Monday, February 21, 2011

Blown Away

This week, I'm bringing you a few thoughts on one of my favorite passages. This devotion is currently on my parent's church website and I'm shamelessly double posting in order to save a few brain cells as I prepare for the very soon arrival of our third child.

One of the first things you learn when you begin to study the craft of writing is that every word matters.

Every word.

There are no throw away words. Successful authors look at every word in their manuscript and if it isn’t important, it’s deleted. If it isn’t conveying the proper tone, it’s edited. If it’s weak, it’s strengthened.

In the end, the author is left with 85,000 (or so) important words. 85,000 words chosen with deliberate intent to convey the message the author desires to bring.

There are over 800,000 words in the Bible.
Written by 40 or so human authors.
Inspired by the one and only true God.

Even by non-believing human standards, God is a very successful author. His book remains the bestselling book of all time. It changes hearts and lives.

And there are no throw away words in the Bible. If the words are in there, they are important, chosen to convey the exact message God wanted us to hear.

Which brings us to Ephesians 3:19-20. These verses make me smile because at first glance, they appear to break a cardinal writing rule.

What rule?

Well, I didn’t know this until recently, but adverbs are frowned upon in writing circles. Because often they indicate laziness on the part of the writer.

But not always.

Sometimes, a good splash of adverbs is the only way to describe something. Sometimes, there are no verbs strong enough to convey the scope of a particular situation.

I think God knew we would struggle to grasp the expanse of His abilities.

So he painted a word picture.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us . . .


What happens in your mind and heart when you read those words?

The sheer extravagance of the description speaks to me of things beyond my grasp. Beyond anything I can imagine.

Sure, God could have inspired Paul to choose different words.

But He didn’t.

Because these are the exact words necessary to blow us away and straight to our knees as we finish the prayer with Paul.

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Every Moment Matters

As I write these words, I am missing two different appointments.

I’m supposed to be at my writers group meeting. I’m also supposed to be at a baby shower.

And yes, I do see the impossibility of being in two places at once, but that’s not the point of this post.

Instead of trying to find a way around the time-space continuum, I’m sitting on my couch, in my pajamas, surrounded by my children, also in their pajamas.

I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

More than a writer or friend, I am, first and foremost, a wife and mother. And my role as wife and mother has totally and completely overshadowed all other roles lately.

As in there has been little or no time for me to be anything else.

And I’m coming to see that this temporary situation is not the end of the world. And that it doesn’t make me less of a writer, or a friend, or a volunteer, or anything else.

It just means I have my priorities in order.

I’ve been chafing about all the things I haven’t done. The agents I haven’t queried, the rejections I haven’t received because of the submissions I haven’t made.

But in the past week or so—as I’ve been fighting the automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) that tell me I’m the World’s Greatest Slacker—I keep thinking about all the heroes of the faith who knew, without a doubt, that they’d been called to do something fabulous.

And then spent the next 20 to 40 years doing something seemingly unrelated.

Think David.

Think Joseph.

Even - ready for it - Jesus.

Imagine. He spent thirty years just being human. Thirty years of reining in His power. Thirty years that we know almost nothing about.

But they were important. He didn’t experience everything we think and feel in the three years of His public ministry. He spent thirty years experiencing infancy, puberty and adulthood. He made friends, interacted with His siblings and worked in His earthly father’s shop. He watched as those He knew before the world began laughed, cried, lived, died.

And all of it—every moment—mattered.

I don't know where you find yourself today, but He does.

He's been there.

The three years of public ministry are the ones we know the most about. But the thirty years of preparation are what made these words possible...
Heb. 4:14-16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV)

It may be ten, twenty or thirty years before I have the wisdom to look back on this time and see how God was using these days to mold me into the person He has called me to be.

But I am confident that He is up to something big, even on a pajama day!

What about you? Do you have a time of waiting you've already come to see for the time of preparation it really was? Please share it in the comments!

image courtesy of

Thursday, February 3, 2011