Posts Tagged ‘faith’

PostHeaderIcon Writing Heavenly Father’s Day, Part 5–Don’t Run Ahead

By the end of May 2009, after successfully navigating most of the E-Book Check List, I thought I had everything I needed to get my book written. I began the rough draft of Heavenly Father’s Day, thinking I could just bang it all out in one month. But other things kept getting in the way–or so I thought.

I roughed out a website plan after looking at those of other people. I looked at lots of free internet marketing information on the web, and took lots of notes. I studied the style of other Christian authors, such as Rick Warren, Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley, and Max Lucado. In fact, the ones I hadn’t read before looked so interesting I ended up reading them through (and taking more notes).

I was scheduled to preach on June 21. The theme was “Calm Our Storms.” I could see that just maybe this sermon might fit in somewhere near the end of the book. (And, in fact, it did.)

But toward the end of the month, I was frustrated with the fact that the end was still far off. The Spirit reminded me that I wasn’t to run ahead of God’s plan–that I was proceeding well and shouldn’t become anxious. The Spirit reassured me that even when I seemed not to be working, I was. I could be waiting, pondering, planning, researching, or otherwise furthering the work. It wasn’t necessary to actually write every day.

I got a call in late June from one of my reviewers. She had been looking over the outline I had sent her and was pleased with the direction I was headed. She told me a story about a sermon delivered in her church on Father’s Day.

The speaker mentioned that, just by chance, he had been scheduled to speak on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year. He said he realized while he was preparing that we have many special days for special things, but we never have a special day for God. My reviewer said she thought of me when he said this and considered it another confirmation of my work.

Way back in April, I had committed to serving as a counselor for our church’s Senior High Camp. I had hoped that by the time camp came along (in early July) that the book would be finished. It was not.

But once again, this act of service was not an interruption of the writing process, but a confirmation of it and a contribution to it. The spiritual development that enabled me to write this book in the first place just continued at camp.

It seemed to me like everything we discussed in our daily class at camp that week either fit nicely with or confirmed my message. I found myself explaining some things in my small group discussions just exactly as I had explained them in the book.

More importantly, I encountered some new ideas along with the campers. We did a really neat object lesson where we had to carry a bag of rocks around with us, symbolizing the guilt each of us carries around unnecessarily (because God has already forgiven us). This object lesson ended up in the book.

I told a few of the campers that I was writing a book called Heavenly Father’s Day. They were anxious to read it and asked me to let them know when it was published.

I came home encouraged once again. It wasn’t until I was back at home that I realized the campers were pretty close to my ideal reader.

So even as I was in the middle of writing, I continued to be fed. New material appeared, the appropriateness of my existing material was confirmed, and my efforts were encouraged.

Once again, the Spirit encouraged me by calling on me to trust in his words and in his message given through me. The Spirit confirmed that this was not my message, but his–not my will, but his. I am just the messenger. This insight from the Spirit really took the pressure off and I was comforted.

A week after camp (mid-July), I reviewed what I had written so far. There were some pretty big gaps I had no idea how to fill. But the Spirit told me not to worry about it–that he would provide. He told me to go forward in faith and to complete writing what had already been given to me.

So I kept on. Little did I know what challenge lay just over the horizon.

Next: The Last Chapter.

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PostHeaderIcon Writing Heavenly Father’s Day, Part 1–Transcribing My Journals

After nine years in the convenience store business, my husband and I sold our store in mid-2008. About the same time that we were making the deal to sell, the Spirit impressed on me that I should start entering my spiritual journal into the computer. I was told that eventually I would write a book.

However, the Spirit told me not to worry at this point about how the book was to be published or what form it would take (physical book, e-book, or blog). I was further told not to worry about approach, theme, or title. The Spirit said I was to proceed one step at a time. Once I finished Step 1 (entering my six full 5×7 notebooks worth of journals), I would be given Step 2.

So basically, I was being asked to “step out in faith” in the writing of this book. I was reminded of the scripture that says we will be taught “precept upon precept…line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). And this is indeed the way Heavenly Father’s Day came to be written.

Let me tell you–transcribing handwritten journal entries is not an exciting thing to do. It helped that I am a pretty decent typist, but it’s still grueling work. And I could only stand to do it for a few hours at a time.

Although I have to say it was interesting to go back and look at what my issues were twenty years ago. I just don’t understand people who wish they could go back and re-do some portion of their life. I personally am happy to be done with child care and discipline worries.

But it is also interesting to see how some things never change. I was always thinking about where my career was headed back then, and I’m still thinking about that now. Only the geography and the options have changed.

I worked on entering my journals in fits and starts. Months went by when I completely forgot about it and instead focused on trying to start an eBay business. After all, I wasn’t gainfully employed, so earning some cash selling my old junk on eBay seemed like a good plan. And, in fact, the Spirit encouraged me to try some sort of business on the internet.

In mid-February (2009), the Spirit told me to back off of my frantic selling on eBay and to return to my spiritual journal work. By early April, I had put eBay on a slow simmer and had turned my full attention to the Lord’s work. Just as I finished entering the journals (all six of them), my faith was rewarded, and I was told what to do next.

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PostHeaderIcon Heavenly Father’s Day – Discovering My Spiritual Gift

You were born with at least one unique spiritual gift. However, this gift may never become known to you unless you prepare to receive it. Sometimes you have to experiment to discover it. Sometimes someone else will point it out to you.

Here is the story of discovering my spiritual gift. It takes place years ago, when I was first learning to live by faith. This discovery would ultimately lead to writing the book Heavenly Father’s Day.

Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Heavenly Father’s Day at the Garden Gate

Every book has a story behind the story. Over the next several blog posts, I’d like to share with you the story of how the book Heavenly Father’s Day came to be written.

Imagine you are standing at a garden gate. You go through the gate to the path leading into the garden. Up ahead, maybe 15 or 20 feet away, you see a statue. Oh, you think, I’d like to see that statue up close. So you walk down the path toward the statue.

Once you get there, you admire the statue. You walk all around it to appreciate it from all angles. As you travel the circular path around the statue, you notice another path going away from the statue—one you could not see from your original path. As you look down this new path, you see a bright splashing fountain in the distance. You are drawn to get a closer look at the fountain, so you head down this new path.

Once you reach the fountain, yet another path and another destination appear—and another—and another. If you have ever read anything about garden design, you may realize that this is actually the way large gardens are designed. They are supposed to draw you further and further along, always promising something new and interesting to see.

This is the way God works in our lives. God is a master garden designer. He has designed your life as a garden. As you reach each destination, he shows you something else ahead, some new goal to strive for.

Sometimes we are tempted to create our own grand design. We like to do five-year plans, ten-year plans, career plans. Those are all nice to think about and to help us make choices now: what college or tech school to attend, what subjects to study, which corporation to work for, and so on throughout our lives. But just remember that old saying about “the best laid plans of mice and men.” Don’t be disappointed if you suddenly find a garden path that dead-ends or goes somewhere unexpected.

Christians are particularly called to let God lead them through the garden—to be in control of their lives. We call it “stepping out in faith.” Aside from the garden analogy, my favorite visual interpretation of this principle can be seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Indiana is near the end of his search for the Holy Grail when his path seems to end at a great chasm, much too large to jump across. He remembers the clue about stepping out in faith. He takes a step and hits a rock bridge, previously invisible to him. His faith is rewarded, and he is allowed to proceed on his quest.

The path of faith is the one I was asked to travel in writing my first book, Heavenly Father’s Day. But before I get specifically into how the book came to be written, I’d like to share with you the story of Discovering My Spiritual Gift.

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