Monday, August 24, 2009

Giving God Permission - Part Two

I should have already understood about giving God permission because He had taught me that same lesson seven years earlier when terrorists killed one of our coworkers when we were in South America. That experience hit close to home for our family because my husband Fred was one of the twelve adults present when they took our friend captive. Fred spent an hour and a half face down in his pajamas on the cold floor with his hands tied to his feet behind his back.

Seven weeks later, they executed our coworker and swore they were coming for the rest of us—-and our house at the mission center was way out on the edge of things. I’ve never forgotten the night when I was afraid to take off my clothes and go to bed because I was sure someone was going to come pounding on that front door in the middle of the night.

Now I had known most of my life that nothing could touch me unless it was within God’s will. However, that head knowledge alone did not give me peace in the midst of that situation. That head knowledge had to get down into my heart so that I was able to say, “Okay, God, if it is your will for harm to come to me at the hand of those terrorists, then that’s okay with me.” When I could say that…and thus give God permission…I was able to sleep in peace.

Somehow I didn’t remember that lesson until after Daddy died. Since then, God has brought me other opportunities to test whether I trusted Him enough to “give Him permission.” Not surprisingly, on some occasions I’ve remembered early on and been able to do that, yet in others it has taken the a long time (in one case, years) to make peace with something He sent my way. I have an idea that is simply our human condition. We learn, and we forget. We trust God, and yet we worry again.

I’ve recently started thinking about this “giving God permission” in relation to my Tangled Strands story. One of these days I should write about the things God has done that make me believe I have His blessing to be working on it. I can do that because I'm talking about hind site—what I have seen Him do. But to claim assurance about what He is going to do in the future strikes me as presumption, and I can’t pretend to know what God’s plans are.

All I know is that, for today, I have reason to believe He wants me working on it. I even believe it is a story He could use to accomplish something spiritual in someone’s life if it gets published. At the same time, I have to keep my heart open to giving Him permission to do whatever He plans as far as its getting published.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Giving God Permission, Part One

My father was dying.

And I was not ready to lose him.

When we brought him to our home here in Dallas for what turned out to be the last fifteen days of his life, I did a little memory inventory. I found only two times—-one in my childhood and one in adulthood—-when my daddy and I were really upset with each other. It is always hard to part with a loved one, and I assure you it is especially hard to give up a relationship like that.

My being upset with God did not mean I was crying my eyes out during those fifteen days. In fact, I didn’t even cry when Daddy died, and I didn’t cry at the funeral. It was three weeks later before I finally broke down—-and then I cried so hard and so long that it took the chiropractor months to get my neck back the way it should be. And it was nine loooong months before I was able to say to God, “It’s okay that you took Daddy away.”

Obviously, God did not need my permission to take my father, and He clearly did not wait for any permission from me. So what’s the big deal about giving God permission? The big deal is what happened in my heart when I finally granted that permission. That was when healing of my pain could finally begin.

The above is the beginning of an oral devotional talk I have given in connection with my work of training missionaries. So what is it doing here? Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the first time God taught me this lesson about permission, and then I’ll tell you how it relates to my Tangled Strands novel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Out of the Groove

Blogging. It was something I hesitated to get involved in for a long time. My biggest concern was that I wouldn’t keep up with it. I knew how easy that would be. But when one of my writers’ groups offered an online class in how to get started, I took a chance. And I surprised myself. I went the first year doing pretty well, and even a while after that.

But this summer the inevitable happened. I got out of the groove, and now I’m having trouble getting back in. It’s not that I never think of anything to say; I just never feel like saying it. For someone who considers herself a writer, that’s very bad.

So what shall I talk about? Getting my desk back in relative order again? A great hike with my grandsons? Getting back to going to the Y? Some new recipes I’ve tried?

I could talk about any of those, but my original idea for this blog was to talk about my novel. Not the novel I’m “writing,” but the one I am rewriting. Part of the problem is that I’m taking so long doing that, I’m sure anyone who is reading the blog is tired of hearing about it. Sometimes I struggle with just how much I want to put out there for everyone to read about.

The truth is, I don’t have very many reading it, and that is both a comfort and a frustration. I know many families members do, and I appreciate that. I know a few friends do, and that’s rewarding. I realize that so far most of what I’ve written about probably isn’t of interest to anyone who doesn’t have a personal interest in me or the progress on the book. In some ways, that is a relief.

Enough philosophizing. Something has to change, and it’s going to have to be me. Yet right now I’m putting on a big push to make progress with this revision, so that doesn’t encourage me to take time out to write a blog. And so around the circle I go.

I like that last one I wrote about the calendars and time lines. I’ve kept up with that religiously, and it has been a wonderful tool. I think I finally have a date for that baby to be born. As a matter of fact, I have another similar tool that is helping me, despite the fact that it is time consuming. I could write about it—nope! I did a search and found out I already did that. But I’m still keeping up with it, and that it a good thing.

Maybe if I give myself a good shaking, I’ll get those wheels turning again. Hmmm.