packaged deal can be.
The heart of the book dreamed up in Robert Wyly’s English class stayed true. A young woman’s life was interrupted when her parents passed suddenly, and she chose to raise her siblings. That was in the original story line. It’s precious to me, maybe because I love my brother, Curtis, so much. Sibling relationships are so important!
Originally in the seventeen-year-old version there were two men vying for the heroine’s attention, but the more grown-up me didn’t want to do that, so a man named Chad became the ex-boyfriend, and Stephen was the only one pursuing Aspen. (I actually don’t remember what the guys names were originally. I need to find that old manuscript and see!)
While today’s book is definitely the romance genre as was the work of that dreamy seventeen-year-old, this grown-up book works through faith, loss, and the struggle to hope in ways the high school version never could. I pray it blesses you! I absolutely love what the Free to Flourish publishing team did to make the book beautiful. Thank you to Lisa Joy Samson for the interior artwork and the Towering Pines series logo, to Bryan Butler for the gorgeous cover, and to Carmen Barber for her vision for a lovely interior design and layout.
It’s great fun to see a book dreamed up in my youth become something I can hold in my hands.
PS A Packaged Deal, which is the first book in the series about Towering Pines and its people, ends with a lovely Christmas Eve surprise, so it is perfect reading for this season and would make a great gift for the readers in your family. Consider purchasing it along with the Tinseled Tidings Collection. Both are available in paperback and on Kindle. Did you know you can gift books on Kindle to your electronic reading friends? In the case of these books, gifting electronically is a wonderful way to stretch the budget.
This piece of paper–and the promises here–has been on my desk for the last many weeks as I write Soul Scents: Flourish. It’s the deepest journey I’ve been on in many years. Maybe ever.
There are things I’ve not shared publicly. Things that shamed me and kept me hidden.
My friend Mary DeMuth says an untold story never heals. Her bravery has astounded me over the years. She and I are called to be writers and speakers. Our stories are meant to be told out loud, on paper, where ever Jesus sends us.
Your story may need to be told too. Only maybe you speak it to your best friend or a counselor or maybe you start with your journal in a private space.
For years my telling was in my journals. With the trusted few. In freedom sessions and counseling sessions. But now He says I’m strong enough for the telling He called me to. He says He needs me to tell in this way. He says I need to tell like this. Soul Scents: Flourish is this telling.
In the summer of 2015 I wrote several blogs, very raw blogs, that I never hit publish on. I sensed the Lord wanting me to write as if I were telling for the first time what only those closest to me have known and understood.
It was hard writing. At the time He asked me only to write those blogs, not to publish them.
Now it is different. Those blogs are part of the journey I write about in Soul Scents: Flourish, the intense walk of coming out of emotional, spiritual, and verbal abuse. I hid for many reasons. My shame. Because I thought in light of the abuse some of you have suffered that mine was unworthy of sharing. Because I wanted to “honor” those who hurt me by keeping it private.
I wrote a few things for publication. I have articles in Wounded By Words and The Gift of Letting Go, but I asked my identity stay hidden behind a pen name.
And the Lord was okay with that.
For a season.
Last year He asked me if my silence was honoring or simply protecting my abuser as I was taught to do. Somehow I equated honor with silence. I don’t know if that is what the church taught or if the enemy twisted all that in my head. Now I think to honor is to be all I’m created to be.
Then He asked (through much conversation with my husband) what might happen if I broke my public silence. He asked me how many lives could heal if I shared.
Then He told me when evil’s claw is inserted into our deep places that it is real. That abuse cannot be compared. That evil is evil, and when you’ve been damaged by evil, it affects you. While you have to process the circumstances, while what happens matters, it is the assault of evil that damages, the same evil, no matter how it happens. No matter how bad it looks to someone else.
I didn’t know when I started writing and publishing the Soul Scents series a year ago, that He would ask me to tell in this last book. I didn’t know it wasn’t only about telling, but that it is about healing for me. Deep, deep processing. Without pretty little Christian bows topping off stories that aren’t pretty.
He is my healer. The first three books in the Soul Scents series share much of my healing journey. A reader who has become a friend and partner in this ministry, Wendi, asked me what the story behind the stories was. She sensed that the hard-earned truth in my first three books had a deeper root. She was right. Now I tell that story.
And in the telling comes deeper freedom. Deeper release. Deeper healing.
It’s almost finished my friends. I don’t have a release date, but we are very close. The choice to publish this book is a game changer for me. A life decision covered in months and months of prayer. A choice I didn’t know I would ever make.
I pray this book will be a game changer for someone else too. That they will wake up to the shrouds of lies and twisted truth the enemy has poured over them. That they hear the voice of Jesus who sets them free instead of the voice of religion which holds them in bondage. That Scripture will begin to leap off the page with new meaning and that where it has been shaded and twisted it will now shine in pure light, offering the hope and freedom He intended instead of the putting those who are hurting in straight jackets and keeping them there.
That’s my prayer.
Please pray it with me.
And pray me to the other side of this thing.
Resting and healing last spring and summer sometimes felt unproductive and selfish, but the Lord reminded me my self-esteem is based in His perspective of Who I am, not on my ability to perform. My precious husband never pushed me to be productive. In fact, he prayed for me to rest Eventually I relaxed into the healing season and was able to thank God for it.
As fall came the Lord released me to work again. It shouldn’t have surprised me that the insights gained as I rested in God for the previous six month began flowing onto the computer screen as devotions. The fact that I no longer found it painful to write about the hard stuff is a beautiful testament to the healing the Lord gave as I laid down my dreams and looked to Him instead of forcing myself forward.
Striving and stress was non-existent in this work on the devotional book. Since there was no way it could release for 2016, there was no deadline. No inner push. Just writing with God about the great things He showed me.
Then one day the plan changed. And God did it without ramping up the stress levels. It started on a Saturday morning as I jabbered happily to my husband about how I now had almost a year’s worth of devotions in various drafts.
“Wait a minute,” my husband said. “What’s the word count on this book?”
I paused and did the math.
Because I was using a new program which allowed me to work in small chunks with multiple folders, there wasn’t a word count at the bottom of my screen that reflected the whole project.
“It’s too big for people to hold,” he said.
It dawned then. I had a year-long collection of quarterly volumes, not a single book.
A tiny thought pranced into my mind, “The first book in the series needs very little work.”
But it was November. Too late to follow my dream to release a devotional book for January 1st. Right?
I’d already decided this was not a book I wanted to hand over to traditional publishers, so its journey was just between the Lord, Jerry, and me (and anyone else the Lord invited into the process).
That day a very talented friend, Lisa-Joy, happened in for a visit. It was a rare treat because I hadn’t seen her in years. She was visiting Colorado, and we reconnected. As we drank our tea she asked what I was writing. When I told her about Soul Scents she offered to do the artwork! Lisa is not only one of the most gifted novelists I’ve read (her books are published under the name Lisa Samson), but her artwork is amazing, and she has recently started her own business offering coloring pages for adults.
Thanks to Lisa’s offer for artwork the niggling thought from the morning stood up tall. I had most of the components in place for a team who could publish a book–and not just a any team. This team was passionate, professional, and gifted.
By Monday, November 30th, Carmen (I told the Carmen story yesterday) and I decided we were going to trust God for a December launch of Awaken, the first book in the Soul Scents devotional series. By the end of the day we had the rest of the team in place!
The artwork which inspired the cover designs is what you’ve been enjoying throughout this post.
Pay attention to the progression of the design. Note the details–the color choice, the buds, flowers, leaves, the birds. Can’t you feel the maturing of the soul?
Lisa-Joy captured the heart of the Soul Scents message. When God plopped her into my lap He opened the way for a dream I thought was unattainable to become a reality.
As you dream your own dreams, remember there is ONE who is the Dream-Giver. He not only plants the dreams; He matures and births them. Nineteen years ago, heavy with baby number three growing inside, I surrendered my dream of writing to the One who asked me to slow down and focus on my children.
Over the years He’s slowly shaped the dream, allowing pieces of it to happen as well as asking me to hit pause periodically. But even when I was ready to toss the dream, He didn’t let me.
He keeps seeing my dream through, and He will do the same for you. After all, HE is the Dream-Giver.
PS Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the rest of the team and show you my amazing collection of all FOUR book covers!
Reblogging this amazing post from Kayla Lemmon on All Our Lemony Things
There’s a certain phrase I’ve come to really dislike.
All my life, I’ve heard this phrase whenever I go through a rough patch. *And by rough patch, I mean a prickly, gnarly patch that leaves me bleeding to near death*. You’re probably familiar with those kinds of “patches”.
“God will never give you more than you can handle” is the phrase I’m referring to.
And it’s a sweet sentiment, really. The people who say it are speaking from caring and concerned hearts.
BUT–it isn’t true.
I know that sounds harsh, but I promise I haven’t suddenly lost my mind or have become an angry-with-God bitter woman who hates the world. Actually, when I realized the simple fact that God can–and will–give us more than we can possibly bear, it got easier.
And it all started to make more sense.
I’ve often trudged through trials that overwhelm me. Ever since my childhood there have been trials that have made me “grow up” pretty fast. But granted, I know for a fact you’ve had your own fair share too, because that’s the reality of life. But this last trial is the one that shook me to my core and had me searching like a mad woman for answers as to why it was happening–and how I could possibly even survive it.
I lost my Dad to cancer last month–if you’re a follower of mine, this is old news. But–it was absolutely horrific.
Every day leading up to his death was like walking through every level of hell–slowly– for lack of a better term. There’s no other way to describe it. The images…the sounds…the sleepless nights…the cries for God while we look on, helpless…the torment of rubbing morphine in his cheeks, praying it’ll absorb–but to no avail. The horrible, wrenching pain that came with lifting him up, laying him back down, lifting him up, laying him back down…because he became so restless and cried out for “home” every few minutes. And all along, in the back of my mind, I reminded myself that millions of people go through this, and have already gone through this, very thing. And it is simply unbearable. If you disagree–it’s because you haven’t been there.
This trial was so consuming that I hate to even put it in the past tense–sometimes it still consumes me. Yesterday, at my Dad’s memorial service, it consumed me all over again.
I’ve suffered from nightmares where I relived the memory over and over mercilessly–I sometimes see his face on strangers that pass and worry that I’m going crazy. I cry over sad songs in the car and torture myself with stacks of pictures and yellowed photo albums. It’s beyond just missing him. And even with a firm testimony of the gospel and with peace that he is exactly where the Lord prepared him for, it is still too much for me to handle at times. It steals my breath–and it can steal my joy.
So, the other day, I turned to the scriptures. I needed help.
I wanted to know where that phrase was that people kept repeating to me in church and at work and over the phone. Why did the Lord “trust me so much”?! Why did He think I could handle these kinds of trials?
And then I realized: I couldn’t find that quote because it isn’t there.
It never mentions anywhere in the scriptures that the Lord won’t give you more than you can handle. Yes, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 it speaks of Him giving us an escape from temptations so that it’s not too much to bear. But when it comes to pain, trials, heartache, and burdens– not once does it say it won’t be more than we can bear. Instead, it beautifully says this instead:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11: 28-30)
The words struck my heart, as you can imagine. Christ is speaking to those of us who are carrying burdens much too heavy for our own shoulders. And in that one verse he simply states the reason why we are given more than we can handle: It’s so we can come to him. It’s so we can trust him enough to hand over our heavy, crippling burdens and let him carry the load.
You might be heavy laden right now like I was before reading and re-reading and re-reading once again this scripture that has never stuck out to me as much as it has lately.
You might be shrunken with sadness or drowning in debt. You might be overwhelmingly angry at someone at church or aching under the pressures of raising children or maybe the inability to have them. You might be dealing with a terminal disease and you still have young children. And chances are–you might need your Redeemer to find you on the path and take up that heavy cross you’re dragging. Besides, even he tells us that he’s more equipped to carry it, so why not hand it over?
I’ve come to learn–slowly but surely–why I need Him.
I suppose it’s because of pride that I always thought I could just do things on my own. I’m strong, I’d say. I’m a tough cookie. I can help others through their tribulations while carrying mine all by myself. Well…wasn’t I wrong.
I didn’t really know what needing him meant until I had no other choice. I didn’t know what it meant until I wrapped my arms around my middle so I wouldn’t fall apart–or the time I choked on tears and yelled toward Heaven. Or the times when I was utterly alone, and the silence was too much to bear. Those are the times that taught me he’s not just a want or a convenient symbol of love or a reason to do good deeds.
No, he’s the very air we breathe.
And he’s the only one who can make it bearable when life is simply anything but.
~Written by Kayla Lemmon
It didn’t look like what I had seen in my dreams. It certainly didn’t feel anything like I had imagined.
I found the flipside.
Most of my process in the last three years has been about unearthing hidden and suppressed wounds so they may be brought into the light. Wounds that had been buried out of the necessity to survive. Wounds that had been masked by manipulated theology. Wounds that went far deeper than I could even imagine.
Turning to face the wounds was scary, riddled with fear. But they demanded their right to become a part of my story, to be integrated in rather than left behind to dwell in the dark. And so, Sorrow and Suffering became the companions to Much Afraid as she journeyed up the Mountain (Hinds Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard).
Would this turning and facing ever end?
When could I allow my companions of Sorrow and Suffering to go on their way, taking the hands of another soul bereft and wandering, hopelessly longing for release? I often wondered. I wondered and wandered my way right into 2014 and all the way to August where I landed in post-back-surgery recovery, at home, in bed, unable to do one single thing for myself.
I began to read Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown. I found myself in every single character, taking turns bouncing from one of the four leading women to another. “I wrestled with that same truth in my twenties,” “Oh yeah, I know what that feeling is.”
But I was blown away by the end of the book. The imagery shared was mine. I had seen those pictures before. My mind had witnessed those stories, that journey, her heart.
In a time of prayer Hannah (one of the four women in Sensible Shoes) had imagined herself as a child running in and out of the throne room with Jesus. He would hand her flowers and she would rush out to give them to another. She was a passionate runner of His goodness. But He stopped her and said, “These flowers are for you.”
In the story, Hannah was a pastor of a church for 15 years. But I think she symbolizes all of us who grew up in the church in the midst of immense personal suffering.
In a sense we have worn ourselves out serving others. The beautiful vice of busyness, often lauded by our church culture, is an acceptable numbing and addictive agent in the lives of those deeply wounded.
We end up like the Pharisees, internally recounting all the ways we have served others and then wondering why (in the quiet of life) we feel lost, empty and depressed. Rather than sitting long enough with the Spirit to discern these surface symptoms of a marred soul – we just keep busy.
Unlike the Pharisees, this pattern was not formed through conscious effort. We grew up in a Church culture that encouraged this attitude of serving, this becoming nothing so He may be everything. It still sounds right. It should. It is scripture.
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 (NKJV)
There is a vast difference in living out the theology of serving from a place of wounded-ness or a place of whole-ness. When Christ flipped this theology, I found myself on the other side of my healing, the flipside of suffering.
While continuing to read Sensible Shoes many scriptures from the book of John kept popping up. John, the ONE whom Jesus loved.
The Spirit called up from my memories a sermon I heard in my youth. Each disciple had a theme to their writing and John’s was, The Beloved Disciple. Or in his own words, the one whom Jesus loved.
Yet John in particular was contrasted with the other Disciples. In the church setting of my youth, while others were extolled for identifying Christ as the Word made Flesh or for presenting irrefutable evidence of Christ’s lineage, John was reproached for his arrogance.
As if Christ would love one disciple MORE than another. John’s delight in knowing he was deeply loved was resented.
Suddenly, my mind remembered scenes from home, words spoken in that same resenting attitude.
I grew up internalizing this: To be given favor, to be loved, to practice my gifts was arrogance.
Envy had flipped what was good and made it evil. My pride and arrogance became the source of every conflict. And at fourteen years old, I broke.
The lie was successfully engrained. I am only allowed to live in a certain amount of favor and grace, we call it salvation – to have more love than that is arrogant and prideful.
I was only worthy of the love that saved me but not the love that lavishes itself all over my soul. I was only worthy to carry flowers from His throne to another, never to take them home for myself.
I journaled once how God showed me the story of Mary breaking open her costly perfume to anoint Jesus. There was a song I once sung for church called “Broken and Spilled Out”
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on thee.
Broken and spilled out
And poured at your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be poured out and lavished on thee.
A beautiful song indeed. With a beautiful truth. The problem was that I internalized this message as though I was the oil and not Mary.
To one who is abused – this is an incredibly important distinction.
– To be the oil meant I had no being or identity of my own, I was a thing to be used – and my purpose was to be broken and spilled out. In my home it translated at submitting to the abuse – it was God’s purpose and plan. While in my relationship with God it meant my serving was what earned his favor. I was very clear I could not earn my salvation, but Favor? Blessing? Extravagant Love? I would have to prove I was worthy of those. Serving viewed from wounded-ness.
– To be Mary means that I am deeply loved by my savior. This love is complete, deep, and often frivolous and is not based on anything I have done. It is out of this completeness I am able, and joyfully choose, to let my giftings and blessings be broken and spilled for His glory. Serving from a place of wholeness.
My experience reading Sensible Shoes was mystical. In this sacred space a fog settled between my present and my past. Only the presence of Christ could suspend time, recall the exact memories and weave them into my current reality.
The next words I read leaped from the page…
“The image I’m seeing is Mary of Bethany pouring out that costly ointment to anoint Jesus feet in this beautiful extravagant act of love. What If Jesus wants to pour out something totally extravagant into your life?”
I audibly crashed into weeping. What if Jesus has been wanting to lavish his love on me?
He had been! He had been wanting to for years now!
Twice, two years in a row, at Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Joy had prayed over me and both times she said out loud – “I just have this urge to dump this whole thing of oil all over you.” In those moments we laughed out loud at the outrageous thought.
But it happened again just a few weeks ago as Jill prayed over me – Only months before my back surgery did she prophecy that my physical body was manifesting the inward life-time of carrying burdens that were not mine to carry. My body was done with the weight of it. She said it was time to lay them down.
And the burden I had to lay down was the belief that I am not worthy of God’s extravagant, beautiful, lavish and frivolous love.
A flood of His Holiness washed in and over and through me.
I am the one whom God loves. I am His Beloved.
I am worthy of more than an adequate love.
He desires to move from my Father who heals, to the Faithful Friend who walks beside never leaving or forsaking and move to become the passionate lover of my soul. If I would only receive.
In a sense I had to go through back surgery. I had to be down and unable to doing anything. For in this time of physical disability I could finally hear with my heart.
“If you never left this bed…I would still love you lavishly.”
And I finally let go. There is nothing I can do to make Him love me more.
I don’t have to prove my love for Him to receive love from Him.
I am His Beloved.
I am the one whom Jesus loves.
And in this sacred space my companions of Sorrow and Suffering did not leave like I had longed for. They transformed into Joy and Peace. And Much Afraid? Well…she became Grace and Glory.
He longs to love you frivolously…fiercely…lavishly.
You are worthy of His love because He chooses to make it so. Period. The End. Nothing more to be added.
You are worthy of His love because He said so.
Reprinted with permission from the author, Cheryl Meakins. From the blog, Wounded~Healer~Warrior
It was as if God gave me a little shake, spoke to me, then let me return to my night’s rest.
It happened Saturday night. As you know, I’ve been fighting to rediscover Paula the Writer. Despite the fact I have two published books and over 300 published non-fiction pieces (not to mention blogging), I sort-of lost her.
Determined to return to consistent productivity as a writer, I’ve spent many agonizing hours at the computer in 2015. My friend says I’m like a gymnast who knows how to do flips and all kinds of wonderful things, but is out of practice.
So I sit, stretching my muscles, trying to limber up so I can return to the abilities I once had. I still know how to flip across the mat, but I’m out of shape and stiff.
As I entered 2015 the Lord promised me this would be a year of release. As I journaled and prayed I asked Him to help me find His rhythm as a writer. In response to His prompting I wrote that I was to spend my early writing hours on fiction and then switch gears in the afternoon to spend some time writing non-fiction. (This goes against typical advice of editors, publishers, and agents who tell you to focus on one, build your brand, and get established before thinking about doing the other, but I sensed He wanted me to start writing both–in the same day–something I had not considered.)
But I didn’t do it.
Once I started trying to write, I dug into a novel I’d promised my agent. I felt I wasn’t free to do anything else until I met that commitment. I’ve struggled fiercely with it and spent painful hours staring at the screen. I blew off the whole idea of writing non-fiction for a part of each writing day. I couldn’t even do fiction. Did I really want to add another stress to my over-taxed brain?
But Saturday night I briefly awoke, was told I was supposed to be doing both, and went back to sleep.
So Sunday I tried it. I wrote almost 1400 words on my novel, glanced at the clock, and closed the document. The second half of my allotted writing time would be non-fiction. As I meditated on which project to tackle, I had a sense I was to begin to compile the 205 devotionals I wrote several years ago. The goal is to add a few more and release them as a year-long devotional book.
The journey through what will be the first month of my devotional book has blessed me beyond imagining. As I relieve those hard-earned spiritual discoveries, my heart reaches to God in worship, so grateful for all He’s brought me through, touched even now, by His attention during that time. I’ve chuckled at His humor, teared at precious memories, and quite frankly been blown away by the richness of what I’m reading.
I can’t wait to share my deep spiritual journey of those years with whatever readers come my way. A marketing plan–which includes lots of give-aways and pricing that makes it affordable to many–is playing in my mind. I’m so excited I can hardly wait.
So I’d appreciate your prayers. One of these days–hopefully by late spring–I’ll let you know where you can get the book! My working title is Soul Scents: Longing for the Fragrance of Christ.
I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the excitement building within me. This book will be one of the deepest offerings of my heart.
Until next time,
PS Facebook messaged a good friend about this before posting the story here. She called with something that encouraged me greatly. She was praying on Sunday morning, asking God to light a fire underneath me to put together this very project! Talk about confirmation of the journey!