Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Throughout the month of June, Facebook kept sending me “memories” from 2012 and 2013, when our area in Colorado was swept with devastating fires. It reminded me of how awful those summers were, with evacuations and fear and horrible ash-filled air and hundreds of homes destroyed and even some fatalities.
I remember struggling with work, and feeling emotionally hijacked, and completely drained during those weeks. My husband was off fighting the fires and I was in charge of the homefront, packing up for possible evacuation, while trying really hard to keep up with my work.
My work is so meaningful to me. Working with authors and helping them to bring their messages and stories to readers is, I think, important. Literature, information, the flow of ideas, contributing to our cultural conversation, these are valuable to our culture and society. I enjoy having a part in it.
But those weeks, when fear and uncertainty were all around, and we witnessed things we’d never expected to see… those weeks I had a really hard time concentrating on my work. As important as it is to live up to my responsibility to my authors, I had to take some time off.
I kept telling myself I should be able to get more work done. But I bumped up against my very human weakness, and had to admit I had limits, and that sometimes, things just don’t go according to plan. It is humbling, to say the least.
So let’s talk about that.
Have you experienced times like this — times when, despite your best efforts, you just couldn’t get anything done? Times when you thought you should be able to “rise above” and yet you found it impossible? What was that like? Did you learn anything?
Central Idaho had a summer like this last year, the uncertainty was awful. But I have times like you describe, when I just can’t rise and get things done. One is how I realize I’ve stepped away from the Lord, an easy enough fix; climb back into the Word. The other is when The Black Dragon comes calling. This one, the all-consuming, oh but I wish I were dead, depression, is a bit harder to tackle. (And no, praying harder, or being more Christ-like isn’t the answer for me, in spite of the many sermons I’ve heard saying otherwise.) Some times, no, most of the time, this involves medication. And counseling. And Celebrate Recovery. And talking about it. What have I learned? That I am not alone, physically, here on earth in this journey. And that being willing to talk about it, not only helps my mind, I’ve had a time or two where being willing to talk about it actually saved another person’s life, or stopped them from taking their own life. In the end, I have come to understand, depression doesn’t have to rule my life, and that openers benifits more than just myself.
Openly benefits my life. ( I hate texting, blah!)
There’s so much strength in your words, MacKenzie. I want to be you when I grow up.
Aw, bless you, Andrew, and Thank you. I’ve said the same thing about you several times.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
I’m am certain that for a few years, The Black Dragon wore a shirt with my picture on it, with a caption that said “this one is mine, allll mine”.
Nope, all the praying in the world didn’t help. Or aiming to be Christ-like. Or the bloggers who said to pray harder “because, you *want* to be healed, don’t you?”. There’s a certain Famous Christian Bloggerchick who, if I meet her, I will not restrain my thoughts on that particularly screwed up school of thought.
Meds are a gift. They saved me. So did the love of my husband and my friends. And it slayed me to find out how many of my mom friends lived in Dragonland!!!
I can pretty much keep a lid on everything, but my reactions to The Black Dragon’s Self-Righteous Minions will not be reined in.
(So, Jennifer, tell us how you really feel…).
Well-said, Jennifer. I was often told to ‘pray with deeper and more passionate faith’, but the advice was based on the wrong premise. Jesus’ ‘faith of a mustard seed’ was not meant to show how easy things can be; it was intended to highlight that even a mustard seed has more faith that we do.
Thank you, Jennifer! Well said. In an effort to wrap your mind, (and if you’re like me in those moments, I’m using the word ‘mind’ loosely), around the word depression, did you name
your Dragon? Mine’s Karshi Kalhad, K-2, for short. That’s what it took for me to be able to go from “on the defense to on the offense,” to begin to form some sort
of plan of recovery.
In my case, God healed me, in a 2 and half hour war between Satan and I, with me caught squarely in the middle. I physically ached for days afterward, but my Spirit, oh, my Spirit was set free.
I’m grateful every single day for that/this healing gift, and I must tell the story, I can’t keep quiet.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for your thoughts, MacKenzie. I like your ideas about not being alone, and being willing to talk about it.
MacKenzie, thank you for your openness about the depression you’ve experienced. I’ve been diagnosed with seasonal depression (winter is hard for me), and medication was prescribed. I don’t take it; I suppose pride gets in the way, because I keep thinking I “should be able to do this on my own”. But after talking with a friend who suffers from bouts with depression, and after reading the comments here, particularly yours and Jennifer’s, I guess I should ask God for an “attitude adjustment”. Thanks very much for your honesty.
I’ve experienced emotionally draining times. Each time my husband has had major surgery and long recoveries, I’ve been drained. I won’t list all the events that knocked me down emotionally, but I had to step back and sit at Jesus’ feet. Reading my Bible and praying got me through these times. I also keep a journal. I love to periodically go through it and remember how faithful God is.
Thanks for sharing. We all have limits, and even Jesus in human form disappeared for time alone with the Father. How did you spend your time off?
Thanks for sharing, Jackie. Sounds like you’re well-prepared for any future down-times! I think I spent my time off in much the same way you did.
Jackie, you are so right about the redemptive qualities of keeping a journal. The word catharsis comes to mind. And although I can’t site where, somewhere in the Bible is the line, “When you see your enemy, call it by name.” I’ve always liked the idea of this, for in the search for identification, some of our firmly held thoughts and feelings come to the surface to lose their iron grip and can therefore be diffused, once we see them for what they really are.
This is my life right now! I feel like I should be able to write blog posts a few weeks out and stay at least a week ahead on my podcast. But I’m parenting small kids alone, so nothing about life is ideal or goes as it should! My friends and family keep encouraging me that this is a season. They won’t be this little and demanding of my energy forever. So now I’ve delegated some of the podcast work and my book proposal is finished, so I will have more time and energy for being a mom and staying ahead on the blog.
*Speaking of the proposal, I’m pitching at a conference this week. Pray for me: I’m so nervous!
I’m sure Moses was nervous too, when he told Pharaoh to “Let my people go.” You are in good company, Becky.
*Lord God, prepare the way for Becky. Your will be done. Amen.
Yes, thank you!
Becky, parenting alone takes a lot of energy and grace for yourself. I know what you mean about life circumstances being ideal or going as we expect. 🙂 My hubs travels, and when he does, I not only need to deal with the external life stuff, but also with precious hearts working through the uncertainty of our family being physically separated.
*You are a wise woman to spend focused time with your kiddos.
*I’ll pray for you today.
I’ll be praying for you, Becky. You have the talent and the message to help so many people with your words!
Thanks for your constant encouragement, Andrew.
I’ve noticed a connection between my feelings about my day job and my ability to concentrate on my writing. Increasing stress at work, and I’m OK to a point. But I can’t sustain both–I either need a “mental health day” off work, or a couple nights off writing. Since my job pays the bills, it’s the writing that usually takes the hit.
Shirlee, thanks for sharing about noticing a connection between your feelings about your day job and your writing.
*When I told a pastor/counselor how much I like writing, and that people tell me I have a “gift for writing” he told me to find a way to bring writing more in my life. I know I need to do that, but frustration/discontent with my day job drains my spirit. I thought I was the only person whose feelings about my job affected my writing. I know I need to find a way to solve this, but for now, thanks for being open about your experience.
Peggy, Have you tried journaling? Putting your thoughts and feelings on a page could be a good starting point for you.
There have been a couple stressful seasons in my “writing life” where I had to step away from the computer and also my critique group. Lack of time, poor concentration and a need for one less obligation made it necessary to take stock of what was most important at the time. I eventually rejoined my critique group and by the time I felt ready to focus on my own writing, several new ideas had emerged to make the story stronger than ever.
*Perhaps I experienced a storm before the calm.
A storm before the calm! Nice.
Kristen Joy Wilks
A new baby in the house means that work is impossible. And that is OK. When each of my 3 sons was born, I took 2 months off writing every time. I would concentrate on my new baby, and simply read some good books, fiction and books on writing, until he was sleeping through the night and I could write again. Then I’d be able to get back on my schedule of waking up early early in the morning to write…because I was able to sleep.
After tearing my ACL earlier this year, and then undergoing surgery to reconstruct it, my life slowed to a snail’s crawl. All my normal routines went out the window because I simply had to be off my feet. Getting back into an active life and writing routine has been far more difficult than I expected. Real life keeps throwing curve balls into my plans.
*I have worked through some internal issues, as well, which is slowing me down as far as productivity in my writing life. I’m not happy to be where I am, but I keep coming back to the truth that God knows the timing for each step on this journey. I need to do the work, but I need to trust His plans as well. Not easy for this “Get-‘er-done” gal.
Real life keeps interfering … yes. I keep feeling that, too, Jeanne.
Kind of an apropos topic for me, Rachelle, as I’m there now. Life has put some limits on me that I can’t get past, and trying only makes it worse. Can’t dress or bathe without help, and food comes out of a bag or at best the microwave. Just that list takes most days’ energy reserve, and monitoring the dogs uses up the rest. In between times I am forced to rest.
* It’s hard to cope with it, especially for a Type-A-Alpha, but there’s no choice.I try to keep a positive view of things:
1) Stay connected – Even though writing’s hard, and my blog participation is severely curtailed by how long it takes to think through a comment and then type it, I still do try to remain part of the online community. There are no physically present friends, since my ability to carry on a conversation just isn’t there, and that’s an issue even in my marriage – Barbara thinks and speaks quickly, and I can’t keep up. we generally do most of the communication through email.
2) Positive input – I try to confine my reading list to books that are uplifting, and that give me hope for better days to come. I can’t fly or meaningfully work upon aeroplanes, but I can read about it, and keep the bits I was working on at hand against the day that I hope will come, the day the chains are cut away.
3) Tuning out the negative in myself – Keeping unfinished bits of aeroplane around can be depressing, since a part of me is saying, What’s The Use, You”ll Never Be That Person Again. Unfinished MS’s are the same way, though not quite so physically obtrusive. It’s an exhausting exercise to overcome that, some days, and it has to be approached intentionally through positive action; making the decision to go into the MS and write a few paragraphs, however poor their quality and however it feels that the work can never be completed. It’s all about setting a goal I can achieve, to fuel a feeling of success, however dim that flame may glow.
4) Tuning out negative messages – One of the most common and corrosive messages I hear (personally, not in this community) is that I should accept the narrowing of my world, and look to an ever more constrained future by intentionally giving up on the things I’ll not accomplish. Though the advice is well-meant (though not completely altruistic) to follow it would be the kiss of death for any hope I still nurture. First, it’s already painfully obvious that the walls are closing in; I’m not in denial. Second, when someone is metaphorically trying to prise your fingers from the edge of the windswept ledge to which you’re clinging, it makes you feel like even the small effort you can make isn’t appreciated. To put it mildly. It’s not easy, but I have to use the anger and dismay that these folks inculcate in my heart as a source of defiant energy, and give them a one-fingered salute.
5) Avoiding anthems – I used to love Mandisa’s “Overcomer”, but I can’t identify with that now. Hearing it makes me cynical, and cynical is not the doppelganger of survival.
6) The Eternal Perspective – I firmly believe that the Almighty will save up the work we’ve attempted but left undone, and we’ll find it waiting once we’re across the Rainbow Bridge. But this time we’ll have the resources to complete it, and more importantly we’ll see WHY it played a role in our lives, and in God’s plan.
* Sorry for the length of the comment, and I hope it’s coherent. I will not share how long this took to write (you wouldn’t believe it; I don’t!), and I’m just going to SUBMIT the thing without more than a cursory glance. I’m all in.
I love your list, Andrew. Stay connected … yes. It’s tempting to hide when things you don’t like keep seeking you.
Excellent list. It’s so important to know what is encouraging and what is not helpful to each of us, individually. Boundaries are good.
Fantastic strategies, Andrew, and I love how you acknowledge right up front that there are limits we can’t get past, and trying only makes it worse. I appreciate your helpful input here.
Andrew, I have a word for you: hanging on is not the same thing as hung out to dry.
*I hope this makes sense and that you take comfort in it.
Absolutely right, Lara. Thank you!
Andrew, thanks for your list. Reading #6 The Eternal Perspective, brought tears to my eyes, as well as hope to my heart.
Janet Ann Collins
Andrew, it would only take a few clicks to copy and paste each of your messages here into a single document. You could do the same with your blog posts. Eventually you’d have the first draft of two books. Maybe someone else can edit them for you in the future.
I’m going through a bit of that now. I try to remember that persistence at asking God to guide my path will make a difference. I’m a pretty persistent person on things that matter to me. And I can’t give up … I have to keep asking God. I can’t rely on myself, which is tempting. Because every time I get stuck, He always comes through. He’ll come through now. And sometimes I’ve learned that it takes clearing my mind of other things … and focusing solely on this one thing … in order to move forward.
*Clear your mind, Shelli. Clear your mind. Focus. 🙂
Do the thing that is immediately before you – great thought, Shelli!
I’ve been in a minor spell of this lately. Our youngest son is at Navy boot camp, and we’re officially empty nesters. While we are absolutely thrilled that all of our children are making their way in this world as adults, there is a bit of a grieving process – not just missing the kids, but leaving a fun and chaotic and delightful phase of life. Add to that the uncertainty due to a lack of communication with our youngest (as it should be in boot camp!), and I’m feeling a bit…distracted…addlepated…obsessively following Navy Mom Facebook groups when I should be WRITING. I’m being kind to myself, telling myself this too shall pass and I’ll get my brain back and adjust to our new life. In the meantime…trying to do a little bit of something meaningful every day.
Sarah, actually you’re SUPPOSED to be following Navy Mom FB groups rather than writing.
* Grief, passages, and loss have to be honoured exactly the way you’re doing it, with intention and kindness toward yourself.
Mary R. P. Schutter
Great advice, Andrew. Right on target.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
I understand the grieving process. No one tells Moms that although their job is to raise good kids, that the good kids actually go off and do good stuff, and we’re the last person to be able to let them go.
Right before Oldest Son left home, I sobbed, like, SOBBED, for three straight days.
Did I mention we had 5 days’ warning that he was leaving? I was blissed for 2 days, then the sobbing commenced.
Kathy Boyd Fellure gave me brilliant advice, “cry in the shower”. So I took very long showers for those 3 days!!
Nope, I won’t say where he is (so don’t bother asking, she said in the nicest voice possible), but I will say he’s living his dreams.
Praying for you, Sarah. My daughter will be going to college close to home, but I feel empty every time my two girls leave in a car together. And I pray for their safety. And I want to be in the backseat, ensuring they return home safely. I can’t imagine what you are going through. To be so proud … but to be so empty-feeling at the same time. Missing. Missing our babies.
Jennifer Zarifeh Major
There are days when I’m Mary Poppins.
And there are days when I’m a pile of coal dust.
“Zombie coal dust”, the least effective matter existing on Earth.
Right now, I’m feeling all “Heyyyy, you rock!” because it’s 12:21pm and I’ve had a shower and eaten blunch.
Blunch is the less glamorous form of brunch.
Bring on the stickers for my Awesome Chart.
After my trip (hosted by Trip Fairies, otherwise forget an Alaskan cruise in July. HA!) I was exhausted. I’d crossed 5 time zones and was expected to function when I got home? I think not!
And?? I had to make my own bed???
But in fact, I am 53 and I am NOT the kid I used to be. Travelling with my daughter taught me that. I might be the seasoned traveler giving out the advice, but she had the energy.
Add to that some writing path decisions I had to make, and I’m all “where is my BLANKY!?”
Once a trusted friend had a chat with me that included the concepts of “full plates” and “spinning out of my control”, I did the brave thing and had a chat with my beloved agent. The cool thing, one of many, about having an Christ-following agent AND a team of Godly friends, is that we know that God is walking point for us, He is the leader, we are the followers. Nothing I can do will mess up His plan for me.
So, back I step and it’s time to just be.
Whether or not I could rise above it, I didn’t need to.
I’ve also taken up the challenge of several writer friends and I’m writing a modern rom/com novella purely for the fun of it.
Pure, un-restrained Jennifer snark.
Set on a cruise ship.
With an athletic single girl who thinks she’s too curvy, because her mother told her she was, and the reluctant star of Argentine telenovela (Latin American soap operas) who just wants to hide from the millions of screaming females.
When he calls Isabella the very hated child-hood nickname “Isabeluga” he crushes her, and sets off the fireworks that may or may not end in a very quick and happy marriage on board the ship.
If it NEVER sees the light of day, its a mental and technical vacation. And it is FUN to use words and attitudes not at home in historical fiction. I mean, I cannot lay down the heroine’s threat of a very intended Charlie horse to a rugby opponent in 1894.
I may not be ‘getting much done’, but I’m doing much in the way of refreshing me.
And grown-ups neeeeeed to learn how to shut the world of and PLAY.
Most kids don’t go to bed on summer nights worrying about tomorrow, they go to bed tired and content.
If you can? Be a kid.
“Be a kid” … that’s what I want for the remainder of my summer. 🙂
Thank you for this post, Rachelle. I recently stepped away from a ministry team I’ve been a part of for three years because I felt God was leading me in a different direction where I needed to dedicate my time. In addition, I have a daughter getting married in two months and a mother fighting Alzheimer’s and I want to be there for them. Because the ministry team was an important endeavor that related to my platform, it was difficult for me to understand God’s plan that I step away. But I continue to find affirmation in His guiding me to do so. I have limitations. I was being distracted by the ministry team and not able to do other work God has called me to do. I’m now finding peace in letting go of a time-consuming ministry.
It’s so hard to bump up against limitations when the thing we want to do is something GOOD! I hear you. Glad you’re finding peace.
Hi Rachelle. I had such a time last year. My father passed away in December of 2013. I quickly finished up my final round of edits on the book I was then working on and flew across the country to see family and attend his memorial service. I came back in early 2014 and dove straight into the next novel I was contracted to write, because it had a deadline and I take a long time to write a book and I tend to be responsible when it comes to my commitments. But I didn’t really take the time to mourn my father’s passing. I buried myself in the writing. In a year’s time I finished the book and met my deadline and then dove straight into writing the next book (not contracted but I had hopes it would be) because I take a long time to write a book and I wanted to be ready if/when a contract was offered, to be a little ahead of things. And in two months time I had nothing left to give. I was burnt out physically and creatively. It took a frustrating while to figure this out, to have a needful talk with my agent, and come to a plan to deal with this. I ended up taking the summer of 2015 off writing, aside from the editing I was contracted to do. That was not easy to do, to ignore that driving, urgent, inner voice that said I had to keep producing, or I would fall hopelessly behind. I was risking too much. I needed to do, and do more, and more. But I just couldn’t do anymore. I took the time to connect with people and relationships I had been neglecting because I tend to be responsible when it comes to writing commitments and I take a very very long time to write a book and I had let that master me; it hadn’t left any down time to have much of a life outside of writing for a couple of years, including vacations, so I had sacrificed too much to it. Now I’m contracted again and writing again, but the landscape of my life is much broader than being a writer. I’m also a friend, a volunteer on Fridays and some weekends, a baker, a photographer, a traveler, and someone who will take a Saturday off to be with people or go with my husband on a wilderness trek. I’m a person who won’t rush home from a church service anymore without talking to anyone because I’m exhausted and need to get up early to write again the next day. I have found a balance that, God willing, will carry me through the long term. Was it humbling to run smack up against the brick wall of my limits? It was and still is. But it is also one of the best things that could have happened to me. God has enriched my life and spirit through the people I’ve met, the relationships new and old strengthened with a little nurturing, the other creative passions I’ve discovered. I could go on and on. Writing hasn’t been easy (I’ll be honest) even these past few months since I started again. I’m still on this journey. God is bringing me through this “new thing” and sometimes new things are awkward and messy and sometimes we stumble in them. But He is with us in them always and I know He’s got this. Just like He has all of you in whatever season of limits you might be facing. He will open the path before you to unexpected places.
Thank you, Lori.
Wow, that’s a powerful story, Lori. I’m so glad you eventually took the break your spirit desperately needed. So sorry on the loss of your father. We can’t underestimate how deeply these losses affect us.
This is pretty much my life. Between autism, Alzheimer’s and prodigals, things just don’t go as planned. It’s hard to go with the flow but sometimes, you just have to. And sometimes, He carries you because you can’t take one more step. Humbling, indeed.
Sounds like a heavy load, Karla. Bless you.
I have learned to cut myself some slack in the hard times. To be as kind to myself as I would be to someone else. My daily word count isn’t etched in stone, so during a particularly difficult time, it dwindled to 250. At least I kept my fingers in the mix. I took a break from monthly obligations, begged off for a season and was rewarded with compassion from others who totally understood. Through all this, I learned that we (self-motivated isolationists also known as writers) usually treat others better than we treat ourselves. Not exactly a good thing.
You’ve hit on something really important – the fact that others will most likely understand when we need a break to renew our spirits. I’m so glad you found the compassion you needed.
Loved this, Davalynn. Thanks for the reminder that others will show compassion when we need it.
I faced that with the death of my husband Al in February of this year. And I’m not back to “full speed” yet. What I’ve learned is to decide what the most important next task is, and focus on it. If the most important thing gets done, leaving many other things undone will be less disruptive. Just focus on doing the next most important thing and let God handle the rest. He remembers that we are human even if some other humans don’t!
I’m so sorry about your husband.
So sorry about your loss, Carol. Sounds like you’ve hit on the only really workable approach – just do the next thing. And trusting God!
Good for you for doing the next thing. If I learned anything when I lost my husband, it was that there’s no way that you “should” handle it. There are no time restraints on feeling “normal” again. We each have our own journey. Hugs.
Becky, I love your advice on time restraints.
Lara, it makes me cringe every time I hear some one say “I should be over this by now” or “I should be able to handle this after x months.” It takes how long it takes.
Becky, I can’t speak to your situation, but I do have intimate experience with combat trauma.
* You don’t ‘get over it’. You just DON’T. Maybe you can function, hopefully you can contribute to society (and yeah, I did go bush for a bit), but this is not a bruise. It’s a laceration or amputation.
* Those who say ‘get over it’ are, pardon me, metaphorically doing something so anatomically unlikely that the lump in their throat is their nose. Pay them no heed, for they deserve none.
Andrew you’re exactly right. Healing from any kind of trauma never results in you getting out back together in exactly the same way. The pieces don’t fit together in that way any more. It’s a matter of figuring out how to be a different kind of whole.
I’m so sorry, Carol. I’ll be praying for you today. Thank you for the reminder that, sometimes, we just need to do the next important thing.
I’m so sorry for your loss. You’re right, we are human. And God will handle the rest for you. Take care.
It can be numbing. The fog makes it hard to think. For the past year, I’ve been in the middle of familial circumstances that have drained me. My son sent me a text earlier this summer that said he was worried about me. That made me take notice. I spent the following week with one new meditative practice, I decided to do a prayer of only speaking Jesus’ name for 20 min./ day in addition to my regular personal quiet times. By the end of the week,
the cares had lifted and I felt reenergized. God makes a way. We’re human, the emotional impact caused by life happenings is something we should validate in each other.
When you reach your limits, and help is offered, never be too proud to accept. Not all help comes with a quid pro quo, and when you take someone’s hand that they can pull you forward…you’re allowing them to be the Hand of Christ.
* Not for nothing did He say that wherever two or more hang out in His Name, He’s chillin’ with them.
That’s my norm any more, not being able to get things done. Or, more precisely, getting things done but not seeing a dent in the to-do list as new things come up faster than old things are completed. My 91 year old mother-in-law came to live with us a year ago and, seeing as my wife doesn’t seem able to be her care giver, it’s mainly falling on me. My wife also needs some care as well. So as chief cook and bottle washer, building super, and sole income earner, I haven’t found time to write in more than a year—one short story and a couple of haiku being the only exceptions. I don’t see that changing any time soon. I thought I was catching up, till that large translucent window in the master bathroom shattered. One more thing to deal with.
But the good news is I’ve taken a new approach to promoting my books. Contacted an influencer yesterday about one of my books, and looks like he bought it (according to my Amazon stats pages). That’s the good news. The bad news is that a single sale is still something to cheer about.
David, for what it’s worth, I had a single-sale moment awhile back…a guy bought BPH for a friend who was a combat veteran, and I learned later that this particular veteran, on reading the book, choose NOT to be among the 23 veterans who kill themselves each day.
* It’s not the Butterfly Effect, and it’s not necessarily a God Thing. It’s just that we do our best, and sometimes our best is far more than we could have dreamed.
* And we may never know about it, at least in this life.
Janet Ann Collins
That’s wonderful news, Andrew. I’ve recently learned that one of my articles in the local paper helped someone a lot. Things like that are why I never want to stop writing.
Janet Ann Collins
I don’t like to post personal things on the internet, but while dealing with the terminal illness and death of a close family member, followed by my own diagnosis and treatment of cancer I was not only able to write, but couldn’t do any publicizing for my newly released books. Now I’m writing again, but discouraged about ever getting more books published since those didn’t sell well. Now I’m focusing on writing articles.
Mary R. P. Schutter
A few years ago, I spent many months in writing limbo while I cared for my dying mother. I couldn’t have written if I had wanted to. I could barely form a coherent prayer. My brain and emotions were too tied up with advance mourning and with caring for my mom. I knew the writing would come later after my sweet mother’s heavenly homegoing while I worked through wondering if I had done enough to make her last days comfortable and while dealing with not being able to call her on the phone to ask for her advice or say hi and tell her I loved her. Through all of that, I knew God would give me the words to write when it was time to ‘get back in the saddle.’ All of us have experienced writing ‘down” times’ due to circumstances beyond our control. Those experiences make us appreciate even more the joy of seeing the world more clearly from atop our writing horses.
To humble yourself in the sight of the Lord is freeing to show humility in the presence of others can be excruciating if the heart is not broken, and ready to be real. Restoration comes from revealing your inner truth without reservation, usually in the realization of others acceptance before the process starts. So in answer to your question. I have definitely been there too. Sometimes being pulled into different directions feels like pieces of a puzzle. Each piece represents where we are needed or what we have to do. Sometimes God does ask us to rest, to get our undivided attention, to define an area and deepen our character. Last summer I embarked on a journey with a group of highly talented women. Thought I could learn what I needed to learn and land an opportunity in writing for the Lord sooner rather than later. Little did I know…Literally. HA! Still growing still striving for the mark. What happened last summer? When a loved one or two loved ones pass away from cancer and life is demanding attention and time. My comprehension was great in some areas and overload stripped other concepts from sticking. The body and mind are not meant to do all and be all. We are meant to glorify the Lord with all our hearts mind soul and strength. When you get to the end of your all and given all you’ve got. There is no shame in the wait and rest. As for praying and healing. Praying harder to get healed seems like all depends on You. Praying is simply talking to God without pretense He knows all about us anyway. The healing comes through seeing ourselves the way God sees us…Sinners yet so loved. We are not perfect and never will be on this earth in our flesh. We confess our sins and he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In Christ one day we will be given white robes. Until that day we live in the prospect of possibilities and passion to Live in Christ. Freely accepted in the Beloved. Healed in our hearts with the forgiveness of sin. Fully aware of His presence and purpose. Guided daily to heal in our emotions, and hang-ups. Physical healing may not come but Emotional healing has arrived. Confession of a fault to be healed is different. A fault when recognized can change and healing takes place. To pray harder or confess harder I’m sick does not heal. I’ve been working on this topic based on the verse the prayer of the righteous availeth much …A women thinks by praying over and over again she will eventually get results. But then sees the first part of the verse Confess your sins to one another that you may be healed. She examines her heart perspective and sees she may have been praying for results to fall in line with her own plans. Praying amiss instead of God’s purpose in not only hers but in those of she loves. Surrendering to letting go and allowing other’s in her life to be free to pursue the calling God has for their lives even when she wants to keep them close to her. Do I believe God can heal? Absolutely. Do I believe he heals every one of their physical illnesses? In his time he does one way or another. He is as Job said…God, one who is Righteous. I do not question his righteousness. He does not sin but I do ask questions what do you want me to do? Learn, or seek? Through sickness or pain God becomes more near more real sometimes than during times of health. His presence is there through it all whether in healing us here on this earth or healing us in eternity, by bringing us to Himself. I do not know His purpose unless He chooses to reveal it. But I do know He can always be trusted with the outcome.
I’m really amazed at the talent in this chat session. So many great people who are SHINING GOD’S LIGHT BRILLIANTLY. Sorry for all the moments that have been difficult for so many. Becky’s testimony is amazing, Andrew is incredibly uplifting, you all need a blog together :). I didn’t realize when I went to post I couldn’t edit it or look at it. I think without Love and compassion nothing I say would have any meaning. I hope that for those who have experienced the Christian get over it advice or the advice of pray harder, that you’ll be encouraged to know there are a whole lot more who are cheering you on and praying you through to gain strength and comfort to continue to Shine. May you all be blessed for all you do.