God’s Mission is NOT Impossible

Has God ever sent you on a mission that seemed impossible? I don’t mean a mission trip to Africa. I mean a task that seems at first glance to be just a job, just a team, just a school, but when you arrive or join, you realize God put you there for something so much greater.

Currently, I’m reading a memoir. It is the story of a regular person who God called to build something that seemed impossible. Even though this man was a servant, he became a great leader, who rallied the people and ignored the critics. He prayed at every step and followed God’s directions. His name was Nehemiah. The Bible is full of stories of regular people who God sends on what seem like impossible missions. But through faithful obedience, these people do amazing things.

When Moses turned the leadership role over to Joshua, God spoke these powerful words to him as he prepared to conquer and settle the promise land with the Israelites. Let them speak to you as you accept your mission.

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I (God) was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous because you will lead these people … Be careful to obey all the law; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I (God) not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-9)

Now, you’re probably thinking, but I’m not trying to conquer the promise land or rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, so how does any of this apply to me? God created a unique role for each of us. He calls to our own mission fields regardless of our place in this world. We only need to follow where He leads. Maybe you will be called to lead a large group of people in a major building project; or maybe you will be called to lead a bunch of teenagers in a Sunday School class; or maybe you will be called to lead your co-workers closer to Christ by your example and your words. I don’t know the call for your life in this moment. That is between God and you, but I do know He will always be with you. Some days you may feel the sting of rejection and setbacks, but friends, this is the time to persevere in faith and obedience. God is not working on our timeline, and His definition of success is often very different than ours.

“And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” (Neh. 2:8). Nehemiah followed God’s commands, being obedient like Moses and Joshua. When we are obedient to His calling, He works with us. He clears the path for us and protects us from those who would hurt us. We may have to deal with the enemy figuratively and often literally. For Joshua, it was the tribes in the promise land. For Nehemiah, it was Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem.

But …

Nehemiah answered them with these words. “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or right to it.”

We must stay and face the enemy. We must be strong and courageous in the face of adversity and have faith that God never leaves us. If He has put us in this place to lead His people and rebuild His Kingdom, (whatever that means in our lives and our circumstances) we must be obedient, and He will be gracious. But we can’t doubt or be double-minded or “we will receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7) There is no enemy that our all-powerful God cannot defeat.

“The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. For the arrogant rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:9)

We must stay the course. We must be strong and courageous. We must be faithful and obedient.

God will be faithful. He keeps His promises. God doesn’t call us to anything we cannot do.

What is God calling you to do? If the mission seems impossible, let’s pray about it. I’d love to pray for you to know your mission and find success. Or perhaps we should pray for God’s protection for you from those that want to hurt you. Perhaps, you are like me right now and called to be an encourager. What ways can we help the people in our lives that are facing challenges?

It’s time for us to accept our missions from God. They are not Impossible.

Short, Short Story: Love on a Country Road

Sweet readers, Thank you for being loyal followers of my website and encouragers of my writing career. The first week of the month I usually post a Flash Fiction story, but his month, the story is slightly over 1000 words, so in the interest of honesty, and y’all know if nothing, I’m honest, it is a Short, Short Story. Last year after picking up Libby, my daughter, from a field trip at 3:30 in the morning, we heard a favorite country song on the radio. I said that I wanted to turn it into a Flash Fiction story, and she suggested that I write it from the woman’s point of view. The song is in the man’s point of view. So after months of thinking about it, I finally did it. I hope you like it. Leave a comment on the website, Instagram, or Facebook if you know the song that inspired this story.  Actually, there’s two, but one is minor. Big points if you figure out that one. And always, Sharing is Caring. Love y’all.

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Ella waved her alleged smartphone above her head through the sunroof of her Honda Civic, lifting her foot off the gas. Fields of green leafy plants waved back at her. They almost seemed to snicker at her—Atlanta girl lost in the country. When the bossy woman directed her off the interstate, it seemed like she was trying to help. The faster Ella could get to the beach on St. Simons Island, the better. But as she turned from one two-lane road to another, the signal lost strength.

The car rolled to a stop at the intersection in the middle of Nowhere, Georgia. She pulled the phone back in the car, but there was still no GPS signal. She collapsed over the steering wheel, blasting the horn.

“Whoa.” A deep voice slipped through the open roof.

Fantastic, now she was hearing voices. Ella lifted her head, out of the corner of her eye, something moved. A man reclined against the side of a flatbed truck full of vegetables. How had she missed him? His jeans hugged his legs, while the muscles of his upper body pushed against his green John Deere t-shirt. Mercy me, they sure do know how to grow them out here.

Pushing off the truck, he ambled over to her window with the most adorable lopsided grin. Her stomach fluttered as he got closer. She gazed at him, her breath becoming heavy. His blue eyes were like the sky on a clear spring day, and his tan skin was kissed by the sun.

A sharp tap to the window shocked her back to the present.

He wrinkled his brow, peering in at her.

Heat scrambled up her neck, burning her cheeks. She was such a fool, ogling at a perfect stranger, but he was like a fine piece of sculpture.

Dropping her fingers on the window button, she tried for a nonchalant smile as the glass separating them lowered.

“Good afternoon, ma’am.”

“Hiee.” Her fingers fluttered beside her face. She cut them a look. What was wrong with her?

“Don’t think you’re looking to buy any collards, so I’m guessing you’re lost.”

She nodded.

“GPS send you off the highway.”

“How’d you know?”

“Happens at least twice a week.” He spun his ball cap around backward, bent over, resting his folded arms in the open window. “Where you headed?”

“St. Simons Island. Girls weekend at the beach. Can’t wait to lounge all day beside the ocean. And I love to get lunch at Boulevard Café and blackened grouper from Crab Daddy’s.”

“You got it all planned.” He grinned.

“Yep.”  Maybe if she kept to one-word answers, she wouldn’t babble on like a dreamy-eyed teenager. She twisted the knob for the air conditioner, dousing them in cold air.

He blinked as the gust from the vent, slapped into his impossibly long dark lashes. For Heaven’s sake, she was doing it again. She grasped the knob, twisting it. “S-sorry.”

“No problem, feels good. After sittin’ out here all mornin’ with nothin’ but a prayer for a breeze.” He met her gaze, letting it linger.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

 

A Wave Tossed by the Wind

At the beginning of the Summer, I planned out goals for each month, and then, life happened. I’ve heard it said that we make plans, and God laughs. What I have finally learned is that I can’t accomplish much work in the month of July. Unfortunately, when I haven’t marked everything off my to-do list, I feel guilty. How about you? It’s not that I haven’t completed many things. It’s that I haven’t completed ALL the tasks that I put on myself. As I feel the burden of my list getting longer, I struggle to find peace, and I bounce from one thing to the next without making very much progress with anything.

For example, this morning, I took my son to his first day of school, leaving me with the entire day to work through my list. I love to make lists, and I absolutely believe in putting things on my list that I’ve either almost finished or will only take a second to finish. It feels so good to draw a line through anything. (Okay, I confess. I even put items on my list that I’ve already done that day. Don’t shake your head. I know I’m not the only one.)

This year my children are attending three different schools. One is private while the other two are public, and two of the schools are new to our family. I have been to orientations, joined Facebook groups, read too many emails to count, and studied school handbooks. At this point, it has all become a blur, so I set out to get it all under control. Ha, ha. Before I knew it, I was creating a list for next week with two calendars open in front of me, Amazon opened on my computer, and a stack of forms to read and sign stacked on the table. I tried to focus on one thing at a time. But then, something would pop into my head, or a notification would chime on my phone, and I’d flip to a different thing. I could feel my heart rate picking up as the minutes disappeared. How would I finish everything and find the solitude to write this message? Have you been there?

I could hear Jesus whispering, “Come to me, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me … for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” But I think some part of me was afraid if I stopped working, the items on the list would just keep multiplying, building into a giant wave that would eventually crash over me.

Now as I sit in my car at my son’s soccer practice at eight-fifteen at night, I realize the difference a few minutes in prayer and quiet would have made. Sure, the tasks would still have existed and most would still need to be completed, but I certainly would have had a change of perspective.

I often joke that I’m a recovering control freak, but in these times, I know that desire to control is rooted in a lack of faith. When I ask God for help and only try to do what he sets before me, I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I always have enough time. I wish I had remembered this verse this morning. I know my day would have been different, but maybe it will help you with your to-do list.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6

Are you being tossed by the wind? Ask God for wisdom and then believe that he will provide. Listen and rest in the knowledge that what God wants done will find a way and everything else will be washed away by the waves.

Flash Fiction – Avoiding the Bouquet

Lately, it seems I’ve been writing a lot about weddings.  So much can happen when we throw together family and friends. People come with all kinds of expectations and experiences. The book I just finished begins at a wedding, and this short, short story takes place at a wedding reception during the bouquet toss. As a child, I loved trying to catch the bouquet, and as a bride, I couldn’t wait to see who would catch my bouquet. Because I was one of the first of my friends to get married, there was quite a crowd when it came time.  And I can happily report that my friend who caught my bouquet is happily married and so is the guy who caught the garter, although not to each other. (Too bad because that would have made a fun story.) They were so sweet to let me share this picture with you.  Thanks Ronna and Rob.

While my girlhood views were filled with romance, I realize from talking to unmarried friends that this isn’t always the case. This is the perspective I took with this story. I hope you enjoy it.

What is your favorite part of weddings? Do you have any funny stories from weddings? Please share. I’m always looking for inspiration.

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The bouquet of white hydrangeas launched from the bride’s hands and soared into the air, ricocheting off the chandelier. As it plummeted toward Anna, she recoiled, shuddering. Two younger women in skimpy dresses dove in front of her with apparent disregard for maintaining any mystery about their lack of undergarments.

Anna pivoted, abandoning the inevitable tug-of-war, grabbed a glass of champagne and tossed back the bubbles. As she threaded the crowd, she spied another flute of cheer on a service table. She snatched it up and shoved the door open, stumbling into the hall. How many glasses had she consumed? Apparently not enough.

A quiet summer night beckoned her from the other side of the French doors. Her heart pounded to the rhythm of the band’s cover of Brick House. Did every wedding band include that song in its set list? She leaned against the door frame, gazing through the window. The soles of her feet ached. Moonbeams danced across the lawn, leading to the brooding ocean. The music grew louder. She glanced over her shoulder.

A couple danced out of the ballroom, gazing into one another’s eyes. At this point in the night, no one would notice if she disappeared for a while.

Anna dropped her hand onto the door handle and slid it open. She slipped through the narrow space, pulling the door closed behind her. She closed her eyes as she rolled her shoulders, releasing the tension. A warm breeze blew against her face, and she inhaled deeply. The salty air brought a peace she could only find by the sea. She lifted the glass to her lips.

“Hi there.” A deep voice said behind her. “Must be my lucky night.”

Anna’s heart skittered as her throat tightened. She coughed, spewing the champagne.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Her throat burned, and she rubbed her neck as she turned to face the man.

He reclined against the stuccoed wall with one foot crossed over the other and a hand in his pants’ pocket. His bow tie hung loosely around his neck. With the trimmed beard that accentuated his strong jawline and a coy smile, he could have been posing for a men’s clothing ad.

Anna swallowed.

He pushed off the wall and extended his hand as he stepped out of the shadows. “I’m Baker.” He couldn’t be more than thirty. Way too young for her, but . . .

Anna felt the corners of her lips lift. Perhaps, Click here to read the rest of the story.

Southern Sands Newsletter

The Wind and the Waves

Over the Fourth of July Holiday, I woke up to a radiant sunrise. I enjoyed my breakfast on the porch of my parents’ beach house as beams of light shot through the vanishing clouds, creating a sheen on the smooth ocean. It appeared to be a perfect opportunity to take my stand-up paddleboard out for a ride. I love the peace and calm of being out on the water, so I prefer a flat sea for my paddle boarding but I don’t mind gliding over gentle waves that lumber into shore. However, if the current is fighting against strong winds, it creates choppy waters that threaten to toss me. Unfortunately, when I got out into the water, I realized that I’d taken too long. Although the waves were tame, the incoming tide was relentless, and I could not paddle against it.

So often in life, we want excitement and thrills. Isn’t that why paragliding is so popular? (Don’t ask me. I’d never try it.) During those calm seas, we don’t stop and enjoy the rest. Even though it is a perfect time to relish in God’s creation and give thanks for his blessings. But when everything is going right, sometimes we start checking the horizon for storm clouds and miss a lovely day on the beach. It’s good to be prepared, but sometimes it’s okay to huddle under your beach tent in a passing shower and have faith that God will protect you in this moment and wants you to enjoy his extravagant creation with abandon.

And really, why try to predict and control the weather? If you live on the Southern coast, you know a thunderstorm can pop up without warning, like the one that just rolled over my house. I always carry sunglasses and an umbrella to afternoon swim practices. The good news for us is that Jesus is the same as he was on the Sea of Galilee. He is all powerful, and He controls the wind and the waves.

How do you prepare for Summer weather? How do you surrender control and have faith?

Fun St. Simons Island Fact

As most of you know, I just completed writing my sixth book, and it is set on at an Olive Orchard in a fictional South Georgia town. While researching for the book, I learned that Thomas Jefferson thought the Southeastern United States would be a good place to grow olives. Although his crops failed, other farmers did have success along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. There was even an olive orchard planted on St. Simons Island near the lighthouse. It survived until Hurricane Number Seven in 1898.

Writing Updates

I’m so grateful for all of you and your continued support as I navigate my way through this writing journey. As I wrote above, my time off from blogging in June was well spent. I completed a very rough first draft of my sixth book that I’m currently titling Secrets and Love at the Olive Orchard. Someone once told me that you need to write seven books to get published, so I hope she was off by one.

In the meantime, I continue to edit and rewrite the three books I’ve written over the last eighteen months, so I’ll be ready when we get the call.

Also, I found out in June that I won first place for Contemporary Fiction at the Write-to-Publish Conference in Ohio. This was for my third Contemporary romance manuscript, so I plan to prepare a proposal for it over the coming months as well.

Thank you all for your Southern phrase suggestions. With the responses on Facebook, I ended up with four single-spaced pages of great sayings. Isn’t it fun to live in the South?

As I continue to work to find a publisher, I’m trying to educate acquisitions editors on the Golden Isles and would love your help. What are your favorite things about the South Georgia Coast? Describe your perfect day on one of the Islands. What is a wonderful memory you have of time spent on the coast?

I’d love to share why we all love the Golden Isles with people around the world. Please leave your comments on the website, so everyone can read them.

Flash Fiction: Waiting for Her Soldier

Happy Fourth of July! As we celebrate our independence, I hope this short story will remind us of those who help ensure our freedom every day and the sacrifice they and their families make for each of us. We are so blessed to live in this great nation.

*********************************************************************************************  With a permanent marker, Whitley crossed off the date. She rubbed her stomach, while Will, Jr. continued his afternoon kickboxing session on her ribs. Only two squares left on the calendar before his predicted arrival, and like his daddy, he couldn’t wait to get out in the world on an adventure.

Tracing Liam’s face in the family photo, her chest tightened. “Daddy might not be here for your big day but know he loves you so much. He had an important mission.” She counted the days back to Liam’s last call—too many. Tears pushed at the backs of her eyes.

Liam always volunteered for the dangerous missions. She’d begged him to let someone else take this one, but he’d refused. In the end, she’d barely mumbled, “love you.” As her stomach churned, bile stung her throat.

The door slammed against the refrigerator.

Swallowing, Whitley gripped the counter.

“Mommy.” Mallory toddled across the kitchen. “Park.”

Mom followed her, disentangling Mallory from Whitley’s legs. “Give Mommy a minute.” Mom rubbed Whitley’s back. “Stop worrying. He’ll make it in time.”

Whitley shook her head. “Unlikely, and I need to accept it.”

Checking her phone display, Mom quirked her lips like she was hiding a smile. “I’m with Mallory. Let’s walk to the park. Everything’s better in the sunshine.”

Sighing, Whitley hugged Liam’s shirt around her. If only it were his arms. “Y’all go. I’m not in the mood.” She inhaled deeply, but his scent no longer lingered. What if she never felt his embrace again? Click here to read the rest of the story.

Southern Phrases

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m supposed to be taking a break from posting while I write a new book, but I need some help. But by the way, I’m halfway done as of today, so yeah! Of course, I’ll be rewriting lots from this first draft. In case your interested, the working title is Love at the Olive Orchard, and like I’ve said before, it takes place in a fictional South Georgia Town. As I’m writing, I find myself in desperate need of some great southern sayings.

I think we can all agree Southerner’s have the best way of turning a phrase, and I love to include the original ones in my stories. For example, my friend, Darryl,  recently commented at a pre-theatre dinner with the following phrase when describing a woman dancing. (don’t want you Northerners thinkin’ were not cultured down here.) Unnamed woman had more moves than a swiss army knife. Clearly, that is literary, and as soon as I could find a spot in one of my books, I stuck it in.

Now it’s your turn. Help me out. Comment below with your favorite Southern phrases. The more country (red neck) the better. Like we love to say in the South, we don’t hideaway our crazy. We set it in a rocker on the front porch and give it a glass of sweet tea.

Can’t wait to hear your suggestions.

Southern Sands Newsletter and Privacy Policy

Happy Summer Friends,

It has been awhile since a newsletter. Hopefully, you have been enjoying the blog posts and flash fiction stories. As we move into June, I will be taking off the month from posting, so I can write a new book. I have spent the last month researching and planning and have completed the first scene. It will start on St. Simons Island but most of the book will take place on an Olive Tree Farm in a fictional South Georgia town. If any of you have any knowledge about olive farming or blueberry farming, please send me an email. It is so important to me to get the details correct.

Hopefully, when I return in July, I will have a completed novel. Prayers are very welcome.

I’m happy to announce that I placed seventh in the 18th Writer’s Digest Short, Short Story Contest and my piece, Avoiding the Bouquet, will be published in the July/August edition of Writer’s Digest. Award Article

In more awards news, my mentor and writing coach Lindsey Bracket is a finalist for ACFW mentor of the year. Also, Lindsey’s book Still Waters recently won Best Debut Novel, Best Book, and The Director’s Choice Award at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. If you haven’t already read the book, get it for the summer. You won’t be disappointed.

Lately, I have been contributing regularly to BoldCityVoice.com. I’d love for you to check out this site. Lots of good stuff, and I will be doing author profiles. Lindsey is the first one. Working with this website has given me the chance to interview New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Hauck. She also has a series set on St.Simons Island if you are interested in a sweet romance for the beach.

Okay, now for the boring, legal stuff. As you’ve probably noticed, all websites that have newsletters are required to send one of these notices and put a privacy policy on the website. Just when I thought I’d escaped the lawyer’s life. This is all due to a regulation from the EU.

But because I love y’all and wanted to actually give you a helpful tool, be sure to read to the end of this newsletter. I’m going to give you a great tip for organizing your subscriptions. By the way, I truly appreciate the support and encouragement from all of you. I could not keep doing this writing thing without you.

Here’s the Privacy Policy and Disclosure information for this www.lesliedevooght.com. You can find the policy HERE. For future reference, this page can be found under the In a Seashell tab on www.lesliedevooght.com. If you have ANY questions regarding this information, I would be more than happy to chat with you.

Please know that I take your privacy rights very seriously. I never share information with anyone without prior consent. And if at any time, you wish to remove your information from the list, all you have to do is unsubscribe. This option is provided at the bottom of every email you receive from me.

And I know it works because a very few people have chosen to use it. Of course, I prayed for their souls and asked Jesus to help me forgive them. Perhaps, one day when I’m a famous published author, they will choose to return, and I will embrace them as the father did in the prodigal son story. (Please know that I’m being slightly sarcastic. Slightly, because it really does hurt when I lose one of you wonderful followers.)

Here’s the Important Tool to keep following and keep your inbox organized. Seriously, friends, I’m about to share a fantastic secret, so be sure you read the next part. And if you missed the last part, it wasn’t very interesting anyways. So here it is, before you unsubscribe to my website or any other website (because if you’re like me you don’t want to miss the one email where Lands End gives the 75% off coupon.), I encourage you to use a rollup service, such as unroll.me. This service is free and helps you keep your inbox organized. You can use it to unsubscribe, keep in your inbox, or roll up the subscription. When you roll up your subscriptions, they all come in a single email that you can quickly scroll through and only open if one interest you. I keep all of my favorite stores here. It also checks your email inbox daily and offers you the choice of rolling up subscriptions or unsubscribing. (Again, here is the link unroll.me) Once again, remember who is giving you this fabulous advice and how you will break her heart if you unsubscribe. (Just sayin’)

I hope you have a fantastic June and will be back with you in July. 

Blessings, Leslie

A Constant Comfort by Christina Suzann Nelson

Christina Suzann Nelson, inspirational speaker and award-winning author of If We Make It Home, is celebrating the release of Swimming in the Deep End, on September 25, 2018. She writes and speaks about hope after dysfunction. Christina is over the top about her passions, including the stories created somewhere in the twists and turns of her less-than-focused brain. When she’s not writing, she’s working with the Every Child initiative, chasing escaped steers, reading, breathing in the sweet smell of her horse, hiking with her dog, or enjoying her just-as-crazy family.

One of the best parts of being an author is meeting and getting to know other writers, especially the ones who have written books you really enjoyed. Christina Suzann Nelson and I “met” in a Facebook Group because we were represented by the same literary agent. My book club chose to read her book, If We Make it Home, this year, and I cannot recommend it enough. It is a completely unique story of redemption, friendship, and survival. The last week proved incredibly difficult for Christina as you will read in her post, and I am so thankful she was able to take the time to share her story here. I know you will be touched by her words.

 

Thank you, Leslie, for offering me this blog spot. When I took you up on the opportunity, I had my life in order with all going as I planned and expected. I placed the date in my calendar and planned to write this segment in the week leading up to the deadline. No biggie. It’s not a huge commitment…I thought.

Let me tell you about that week I’d planned.

My father has been struggling with Parkinson’s for the last couple of years, especially the not as well-known aspect of the disease—dementia. A week before I was to turn in this post, we had to make a hard decision. It was time to stop the extra poking and prodding and move to comfort care. The best guess was one to two months.

But Parkinson’s never behaved well for my dad. Within a couple of days, he started to diminish. He no longer would eat, even the chocolate pudding that had become the go to food. Then he stopped taking liquids.

Last Tuesday, he passed away, leaving us stunned and reeling from the loss and the speed at which it happened. Two days later, we were at our rural cemetery saying our goodbyes. Needless to say, the blog post didn’t get written until now—the night before it’s due.

A few things have crossed my mind this last week, lessons I’m learning, and a few I keep trying to avoid. I won’t drag you through all the crazy thoughts ping-ponging around my brain, but here are a few:

We are not promised, nor are we owed, an easy life. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Though this last week dripped of loss, sadness, and trials, there was peace. Peace sat with me at the hospice house, it allowed me to sleep, and it gave me hope as the end drew near. Thank God there is peace.

We need our people. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

By nature, I’m crazy-independent. It’s actually a trait I got from my dad. But this week, I was comforted and surrounded by community. From prayer, to meals, to friends present at my father’s service, I can’t say enough thank yous to express how humbled and loved I feel.

I love my job. Over the last week, I’ve had the flexibility to stop working and be available. My agent has been an amazing support, encouraging me to be with my father rather than pushing me to produce. I couldn’t be more grateful for the career God has allowed me to be a part of.

No emotion, experience, or disappointment is wasted on a writer. We have the opportunity to turn our sorrows into stories that will, hopefully, speak to the heart of the reader. As I work through grief, I find myself holding onto this thought. Maybe, at some point in the future, this pain will be redeemed by comforting someone else in the midst of their own sadness.

So, for wherever you are today, I pray that you will be blessed in this moment.

 

Becoming a Skillful Sailor

“Smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors.” African Proverb. I read that on the side of my frozen yogurt cup the other night. And isn’t it true? In this writing world, I have learned this lesson more than anything else. As I often say, if nothing else comes out of my writing journey, my children will have witnessed perseverance. They will know what it is to dream big, work hard, stay faithful, and surrender to God’s will. For whatever the outcome, whatever the purpose of our successes and failures, God always works for good.

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts.” Romans 5:2-5.

Goodness, how I cling to those verses when the losses are coming hard and fast, but also to the revelation I had last week. I think it just occurred to me because I had to watch two of my children struggle with losses. It’s so much easier to watch them win, but—Losing is necessary for learning perseverance.

Maybe if we look at it that way, we can see that it is never really a loss. Trials are for learning lessons, honing our skills, gaining strength, and always becoming more patient because it might not be the right time. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that perseverance and patience both start with ‘P.’

We all have to navigate rough waters to learn the skills will need for success. When I look at past perceived trials and losses, it always amazes me to see how God was working for something better. His ways are not of this world. Can I get an amen?

What loss or trial left you stronger, in a better place, with a new and improved relationship? What blessings have you gained from persevering through loss?