We are celebrating around my house today! I finally finished 36 pages of specific, line by line, changes for the journal. I love email. I zipped up my little file and sent it back to the publisher and typesetter. Oh, so tedious, but I am hoping…oh, so worth it! God is good and has truly given me HOPE this week, right when I needed it.
Last Thursday night, my husband and I met with a wise, theological, doctrinally sound, respected friend to receive my last feedback for the book concerning these very areas where he is knowledgeable. His discernment would be helpful to capture anything I may have written theologically off base or unsound. Overall, he was very positive and careful to make me aware of a few theological issues “out there.” As well, he made two recommendations…to “edit and condense.”
After all the work I (we) have done, those two words “edit” and “condense” were not what my ears wanted to hear. In my mindset, I was ready to be done! At the time, I felt like I had slipped all the way back down Mt. Everest! Looking at his huge copied manuscript with plenty of “red” comments – all I saw was a mountain of more work. With tears in my eyes I asked my husband, “Why does this process have to be so hard?” I mumbled that I may never write another book again!
I couldn’t sleep that night and I laid flat on my face, crying out to God for strength to keep climbing. My daughter had left a red pen by her notebook on the floor. I grabbed the pen and offered it to the Lord, “All the ‘red’ – all the re-editing, condensing (again), and all the work left to do.” I offered this process as an imperfect sacrifice.
But, things always look better in the morning. A quote came to mind that I had seen recently, “Don’t tell God how big your mountain is…tell the mountain how BIG your God is! All that’s required is that you really believe and have no doubt.” (Mk11:23) TLB As I reflected on our conversation from the evening before, I knew my book was not one that our friend would buy for his library, but he had been touched, challenged by my book to start a new discipline – to journal. Our friend just might take the plunge after reading my book! What hope this realization brought me. God used my book in its imperfection!
In the midst of my choosing a new thought pattern of faith and obedience to keep climbing, once again, my mountain of difficulty, I let both journal and book sit “on the back shelf.” I took a break from them and I focused my energy and heart on preparing for The Summit leadership meeting in Charlotte, NC. My power point presentation came together, thanks to the help of my kids and husband! The Summit was titled “Stepping Out – Giving Hope to a Hopeless World.” My devotion was titled “Getting Your Feet Wet” taken from Joshua 1-3. …When we step out in obedience…(in prayer, standing in the gap for others), God steps in with power. The world desperately needs hope and we cannot give what we do not possess…God is our only HOPE.
Saturday as I prepared to leave for Charlotte, I received a letter in the mail. A poem was tucked inside called “A Woman of Blessing.” The poem was thoughtful and encouraging, but what put wind beneath my wobbly wings were the words written on a little note. First, I need to give you some history. Over a year ago, this young mom had been a part of my “sample” small group of seven friends who read and used the book/journal to give me feedback. Her note shared how her life was changed by reading my book. She became more “aware” and “alive” in her relationship with God. I had to call to thank her. She said the poem was buried on her desk for a week and she just got around to sending it. What perfect timing are God’s delays! Joy and thankfulness filled my heart to see how God used the book by the power of His Spirit when it was a really a mess of many imperfections back then! The book(s) have come a long way in a year…now a companion set.
At the Leadership Summit, God sent an abundance of HOPE from so many wonderful, godly ladies in leadership who spoke love and encouragement into my life. God’s presence was clearly apparent as He tied together our theme, verses, and inspirations, which were all uniquely delivered by the Holy Spirit on each heart. All these women are new friends to cheer me on in my climb! God in his goodness weaved a former mom, a friend of our families from years ago, back into my life. She encouraged me with her hugs and enthusiasm as if she were my mom herself! I received many prayer requests as ladies put requests in my gold bowls for the first time (see blog 2 wks ago). I had the joy of praying with several ladies as well. Strength does come as we wait upon the Lord!
To boost up my hope even more this week, my devotion yesterday morning coming from God’s perspective said , “Rest in My love. Each week is a week of progress, steady progress upward. You may not see it, but I do. I judge the heart, the simplest offering. Though you feel that your work is spoiled and tarnished, I see it only as love’s offering. COURAGE.” The devotion continued to show me see that as I have been climbing a steep hill, I have been focused on my weakness, my stumbling feet, instead of the upward progress, the view, and the grandeur. I must believe! Jesus said, “Didn’t I tell you, if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
How easy it would be to give up if we had no hope of seeing God’s glory! What purpose would be fulfilled in continuing the climb, pushing through the work if it were not for our future hope and the hope of reaching/touching lives for God? Again, I am learning to live what I teach…It comes down to HOPE this week. God sent me HOPE through many…to keep climbing, to see His glory, so I can give it away. The summit is in view! Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for your support and prayers. Let’s not give up hoping, climbing to see HIS glory!