The question is – who knows me? I have met those who told me I was not enough. They vowed that they could remake me… Sadly, I trusted them.
But there was always another voice calling out, one that took me years to hear. For, “This is what the Lord says – he who created you…, he who formed you…: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.'” (Isaiah 43:1) How I cried when I finally grasped that I had been following the wrong creators. But God picked me up and hugged me. He said, “Do not fear.”
And as I have gone on with him, I am relearning who I am. For God made me, not factory-style, but hand-made. He knows me.
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash
I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.
I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…
Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!
Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)
What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!
Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!
A few days ago I experienced something painful in my heart. I prayed that God would send me someone to help me regain perspective. I set off on a walk. Maybe I would meet this person, and maybe they would stop me. But, I wouldn’t take the initiative, I would let God do it.
I had barely started out when a virtual stranger stopped me. She asked me how I was.
I was taken aback, and didn’t want to share. But I had prayed, and God had done his part. I had better do mine. I told her what was going on. “I’ve been there too,” she said. “It isn’t your fault…”
God does answer our prayers! But, we too have to do our part.
A few days ago someone assured me that I could still fulfill a dream I had as a youth. I had wanted to become a medical doctor, but no matter how hard I tried, the door slammed shut again and again. This ‘someone’ encouraged me to go back to school.
I declined. My doctor dream may have been totally crushed, but God replaced it with something else. You see, our talents can be expressed in many different ways. I had wanted to help people’s bodies to heal, but God wanted me to help people’s hearts
What about you? Has your life turned out different than you had hoped? Do you feel like it has been ruined? Don’t give up hope. Seek God’s perspective. Let him redirect you and you will find life.
I have this persistent longing to make a mark in life. I have this one-track mind that says it must look a certain way. Somehow it has sunk deep into my heart that adulthood is where it happens. Why? I grew up with that old Victorian creed, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I believed that life did not begin until one grew up.
But God is challenging me yet again, to go to those silenced ones, any silenced ones, whether children or adult, and listen. To value them and help them find their voice.
God is saying, “Hear and pay attention. Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.” (Jeremiah 13:15) This is a challenge for me… to step away from making a mark… to step into sync with God…. to enable the silenced to speak.
“If you want to walk on water,” a minister said, looking around at us, “get out of the boat!”
I gasped. That was blunt! But it was true as well. How can I follow Jesus anywhere, at anytime, and at any cost, if I don’t want to climb out of the security of a boat?
Thankfully, Jesus understands our fear of failure, and anxieties at finding ourselves out of our depth, but he still stretches out his hand. “Come!” he calls to each one of us. He dares us to step out of our little boat. He dares us to put everything on the line for him. He dares us to trust that if we sink, he will reach out and hold us up. “Come!”
The other night my mobile phone’s GPS told me that my thirty-minute journey would take two hours! Another accident, I thought. I followed the directions. Then it said, “Turn left on Bicycle Route 6.” What? It thought I was a bike!
I reset my phone, and it took me down a single-track road. Four kilometers later, no lights or habitations around, tall metal bollards blocked my way. Only bicycles could pass through. I came unglued. “I’m a car,” I cried out, “not a bike!”
Then it hit me. I wasn’t a car. I wasn’t even an insignificant dot to a satellite in the sky. I was scared, and God’s precious daughter. I could trust HIM… I turned off my mobile phone and prayed. God got me home with his GPS.
A salesman telephoned a few days ago. “Are you Mrs. Leaf?” he asked.
My guard went up. “No!” But then it hit me. What was I saying? I am Mrs. Leaf. I have been for 30 years. “I mean, yes!” I said.
The salesman paused in that “Then, who are you?” kind of a silence.
“Mr.” I corrected. “I mean, Mr. Leaf. No! I’m not him. I’ll go get him.” The salesman started chuckling, but I sent up a prayer, right there on the spot. “God, why do I always say the wrong thing!”
An answer came back fast, just like a pingpong ball. “I made you this way. I created you for my glory.* Embrace it.”
Do you have quirks? Let’s celebrate!
Have you ever been caught in a darkness so deep, you couldn’t see your hands in front of your face, even when you held them right up to your nose? Maybe you decided to sit still and wait things out.
But, imagine, your child starts crying. Deep darkness or not, you feel your way forward, crashing into furniture, calling out comforting words. It takes a desperation to actually walk, without sight, without light. The Bible says, “Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10)
Are you walking in darkness? I am. Let’s follow the unseen God within our hearts.
“You can trust me,” someone said. “I’ve done this before. Just stand where you are, and I’ll stand an arm length away. I’ll pretend to punch you, but my fist will never touch you. It’s all about getting the distance right.”
I trusted the person as they positioned themself and measured the space between us. I trusted them as they did a test run. I trusted them as they threw the punch. WHAM! I saw stars!! Blood spurted from my nose.
“I’m so sorry!” the person cried. “It’s always worked before.” But as I blew my nose, I started to laugh. Talk about being gullible!
This happened when I was 28, but it taught me something important. GOD doesn’t get his calculations wrong. It says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:20)