Sunday, August 13, 2017


Years ago, exactly one month before my birthday, I had to borrow my husband's car. I was having lunch with one of my editors in downtown Nashville.  I don't remember WHY I was using his car, and he was using mine that day.   Because I am significantly shorter than my husband, when I got in the driver's seat I had to pull it forward all the way so that I could reach the peddles.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I glanced in the car as I locked it and saw a white box.  About the size of a box you might put your wife's birthday gift in.  It must have been hidden under the driver's seat and when I pulled it forward, it was uncovered.

The right thing to do would have been to ignore the box. The wrong thing to do would have been to unlock the car, grab the box, open it, and see a necklace inside that I had been looking at every time we went to the mall. The really evil thing to do would be to take the necklace out, and wear it. 

I did the wrong and evil thing. I am ashamed.  
My friend looked at me in disbelief. 
What can I say?

On the way home, I called my husband to tell him I was on my way home. I started to talk about my birthday and how excited I was that it was just a month away.  He said, "You found the necklace, didn't you? I thought about it being there after you left.  I forgot to take it out."

I confessed to finding it and to wearing it. 

When I got home that day, he went out to the car and retrieved it from where I had tried to re-hide it.  
He handed it to me and said,  
"Happy Birthday"... but it wasn't the same.  I have no idea what plans he had in his heart for that gift to be given to me.  I have no idea what he wanted to say when he gave it to me.   I will never know. Never know what might have been if I had just waited for Phil's plan to unfold.  Every time I wear that necklace I remember how I messed up the love behind it by being impatient.  I still got the necklace, but not the way Phil wanted me to have it.

Psalm 106 talks about God's chosen people.  It talks about the amazing things He did for them.  And it speaks about how they "soon forgot what he had done and DID NOT WAIT FOR HIS PLAN TO UNFOLD." (v. 13). 

I want mostly good things in life.  I want good everything.  And when something isn't perfect, I get impatient waiting for the gift of God's mercy and grace and kindness to me.  When something is bad, or difficult,or crushing me... I want to help God.  I take matters in to my own hands. 
Forgetting that God has a plan. God has The Plan.
And sometimes I have to WAIT for it.

Psalms 106 and 107 talk about people who find themselves in messes.
People who took things in to their own hands.
People who did not WAIT to see God's plan unfold.
In fear or frustration they did what they thought should be done.

Even so, there is hope for those of us who do not wait.  Those of us who mess up The Plan.  It happens if we humble ourselves and CRY OUT TO HIM. "GOD, HELP!! HELP!!" 

He hears. He helps.  He rescues.  He loves. We may ignore His promises to us.  But He never does.

"He took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented."
Psalm 106:44-45

Monday, August 7, 2017


A long time ago a friend of mine was talking to me about my dream of being a writer. 
He said something that hit me between the eyes. He said, “You know, the world is filled with two kinds of writers: Writers who talk about writing, and writers who write!” He was inferring that I was the first kind of writer. A writer who talked about writing without actually writing anything. He was right. That’s who I was. I’m sure he didn’t realize at the time time that his words so annoyed me, that his words so identified and exposed me and my lazy dreaming, that I became a writer who wrote. I just wrote and wrote and wrote. And when an editor asked to see something I had written (Thanks, Wanda) I had something to show. And because of that I became a writer who was published. (Thanks again, Ivey.) And then I became a writer who wrote a book. And now I am a writer who has a major publisher releasing that book in the Spring of 2018. Hooray. It’s funny how God opens doors when we do what we are called to do. True, I have not won the Nobel Prize for writing and have not been on any Best Sellers list. (yet). But I am a writer. Thank God for friends who spur us on to good works. Thank God for my friend who challenged me.

I have learned something else about writing. It is more than simply getting an inspired idea. It is more than having five hundred catchy (at least I think they are) titles for possible books and articles and songs. Writing involves FINISHING the creation you STARTED.

FINISHING is the real work of writing. I have scores of songs (pardon the pun) that are not finished, and therefore no one has ever heard them. In order for you to hear a song I’ve written, I have to FINISH the song. In order for you to read a book I’ve written, I have to FINISH the book. In order to see a painting a painter has painted means the painting was FINISHED. A twist on my friend’s sentence to me might be “There are two kinds of writers: Writers who begin and don’t finish, and writers who write and won’t stop until they are FINISHED.” Beginning is easy. Finishing is hard.

The Bible refers to Jesus as an Author. Well, not just AN author, but THE Author. The Author of our Faith. We have a NEW life because of Jesus. We are NEW CREATIONS. What we have become has not existed until Jesus put life in to us, breathed His Spirit in to dead, dry bones. In this life with Jesus, beginning is easy. To us it can seem like FINISHING is hard. We don’t know if we have the strength, or the faith, or the will to endure. FINISHING is the whole point. Getting HOME. OVERCOMING. It’s exhausting at times. We toy with the idea of simply giving up. It’s because we think we have to finish the story in our own power, by our own strength, in our own wisdom. But wait! Wait! Hold on!!Hebrews 12:2 tells that Jesus is not only the AUTHOR of our faith, but the FINISHER. He finishes every new creation He begins.
THE FINISHER is at the right hand of The Father. He is interceding. He has shared every victory with you.  He has already OVERCOME the world. Relax. You can cast ALL your cares on Him, because HE CARES FOR YOU. Relax. Jesus never starts something He doesn’t finish. He finished His work on the Cross. He said, “It is FINISHED.” And you? And me? We may give up on ourselves, but REMEMBER THIS: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

The FINISH line is in sight whenever I keep my eyes focused on the Finisher.