When Trust Falters

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5 NIV

I set up a window bed for my cat, Finnegan, several months ago. It has been his favorite bed in the entire house. He is able to perch there while I’m writing, blogging, Skyping, coloring or working on puzzles. He likes it because he can look outside at the birds and people walking their dogs while I’m busy. It keeps him close to me without having him sprawled across the keyboard or on my coloring page. But it fell off the windowsill last week. I fixed it with new velcro strips, but he doesn’t trust it now.

It reminds me of how we can lose trust also. Maybe we are praying for a loved one to be healed, and we trust God will answer. Sometimes he answers in a way that causes us deep pain and sorrow. We don’t see the good in what has happened. We ask God why? And we can waver in our trusting Him with future prayers. If He let us down this time, He might do it again.

We become like my cat, who stares at the bed, wanting so much to jump to the comfort he once felt but doesn’t trust it will hold him.

Dear readers, I assure you God is trustworthy. We may not understand the why of our unanswered prayers or mis-answered prayers. We look at things from a human perspective through our own disappointment and pain. But if we take a step back from the darkness around us, we will see our loved one is alive and completely healed. This is God’s love and promise fulfilled. What cannot be healed on earth, can be healed in heaven.

Are you struggling with trusting God? Can you take a step forward and reach out in prayer for Him to remove any pain or anger and to heal your heart?

Father, forgive me for doubting You and leaning on my own understanding instead of trusting in You. I know I am a broken human and I need You to show me how to trust again. I know there is a reason for what happened and that I may never understand the why. Help me to accept this and move forward in trust. In the trustful name of Jesus. Amen.

Writer's Journal

Rule Makers of the Publishing World – To Listen or Not

A few days ago, I thought the book I’m now writing would be my last. Why? Because I had reached the middle. Looking back on my writing over the years, I remember how I hit that doubt point with every single book I wrote, except for my first.

With the first, I wasn’t considering if it was good enough or if I was “following” the rules…

So what are those rules anyway? Things established by people who are writers, editors, publishers. Sometimes these rules get too stringent and too literal. A writer can get caught up in trying to be “perfect” while the popular best sellers don’t adhere to these rules at all. We are told it’s because they have already established a name for themselves with readers.

My argument is this. If they established a name for themselves with not following the rules, why don’t we do the same? As I’ve matured, I learned to stop listening to the rule makers of the publishing world. Doing so can cause a writer to lose their voice and become one of the masses.

I don’t want to be one of the masses. I am an individual. That’s how God created me. I want every book to bring hope to a broken world and to honor Him in doing so. If I become a “established a name” author, it won’t be because my work is “perfect.” It will be because what I write is pleasing to God and He deigns it to be so.

Author's Life

The Case for Writing

After doing my taxes this year, I once again wondered if having a writing career was worth the effort. Once before I listened to the wrong voice and took down all my books from publication and retired. It lasted almost two years before I knew it wasn’t a good decision for me. This time, I’m not listening to the wrong voice again.

See, I love creating new stories! I love feeling the characters guide me to show their lives on paper for others to enjoy. It’s part of who I am. Even though I hadn’t written for a long time, when I opened up my partially finished long ago manuscript, the words began to flow. The feedback on the finished book was really good. I knew then this was a path God had chosen for me to minister to the world.

For the past two weeks, I haven’t followed the schedule I established for myself in order to meet a self-set goal to complete this new book by the end of April. That’s what is great about being my own boss. I can change my deadlines, my schedule, and it’s perfectly fine. Everything happens in God’s timing, not mine. Accepting this makes writing even more joyful.

With God, I find when I open my work in progress, I don’t even have to think about what happens next. I’ve already written an outline which keeps me on track for developing new scenes, but I have the flexibility of writing as many as needed and in whatever way reveals itself. I just write. And the words seem to continue flowing. I don’t stop to think. I trust God.

I see and feel the characters. I write a lot of dialogue, mostly because of this. When people are together, they talk. That’s true for my characters as well. Dialogue moves the story forward and reveals hidden truths as needed. This works well in my contemporary romance books. I know historical writers whose stories are much, much longer than mine. Through years of studying writing and applying to my voice and genre, I began to write tighter stories. And that’s okay. I write to please God, not a word count, nor a publisher. I write because I love everything about it. I love the feel of the keyboard under my fingers, the very slight click of the keys, and all the words flowing across the white screen.

The book is finished when the story is told with all issues resolved and there is a happy ending. So, no, I’m not going to listen to the wrong voice this time. I’m following God’s path for the gift He provided. If the story reaches one person who needs to read it, then I’ve done my part and God will do the rest. That’s my case for writing.

Writer's Journal

An Imposter Has Displaced Me

I woke this morning with my brain in hyperactive mode. I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing for many seconds before it is off and running to something else. It’s very uncomfortable. I can’t read because my eyes move over the words, but my brain doesn’t remember a single one of them because it has turned to see a shiny hidden object.

Have any of you had this happen?

Even as I write this, I feel my brain squirming and trying to spin as I hold it still. I’ve accepted it won’t be a productive day. I’m struggling to even find words to fill this blog post.

I discovered this hyperactive brain mode as I tried to focus on my devotions and Bible reading for the day. I had to reread each item several times. Trying to recall what I read now is like reaching through a dense fog to grasp onto something elusive.

I’m not me. I miss the calm, peaceful me–the woman who has learned to live and focus on the moment without seeking to borrow from tomorrow. An imposter has displaced her. I’m going to end this writing and sit in the presence of Jesus and talk to Him. He will understand and I know He can guide me out of this dark place.

Author's Life

Mommies and Pets

I’ve always had pets. When I lived with my grandparents, the pets were goldfish. Later, there were cats and dogs, and even a parakeet. I believe God was using those years to teach me to be a mommy.

During the years I raised my children, there were still pets included. They seem synonymous with one another. God groomed me to be a mommy, and it stood to reason when my babies grew up and started their own families, I still needed some living being to care for. That person was my husband for a few years. Then God called him home.

I became a widow, living alone, but God…had provided three cats prior to my husband’s passing. I cared for them another nine years before they left after a long life to play at Rainbow Bridge. Yes, I know this is only a mystical place which came into being through the mind of poets sometime in the 1980’s or 90’s, but how better to think of a place where our beloved pets go upon death?

During the three months after the loss of my beloved Templeton, I felt a mixture of pain and relief. Caring for an elderly and sick animal can be heartbreaking, but it doesn’t compare with the pain and grief of making the best decision to let go. I didn’t want to go through that again, so I told myself I didn’t want to get another pet.

But God…mommies are meant to care for a living being. I had none. I did my best to convince myself life was good. I had no responsibilities except to care for myself. I filled my hours with hobbies to keep my hands and mind busy, but I knew this wasn’t enough. I wasn’t meant to live alone, no matter how many times during the busy years and moods of children I wanted to escape to a cabin alone in a secluded place.

Then came Finnegan. God put a beautiful cat in my life. A loving companion to fill the sometimes empty hours. And I realized God created me to care for others. He gave me a very compassionate heart for animals, and for people who cannot speak for themselves. My heart aches when I see a dead animal on the roads. The other day I traveled my normal route past a pond filled with Canadian geese and I saw one lying in the middle of the road. It had been struck by a car and left to die. The blood around its head was fresh. Tears spilled from my eyes. I don’t know why God created me this way, but I don’t question it.

God created me to love and care for others, whether human or furry or feathery. I’m blessed and I’m grateful.