Archives for June 2011

The Key

We looked for the key high and low. Okay, I take that back. We looked high.

Last Sunday, my Sunday School co-worker Mary and I couldn’t find the key to our closet. Since I’m the keeper of the key and had been out of town the prior Sunday, Lisa (another co-worker then) had placed it in the cabinet above the sink so it would be there for me when I returned.

The problem? Lisa was not there last Sunday, and we didn’t know exactly where in the cabinet she placed it. My first attempts at looking and feeling around yielded no results. Next we started pulling items out of the cabinet and found everything but the key (not wasted effort — it needed to be cleaned anyway). We decided Lisa must have meant to leave the key and then forgot to put it in the cabinet.

While we were involved in this search-turns-into-cleaning-project, Alyssa, our lone little student that day (we teach in the nursery), had been happily having a snack and playing. Even though I had taken the Bible out of the cabinet first thing and placed it and the pictures for that Sunday’s story in the same spot I do every week, it was midway through our class time, and Alyssa still hadn’t wandered over and “found” our Bible. I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

“Alyssa, where’s our Bible?” I asked. I knew that’s all it would take to send her hurrying over to find the Bible so we could begin our weekly singing of The B-I-B-L-E. As always, I patted the Bible and pointed to each letter as we sang the song. After our customary clapping and yays, Alyssa opened the Bible, and what do you think we found there? That’s right. The key!

Mary and I laughed and wondered why we hadn’t looked there first. Of course, the Bible held the key! Immediately we started tossing out truths we could teach the kids in the future, while hiding a key in the Bible on purpose.

We could teach them about finding treasures in the Bible. We could teach them that the Bible holds the key to eternal life. We could teach them that the key to wisdom for every situation they’ll enounter is found within its pages… And then we remembered we teach one and two-year-olds :)

We laughed again, realizing these truths were a little too abstract for our little ones. In fact, they were suited better to us.

So to all of us, let me pose these questions. Have we found the key to eternal life in the Word of God? Do we mine its pages looking for treasures? Do we seek wisdom from the Bible for our everyday lives and the perplexing situations that arise? Do we hurry to the Bible with excitement the way little children do?

“Oh Father, send us running to your Word each day!”

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16

*Flickr photo by ~Brenda Starr~, Creative Commons License

Dry Spell

I’ve been experiencing a dry spell recently in my writing life, and no, I don’t mean writer’s block. I’m talking rejection and lots of it. The last acceptance I received came in October of last year—and then the editor chose not to run the piece after all.

Oh, I had pieces appear in various publications in October, November, and December and even had my work used on a 2011 Blue Mountain Arts Easter card, but those acceptances came long ago. So even though I celebrated each of those as they came out, I knew that no new acceptances meant it would be a long time before my work hit the printed page again.

Over the past few months of “no thank you” replies, I have had semi-good news from Blue Mountain Arts. They continue to choose to market review most of the pieces I send them. Getting selected for the market review is the first step toward publication with them, but even then, the chances are slim that they’ll go on to purchase the piece. It’s not an acceptance but rather a foot in the door. And I might add, I’ll take every one of those I can get! :)

So how do I handle the dry spells of a writer’s life? Other than saying, “Well, darn…” after each rejection, I just pull myself up by my writer bootstraps and keep writing and submitting and asking God to allow my work to be used.

It all comes down to trusting the Lord and his timing and firmly believing that all of it—dry spells included—is in his hands. I have a yellow sticky note posted at the base of my computer monitor that reads, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

So while I write and submit and pray, I also wait. The dry spell will one day end. Acceptance will come again—or maybe some other form of encouragement. My Father will send refreshment—to me and to all who keep looking to Him when desert times come. And then? Then “our mouths [will be] filled with laughter” (Psalm 126:2a). We might as well praise him now!

“I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” Isaiah 41:18b

*Flickr photo by the photographymuse, Creative Commons License

Debt of Love

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . .” Romans 13:8 NIV

Sometimes as I’m reading the Word of God, a verse will capture my attention, leaving a deep impression on me and a desire to share it with you. This is one such verse.

Loving others — loving you — is a debt I’m never to fully pay. I’m always to be about the business of love, continually making payments on the debt of love. If you’re a follower of Christ, the same is true for you.

So let’s ask ourselves, what payments have we made lately? How have we shown kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, unselfishness, grace, compassion, or affection? How have we loved one another?

More importantly, how will we pay our debt of love from this moment on? If you feel like you’ve fallen short in the past (and who doesn’t…), no worries — remember, it’s a lifetime mission. And there’s no better time than today to start making regular payments. Let’s be about the business of love!

“‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.'” John 15:12

*Flickr photo by seyed mostafa zamani , Creative Commons License

June Tune

Believe it or not, it’s time to flip our calendars to June and forge ahead once more into a new month. As I say goodbye to one month and hello to another, I always like to take a quick survey of the days to come and see what the new month will hold for me, work-wise as well as personally.

Anyone else try to get a handle on the new month that way? If you haven’t looked over your June yet, take a minute to think about it. What does June hold for you so far?

Since looking at a new month can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, let’s lighten up this looking-ahead exercise with a little fun. Let’s put a tune to the month of June!

So here’s the question today: If you had to pick a song that might describe your upcoming month, what would it be?

My husband Don just kicked off the most demanding month of his work-year so his June Tune will undoubtedly be “Chain Gang” :) And since he will be wrapped up in work, I plan to be hard at work with my writing, too — but with not as much pressure as he’s facing. I’m hoping my June Tune might be “Whistle While You Work”. But, since writing can be downright agonizing at times, it might sound more like something the classic jazz/rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears might sing :)

How about you? What will your June Tune be? Whether our tunes are happy or sad, hopefully we’ll let them all play side by side with a June Tune inspired by our praise and worship of the One who walks through each and every month with us. The One who truly has a handle on our days.

Won’t you join me? Along with whatever else is playing in our lives, let’s also “Shout to the Lord” as we journey through June!

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

*Flickr photo by join the dots, Creative Commons License