Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
I Corinthians 13:12
There’s something magical about seeing your work published – and you never know when that moment of joy will come. You stroll out to your mailbox one day, not expecting anything special; and voilà, there it is. You rip it open and beam with joy. After all that work, lots of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, your initial idea has been transformed, and you are face to face with your words in print.
When we first begin a new writing project we are filled with excitement and hope and promise. We have no idea what the finished product will look like, but we eagerly rewrite, get critiques, rewrite again and again – all the while watching a transformation take place. We eventually pass it on to an editor and illustrator, where more transformation occurs. Then eventually, it is finished.
The Shepherd’s Song was like this. When the idea came, we did not know what the final book would look like. We had to have faith that our work would be shaped and used by God. We got glimpses of the final book along the way. First the printed pages. Then the cover art. The bound galley. A jacket proof. Finally face to face we held the book.
The Christian life too, is filled with ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, joys and sorrows. Like a book, our lives are being written, edited and transformed. We start with great excitement and hope and promise; then transformation begins. It’s hard work, but slowly we are transformed more and more to the image of Christ.
Best of all, there is a moment coming when all the work will be done, and we will see our Savior face to face. It is hard to imagine what such a moment will be like – the magnification of joy and awe and wonder.
Our experiences in this world teach us about God, and transform us more and more into His image.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
The Shepherd’s Song has stories about twelve people whose lives are changed by Psalm 23. When it was time to write about the rod and staff, we started with research. We learned that the rod and the staff are the tools that a shepherd uses to protect and discipline the sheep. The rod is a club that the shepherd uses to ward off predators. The staff is a crooked stick that the shepherd uses to guide the sheep and pull them back from danger. If we look at God as our Shepherd, the rod and staff would be his protection for us. How would we show this in a story? What does this look like in a real life? read more
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4
One day when we visited a school to talk about writing we learned something from a second grader. A little guy raised his hand and said. “I can do the stories, I just can’t do the words.” He captured the struggle that every writer (or wannabe writer) faces.
How do you get the stories out of your head onto the paper? How do we even have the courage to begin? Often we write and rewrite stories over and over in our heads, but they never make it to the written page or screen.
Today at Blogs by Christian Women we are sharing some scripture passages that were important to us over our years of writing and some of what we learned on the road to publication. read more
Because we are surrounded by technologies that make our lives faster and easier, we tend to think about spiritual realities in technological terms. We want to reap the very second we sow. We want God to microwave answers, MapQuest directions and Twitter instructions. We want things to happen at the speed of light instead of the speed of a seed planted in the ground, but almost all spiritual realities in Scripture are described in agricultural terms. Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle
A good reminder today that good things take an investment of time. Like connecting with God. Or writing.
“If you write for God you will reach many men and bring them joy. If you write for men–you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world, for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted that you will wish that you were dead.”
When David says, “I will magnify God with thanksgiving,” he does not mean: “I will make a small God look bigger than he is.” He means: “I will make a big God begin to look as big as he really is.” We are not called to be microscopes, but telescopes. Christians are not called to be con-men who magnify their product out of all proportion to reality, when they know the competitor’s product is far superior. There is nothing and nobody superior to God. And so the calling of those who love God is to make his greatness begin to look as great as it really is. The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is. Be a telescope for the world of the infinite starry wealth of the glory of God.
Saying “Thank you” acknowledges that someone has done something for us. If we acknowledge that someone has done something for us then it follows that they value us.
Every time we say “Thank you” to another person, we are admitting that we have value. And when we thank God for our blessings we become aware that He loves us.
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”―Thomas Merton
Saying “Thank you” blesses us and reinforces our sense of self-esteem. God esteems us greatly.
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1
It seems a little pointless sometimes-putting together collections of words, sending them out into the void of the world. Does it matter?
I am moved by the words of Sara Groves in her song “Why It Matters”. The lyrics were inspired by Vedran Smajlović, a former cellist in the Sarajevo String Quartet. During the Siege of Sarajevo, he played his cello in the bombed out buildings and on the streets where mortars had killed his neighbors and friends. He called this “a protest of the darkness” and spoke of his cello as a weapon.
Our efforts of creating art and music and writing matter. We can send them out “as a protest of the darkness.” Or as Sara Groves writes we can see our efforts as “small ramparts for the soul”.
Like the statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And its protest of the darkness
And the chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters.
I am reminded that Beauty in the world combats evil and darkness. We have a choice to be part of that Beauty.
As we draw closer to God, we become more and more aware of our sin. What can we do? How do we accept forgiveness from God, much less forgive ourselves?
Do you dare release the person you are today from the shadow of the wrong you did yesterday? Do you dare to forgive yourself? To forgive yourself takes high courage. Who are you, after all, to shake yourself free from the undeniable sins of your private history—as if what you once did has no bearing on who you are now? Where do you get the right—let alone the cheek—to forgive yourself when other people would want you to crawl in shame if they really knew? How dare you?
The answer is that you get the right to forgive yourself only from the entitlements of love. And you dare to forgive yourself only with the courage of love. Love is the ultimate source of both your right and your courage to ignore the indictment you level at yourself. Lewis Smedes, Forgive and Forget
What do you think happens when God forgives our sin? Is it God changing and suddenly reassessing us? Is it God deciding to waive some eternal and required punishment? No! Nothing happens in God. God is a perfect given-ness, totally and always given, literally fore-given, ahead of time, before our act of receptivity.
God does not change; we change. Here is what is happening in the experience of forgiveness; When God’s arms are tight enough around us, when for a moment we can believe in love, when we let God gaze into our eyes deeply enough and are ready to believe it, then we’re able to let God rob us of our sins! God pulls them out of our pocket while holding us in an intimate and intense gaze. It is the only time we are quite happy to be robbed! Richard Rohr, Radical Grace: Daily Meditations,
Can you forgive yourself? Can you accept His forgiveness?