Because I Knew You...
Seven months? Yikes it's been awhile since I've been on here. Life has been crazy, I'm in the middle of rewrites (which are harder than I thought they would be, but so good at the same time), and honestly this post has been difficult to write. Not because it's about anything bad, or hard, but because it is about something so important to me. I have felt for a while that God was telling me I needed to write about Christian friendship, but it means so much to me that I don't want to mess it up. Then today I felt very convicted that this was just fear speaking and I needed to get over it write what I felt. So here we go.
I've rewritten this post several times, unsure what I wanted to focus on. Did I want to talk about how friendship is often neglected in the church? Did I want to talk about the difference between Christian friendship and Christian community? Then today it hit me. I wanted to share how I know friendship is worth it, what it means, and why it is so important to me.
Those of you who know me, know I'm a bit of musical theatre nerd. I listen to Broadway Pandora while I'm writing, I did musical theatre in high school, and I try to go to as many live shows that come to town (or nearby) as my wallet will allow. While I was thinking about how to express why I feel like Christian friendship is so important, a song from the musical Wicked suddenly came to mind. The song is near the end, where the witches who used to be best friends meet up again. It's called For Good. This song is about reconciliation but the lyrics apply to friendship in general and some of them express exactly why I'm so passionate about Christian friendship.
They go: "I've heard it said, that people come into our lives, for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are lead to those who help us most to grow, if we let them, and we help them in return. Well I don't know if I believe that's true, but I know I'm who I am today, because I knew you." And then continue: "Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But, because I knew you, I have been changed for good."
I was thinking about these lyrics as they wouldn't leave my head and I realized that this is friendship. We are drawn to people, sometimes because we have similar interests, sometimes because we have mutual friends or family, sometimes because we are thrown together in a tiny college dorm room (this is the true story of how I met my best friend).
But these people affect us. Good or bad, when we spend time with people, when we allow them into our lives, they change us. Just like in any other relationship, friends shape who we are. It's part of why relationships, including friendship, are so scary. They can bring heartache and betrayal. But it's also why they are so exciting. They can bring laughter, joy, support, comfort, and so much more. The thing is, you have to take the good with the bad.
When you are friends with fellow Believers, you have something that bonds you beyond your shared love of sports, or movies, or TV shows. Everything we do as Christians should be about obeying God and bringing Him glory. It makes carrying each other burdens even more important. God commands us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Christian friendship means we take that command seriously. But it also means that we don't carry our own burdens alone. We have people to come beside us when we're struggling. It also means we always have some to celebrate with! My closest friends and I have shared A LOT. From the daily things like eating meals together and watching a television show or movie, to celebrating births and weddings, to mourning the death of loved ones, to celebrating new jobs, and mourning lost dreams. We do life together and because of that, we are "changed for good." You cannot be in someone's life and stay the same person you were before you knew them. If you do, you haven't really let them into your life.
There are different levels of friendship. Some friends will be around for a short season, some will be around for a lifetime. Some will be a small part of most aspects of your life, others will be a large part of a small aspect of your life, and a select few will be a large part of most aspects of your life. All of these people change you. I can look back at friendships that lasted only a short season and see ways in which that person's influence still affects me.
So what does this mean? Why does this matter? Friendship is a choice. You choose to let people into your life. You choose to weep with them, to let them weep with you. You choose to rejoice with them and let them rejoice with them. I've heard a lot of people talk about not having many friends or about struggling to find friends. And it's true, there is an organic nature to it. You can't manufacture friendship. But you also can't wait for it to be perfect. You take the good with the bad. You be a good friend even when your friend isn't being one. As Christians, you share your struggles, and you keep each other accountable. Is it hard? Absolutely. But it's even more worth it. Why? Because of what the song says at the end. "I do believe I have been changed for the better. And, because I knew you, I have been changed, for good." When we choose friendship, when God is the center, we are not only changed for good, we're changed for the better.
The Promise of Rayne
One of the things I've been trying to do more of lately is support other authors. I love to read and have always loved books, but these past few months I have found myself with the opportunity to support authors in other ways as well. One of those ways is by helping authors promote their books by reading them early and reviewing them. One such book I've had this opportunity with is The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese.
The Promise of Rayne is the first in a series taking place in Shelby Falls, Idaho. It's two main characters are Rayne Shelby, and Levi Harding. Rayne is a member of the prominent Shelby family and has the dream of one day managing the family's iconic lodge. Levi is the apprentice of Ford Winslow, enemy number one of the Shelby family. Their story is one of secrets, trust, and second chances.
What I enjoyed most about this book was the characters. Rayne is compassionate yet strong willed, desiring to be accepted by her well to do family, yet also desiring to help those around her. Levi is fierce and protective with a kind heart and the ability to see the good in almost everyone. The two shared a connection when they were teenagers but obligation to family stopped Rayne from pursuing the friendship any further. The story picks up several years later with Rayne so close to her dream of managing the lodge but one big mistake stands in her way. The one person that can help her fix it? Levi of course! Once the line is crossed over to Fred's land, Rayne can't seem to keep away from Levi. I'll refrain from telling you much more so you can read it for yourself but their story is one of secrets, adventures, wildfires, and so much more. There were also a handful of secondary characters that made an appearance and Nicole did a great job of balancing their role in the story without taking away from Rayne and Levi. There was one character in particular though that definitely needs her own story, and soon. I also loved the town of Shelby Falls and though I have never been to Idaho, felt like I was there with them.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. But more than that, I find that a lot of times, God speaks to me through fiction, and this was true of this book as well. There were several times Rayne or Levi would express something and I could find myself relating in such a real way. That's why I love books, why I love reading them, why I love writing them. Characters have the opportunity to speak to you in ways you might not otherwise listen. So thank you Nicole for Rayne and Levi's story.
The Promise of Rayne releases TODAY! Here is the link to order it
There is a song that has been gaining in popularity lately, Good Good Father. We've been singing it in church for the past couple of years and I was having a conversation with my best friend/roommate Megan, about how in the past few months we've been changing how we sing it. There is a line in the bridge "You are perfect in all of your ways, you are perfect in all of your ways, you are perfect in all of your ways, you are." The next time they sing it, the last line changes to " You are perfect in all of your ways, to us." In the last few months however, we've been singing it "to us" every time. It's how it's being played on the radio too. Megan was telling me "I don't like that we sing it differently. It changes the meaning. Sometimes we don't feel like God is perfect to us, but it doesn't matter because HE IS. When we take out the YOU ARE, we change the entire importance of that part of the song." Megan is a song writer; words are important to her. She also very deeply cares about the character of God. She notices when song lyrics change, especially when they are about God's character. I realized though, that she's right. This song has been an encouragement to me lately, and it is exactly that part of the song that has been so encouraging.
I've previously written about all the seasons of change in my life lately. Just when one thing seems to be settling down, something else changes. Pretty much every area of my life: church, work, personal, creatively, is changing in some way. Some of them are really good changes, and some are really hard. Yesterday I was reflecting on that part of Good, Good Father. "You are perfect in all of your ways, you are." Right now, that is really hard to believe in my finite mind. Right now, His ways don't seem perfect. His timing seems terrible and I feel exhausted. But it doesn't matter what I think about his ways or His timing. His character is not dependent on what I think or how I feel. HE IS. He is perfect, he is alpha and omega the beginning and the end, He goes before me and follows behind me. HE IS. I don't have to feel like it, or understand it. But if I believe it, if I cling to it even when it doesn't seem true, it brings hope. Is everything magically better? No. Do I suddenly feel better about all the change in my life? No. But I have hope that it will get better, that there is purpose in everything, and that He knows what he's doing. I'll be honest, life is hard. Sometimes it overwhelms me and I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water. But it is in those times when I cling to God's character. I remember that HE IS. He is good, He is just, He is perfect, He is love, He is comfort, He is a good father. HE IS.
I don't know what you all are going through. Maybe it's a hard season and you aren't sure how you're going to make it. Maybe it's a good season for you right now and things seem settled. Either way, God's character is unchanging. He is perfect in all his ways, whether we feel it or not. Cling to that hope. I don't say that in a blasé way, but it is my sincere hope and prayer that you can find comfort in that hope. Because HE IS.
Summer turns to Fall
In my last post I wrote about this "summer season" in my life. A season that feels a little like an in between season, a season of doubts, uncertainty, but most importantly, trusting and relying on God. The past couple of weeks, this season has kicked into high gear! It's been a whirlwind of ups, downs, excitement, and everything in between. I won't go into all the crazy details (though if you want to hear them and you're local, I'd love to get coffee or something and share) but here's a little bit of a rundown.
Some of you may be aware that I have actively looking for a new job. I really enjoyed my job at the school, but I knew it was time to move on. I knew I was probably only going to be a teaching assistant for a couple of years, at which point I would decide if I wanted to pursue alternative certification and have my own classroom or move on. I love teachers and what they do, but through my experiences, and a lot of prayer, I knew it was not the path I wanted to pursue. I was not really sure what I wanted to do so I was applying for all kinds of jobs, praying that God would open and close the right doors. A couple of weeks ago, both of those things happened in one whirlwind of a day. Like I said, it's kind of a crazy and long story. The short story is I had three different interviews with a doctor's office for a medical receptionist job and I was pretty convinced I was going to be given the job. About a week and a half ago, I discovered they had gone with someone else. I was disappointed but I knew that I had narrowed down what I wanted to do, I wanted to go back to the medical field. I started looking online and found a couple of places to apply to and within eight hours had a phone call, interview, and job offer from an optometry office! I woke up with a rejection, and ended the day with a job. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster! When I started my job hunt, I did not think that I wanted to go back into the optometry world, but I realized I miss it and it became apparent that this is exactly the route God has for me.
While I was looking for jobs, I was also working on a semi-secret project. A good friend of mine was having a baby and I decided to see if I could write a children's book for her and the baby. I can't exactly tell you why I decided this, it was just something I felt God nudging me toward. I'm no illustrator, but my roommate/best friend is a graphic designer and is good with layouts and design. She was able to manipulate pictures and make them look like drawings to go with the words, and suddenly we had a book! My awesome publisher friend offered to print/publish it for us. So, I am officially a published author! If you had told me that my first book published would be a children's book I wouldn't have believed you, but I'm super excited about it! It's called What Did God Make? and it's about creation. I've included the link to order it at the end of this post if you want to order for a child in your life. This was also super fun because it was such a collaborative project. I love getting to work with other creative people on projects, and I also loved seeing the joy on my friends' faces when we gave them the book written with their child in mind.
I was going to end this post with a reflection about how we praise God in both the exciting and challenging times, but it started to get super long, so I'll continue those thoughts in a separate post.
Check out my children's book What Did God Make here: www.beecreativeinc.com/store/
I've been doing a lot of thinking about seasons lately. Those of you who know me, probably know that my favorite season is autumn. I love the changing leaves, the crisp air, post-season baseball, and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is in the fall. My least favorite season? Summer. Yes now that I work for a school, I get a break, but it is just so HOT. Autumn brings the changing leaves and cooler weather, winter brings (hopefully) snow, and spring brings new things blooming and thunderstorms. When I think about the actual weather of summer, all I come up with is hot. This year we had a pretty mild winter in Oklahoma. We never really got a good snow storm, and it was not really all that cold for very long. I felt almost like we just skipped right over the season. I found myself thinking "Why couldn't we have done this with summer? I would much rather be in sub zero temperatures than triple digits!" Alas, that is not how it works. But then I realized life is a lot like this too.
We all have seasons in our life. Seasons of jobs, ministry, places where we live. Typically, I like changing seasons in my life. Even though they are scary, new things excite me. Right now, however, I'm in kind of a weird place. I have several things in my life, several seasons, that are coming to an end. The difference this time though, is I don't know what comes next. Usually when I end something, it's because I'm moving on to something else. That isn't the case this time around, for any of the big seasons that are ending. I was talking to one of my good friends about this and I said something along the lines of "I feel like all these seasons are ending and I don't know which one is coming next. Like I'm stuck between seasons." But I was thinking about it later and realized that isn't really true. This is my season. It may be a season of doubt, and uncertainty, but it is a season. It's summer. I was in spring, a season that I enjoyed but was not necessarily my all time favorite, and I'm looking forward to autumn, a season that will hopefully be even better, but summer does exist.
Now, I'm not a complete pessimist. There are things about summer that I LOVE. Baseball is in full swing, you get to grill out a lot more often, swimming pools are open, the sun is out longer. These are all things I enjoy and look forward to during the summer. I'm finding this "summer" season of my life is no different. It is a season of faith. It is a season where I am completely and totally relying on God to show me what's next. I'm having faith that He will provide, exactly what I need, when I need it. This season has also been good in other ways. I have a lot more time right now. Time to recharge. Time to flesh out scenes that were driving me crazy, and keep exploring the characters in my new work in progress. Time to hang out with people without a timeline hovering over us. Time to actually enjoy the pool and the sunshine. For the most part, I have a peace about this season in my life. A peace I know only comes from Christ. So while sometimes all I can think about is how hot summer is, I can remember that there is a good baseball game coming on soon. And while sometimes all I can think about is the fact that I have no idea what my life will look like in the next few months, I can remember that I've already read nine books this summer, and I still have more to start. God is in all things, and He uses all things, even, and sometimes especially, summer.
Moda Spira: A Review
One of the things I’ve been wanting to do since I finally took the plunge in starting this blog, is review new books, music, and other art forms. So I eagerly took the opportunity to preview Latifah Phillips’ newest project Moda Spira, which releases this Friday, May 13. She was also gracious enough to take some time to chat with me about the project.
I was familiar with Latifah Phillips’ other projects, her Hymn project Page CXVI, and indie pop band The Autumn Film, and was already a huge fan of her voice and song writing abilities. What intrigued me most about this album however, was that it told a story. It is a narrative of the ups and downs of love and relationships. I’m a novelist, obviously storytelling is one of my favorite things. So rather than give the typical review of music style and a question and answer interview, I decided to focus on the narrative that this album tells and what makes me want to listen to it over and over again.
Moda Spira in Latin means the continual act of breathing. When I asked Latifah about what inspired her to write about her experience of love and conflict in a committed marriage relationship, she spoke of a particularly rough season in her marriage. She said that processing through that season made her realize there is a lot in music and popular culture about break ups, or happily ever after romances, but she wanted something that would inspire people that conflict in relationships is normal. Love is messy and hard, but there is something beautiful in the struggle and healing. The narrative style of the album was an intentional choice; she stated she wanted to “wrestle through the stages of a tough season, what happens when we fight.”
As her first solo project in ten years, she told me she “gave herself permission to do what she wanted.” She explores different styles and genres of music. This is fun and interesting, but it also helped inform the narrative. Whether it’s the pulsing of the synthesizer in “In The Fight”, or the instrumental only track of “Stillness”, I felt the emotions. I was not merely listening to her journey; I was on the journey with her. When I asked her about what she most hoped people took away from this album, she said she wanted to create hope in despair; “conflict is normal with people you love, but if we have motivation to work through those conflicts, it can be really beautiful.” I felt that in this album. Though I have never been married, it is something that is true of all relationships. I listened to this album and recalled past hard seasons with my parents, or my best friends. She shared a quote by a friend of hers, author Matt Mikalatos “We judge ourselves by our motivation but we judge others by their actions.” How often have I done this? As fallen, broken, and sinful human beings, we will hurt each other, we will forget that we may not know the other person’s motivations. It is the honesty of that reality that makes what Latifah Phillips does with Moda Spira so inspiring. My favorite books, television shows, and music are those that are unique to the person who created them, yet cause me to pause and reflect on my own life experiences. Moda Spira does this beautifully.
For more on Moda Spira, check out the website at http://www.modaspira.com/. You can pre-order the album there, or it officially releases this Friday!
A Fake Snow Day
I am a firm believer that God works in many ways. For me, I often see Him working through people coming into my life exactly when I need them. One such example happened a year ago.
For some context, I was at a place in my life, particularly in my writing, where I was feeling unconfident, and kind of lost. I'm not even sure I realized what was going on, but every time I tried to sit down at my computer, or even open my notebook and write out ideas, I just felt stuck. I had been working on the same story for a long time, one that was very important to me, with characters I had grown to love, but something was just hindering me. I realized later that I was believing lies about my ability as a writer, and ultimately about who I am in Christ. I was not even aware that this is what I was doing, however, until a fake snow day changed my perspective.
In Oklahoma, we rarely actually get snow without it also being accompanied by ice, at lot of ice. On this particular day, the first week in March, it was predicted that the ice would come around 9:30 or 10:00, after the school day had already started. Because this had happened earlier in the year and there were a couple of bus accidents, all the school districts in the area decided to be cautious and cancel school the night before. I decided to take the unexpected day off and just relax: sleep in, play around on social media, read, maybe even binge watch Netfix. I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook when I saw someone post a link for a free Christian romance novel. Not being one to pass up a free book, and that being one of my favorite genres, I clicked on the link. It was a novella, Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg. Normally I would just read the book, and then if it was good, see what else the author had written. This time, however, I decided to research the author before I read the book. This is part of why I am convinced this was all God. I never do this. I found her website and read through what all she had written, a few of her blog posts, and her bio. As I'm reading, I realize that I do not see any mention of a husband. Suddenly, I realize this lie I have been believing about myself. "No one wants to read a romance novel by someone who has never been married." I had heard this lie, and even told people they were wrong, but in that moment, I realized the enemy had been whispering this in my heart, and I was believing it. I realized I was telling myself "I've never read a romance novel by someone who was single, so maybe these people are right." At this point, I decided to confront this lie that I just realized I was believing head on. So I did a Google search. I typed in something like "Melissa Tagg single" and I came across an interview she did. One of the questions was about the strangest question she gets asked and she mentioned being confused when people asked her how she could write romance if she wasn't married. She gave a response that was something along the lines of "most science fiction writers have never been to space but no one questions that." I stopped and it was God was just highlighting this. He gave me this gift of stories and who was I to question my ability to write them? If I don't question other people's gifts and talents, why should I question my own?
Needing a little more time to process, I decided to start the book. It's a novella and I'm a fast reader so I finished it in a couple of hours. It was so good. It was similar to how I write, similar characters to the ones I have discovered and fallen in love with in my own stories. It was inspiring. Suddenly I felt invigorated. I picked up my laptop and started writing new scenes. I felt joy writing again. It was fun and exciting again. I was honestly sad at the idea of having to go back to my "normal job" the next day because what I really wanted to do was spend the entire next day continuing to write. That's the funny thing about Oklahoma weather though, it is unpredictable at times. That huge storm that was supposed to come around 10:00 still had not started by 3:00 in the afternoon. Instead, it started at about 5:30 and was actually worse than they thought, thus canceling school for a second day in a row! It was so refreshing to have unexpected time to just sit and write. And God still had more in store.
A few weeks later, Melissa Tagg's next book From the Start was released. The main character, Kate, is also a writer and struggles with a lot of the same things I find myself struggling with. A big theme is that Kate wants to write something that matters. I think maybe all writers struggle with this, I know I do. I had found Melissa on social media and tweeted something to her about really enjoying the book and being encouraged in my own writing by it. To my surprise, she wrote back! It was a sweet note, thanking me and wishing me luck in my writing. It started a sort of online friendship. I discovered she loved NEEDTOBREATHE and was a Jess fan on Gilmore Girls. She has a full time job so she understands the struggle of balancing a writing career with a "day job". She was open and honest on her blog and engaged in Facebook discussions. For someone who I had never met in person, she was so encouraging. Often, she said exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. I felt almost like I had found a sort of mentor in her. I realized God was using her not only to encourage me in my writing, but also in my walk with Him.
Sometimes, God works in these big, obvious ways. When I wanted to move back to Oklahoma City, I needed a car and a job and neither were looking possible. Then in three days, I found a car that I previously couldn't afford, and a job opened the same day I had a preliminary interview. It was pretty obvious that my move was supposed to happen. But most of the time, I find God works in little ways. Just over a year ago, I had not even heard of Melissa Tagg. Now, I consider her one of my favorite authors, and even though we've never met in person, a friend. This wasn't some big moment that happened, it was just listening to that little voice that told me to read her book and do a Google search. I didn't know at the time that it would be a life changing moment, I just decided to listen. And at the same time, we also never know who else may be impacted by our obedience. I doubt that when Melissa Tagg decided to write these books that she knew that God would use them to impact some random author in Oklahoma, but they did. We never know what listening to God can turn into, but I do know that listening to Him is always worth it.
If you are interested in Melissa Tagg and her books, you can check out her website,
http://www.melissatagg.com/ and be sure to check out her newest book, Like Never Before, which releases April 5!
It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day so I know I won't be the only one posting on a similar topic today. But that doesn't mean that it still doesn't need to be said. A lot of years I focus my reflection on MLK on his teachings of peace. Not because they are more important than his teachings on racial equality, but because they are less known and I feel passionate about them. But this year I just keep reflecting on diversity. The past couple of years have seen racial inequality at some of it's worst. I have literally gone to bed crying some nights after watching news reports of unrest and injustice and I refuse to look at a lot of internet articles because I know the comment section will just make me frustrated and furious.
I started this post on Saturday but wasn't finished so decided to wait to post it until today. Then I went to church yesterday, and the pastor, Sam Storms, deviated from our discussion in the book of James, to doing a sermon on ethnic diversity in the church and in marriage. It was simply incredible and he says it way better than I could. I'm linking the sermon at the end of this, and I urge you to listen/watch it. To sum up a lot of what he said "To treat any human of any ethnicity as of less worth than another is tantamount to blasphemy. When you devalue another ethnicity, you devalue God because He is their creator and they all together share equally in His image." This is so powerful. It is not just merely that we should treat all people as equals, as Believers, we are commanded to do so. It is not optional. But something he said at the end resonated with me as well. "Inter-racial marriage, or marriage of mixed ethnicities, is not merely to be tolerated but celebrated!" And I found myself reflecting on how that is true of diversity in general. We should not merely tolerate other ethnicities, we should embrace them. It is not enough to merely say that we agree that all people are equal but then continue to isolate ourselves. Diversity is essential.
Diversity is not just something that I tolerate, or even just something that I enjoy; it is something that I crave. I find myself gravitating towards people who are different than I am. Frankly, I find hanging out with people who look, act, think, and talk just like me a little boring. And that's the thing. When we segregate ourselves based on anything, including ethnicity, we are not only hurting those that we exclude, we are also hurting ourselves. I learn a lot from people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. I learn about other cultures, and how other families do things, but I also learn more about God. If everyone is created in His image (and we all are!) then each person we come into contact with teaches us a little bit more about His image, about who He is. So just as we devalue God when we devalue those that He created; we also miss out on part of who He is when we refuse to get to know people who are different than we are. So if you have friends that come from different cultures and backgrounds, be grateful for them. Learn from them, and share your own experiences too. If you don't, take a step of faith and befriend someone who is different from you. Get to know that international college student that goes to your church, or the neighbor down the street who moved here from another country, or the person you work with you is of a different ethnicity than you. Don't merely tolerate diversity, crave it, celebrate it.
It is Christmas season, and this is a time of year when, to be completely honest, I feel conflicted. I love certain parts about this season: fun lights, decorating our family's (real) tree, holiday food, Christmas music and movies, getting extra time off from work, and of course the real reason for celebrating, remembering the birth of Jesus. But sometimes I really feel like Charlie Brown; the over-commercialization of the season frustrates me and almost makes me depressed. I'm not against giving gifts, or buying decorations, but it seems like people take a time of year that is suppose to celebrate Peace on Earth, and instead make it super stressful and anything but peaceful. There was a time a few years ago when I seriously wondered if anyone even remembered why we celebrate Christmas anymore. But then, I went to church the first Sunday of December and we talked about Advent. Suddenly, I didn't feel so cynical and I felt like I had a reason to celebrate the holiday again.
The definition of Advent is "The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event". In the Christian world, we use it to refer to a time of anticipation. It is marked not only as a reminder of the anticipation of Christ's birth and first coming but also of our anticipation of his second coming. That second part is the part that I think we forget about when we celebrate Christmas. Yes, Christmas is about celebrating Christ's birth, his first coming. That event is important for a lot of reasons: it was God fulfilling His promise of a Savior, Jesus taught us how we were to live our lives, and ultimately, because he had to come in order to die for us, to save us from our sins. But sometimes I think we lose how powerful it really was. The Jewish people were waiting for a savior for so long. It was a huge deal that He was finally here! Simeon waited for the day when he would finally get to see the Christ and when it happened, he praised God, saying that now he could die in peace. Two thousand years later, we don't really know what that feels like. Except, we live in the already, not yet. Christ has come, but His kingdom is not fully realized. He is still coming again. This world, in all its brokenness and pain is not as good as it gets. There is such hope in that, but sometimes it seems like we will be waiting forever. This is the anticipation that Simeon felt! This is what God's people were waiting for. We wait for the second coming, just as they were waiting for the first.
This is why I prefer to celebrate Advent, and not just Christmas. When I find myself getting cynical about the crowds, and the money spent, and the business, and everything else about this time of year that stresses me out, I remember that Christ not only came and conquered death and sin, He's coming again. He is coming to establish His Kingdom once and for all. We may not know when, but we know He is because He promised it and He keeps His promises; Christmas is proof of that.
Happy Advent, I pray the reminder that Jesus came, and that He is coming again, fills you with peace this season.
Let's Do This
I've entertained the idea of a blog several times, for several years, but for some reason, I've never done it. Looking back, I think it was fear, based on lies I was believing. There was the lie that I had nothing important to say, or that no one would want to read a blog by some random girl in Oklahoma. But most of all I was believing the lie that I wasn't really a writer. Writing was just a "hobby", something anyone with a laptop and the internet could do; I don't have anything original or important to say, so I should do something more "important". What was even worse than believing these lies is I was allowing them to shape my identity. I was placing my identity on what I could do, or who would read what I wrote rather than on the One who gave these talents and passions in the first place. When I place my identity in Christ, suddenly those lies don't mean anything. I do have important things to say, there are probably people who are interested in them, and I am a writer. Writing is what I love to do, and part of how God wired me. But the thing is, even if the lies were truths, it wouldn't matter. My true identity is as a child of God, adopted into his family through grace. The rest is how I try to live my life serving Him.
So I've decided to take a leap. I'm working to get my first novel published and it seemed like a great time to start my website/blog as well. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very multi-faceted and this blog will probably be the same. I'm sure I'll post silly, funny things as well as serious things. I'll probably talk way too much about Thunder basketball or my love of Cherry Coke. This is my journey, and you're welcome to come along for the ride.
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.