Tag: Faith

When Trials Abound

The last sentence of the following passage in Matthew is so, so important, especially when we’re struggling with a situation that causes us pain; “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And then in James, when the Lord shows us there’s a reason for our trials, and that it will all be okay if we only trust Him and are obedient to Him.

Matthew 28:16-20 – After Jesus rose from the grave….

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Happy Sunday! May you be blessed as in Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

C.A. Bennett – Writer  (by God’s grace)

A Woman’s Place

I was having a conversation with my husband, in which he made a joking comment about how I would turn the Christian world upside down with my point of view on a woman’s place in the world and in her family. By this, he is referring to my stance on how women are not to be treated as subservient to men, but to be equals.

What must be understood about this, is that when I say “equals” I actually mean exactly that. I don’t mean above, or below, I mean alongside, next to, or together if you will. Equals. Why? Let me tell you… when the Lord created Adam, it didn’t take long to see that he was lonely, so the Lord decided to create woman, to be his helper. He did not take a bone from Adam’s foot to create Eve to be tread upon like a doormat. He did not take a bone from Adam’s skull so that Eve could rule over him. The Lord took a bone from Adam’s ribcage, so that Eve would walk through life alongside him. Notice the word “helper” here. The bible does not say “servant” in regards to Eve. Never once does it refer to Eve as beneath Adam in the Lord’s eyes.

Now, I need you to understand this, because it’s important, and in fact crucial to your understanding of my point; The bible was inspired by God, but written by man – or humans, if you will, so as not to dump on the males of our species, because that is not my goal nor my desire here – and it was written in a PATRIARCHAL CULTURE. In other words, it was written at such a time in history that women were considered the weaker sex and were treated more like servants than like equals on a pretty regular basis. In fact, women were often treated quite badly, and I am sad to say there are still places and people who still subscribe to that way of thinking. Not cool.

However… as a bible scholar and Religious Studies major, I have done a good bit of research on the topic of a woman’s role in life, and let me tell you, we are anything BUT subservient! Female rulers have played a huge part in history, and often in very positive ways. Queen Elizabeth I for one, brought a war-torn, financially unstable kingdom into the greatest military and financially stable status they’d ever seen. So much so, that her reign is referred to as The Golden Age. Elizabeth refused to be treated as lesser just because she happened to be born female. By the way, she is my personal favorite female historical figure.

Another wonderful example is Deborah from the book of Judges, who was a prophet, and leader of the nation of Israel at that time. Deborah is referred to as  “The Mother of Israel”, and lead the Israelites into battle against the Canaanite army, defeating them quite smartly. So what did you see there? A woman – who was married, by the way – became the leader of a nation, a military force to be reckoned with, a prophet, and the fourth judge of Israel. She was one tough chick! Does that sound subservient to you? Me either!

So let’s talk about subservient vs. submissive for a minute, because too many people get those two mixed up, and they are very different! In respect to the biblical use of wives being submissive to their husbands, we are talking about the family being a body, and the husband being the head of that body, and generally speaking, a body should only have one head. Submission to ones husband can be defined as, “a commitment to lift up your husband, encourage him,  and be his helpmate through life. ”

As a Christian woman, I firmly believe in giving our husbands their place as head of the family, valuing their contributions & hard work for the greater good of the family body. That said, I fully expect to be treated with the same respect from my husband, valued for my contributions and given the same consideration for my thoughts, feelings, and opinions as he is. Why? Because we are equals. We are also equals in our intelligence, both having an IQ of 130, which kind of adds a bit of credibility to the whole equal thing, in my opinion. Anyway…..

Subservient: “Prepared to obey others unquestioningly. Less important, subordinate, serving as a means to an end. Servant or slave.”

Ladies and gentlemen, no man, woman or child deserves to be slave to anyone, regardless of sex, color, creed, race, or religion. I will be subservient to no one, and neither should you!

Genesis 2:18-24 NIV

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Many Blessings!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Regrets – I’ve Had A Few…

My husband and I were talking this morning about our rapidly advancing ages – I’m 49, he’s 57 – how we’ve traveled this road called “life”, and where it’s taken us. Both of us are also taking college classes to further our careers or take them in a new direction as the case may be, and I asked him, “Don’t you wish you’d have signed up a couple years ago when I tried to talk you into it?” His reply was a resounding, “Oh yes! I’d be a lot farther along right now. Almost done, actually!”

That conversation brought me to this train of thought, and I’ll share it with you if you’ll let me; Nowadays we often see people saying, “No Regrets!” & “You Only Live Once!” which – to me – translates to “Whateva! I do what I want!” and gives no room for lessons to be learned, and only attempts to justify bad decisions and mistakes to be repeated. This is dangerous ground to tread upon. Why?

Let me give you an example of what happened to a very real friend of mine. For the purpose of this example, we will call him Tom.

Tom goes through life, throwing caution to the wind, drinking copious quantities of alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and generally behaving in ways that are a detriment to himself and others around him. When bad things happen to him, and they frequently do – he goes around shouting about how unfair his life is, and how he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. He makes one bad decision after another that usually result in lost jobs, broken relationships, loss of privileges and property, and even being arrested multiple times. This man has lived by the idioms we have previously referenced; “No Regrets!”, “You Only Live Once!”, “Whateva! I do what I want!” Finally, our friend Tom reaches his lowest point by placing his family in jeopardy, and goes to jail for a bit longer, and this time, it’s serious.

Now the thing you need to know, is that deep down under all that bad behavior, Tom is a great guy who loves his family, believes in God, and wants to do well. However, he is a misguided soul who had a lot of really bad things happen to him early in life, and those things have had their effect on him.

But Tom made another mistake and this time, it’s a big one. Tom loses everything. His freedom, his family, his job, his dignity, and even his faith for a time. Tom found out that if you live like there are no rules, someone, somehow, sometime – will show you you’re wrong, and it’s gonna hurt.

Fortunately for Tom, he finally woke up to the things he’d been doing wrong and learned his lessons. His freedom was eventually restored, though there are some restrictions on him. His family was restored, and though his job was not restored, he went into business for himself and took a better, more productive path to life in general. His faith in God was restored, and he has since lived a clean, calm, and happier life, in which he has become a much better husband, father & friend. He does all he can to show the Lord his appreciation and faith by going to church, reading the bible, praising God, and spreading the word. Tom is finally the great guy everyone always knew he could be. Tom hasn’t stopped there. He is constantly trying to learn new things and better himself in every way. Tom’s a nice guy.

Does Tom still regret his previous behavior? Of course! In fact, he tends to live by the idiom: “Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it.” does that mean he dwells on his mistakes and constantly laments them? No. Why? Because the bible tells us several things about our sins and how God handles them. Take a look:

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Philippians 3:13  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:8  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Psalm 34:4-5  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

So we don’t need to live in a constant state of condemnation in order to be forgiven, but we DO have to do a few things:

  1. STOP doing things that God says are sin
  2. ASK for forgiveness
  3. LEARN from our mistakes
  4. DON’T repeat our bad decisions
  5. TRY our best everyday, to do good for God, Ourselves, and Others
  6. REMEMBER that no matter what – God loves you. So much so, that he that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life – John 3:16.

God is a god of peace. He wants all of us to have peace, but we need to put in a little effort for that to happen. So in closing, I want to leave you with this – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So yes – You Only Live Once – Live smart.
C.A. Bennett – Writer

Processing… Processing…

brain-signals1Y’all have probably seen the movies where some computer wiz sits in front of a keyboard and monitor, as he or she begins typing codes, passwords and such, into the system, right? The camera zooms in on the empty black DOS screen, the wiz starts typing in random letters or numbers which usually show up as ***** onscreen, and in no time, there will inevitably come a message which says, “Processing… processing…” and the next thing you know, everything explodes into a whirlwind of computing awesomeness, and the world is once again, safe. Well I was thinking about that this morning as I was standing in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of pumpkin bread batter.

At this point, you may well ask yourself what this has to do with the price of tea in China, and my answer to you would be – absolutely nothing. However – it has everything to do with the way my brain processes things. See – whenever I have to write an essay for a class I’m taking or when I have a nasty case of writer’s block, my automatic response is to head to the kitchen and bake something. Usually a few loaves of good yeast bread, because its a very physical thing, with all the kneading and stirring and so on, and that helps me kind of connect the little dots of information and ideas swimming around in my head into an intelligent and usually insightful matrix that I can then put on paper, or a computer screen, whichever the case may be, and I’m good to go. So much so, that it’s not even a conscious decision anymore, it’s just what I do. I think today is the first time I’ve actually really analyzed the process of processing.

Anyway – My youngest son, who I’ve written about previously in My Son Who Has Autism, never did get the hang of riding a bike when he was little because of motor skill issues, but has since overcome many hurdles, and in the past few days, expressed the desire to get a bike and learn to ride it. I think that’s really cool, and we will be taking steps to make that happen. In much the same way as my baking/writing relationship, my son has things he does in order to get things straight in his head. One of those things, is to research his interests on YouTube. So much so, in fact, that when he decides he wants to learn something, he literally learns everything about that thing, and then some things he will probably never need to know.

I told you all that to tell you this; when you’re going about your daily activities, and find yourself stuck or frustrated because something isn’t working out, it’s always a good idea to stop – take a step back – research – make something – or call someone just to talk. More often than not, when you go back to it, you’ll be a lot more focused, informed, and maybe you’ll even have thought of something you couldn’t even grasp before. Why? because our brains are essentially squishy little computers that occasionally need some alternate input to process what we want it to. It’s good exercise to get your little synapses fired up and running better, and you’ll be glad you did.

It’s a lot like that with faith too. You don’t really make your faith stronger if you don’t take it out and exercise it regularly. In other words, are you just kinda hanging out, letting life get the best of you and taking your beatings, or are you stopping, taking a step back and exercising your faith by praying and spending time in the word?

You know, this morning, we were getting ready for church like every Sunday – by the way, we very much look forward to church – and got all showered, dressed, fed, and – bibles in hands, we headed for the car. Except this time, something happened that we didn’t expect. The gas tank was on flat empty, the little blinky fuel light was on, and we were sitting there looking from one to another, trying to figure out how we’d missed making sure there was enough gas in the car. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t anything we could do about it, because I’m flat broke till till Tuesday, when I get paid. We were all very disappointed, but decided God would understand, and went back to the house, somewhat long in the face.

I told our son it was okay, we could do some bible study here at home, and we’d just go next weekend as usual. My husband, on the other hand, was worried. He has classes tomorrow and needs that car. So what did he do? He took a step back, assessed the situation and decided there wasn’t enough in our gas-monster Ford F250 to make it the 50 miles round trip it would take to get him there and back, but if he could get the gas from there to my econo-box Buick – TA DA!!!! Light bulbs, and synapses were firing left and right, and BINGO! We have a winner!

So what happened? We exercised our faith by praying, and letting God handle our problem, and we exercised our brains by stepping back long enough to see what other options would work. Of course by the time it took to do all this, we would be way too late for church, but that’s alright, God is cool like that. He let us know that He is present in our lives right here at home, and always helps us when we need Him, which of course, is always.

Well – time to go check the Pumpkin Bread! Happy Processing!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

 

To Receive, Or Not to Receive – That Is The Question!

john-15-7

WOW! It has been a busy couple of weeks around the Bennett household! I have been wanting to post, and have had so many things on my mind that really needed to get out, but honestly, y’all don’t even know how jam-packed my brain has been, to the point where sleep is an issue, as is the idea of organized blog posts. What’s happening? In addition to one son and myself doing the whole college thing, my husband made the big decision to go back to school this semester, in an effort to get his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Technology! So exciting! I’m doing my best to help him out with all the enrollment paperwork, schedules, books, etc, and he’s really digging in and working hard already. That’s something I wish I’d had when I started college – Someone to give me a helping hand and point me in the right direction. Alas, I had to wing it and deal with the grumpy, overworked counselors at the college. Not so fun, and incredibly confusing. I personally think the enrollment process in college is designed to thin the herd. Only the strong survive the first two weeks – the rest are left to perish. There’s something wrong with that if you ask me!

But I digress! I wanted to talk to you today about getting what we want. My whole life, I’ve heard the bible verse Matthew 7:7, which states, “Ask and you shall receive” but most of my life, I’ve wondered why it is that I’ve asked, and yet haven’t always gotten what I’ve asked for. Why? Many people have asked the same questions; “What am I doing wrong? Why is God breaking His promises?” I’ve asked those questions, and I’ll bet you have too. So let me tell you what the Lord showed me. This is SO important, so PAY ATTENTION okay? John 15:7 says, “IF you abide in me, and (IF) my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”

So what happened here? “IF” happened, and trust me – IF is HUGE! Why? Because it means there are conditions to getting what we ask for. It’s a trust thing, and we have to hold up our end of the deal. Just like when we were kids – if we wanted our earthly parents to buy us something, we usually had to meet some criteria, such as chores, or homework, or good behavior, etc. In the same way, we need to keep our Heavenly Father’s word in our hearts, and live like we are actually in His family, and not just house guests who get spoiled and served without responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, house guests are great, but you wouldn’t give them a list of chores, now would you? No. You would show them hospitality and spoil them while they stay with you, because it’s a short time, and we are (usually) grateful for the short amount of time we are able to spend with them, yes? Okay. Now if they end up moving in, you would expect them to contribute in some way, and probably on a regular basis, would you not? After all – having people laying about your house, eating all your food and waiting on them hand and foot isn’t exactly a desirable long-term situation for the person doing all the work. Hence the term “house guest” – because they leave! Can I get an “Amen”?!

Back to the rules; as my pastor put it – rules exist for our protection and for our well-being. When you were a kid growing up, you would have eaten all the sugary food you could stand until you became ill, and would never get the proper nutrition your body needed to thrive. However, you probably had parents who made rules about the times you could have treats, what kind and how much. I have no doubt that it usually came after you had some type of nourishing meal. If that was not the case, then you may have bad eating habits now, and are certainly paying the price with your health. Personally, I was raised eating very unhealthy foods to excess, and as a result, I have a great deal of trouble losing weight and keeping it off. Why? Lack of rules. My mother also has a weight problem, as does my brother. Had I known as a young mom what I know now, I would have never allowed sugar in my home, much less in my children’s mouths. Fortunately, they are smarter than I was, and healthier as well.

Anyway – the point is – keep Gods word. Abide in his word, which as we mentioned in a previous post – means to live in His word, and keep it in your heart at all times. Be obedient. The Lord isn’t unreasonable, He just wants you to be safe happy, healthy, and that gives Him the ability to bless you. It’s good for you, I swear! Then – if you are keeping His word and his rules too – you will naturally ask for those things which are in line with His word/rules/will for your life and you will be blessed for it! I think sometimes people see this verse and think they should be able to ask for lottery winnings, or another man’s wife/another woman’s husband and they will get it. That is not the case. You can indeed ask anything and you will receive it – as long as you are actually asking for that which is in keeping with God and His word. If you’re not sure, search the bible! What does it say? Are your desires in line with Gods word? If not, chances are you won’t get that thing, or person, or if my some chance you do – you probably won’t be happy with it, so be careful.

I can tell you that since changing my way of thinking and making the effort – and honestly it’s not THAT hard to follow Gods word and keep His rules – my life has become much more blessed and less stressful – college-going husband and all. Is life going to be one big bowl of cherries? No. Don’t be silly. However – you’ll find that even when negative situations come up that seem like they are unmanageable, you will be able to ask God for His help, and he will always be there for you, in some pretty amazing ways. So – abide, abide, ABIDE in God’s word. Keep it in your heart, and let your mouth speak positive bible-based truths like; “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!” and you will find that you really can, because He really does!

God bless, and have a wonderful weekend!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

My Son Who Has Autism

​I have an 18 year old son with autism, who was mostly non-verbal until he was six, had sensory issues out the ying-yang, and could not…. would not…. go anywhere without specific items he “needed.”

Yesterday, I went to church with this boy, who willingly left his phone and headphones in the car two blocks away, and removed his favorite SF Giants hat upon entering the church, then kept it off the entire time. That never would have been the case a few ago! All of those things would have been a battle ending in frustration for all of us.

As he stood next to me singing hymns and Christmas songs along with me and the rest of the church – keeping time, carrying a tune, and missing not a single word – the enormity of his level of progress struck me so hard, I had to stop and collect myself before I could continue singing. Thank God I’d stuffed tissues in my sweater pocket before leaving, as most mothers are in the habit of doing regardless of how old our kids are.

The kid amazes me daily. This once non-verbal young man, now talks politics daily with his family, friends and teachers. He can do most everything on his own, he just forgets to do them. Is every day perfect? No. But who’s is? My menopausal self has more meltdowns than this kid! Very often, he does things for me out of the clear blue sky, just because he wants to help me out. 

One day, I’d gone grocery shopping and was in the process of putting everything away, with only the bag of sugar to transfer to its container in the cupboard, when I needed to take a bathroom break. When I came back, the sugar was in the container, in the cupboard, and the paper bag it came in was in the trash. My first reaction was to thank my husband for doing it, but he said he hadn’t. Our son said, “Oh. I did it because I wanted to help you.” You could have knocked me over with a feather! 

There have been other similar occasions where my kid just does something nice for me or his dad because he feels like it, and it always shocks me. Just last Friday, he surprised us by he using his own allowance money to buy his dad and I a snowcone after school. Nobody asked him to. In fact, we weren’t even with him when he did it on the way from the bus stop!

If you know anything about autistic people, then you know it’s uncommon for them to take another’s desires, comfort, wishes, or well-being into consideration, much less take action to propagate it on their own! 

To what do I attribute this amazing progress? 

  1. God and the power of prayer. 
  2. Parents and four older brothers who refused to treat this boy any differently than anyone else. 
  3. A lot of love and patience . 
  4. Wonderful teachers, speech therapists, and occupational therapists provided free-of-charge by the school district.
  5. The kid himself, for always trying so hard to meet all his goals. 
  6. Lots of patience and self-education on autism.
  7. Always telling him that autism is what he has, not what he is! 

              That’s very important!

If I could give other parents advice on coping with autism, it would be to follow the seven steps above, every single day no matter how hard it is. Whether or not it’s a good day is irrelevant. You don’t always have good days either, but isn’t it nice when people still treat you with love and compassion? Don’t forget that part of love is never giving up on them. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely always been worth it! 

God bless!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Past vs. Future

This morning, my youngest son and I went to church for the first time in a very long time. We – my husband, the kid, and I – usually read our bibles on our own at home, and share what we learn with one another, friends and family and vice versa. That’s all great, and I’m sure God doesn’t mind that, but I have really been feeling the need to actually go to church for quite some time now, but didn’t because the church I’d been going to contained an element that made me very uncomfortable. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, It’s been awhile.

Anyway… This morning, we went to a church recommended to me by a friend, who’s opinion and council I trust, and I was not disappointed! The church building and it’s parishioners were warm and welcoming, the music was really good, and the words projected onto a big screen on the wall, and the most important part – the message – was wonderful!

We heard about Jesus and how He came from God through the common people, Mary and Joseph, instead of the family of Herod, the Pharisees, the politicians, etc. The reason is – or should be – obvious. God was directly reaching out to the common person, aka; you and me! He gave us someone we could relate to! What a blessing!

Another thing I loved hearing today was in regards to the past vs. the future. There is a quote most people have heard at one time or other by George Santayana, who wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

While that may be true, I would like to suggest something I hadn’t thought of in a long time, and that we heard in church this morning.

Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So I leave you with this; Learn from your past mistakes so that you don’t repeat them, yes. But having done so, let them go, so you can focus on the future and what God has in store for you! Don’t hold onto that which you cannot change, because your past can also be an anchor that drags you down. God has good plans for you, so keep looking forward!

Praise The Lord!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

On Being Thankful – A Short Post

history_thanksgiving-aToday, being Thanksgiving, I wanted to say I am so thankful to God for always taking such good care of me and my family. If y’all only know the things that have happened this year, and how the Lord has brought us through it, you’d never doubt Him and His mercy!

I’m so thankful for each and every family member and friend who has stuck by me through every version of myself that even I didn’t know existed, good and bad! If there’s one thing the past eleven months have done, it’s to reinvent who I am and how I respond to hardship!

I’m also thankful for the time I’ve had to devote to writing my book. It’s been very productive, and I am looking forward to seeing it through to what I have faith will be a successful career of many years and many more novels! I do so love to write, after all!

Happy Thanksgiving & Many Blessings to all!

Who Are You, Anyway?!

best

We’ve all been there. We’ve all asked ourselves that eternal set of questions:

“Who am I?”

“What am I doing with my life?”

“What is my purpose?”

“Why am I here?”

For me, these past seven months have been a journey of redefining myself as a result of strictly imposed restrictions on what I used to believe I was. I was, a Behavior Specialist who was going to college to become a teacher. I was, but I’m not anymore.

Two things have been a constant in my life no matter what I thought I wanted to be, or what I became because of doors that opened – if only temporarily – and then closed again.

My faith in God

My love of writing

From the earliest part of my life that I’m able to remember, I have prayed daily, and I have been a writer. I can recall my five year old self – white ruffled baby-doll pajamas with little pink flowers that were all the rage for every little girl in the very early 1970’s, fuzzy pink slippers, kneeling at the side of my bed, to say my nightly prayers;

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord, my soul to keep.

If I should die, before I wake,

I pray the Lord, my soul to take.

I said that prayer every single night without fail, for I don’t know how many years. When I grew up and became an “official born-again Christian” – as some would say – I stopped one evening to question what that prayer really meant. It was a simple request of God:

Lord, if I live through the night, let me keep my soul. If I die, take it and protect it for me

Simple. Basic. Done.

Nowadays, my nightly prayers are much more complicated that that. I regularly thank the Lord for His love, blessings and mercy. I regularly pray for forgiveness; not just for me, but for my husband, and each of my now adult children, and even their significant others, because hey… when you’re in my family, you’re really in my family, whether or not we agree on politics or God. I pray for protection, guidance, healing, and then throw in whatever current issues I have for myself, and for any family members I’m concerned about. I ask the Lord to bless everyone who has blessed me and my family in any way, and I ask Him to allow us to be a blessing to Him, to each other, and others.

Very different set of prayers from childhood.

The other constant, is that no matter whatever else I thought I was or wanted to be, I have always been a writer. Always. I remember before I could actually read or write, I would take crayon to paper, make those little scribbly writing lines that every small child thinks is real writing just like mommy & daddy make on their paper, and I would “read” my scribble stories to my stuffed animals and dolls as they sat lined up against the wall on my bed, and listened astutely to my wonderful adventures.

As I grew older, and learned to read and write, I did both with a passion that even J.K. Rowling would be proud of! I couldn’t get enough of books! I read, and read. The most exciting time in my childhood was when the Bookmobile would come to my neighborhood. Lord, have mercy, but I would absolutely be beside myself with joy over the Bookmobile! My mother and I don’t have the greatest relationship on the planet, but one thing I will say is that she instilled a love of reading in me, and has always encouraged me to write. I have no idea why, because that’s really the only encouraging area she played in my life, but I’m thankful for it, and have told her as much. But I digress…

These days, I’ve been working on writing my books, and am still going to college, but have changed my major from History to Religious Studies – the two intertwine so closely that I’m actually ahead of the game for the change – because one thing that has become evident in recent months, is that the Lord wants me to go in the church direction, and has graciously allowed me the time to write as I’ve always wanted to. Win-win situation.

During the process of writing, I have been reading about other writers and the method to this madness of becoming a successful and published author. I’ve learned quite a lot from J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Earnest Hemingway, Henry David Thoreau, Elmore Leonard, Saul Bellow, and a host of other famous authors, but the single most important thing I have discovered on my own is this:

None of what they say actually has anything to do with how I write.

Hear me out –  I am completely a fan of several of the aforementioned authors and have nothing but respect for them and for their process of making great literature. They are the writers I look up to and I aspire to attain that level of success – sooner rather than later, God willing – but they are not me and I am not them. What one says to always do, another says to never do. One will tell you to always outline and have your plot and ending ready before you ever put pen to paper, while another will tell you to sit down and just start writing – plot be damned – it’ll work itself out in the rewriting and editing phase. One will say, “treat it like a regular job where you’re on the clock from 9 to 5“, while another will tell you to, “write anywhere, anytime, as long as you WRITE!”- I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea – and you know what? They’re all right! And they’re all wrong! Why? Because that’s what works for them! But it may not work for me. It may or may not work for you!

We are all writers, but we are all different.

“So what’s the point?”

The point is – you are an individual who was made to be something special, and it’s not up to any other human being to tell you who or what to be or how to be it. Sometimes in life, the road we think we were meant to travel suddenly forks, and the way you were going, now has an enormous roadblock. You will find yourself faced with having to go an entirely different direction than you the one you thought you were supposed to go, and it can be terrifying! Pray. Ask the Lord for guidance and direction. Ask Him what He created you to be, and then ask Him to help you to become the best version of that person that you can be!

“And if I don’t believe in God?” you ask?

Well then just be the best you that you can possibly be, make the best decisions you can, and don’t do harm to anyone. In the meantime, I’ll pray that you find God, because He already knows you, whether or not you know Him.

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

NOW GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING GOOD WITH YOURSELF!

On Writing, & That Which Is Temporary….

notesI won’t lie – the past few days have taken their toll on my writing. The election hype and the ensuing backlash have left me feeling exhausted, depressed, and utterly uninspired. I spent yesterday in tears for the most part, because of the emotional turmoil associated with family squabbles, which lead to my God & Family First  article.

That had me worried. I began to doubt every word I’d written up to that point and even questioned whether or not I should be writing at all! I quickly realized I was being a tad mellow-dramatic and duly chewed myself out for it.

See, I’m the person who’s always writing something, no matter what. If I don’t, I feel like I’m cheating somehow, when really – the only one being cheated is me, because I’m not doing what I love, which means I’m sacrificing my own happiness. That, in turn, causes more grief and sorrow, which turns into a vicious cycle, until guilt sets in. Guilt feeds into resentment, and well… Not cool.

Today, however, I went on a much needed grocery shopping excursion with my husband, Rob, who found loads of fun things to make! Now with a huge pot of organic chicken noodle soup simmering away on the stove, and a hot cup of Irish tea at my side, I find I am refreshed, and ready to take on the typewriter with renewed enthusiasm!

All things are temporary, whether good or bad, positive or negative. We must strive to keep going no matter what the situation looks like, because the world doesn’t stop turning. Life will go on whether or not we choose to participate in it, and if we don’t take an active part in our affairs, chances are, someone else will come along and determine them for us. Do you want that? Neither do i!

As mortal human beings, we only know what we see, hear, and feel. I find comfort in knowing that no matter what is going on in my life, God is always working behind the scenes. There are blessings in the works that I don’t even know about yet, but will when the time is right. When God decides the time is right.

And so, my dear friends, I leave you with this; 2nd Corinthians, 4: 16 – 18:Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Well…. As Rob says, “That book ain’t gonna write itself, ya know!” so back to work, I go!

writing