I have always been an artist and I have always been a reader, but writing? Writing I have only toyed with. Until now.
Two years of steady writing.
Two years of writing several times a week, sharing a new essay or poem every single week.
I have worked hard and have come a long way in the practice of my craft. I still have a long way to go.
I began this blog as a result of a stirring of the Holy Spirit. I felt that God was asking me to write and to share what I wrote. I don’t yet feel released from that request, so I will continue to share what I write.
I love when what I write connects with someone else. I love when I hear that I have touched someone or helped someone with the words that I have put down. We are made in the image of a relational God.
So I will continue to write for others.
I love that this studying and writing process has helped me grow closer to my God. I love how much I have learned about Him and how my learning makes me fall more in love with Him.
So I will continue to write for God.
I still have much fear in my heart. I am afraid that my writing is not very beautiful. I am afraid that people will not like it or, perhaps still worse, will not even read it. I am afraid that I will get something wrong and God will be disappointed. I am afraid that I will reveal my heart and people will turn away.
This kind of fear is not from God.
I still have big dreams. I have dreams of publishing articles. I have a book written that I don’t know what to do with. Yet my time is mostly taken with these little ones that have been entrusted to me and there is little time left after my writing to pursue publishing. So perhaps this is a season of practice, of preparation.
Chances are that God has something in mind for me. Chances are that it is not what I expect.
This is where I am after two years. Still writing. Still hoping that my writing will help others. Still pursuing God through my writing.
I will end this second year as I began:
Whatever the reason for my writing, here I am in this space. I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear. I will write. God will listen. I pray He will continue to be pleased.
We are often closer to God in our doubts than in our certainties…it is all right to be like the small child who constantly asks: Why? Why? Why? ~Madeleine L’Engle
And have mercy on those who doubt…Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
To you who question God’s nature or even very His existence, I say
You are courageous.
If we begin with certainties, we will end in doubt. But if we begin with doubts and bear them patiently, we may end in certainty. ~ Francis Bacon
When people shrink back in horror from your questions, when fellow Christ-followers load shame onto your heart, remind them of the faithfulness of doubt.
This (the faithfulness of doubt) is often assumed by the judgmental to be faithlessness, but it is not; it is a prerequisite for a living faith. ~ L’Engle
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
To you who continue to seek through the fear of what the answers will be, I say
Take heart. God is and He will be found.
If my religion is true, it will stand up to all my questioning; there is no need to fear. But if it is not true, if it is man imposing strictures on God…, then I want to be open to God, not to what man says about God. ~ L’Engle
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy…
To you who you are brave enough to doubt, brave enough to ask questions, brave enough to keep on searching for God Himself rather than what man says about God, I say
You deserve our deep respect for your courage.
You deserve our cheers and our thanks for refusing to settle for a shallow faith that only is manifested in appearances.
To you who doubt, I say
Well done, hero.
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvationand my God.
I half-heartedly tried to keep them from jumping (because half-hearted discipline works so well in parenting) until their bed frame broke. Now their bed consists of just the bedsprings and mattress on the floor.
At which point, I couldn’t think of a reason to keep them from jumping anymore, so I told them to jump their hearts out.
Now, they don’t JUST jump, mind you. Oh, no. That would be much too tame for them.
They put on entire jumping musicals for my viewing entertainment. Usually this consists of my eldest jumping with gazelle-like leaps in circles around the perimeter of the bed, making up songs about God and Jesus and angels, while my middle follows right behind her, echoing whatever odd combination of words that had just come out of her sister’s mouth.
Often, the girls are the angels (although sometimes they are Mary and Jofus…that’s “Joseph” for those who are unacquainted with toddler-speak) and they sing about Baby Jesus (around Whom they are apparently jumping). They make giant leaps into heaven and back, leap up and land in “worshipful poses”, and (my personal favorite) wave magic wands to transport us all into heaven to be with God.
I was sitting on the recliner, watching them perform (which is usually all that is required of me, thankfully!), when I had a sudden image of God, looking down at them from heaven, being delighted in their creativity, delighted in their desire to be a part of His story, delighted in their wish to be in heaven with Him.
You know that feeling when your heart is so full it feels as though it will burst? That is what I felt (after I got past the potential sacrilege of it all) right then, watching my little ones jump for God’s pleasure. It made me wish that I could see God, see His enjoyment of them.
In that moment, I was so very grateful that I, too, am allowed to be a part of God’s story. In that moment, I loved God because He loves my girls so very much. I loved Him because He loves me and delights in me just as I delight in my girls.
I recently made a slightly startling discovery about myself.
Of all of the many ways I imagine God, of all of the variety of emotions that I attribute to Him, I don’t ever imagine Him as happy.
I don’t imagine Him laughing or smiling widely. I don’t imagine Him with eyes twinkling or Him speaking with such joy evident in His voice.
I have, in the past, imagined Him as serious, holy and unapproachable. I have imagined Him as gently gazing with love on His people. I have imagined Him fierce with righteous anger. I have imagined Him sad, heart breaking as we disobey. I have imagined Him in full brilliant glory, all around Him bowed low to the ground.
But I have never imagined Him laughing in delight.
Then I heard David Suchet reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. (David Suchet? You know, Hercule Poirot.)
Anyway, I listened to David Suchet read the story of creation and heard such laughter and exhilaration each time God looked at His artistry and said “You’re good!”
I heard the amazement and joy in His voice when He looked at mankind and said “You look like me! You’re perfect.”
I heard the excitement and merriment when He got to tell Abraham, “Guess what?! I will give you so many children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you won’t be able to count them any more than you can count the stars in the sky!
Why have I never imagined this before?
Even when I read things like If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! I didn’t imagine the excitement and fun twinkling in our Father’s eyes as He gives gifts to His beloved children.
You know. The same delight that sparkles in your eyes when you give a gift that you chose specially for someone you love.
You, sister, who have been told by the church that you must look a certain way or behave in a particular manner in order to be beautiful or accepted by God, that you can only be defined by marriage or motherhood, see God gazing at you, mouth smiling wide with joy, eyes sparkling with pleasure and satisfaction as He sees your heart and your outward appearance. You are lovely because you are loved by Him.
You, brother, who have been told that you must enjoy certain activities or conduct yourself with a certain demeanor in order to be truly a man or to fulfill God’s purpose for you, hear God laugh loud in utter delight at the way your personality mirrors some aspect of His own, see His arms flung wide in joyful abandon at the sight of you trying to be like your Father. You are admired because you were created by Him.
You, dear one, hear God laughing over you with radiant delight, see Him grinning wide with eyes gleaming, feel His joy wash over you in absolute approval.
You are perfect just as He created you because He loves you.