The Story Teller

Fascinating!  as I am working on my novel I am intrigued by the process.  As a voracious reader for my entire life, I am fascinated by being on the flip side of the coin.  The idea of creating something that I would like to read - so many fun parts to doing this! There are parts of the story that I am writing, while already knowing in advance how the story is going to end.  I know the plot, and I know the characters and how each will play their role through the story.  As I am working to write a scenario that will end up being unfinished as far as a particular relationship goes, I know it has to be unfinished because I know the end of the story.

As I sit back and think through the implications of this, I had the most impressive thought strike me that that is exactly what is going on in our own stories of our life.  We don’t see the end. We aren’t infinite.  The only point of view for our story is the moments that we are in right now and when things don’t turn out the way we expect them too we feel failure, pain, disappointment and even discouragement.

NEWSFLASH! But here’s the thing we don’t KNOW the end of our story.  We have no idea how the Divine Storyteller is currently weaving the story of our lives, and we don’t understand the plot twists.  We can’t understand because we haven’t seen the ending yet.  BUT HE HAS! And, even better, we are promised that He works all things for our good and for His glory.  Forgive me for having a moment here my friends, but I feel as if God has just given me a bit of insight into some of the things He’s working in my own story right now.

IMG_3948Many times I don’t understand the discouragement, the disappointment or the doubts - but I don’t know the ending.  Even better, I don’t have to know the ending, I just need to trust my StoryTeller and have faith that He is writing my story perfectly.

The Gift of Encouragement

I’ve had several blog posts rolling around my head for the last couple weeks but haven’t had opportunities to work through them yet. For one reason or another, I’ve been pulled in a myriad of directions, and have faced several distractions and even some discouragement. When the pressure is on there is nothing like a little encouragement that can really bolster our confidence. A word or two timed well infuses energy and life back into what could be a mundane task. This reminds me of one of my favorite word pictures in the Bible found in Proverbs 25:11.

proverbs_25_11I learned it in the KJV and I still think how beautifully poetic those words are especially when we employ them in our lives. Think how often someone says just something little to us that adds a little spring in our step - someone commented on my shirt the other day and said it was “so cute” I walked away after I said thank you and smiled. It was amazing what a lift to my spirit it was.

Now I know that part of it is that words of affirmation speak love to me. I love the books on the Love Languages by Gary Chapman - if you have never read them - you are missing out! Mine is easy to figure - words of affirmation - you tell me that I do something well, or that I am working hard - I feel love. If you tell me I’m not very good, or I can’t do something, etc. I get very discouraged quickly.

IMG_0251Words…such a small thing- but so mighty in the way we wield them around us. The book of Ephesians reminds us of this truth as well in chapter 4 verse 29.

The book of James extends the conversation about the power of the tongue and it's power to either enforce good or breakdown others for evil.  There are examples in our own lives that I am sure we can each think of that have meant so much to us at the time.

Sometimes we just need a boost to take the next step in the journey.

Who can we give that gift to today?


Chronicles & David's Mighty Men

In my Bible study this week, I came across a passage in Chronicles that was something I had already read earlier in the year. I read it because of the book by Mark Batterson who told the story of Benaiah in his book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. (Loved this book by the way, but that’s not the topic at hand!) CD2D0gEUEAEPfZvI am doing a chronological read through of the Bible this year and so my two assignments were 2 Samuel 5:1-10 and I Chronicles 11:1-12:40. I struggle with certain books of the Bible I’ll just be honest. Sometimes they are just long lists of names..generations of people who did good things, but on the page - it’s still a long list of hard to pronounce names. I love reading the books of the Bible that are rich with promises, or give me deep significant Spiritual truths for how to live my life, how to think, how to behave etc. In general, Chronicles just doesn’t usually seem to help me in this regard. Reading early in the morning has it’s benefits - it’s quiet, and it’s just me and my coffee and the sunrise…but this is challenging too if I’m really tired. Some mornings I really have to work to keep my eyes open. Yesterday was like that for me and I struggled.

As I have been working over the last three weeks on the “fear nots” of the Bible, I find myself looking for them everywhere and I had some serious doubts about finding them in yesterdays study. But God had nuggets for me yesterday, and I have marinated in them for more than 24 hours now. It started in verse 9 of I Chronicles 11, which by the way is almost exactly a word for word repeat of 2 Sam. 5:10. 2 Sam says “And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.”

I Chronicles is slightly different it reads “And David became greater and greater for the LORD of hosts was with him.”

The context for this verse is that David has just finished the long season of running for his life. His very survival, his very life, depended on living in caves, and being in hiding and even living with his enemy, the Philistines, for a time. But after Saul’s death, God’s promise that he (David) would be king was finally coming to pass and David was anointed as King by the elders of Israel. Immediately, he took over Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and He lived there in Jerusalem. The next verses detail how Joab was his chief right hand man, and that he repaired the rest of the city, and “David became greater and greater for the LORD of hosts was with him.”

My first take away was that while we may never understand God’s timing, we can always trust His promises. 0e13fa0e7b4613ab7f6f6d881ee2f7bcAnd second, if God is with us in any task we are undertaking, for His honor and His glory, He alone will make us greater so that we can fulfill His purposes in us.


But I’m not done yet, because that’s not the end of the verses, and I was done reading yet. (Plus I’m a preacher’s kid, I can’t be done yet right?)

The next few verses are labeled “David’s Mighty Men” - here we read of these men of valor who let nothing intimidate them or sway them from their course. They were courageous and full of integrity - the most trusted of David’s men. Their stories are amazing - they read more like fiction - Abishai fighting alone killed 300 men. Benaiah killing a lion with his bare hands, then killing an Egyptian man over 7 ft tall holding a spear while having no weapon of his own and more. I mean these guys threw caution to the wind because they believed in David, in God's hand of blessing on David, and in defending him and his kingdom.

Some great friends to have around you think?

The list is long - the rest of the verses to follow are filled with names of mighty men. I stopped though when my eyes hit a familiar name in the list. vs. 41 - Uriah the Hittite. If you have studied Scripture for awhile you’ve heard the stories of David - a man after God’s own heart, but he definitely had his faults and this one that involved Uriah’s wife was a big one. I knew Uriah was a soldier in the army, but here he is listed as one of David’s Mighty Men. Here Uriah was listed along with other these other names of David's Mighty Men.  It was important to God for us to know each of their names, and then in the verses to follow the tribes they each came from and how many there were. Some are listed as being able to shoot stones from a sling with either hand, or were experienced warriors, experts with shield and spear. The Gadites themselves were officers of the army it says in vs 14 of chapter 12 - “the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand” One man could battle a thousand? crazy odds in my mind to even think about! These men crossed the Jordan when it was overflowing its banks - another astonishing feat - and battled all enemies in the valleys both in the east and west.

So it made me sad to think that Uriah was one of these men that David so trusted and who obviously held David in such high regard - because I know how the story ends. I know that David falls in his sin, and Uriah is murdered because of it.

But God..

He already knew this part of the story too, and He continued to bless David because David is part of God’s story and was accomplishing His purpose in David for His glory. I again thought about how many times each of us mess up and we decide that there’s no use for us to continue to try. I can only imagine that David must have felt that God had made a mistake picking him for the job of King, but he continued to follow after God anyway. He confessed and forsook his sins, multiple times, and he faced his consequences. The Psalms are full of his words of repentance and praise for the everlasting love and mercy of our great God. How much more can we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, knowing that God sees us through the gift of redemption and Christ’s shed blood over our mess of sin.

I’m still not done though..God had something to tell us about unity in the body! It’s possible for large groups of men to be unified with the singular purpose of following after God and pursuing the job of accomplishing His plans!

vs 38 - "All these men of war arrayed in battle order, (there are literally tens of thousands of them - read it for yourself) came to Hebron with a whole heart to make David king over all Israel. Likewise, all the rest of Israel were of a single mind to make David king."

Thousands of men, warriors, came together with unity of purpose and singleness of heart to make David king. After all the days of hiding, and running David’s time of standing in the spotlight had finally come to pass. And God was in every detail - not just the promise that it would occur, but in the timing and the unity with which he was made King.0b69303ee675a157dfe33de3f7dec519


How does this passage speak to you? I would really love to hear your thoughts!

Best Laid Plans & the Moon

Sometimes the best laid plans really do go awry. 20 years ago, my husband had a perfectly orchestrated proposal planned out. He rented the convertible, planned the dinner and dessert, suggested the drive out to the beach for a walk and pre-recorded the midnight phone call for my very own cellphone.

It was all perfect, except for one small detail – me.

I’ve always kept him a little off kilter I think. I don’t think like he does, and I don’t look at things the way he does. So when he expected me to have my cellphone charged that night, I didn’t. Mistakenly, I assumed that since we would be together on our date that evening, it wouldn’t be necessary then to charge my phone since he was the only one who ever called me on it.

Of course, that threw a monkey wrench into everything.

I wasn’t really sure why he even rented a convertible on that April evening. It was still kind of cool in the evenings on those April nights in Pensacola and so while the top and windows were down, we had to blast the heat because I was so cold!

moon-1289674_1280He also kept acting strange all night. He kept asking why I hadn’t charged my phone and how much battery did it have left. I had almost left it at home that night – again he was the only one that called me on it – but I kept flipping it open and telling him –it’s got 10%, it’s got 5% etc. We were out walking on the beach when it finally died. He asked if it had any battery left and I said no. So we sat down on the sand and looked out at the sky. It was a beautiful night and the moon was beautiful. He started talking about the moon and how round it was and he ended up just winging his proposal and I remember being shocked and excited all at one time. He give me the ring and I said yes -  but I had literally no idea what I had put him through.   I had no idea how I had messed up his plans by letting my phone go dead.

We sure have laughed about this through the years – the reality is I wouldn’t change a thing! 20 years later it’s still a precious memory and I have loved reminiscing about it all day today!  And as Paul Harvey used to say "and now you have the rest of the story!"IMG_0245

Life Lessons in Perseverance

One of the life lessons I think is so important to our youth and to many young adults today has to be perseverance. I had almost decided against actually defining the word for y'all, but I like it too much so here it is - "perseverance - steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success".  I think almost any challenge in our lives can be managed through perseverance. Yet it’s not a natural quality. We are not naturally born with the gift of perseverance.  It’s not even really encouraged in our society anymore. But in spite of this, the old adage attributed to Andrew Carnegie "anything worth having is worth working for" is true. If it was easy everyone would do it.  More and more though, I find that people aren’t willing to put in the extra effort when things get tough. Perseverance is not gained by walking down an easy road. Only when we come across some kind of adversity or obstacle can we really learn how to persevere. This lesson is never learned beforehand either, it’s always learned in the middle of the "doing". Sometimes in this regard, I think we play too much to our kids natural strengths and allow them to do those things that are easy for them because of natural ability. But there will still come a time when they discover that this thing they want to do will require work. And when that day comes, things start to get difficult and then they want to quit.

As you might imagine this happens in the music studio a lot. Students come for singing lessons because they love to sing to the radio, at church or just in general. What they don’t count on is the amount of work it takes to really work and develop their instrument - their voice.

  • It takes work to breathe correctly, to enunciate words, and to communicate the words with attention to phrasing.
  • It takes work to color their phrases with dynamic contrast and accents on the right words.
  • It takes work to count out beats and plan their breathing for their entrances and exits.
  • It takes work to learn a song in a genre they are unfamiliar with or dislike.

So naturally a little while into voice lessons, their gets to be a lag. They need persistence to push themselves to excel and to get to the next level.

This lesson was very apparent with even my own child. When she first started to play the piano, she did really well, just like most other students seem to do. Of course, the inevitable plateau occurs and she began to feel like she wasn’t good at the piano because she had to work at it. Where does this idea come from? Is our society so programmed to believe that unless it comes easily, we aren’t any good and shouldn’t work at it? Needless to see I could see she needed lessons in perseverance. She also needed a new teacher - but that’s another whole blog post of its own!

image1This isn’t just a problem with our children though, it’s even something we adults encounter frequently. Not too long ago, as I was working on finishing my very first book proposal, I looked at my husband and said “This is hard work!” His instant reply “Well if it was easy, I guess everybody would be doing it!” And it’s true - the things that we really want most in life, whatever they may be, will require effort, and desire, and a whole lot of perseverance. But the desire accomplished is SWEET to the soul - even Proverbs validates this. The things we appreciate the most, are the things we have worked the hardest for.


Don’t give up.

Don’t quit.

Stay the Course.

Enjoy the sweet taste of victory!