Today Was A Fairy Tale

Snow ShineOnce upon a time there was sunshine and snow…

A couple weekends ago, during the worship service at my church, we sang the old but familiar hymn, Jesus Paid It All.

Later that week while fixing lunch for my family I found myself singing the words,

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe.

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed…

As I sang the last line I glanced out my window and stopped mid-stanza. Outside the sun gleamed warm and bright against the snow that filled our yard. Snow so white and brilliant with sunshine, it hurt my eyes to look at it.

“…He washed it white as snow.

The words rang from my soul.

As I stood and stared at the scene out my window, at the snow, at the splendor piled deep in our yard, truth piled deep in my heart.

In the middle of my day, in the middle of apple peelings and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, God gave me a visual of what this song is all about. I felt Him, and sensed Him, and heard Him say, “This song is for you. This moment, for you. This snow, this beauty, all for you. A picture of how I see you.”

If you’re like me, living in the great white north, take a moment and look out your window. Really look. Look at the snow. Look at blankets of white and flakes that sparkle like diamonds.  

If you don’t get to enjoy the snow like I do, then Google it. For just a moment forget about emails, and Facebook, and Pinterest, and scroll through pictures of snowy white mornings or winter landscapes.

And see for yourself. Know it down deep that this picture, this beauty, is a reflection of you. A picture of His work in your heart.

It’s what He sees when He sees you.

Sweet friends, may you wake up this day to the fairy tale found in the radiant beauty, the awestruck truth, of a winter wonderland and a heart washed white as snow.

What I Gained When I Gave Up

The EndFor the past three weeks I have taken a break from my regular schedule of writing and posting my blog. Before I go on let me just say, I missed it! I missed you! And it feels so good to be back.

As the new year approached, I sensed God prompting me, asking me, to take a break, to give up, for a time, this writing I love.

At first I thought the idea was crazy. Taking a break from my blog writing seemed the opposite of what I should do. But the prompting continued, and I soon realized the choice to take a break was not just a matter of obedience and trust but a declaration of love.

I love this blog. I love to write. But I love Him even more. And this was my chance to show Him.

So I laid my Isaac down. My promise. My passion. My love. And do you know what happened? I am the one who was blessed.

With my writing schedule cleared for the first three weeks of January I took the time I usually spend writing this blog and spent it on finishing the first draft of a book I started in November of 2013.

As I started to write I knew God was with me. He was all in and so was I. One week, three chapters, twenty pages, and 5,692 words later I typed the words: The End.

So what’s the point of all this? Why do I feel compelled to share? Well for one, I’m excited…as if you couldn’t tell. But more than that I want to share what I learned through this experience. What I feel God has taught me. What I can’t keep inside when it comes to His abundant goodness.

Lesson #1: Milestones are worth celebrating

Don’t get me wrong my work on this book is FAR from over. My first draft is finished but I still have a lot of revision to do. Still, this part of the journey, this part of the process, is over and I’m excited to start phase two. Every phase gets me closer to God’s ultimate purpose for this work, this creation. And every phase is worth celebrating.

Lesson #2: Invite others in

Whether it’s you, my faithful readers, my writing group, my church community or my circle of family and friends, the joy of this milestone should be shared. From the beginning my journey into a writer’s life has been a testimony of God’s love and care for me, for my heart. It’s a testimony of His purpose for my life and for each life He creates. I can’t help but share this phase of the journey, this victory with others.

Lesson #3: Dream big

On the night I finished my book, after everyone in my house went to bed, I stayed up to celebrate with God. This may sound silly but I knew what He wanted me to do. I loaded our DVD player with the movie Becoming Jane and watched as the famous writer, Jane Austen, went from an obscure, female writer to one of the most well-known and bestselling authors of all time.

God has always used Jane Austen, her story, her books, and this movie to inspire me, to nurture my heart for writing, and while I don’t know the plans He has for me in terms of fame and bestselling novels I do know His plans for me are good, and perfect, and safe to trust. I know His dreams for me are far bigger than what I can dream or imagine. And it is glory to think, and contemplate, and dwell on these things. To let my heart and my mind run wild, run free, into the promise of His wild love.

In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes, “What God takes away with His left hand He gives back with His right.”

God may have taken away my freedom, so to say, to work on this blog for a span of three weeks, and while it was hard to relinquish this part of me, what He gave me in return far outweighs the sacrifice I made.

This is always His way.

I gave up my blog for three weeks, six posts in total.

I gained a chance to show the lover of my heart that I’m a lover of his.

I gained a finished first draft and the first step toward a dream I have grown in my heart since I was a little girl with a pen and some paper.

I gained three invaluable lessons that will make this journey, this writing life, richer and much more sweet.

And once again, the words of C.S. Lewis abound in my heart:

“When He [God] talks of their losing their selves, He means only abandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) that when they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever.” (From The Screwtape Letters)

Feeling more myself than ever, I return to you. I return to this blog. And I can’t wait to see what God has in store.

Today Was A Fairy Tale…

Once upon a time there was a Savior who made all things new…

I love when a good story ends with all things being restored. When spells are broken, when everything is set right, made new.

In Revelation 21:5 John writes that from his throne God spoke the words, “Behold, I make all things new.”

This is one of my favorite verses in scripture because it reminds me that here, in this life, in this story that God is writing for us, he is continually working, continually restoring, continually making us new.

I’ve only seen the movie The Passion of the Christ once or twice, but there is a scene I remember vividly. As Jesus carried his cross to The Place of the Skull, he spotted his mother, Mary, in the crowd following after him.

With the weight of the cross, of the world on his back, he stops and says to her, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

I know this account is more theatrical than it is biblical, but I like the idea behind it. I like the thought that even in the middle of his pain and suffering Christ’s mind was set on his mission to set the captives free. His mind was set on us.

At the start of this new year we may not be able to see the transformative change in our lives that we see in the happily- ever-after endings of fairy tale stories. Indeed, many of us, all of us, carry our own cross of burdens and suffering into 2014.

But, behold, we can also carry Christ, and in him we can find a Savior who is with us in the burden, who is with us in the suffering.

By setting our minds, our lives, on him and the work he is doing in us, through us, and around us, we can find new focus, new hope, new grace for this year.

This New Year’s Day, may you wake up to the fairy tale found in the start of a new year, in the chance for new focus, new hope, new grace. May you wake up to a Savior who makes all things new.

May you set your heart on him.

In light of the new year, and making things new, I am taking a short break from my regular posting schedule. I will be back on Sunday, the 26th, with NEW posts for you! Happy New Year! May it be blessed from beginning to end.