January 4, 2021 |
Twenty years ago, I was up in the wee hours of the morning doing my normal routine of journaling, Bible Study & prayer. I ran across a verse that completely arrested my heart. It said what I could not express in my own words. It was how I felt when I recorded my life as it happened. Or when a poem unfolded in my mind. Psalm 45:1 says, “My heart overflows (is astir) with a good theme; I address (am saying) my verses (works) to the King (Christ); my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” I identified with the tongue & pen analogy. And it was an encouragement to keep doing what I was doing, even though I kept my journals private. They were my heart laid open before the God of the universe.
Fast forward to 2017 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. My focus shifted. Our family focus shifted. As I attempted to keep people up to date by texting, my beautician suggested I start a blog to save time…both mine & that of the folks who were interested. It made sense. So, my Honey set it all up for me. My first entry was entitled “Truth is a Person.” From there, I wrote 3-4 extensive blogs, every month, for 4 months. I chronicled details of my cancer journey & what was going on in my soul. When Steve saw the response to my blog, he had what he considered to be an inspired idea…one that I found quite intimidating. He wanted me to be a bi-monthly writer for our ministry. Another gal & I would alternately be the Wednesday writers. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Today you are reading the 100th edition of my life reflections. It is of no particular significance other than it is my personal “centennial.” And it is a good time to pause & recall God’s faithfulness & the personal miracle of it all. It was a stretch for me, to put myself “out there” to people I do not know. I initially viewed this opportunity through my own glasses. Why in the world would people read my stuff anyway? I’m a nobody. I also contemplated the possible rejection. But as a new IOM writer stated just last week, “Through a set of horrible circumstances, I sought God in a way I never had, & found Him in a way I had never known.” (F. Friedmann) God had a plan.
After my writing warm-up in 30+ journals over the years, My Heart Undressed became a reality. The Lord gave me that phrase long ago because my journal entries were raw, real, & straight from my heart…before Him. Therein came the secret to my writing purpose & freedom. I was writing to share Him, not to seek the approval of people. It wasn’t too long before that uncomfortable rejection reared its ugly head in a totally unexpected manner. After a few months of postings, a pastor I did not know accused me of looking like a pornography site because of my title. He even used his wife’s opinion as leverage against me. Initially, I was shocked! I again explained how the name came to be. Then, I sensed a different issue & felt sorry for him. He too easily exchanged “heart” for an image of a physical body. Anyone who reads my blog subtitle, aside from those who know me, can testify that this accusation could not have been farther from the Truth! I was not about to let the enemy sabotage what God had given me. He, too, deals with me/us in a raw, real, straight from the heart manner. The purpose of the name was to communicate that I was not hiding the real me. And neither was I hiding my relationship with my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.
If there is one thing that I have learned through my writing experience, it’s that the Almighty God of the universe has a mind of His own. I cannot tell you how many times I have planned a series of blog titles. When it gets right down to it, God ALWAYS redirects what I pen. He is creative all by Himself. He just uses my brain & hands, occasionally, to share the Truthful conviction & encouragement that He has taught me. They say that you write about the things that you need to learn the most. I would agree. Most of my writing is a compilation of “ah-ha!” teaching moments between God & me. I am always in process.
The Truth of the matter is that God is the real writer. He promises to give people understanding of His words, & to give those words in the moment they need to be remembered (John 7:16-18; 14:26). This is true in real life circumstances & in writing. At least, that is how I see it. I have chuckled out loud when I have gone back & reread something I wrote. If someone requests a specific hard copy, I reread it before giving it to them. Other times I might check on details previously shared or the possibility that I am repeating myself too much. I can confirm that if anything good comes from these hands, it is admittedly by God’s inspiration & doing. When you read your own writing & can say, “Wow! That’s really good,” you cannot deny that God is faithful & has supernaturally used you, & moved you, in the process. 😊
God used my cancer to give me a new avenue for reaching out. I attribute that passion for writing Truth to my encounter with Him, the morning of my first surgery. It was dark outside & I was up before everyone else, wrestling with the possibility of dying as a result of this disease. I admitted that I had no clue about, or control over, the outcome of what was about to happen. I warred with Phil 1:19 &20, reflecting on all those I loved who I would leave behind. I embraced all the “what ifs” that I could come up with. That encounter was as raw, & real, & straight from my heart as I have ever known. I was flooded with His peace, believing that whether I lived or died, Christ would be exalted through my mortal body. A few hours later, I was wheeled to surgery & strapped to the table with my arms out. My body was in the shape of a cross. I went to sleep at peace in my soul, thinking, “It’s you & me, Lord. I’m ready to come Home if that’s what You want.”
While our life experiences may differ in kind & degree, God’s ultimate purpose is to be glorified through us, as His children. Period. He has a purpose for each of us. He has a plan to carry out that purpose. And He alone has the power to make it our reality. But we need to let go of the unknowns, stop comparing ourselves with others, & trust that He loves us…no matter what happens or how unconventional His methods. We don’t see His bigger picture.<3