Thorny Blessings

Thorny Blessings -- Write Right

“…to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!

“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

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Write Right Goes under the Sea

Write Right Goes under the Sea

The Beauty of Rest

The Beauty of Rest -- Write RightI discovered how tired I was when I spent a week resting in Portland. I knew I needed a break; I’d been looking forward to the time away from Austin and work for over a month. However, the full extent of my weariness only hit when I ceased from all activity.

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Beauty of the Gospel

It’s easy to become accustomed to the glory of the gospel, particularly if you’ve been a believer for a long time. It’s equally tempting to add “things” to make the gospel more attractive. The gospel, though, needs no visual aids or other help. It is sufficient unto to itself. Its purity makes it all the more beautiful.Continue Reading

Following God

 

Following God -- Write Right

Farewell to everything I thought was me

that I may know what these were meant to be.

–Madeleine L’Engle, “Jepthah’s Daughter, 2,” A Cry like a Bell

When everything is stripped bare and I have nothing left, I begin to wonder: maybe God is asking me to bid “farewell to everything I thought was me/ that I may know what these [everything I thought was mine] were meant to be.”

God is a blacksmith. He removes the dross and ruin so that he can forge something beautiful. God doesn’t care about patching; he desires to create something new and strong in my heart, mind, and body. Sometimes, that looks a lot like destruction. Life from death, beauty from ashes, creation from destruction, strength from weakness.

A new wineskin for new wine.

***

My job is to wait and see—literally to wait for the Spirit, with the Spirit, and to see.

–Luci Shaw, “Listening to the Muse,” Breath for the Bones

I don’t know what God is doing or why I’m here at this time and place. Questions flood my heart and mind. I cry out in fear. My confidence falters.

“Are You sure this is what I’m supposed to be doing? What are You doing, God?”

I don’t always get an answer. I’m not sure I’m supposed to. God calls me to follow in what Shaw describes as “listening obedience, rather than preplanning.”

Her words remind me, as does my mom, that I am a terrible Abraham. I see the desert and try to wrest control of the situation, figure out “The Plan.” However, Abraham did the same. He lied and schemed because of his doubts and fears. Perhaps I can take some comfort in his errors. God chooses people based on who he is and what he has done rather than who I am or how well I perform.

I also know why I continue to traverse this particular desert. God desires that I trust him, that I become the little girl I once was. She had an unshakeable faith. Jesus loved her. She believed God could and would do anything she asked.

I find her, sometimes, when I’m drawing. I think that may be one reason God gave me the talent and the joy in using it. Trials are good teachers, but delight can be, too.

O taste and see that the Lord is good;

How blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

–Psalm 34:8, NASB

***

Her one link to earth,

his light—almost reluctant—touch, is a rope

unfurling, slipping her past the horizon,

into the cloud-stirring current. This far up,

what can she do but trust he won’t let go?

–April Lindner, “Learning to Float,” Skin

Lindner’s words are a flawed metaphor. God’s touch is not “reluctant,” nor does he link me to earth. He joins me to heaven and earth. Instead of dividing, he unites.

However, any time I find myself in a questing place, I can’t help but think of this poem. I “unfurl.” God slips me past the horizon, “into the cloud-stirring current.”

This place is a world of possibilities. I doubt, yes, but I also trust. What else can I do from “this far up”?

Image: K_13 (Creative Commons)

Sent People

“Saved people are sent people.”

— Ross Lester, The Austin Stone Summer Preaching Series

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Writing Gear Matters

Your Writing Gear Matters -- Write RightPeople might might assume writers don’t have “writing gear,” but they do. Some writers require applications like Evernote and Scrivener. Others work best with only a yellow notepad, pens, and highlighters.

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Hold onto Truth

Hold onto Truth -- Write RightA common saying is, “Hold onto hope,” but I can’t. The concept seems nebulous; it lacks foundation; I have nothing upon which to rest. Such hope sputters. It flickers in and out of being and disappears when looked at directly. It is no hope at all.

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Peace is not a Ceasefire

The past few weeks have been hard ones for this nation and the world. People have been killed by bullets and bombs. Hatred and violence have erupted again and again.

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Writing the Middles

Writing the Middles -- Write Right“…that’s the beauty of blog writing—it’s an invitation to enter into the middle of a story without the pressure of either having to know the beginning or close it up neatly.

“A blog is often a collection of middle narratives, reflections that happen in between beginnings and endings.”

— Emily P. Freeman, “Before Helpless Turns to Hopeless

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