|Reminder from Friend that I am a Writer|
Stymied in My Writing
The topic, "writing in the cracks,” had me stymied as I’m finding it hard to write. Period. I’m sporadic in my journal writing. When I do begin a blog or essay, it’s hard to get it finished even by using "cracks of time,” which seem to allude me.
Seek the Lord
Lynn J. Simpson’s blog, “God’s Timetable,” struck a note with me. Although God’s timetable may differ from ours, his goodness is everlasting. Lynn quotes the well-known verse: “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NIV) This time the word “seek” grabbed my attention.
A recent shift in our household schedule has challenged my morning routine of reading, writing and praying. I pray throughout the day, but I’m missing, or skimping on, my morning devotions. Have I, lately, been seeking enough?
Seeking through Song
“He who sings prays twice, says Saint Augustine. Although I miss singing in church, because of Covid restrictions, I can still sing and make music with all my soul. (Psalm 108:1) This too is seeking and addressing the Lord.
Here are two of my favourite hymn about seeking.
1. "Seek the Lord” by Roc O’Connor and sung by the Saint Louis Jesuits. The lyrics are based on Isaiah 55:6-9.
2. Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God by Karen Laffertyis based on Matthew 6:33.
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
My Writing Plans??
Writing may not be my present priority. Since I can’t see around corners, I don’t make many commitments. I find it best to trust God for each day. I’m not perfect at laying everything before God, especially the part of leaving things there, but I believe God is teaching me to live my life that way.
James has an interesting beginning to his letter “to the twelve tribes scattered to Kingdom Come,” as Eugene Peterson says in The Messenger. He questions why we say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” As writers, we may say, "I will write such and such and make a profit." Yet we don’t know with any certainty what tomorrow will bring. James reminds us that our life is transient, that we are a mist that will soon vanish. James suggests, we ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this and that.” (James 4:13-14 ESV)
"Gracious Uncertainty”* (From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)
It is our natural inclination, Chambers explains, to be so precise in our planning and forecasting the future “that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing.” Our common sense may have us planning and plotting, but, he says, “We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.”
These past few years, due to my husband’s health concerns, the two of us are learning that we are better off not to presume too much.
Chambers also says, “Certainty is the mark of the common sense life--gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.” We can be uncertain about our next step, but we can be certain about God. “As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.”
|The Norwegian and I in Another Season|
My Present Task
Caregiving my husband is the present task God has placed closest to me. My writing must take a lesser place. My natural instinct is to analyze, observe, question, plan and schedule. That includes matters regarding Hank's health and daily living. This organizing can be time-consuming and sometimes discouraging and frustrating for both of us. Plans often fall apart when one is feeling poorly.
I must remind myself that I am not in charge.
One day Jesus called a child and set the little one among his followers. Holding the child he said, “Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 ESV) We need to become humble, instead of self-righteous (always right), overly critical, and limited in our view.
Instead we need to seek the Lord and leave everything to Him. Then we will become, as Chambers says, “gloriously and graciously uncertain” about how God will work in our situation. We can be certain, however, that He will come if we remain faithful to him.*
*(Between the asterisks above, I am quoting and paraphrasing ideas from the devotional, “Gracious Uncertainty,” in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
As for Hank’s health, we still have our struggles, but we are thankful for answered prayers, a diagnosis, God’s direction, and for family and friends who pray and support us.
Writing Between the Cracks
Hank is well enough to enjoy a bit of TV watching in the evening and he is back to his night-owl” habits, so I watch with him. . . Although it’s enjoyable and important to spend this time together, I need to pull back enough to get my sleep, so I can regain my early-bird ways. This is when I am best at reading, writing and praying.
I pray that I will follow God’s guidance and live well in this time of gracious uncertainty. You are welcome to join me in this prayer for yourselves.