That’s exactly what it feels like since I wrote my last Journal Jot blog on February 10th—I blinked and eight months whooshed by like a two-ton locomotive at warp speed!
Hi, everybody, it’s good to be back, and I although I didn’t miss the deadlines of Journal Jots, I sure missed connecting with YOU!
You know, I had EVERY intention of posting a Journal Jot blog here and there over these last eight months, just to stay in touch with tidbits of news I wanted to share. But it was as if God slammed the door in my face, telling me to take my hands off the wheel and hop in the back seat.
So I did.
And, WOW, what a ride! Eight months of focusing on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing! And let me tell you right now, that it paid off like a celestial slot machine … with three smiling angels in a row!
Trust me, for a high-wired CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) like me, it was a breath of fresh air to not have to worry about proposals, contracts, deadlines, social media, emails, or blogs. All I did was spend time getting closer to my Best Friend (compliments of Jesus Calling, Jesus Today, and a very battered Bible), more time with fabulous family, and WRITE!
So … what did I learn?
Well, as I mentioned in the interview in Book Fun Magazine, A TON! Too much, in fact, to catalog in one Journal Jot, but here’s the gist:
I have been a Christian for over forty years—going from a 23-year-old angry agnostic who once advocated burning Bibles in hotel rooms … to a young woman on fire for God, as told in another Journal Jot blog here.
Each and every one of those forty years, God has been my All-in-All and the Love of my life, the Lamp unto my feet. And yet, though I knew in my head His will IS the path to our highest pleasure (and even wrote about it in one of my books and in this Journal Jot here), I’m ashamed to say I really didn’t know-know it in my heart until now—after this sabbatical.
It’s kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees, you know? I was lost in the woods—the towering oaks of success, contest wins, book sales, people approval, what have you—which prevented the light of the Son from fully shining into my life. It wasn’t until I walked away from the forest for a season that I was able to soak up God to the fullest, helping me to finally and fully grasp for the very first time that true sustenance and growth, true peace and joy, true success and confidence, come only from Him. I learned to the deepest depth of my soul that it’s only through the healing warmth of His Son and the nurturing rain of His Holy Spirit that we can grow to be the people He has called us to be. As a Christian author, I learned one cannot fully absorb the sun/Son or rain/Holy Spirit in the dark gloom of a forest that overshadows His presence and will. And trust me, as a young woman who once laid out in her swimsuit to get a tan in 47-degree weather, I crave the sun always, but never more than now, basking in the sweet “Son” of God!
This morning in my devotion time, I read the following Scripture, 1 Peter 5:6-7, which frankly, pretty much sums up the lesson I feel God wanted me to learn these last eight months:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand,
that He may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
I can’t speak for every occupation, but I know when it comes to being an author in the public eye, “humbling” doesn’t make the top-ten list of things you really want to do. Oh, sure, we Christian authors say it is, but trust me, our stomach clenches when the prayer for humility stalls on our tongues.
But you know what? I discovered first-hand that humbling one’s self under the hand of God (i.e. taking my hands off the wheel and jumping into the backseat of my career) is the MOST uplifting thing a human being can do, let alone an author!
You see, when I did that, the second part of that Scripture—that He may lift you up in due time—suddenly took on new meaning. For me, it became far more important to be “lifted up” closer to Him than closer to the dreams I once held for my career. Over these months, I discovered that HE slowly became the most important thing to me—not my career or my success or other people’s approval. Just God’s approval, which is the MOST liberating thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. A truly revolutionary spiritual concept that gently and sweetly brings you to the last part of that Scripture—casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
And He does. BIG TIME!
You! Not your career or your success or your emotional highs. Just you, as the apple of His eye (Psalms 17:8), as “His treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6), and as the one He loves with an “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
So go ahead, take a deep breath and ask Him to help you let the true depth of His love resonate in your heart and soul, and then just watch all that nasty stress and worry seep right on out. Yes, it will come back and try to taunt you again because we are all human beings caught in a battle between good and evil. And sometimes—because we all have blood in our veins—we will stumble. But I have discovered that just speaking Jesus’ name out loud, focusing on Him, saying something as simple as “Jesus, I trust you,” clears the fog from our brains and steadies our steps, so I encourage you to give it a try.
I know I did, and it feels pretty darn good.
And NEXT WEEK? Stop by to see all that I’ve been doing this summer and what I’m working on now … Till then,
HUGS and God bless!
OCTOBER SALE ON BOOKS 1 & 2 IN THE “HEART OF SAN FRANCISCO” SERIES!! In honor of the October release of book 3, Surprised by Love, my publisher is offering discounts from 66-80% on the other two books, Love at Any Cost and Dare to Love Again throughout the month of October, so don’t miss out!
FREE DOWNLOAD CONTINUES!! Yes, it’s true, my debut novel A Passion Most Pure—American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year with 1,327 five-star ratings on Amazon and 563 five-star reviews—is STILL on free download everywhere, so PLEASE PASS THE WORD!!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW IS STILL ON SALE!! My Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window—winner of three awards—is only 99 cents, so PLEASE PASS THE WORD, and here’s the video to help you! ALITW Video.
MITCH & CHARITY CHRISTMAS NOVELLA RELEASES NOVEMBER 10! WHOO-HOO … I am very excited to announce that I am part of a Seeker Historical Christmas novella collection called Hope for the Holidays that not only features a story on Mitch and Charity called A Whisper of Hope, but novellas by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Myra Johnson. In addition to this historical collection, The Seekers are also releasing a contemporary Hope for the Holidays collection as well, so be sure to check both out on Amazon November 10. Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for A Whisper of Hope:
Christmas is the season of hope, which is exactly what Charity O’Connor Dennehy is counting on. Since the birth of her twins twelve years ago, she’s prayed and hoped for a houseful of babies to love, but it wasn’t meant to be. With a husband dead-set against adoption, there’s barely a whisper of hope to change his mind, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … could it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?