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Monday, April 23, 2012

Waiting

Charles Stanley said "Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we're waiting for."
How hard is it to wait? Depends what we're waiting for. As humans we innately feel we need to do something to 'push things along.' Just sitting back and truly waiting is not in our nature.
My cousin Brenda's baby son is now up to about two and a half pounds. He was born six weeks ago weighing 1 lb 6 oz after Brenda developed HELLP syndrome 6 months into her pregnancy. I know what she is waiting for - the day Gavin is big enough and healthy enough to come home.
My son offered to loan me his copies of the Hunger Games as I must be the last person in America to read them. He brings me book #1 and I devour it. Now I have to wait until another friend he has loaned the books to finishes #2 and #3. It is so tempting to just buy my own. Nope, I'll just wait.
In January I entered one of my books (actually just the first 15 pages of it) into a thing called the Genesis contest through American Christian Fiction Writers. It is a truly wonderful contest as the entries all receive individual critiques from multi-published judges, a means by which we can improve our writing skills. In the midst of all that happened in my life over the last few months, I pretty much forgot about Genesis, all the while becoming more and more discouraged about my writing. I wasn't to the point of giving up yet, but I was feeling terribly sorry for myself, thinking my writing would never measure up to standards and lacking the incentive to try.
I did not semi-final (the top 20%) when Genesis results were released last week. I didn't even have a hope of such a thing so I wasn't disappointed. I only wanted to summon the courage to enter, which I did, and then use the critiques to improve. But, for some odd reason I did not receive my critiques in the timely manner many of my author friends did. For nearly a week facebook pages were filled with my friends lamenting over their scores, trying not to be discouraged by the critiques and the usual 'helpful comments.' It takes time. It's a process. Someday you'll get there. Keep trying. Just wait. a few of the people even posted their scores. Being my first year I wasn't very familiar with the scoring system which is the average of a numerical score given by 3 judges with 100 points possible from each. I was terrified by some of the scores that were shared, dipping down into the thirties and even twenties. I hadn't received my critiques and came to the conclusion that I didn't want to receive them. I knew I would never be able to handle the discouragement that would come with the low scores I most surely would receive.
So, my scores arrived today. I debated not opening the email. I finally clicked on it when I couldn't stand it anymore. I was pleasantly surprised. Very pleasantly. No, I will not share my scores here, but they were much higher than 20s or 30s and the comments were so encouraging.
Moral of this story? Waiting is hard. No way to get around it. But giving up is not an option. God always comes through in His time, which by the way, is not the same as mine. I've seen it time and again. At just the point I get so discouraged I don't know how to climb out of the hole, He sends His encouragement to counteract, tell me I'm on the right track and to keep on waiting.
I may never win a writing contest or see a book with my name on the cover, but even so I know I'm traveling the path He's set before me. My only job is "Wait."
Isaiah 64:4

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mary Magdalene First to See - First to Believe

I wrote these verses several years ago inspired by Pastor Todd's Resurrection Day sermons. Decided it was time to share along with my favorite Easter quote.
"It's Friday but Sunday is coming!"

FIRST TO SEE, FIRST TO BELIEVE

I think of Mary Magdalene
And how she must have felt
Seeing Him upon the cross
Over the place where she knelt

Hearing His cries of anguish
When they drove in the nails
Seeing only darkness before her
Where hopelessness prevails

Shattered by His misery
Her broken heart did mourn
As He endured His torment
Forsaken and forlorn

Imagine the pain and sorrow
That ripped through her very being
Unable to fully comprehend
The cruelty she was seeing

And as He suffered, bled and died
She could not contain her grief
Overwhelmed by doubt and fear
Pushing aside her steadfast belief

Blood and water gushed from His side
Darkness fell and the curtain tore
Barely able to live beneath
The sorrow that she bore

But she didn’t understand
That what she witnessed that day
Though unspeakably evil
Had washed her sins away

For by His innocent blood that spilled
The world was now covered in grace
For all who would turn from their sin
And seek His holy face

She waited out the Sabbath Day
Where fear and trembling reigned
Then hurried to His burial place
Just as soon as darkness waned

She cried tears of terrible sadness
As she came near the grave
But for the sake of the others
She tried desperately to be brave

And they could not imagine
Since they were alone
How they could reach His body
For who would move the stone?

And as they neared the place
Where her Savior was laid
The Earth did shake and tremble
And they became afraid

Then as they drew still nearer
They saw the stone was rolled away
But they found the tomb was empty
And they cried out in dismay

Then when they looked again
They were filled with amazement and fright
For angels appeared before them
Arrayed in dazzling white

They stared wide-eyed and astounded
At the startling vision
And heard them speak the joyous words
He is not here; He has risen!

They ran back to tell the others
Though they were slow to believe
But Mary knew within her heart
That she need no longer grieve

For Jesus stood before her
Proof that He was alive
And as she fell to worship Him
Her faith began to thrive

And Mary’s legacy lives today
In all who follow her creed
We serve a Risen Savior
And He is risen indeed!