“Just follow the string …”

— A Still Small Voice During my Devotional Time This Morning

 If I have to say so myself, last week was pretty amazing …

You see, we celebrated the end of my birthday week (yeah, we tend to milk it around here with ‘birthweeks’ instead of ‘birthdays’ …), then the beginning of my daughter’s birthday week, then the release of my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window and finally wrapped it all up with a pretty, little bow in the form of a marriage proposal.

Oh, and what a proposal it was! One day after her 25th birthday, my daughter Amy was proposed to by her boyfriend Nate in true fairy-tail setting on a lush, rolling Architectural Digest-type horse farm. It was a joyous moment for all while Keith and I secretly watched along with Nate’s parents, one of Amy’s best friends, a St. Bernard named Olga and a donkey named Julio.

What more can I say? Well, being it’s me, the woman who writes 500-plus-page books, a lot, but I will spare you the Gone With the Wind version and get right to the heart of what God spoke to me this morning as I sat on my sofa and cried, pressured by deadlines and discouraged with the writing life.

“Follow the string, Julie, just follow the string …”

Amy’s fiancé is a very creative guy, a musician on the worship team at church and a man with a flare for drama (gotta love him already!), so it was no surprise when he masterminded a proposal that our daughter (and us) will always remember.

It all began with Amy being blindfolded and dropped off at a forested area by a country road, where the blindfold was removed so she could follow a piece of twine through the woods. Unbeknownst to her, all of us watched from a hidden loft area above the barn while she appeared at the top of a hill that led into a lush, rolling field. Excitement bubbled in our chests as she slowly followed the mile-long twine past horses and hand-painted signs with her and Nate’s favorite Scriptures interspersed throughout. Midway down the hill, a beautiful black horse slowly ambled over to nuzzle her hand, truly picture perfect before she made her way down the hill to a pristine barn where their favorite song was playing …

 This chest is full of memories of gold and silver tears,

I’ll give you more to own than all of this …

 I’ll give you more than years.

 —“Slow Your Breath Down” by Future of Forestry.

The string led through a long, open tunnel of the barn with horse stalls on either side to a massive treasure chest at one open end, backdropped by woods and a video camera that filmed Amy’s approach while we secretly watched from above. Amy knelt before the chest and cried—along with each of us—while she sifted through its contents … treasures and memories from their year and a half of dating.

Wiping her eyes, she rose and followed the string through a rustic, open greeting area that led to a circular cobblestone patio where a tall chair sat in the field beyond, fit for a queen. Meandering through the grass, the twine fed into a small, white satin box on top of an open Bible resting on the seat of the chair.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken …

— Ecclesiastes 4:12

And while Amy stood there and sobbed her heart out, Nate appeared from behind to take her in his arms and seat her in the chair before getting down on one knee to ask for hand.

Ah, happy tears … so much better than those we shed in our moments of malaise, and yet God warned us that tribulation would be part of the emotional mix, moments of fear or despair or weariness that threaten to take us down. Just like this morning when I cried out to God with tears in my eyes … for His strength, His hope, His peace in the midst of a storm of life overwhelmed.

“Follow the string, Julie, just follow the string …”

I closed my eyes then and suddenly I saw my daughter slowly but surely picking her way down that hill, her path riddled with any number of hazards—piles of manure, snakes, beggar’s lice, a twisted ankle. She couldn’t see that diamond ring from where she was standing, but she followed the string nonetheless, joyful and fully confident that at the end of the line, her heart’s desire rested … on God’s Word.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,”

declares the LORD, “plans for welfare and not for calamity

to give you a future and a hope.”

—Jeremiah 29:11

You know, sometimes in life we can’t see the field for the forest or the forest for the trees, but God is faithful and true to steer us along the path He has for us—a good path, paved with blessings and hope that rest upon His Word. He may not lead us as quickly as we like nor the path we would opt to take, but He will usher us past all the heartbreak and manure of life with the assurance that if we just hold on and follow His lead, He will guide us both to His will and His pleasure … which, when we wipe away the blur of our tears … will look suspiciously like the desires of our heart.



A HUGE thank you to all of you who entered my weekend contest—I wish each and every one of you could have won. But out of a Randomizer drawing of 321 entries, only one can and that special person is:

Carrie Turansky

SUPER CONGRATS to Carrie, who wins a Kindle or equivalent gift card, a signed copy of any of my books and her choice of five top CBA books from my personal library. I will have another Kindle giveaway next month, so be sure to check Journal Jots every Friday, okay?


Don’t miss these opportunities to win your choice of any of my books including A Light in the Window:


Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story blog at:


NOVEMBER 27, 2012:

Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a giveaway on LENA NELSON DOOLEY’S blog at:


NOVEMBER 29, 2012:

Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a giveaway on THE SWORD AND THE SPIRIT blog at: