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Measuring the Worth of a Word


words

We’re one month into the year. Each week, each month, each season, seems to fly past more rapidly than the one before it. Often with fewer things to show for the time gone by … at least it seems. But perhaps more depend on how we quantify accomplishments and deeds. Perhaps it’s not a matter of word count reached on my latest Work in Progress, or whether I manage to write a blog post per week. Perhaps it’s not about Facebook page likes or blog followers. Not even about works completed, or published, or copies sold.

But then what is it about? If my worth is not determined by my gains in the world of writing (or teaching, or whatever my chosen world), then what measures success? How can I know my life is worth the living and breathing, the laughter and crying, the wins and the losses, if not by the quantifiable methods I so often cling to?

What determines my worth?

Maybe the better question is, who determines worth? And maybe, when I’m brave enough to ask that question, I will find the courage to admit that I already know the answer.

That success by measurable means is far less satisfying, and far more fleeting, than many would admit. That worth is not always a thing determined, but it is intrinsic. That He who calls me worth calls me precious. Calls me loved. And He does not keep count of manuscripts completed or submissions accepted. But He numbers the hairs of my head, He stores the tears I cry, He bids me believe in my worth. More than sparrows. More than lilies. More than the accomplishments I claim as the days turn.

It’s February. One month of 2015 is gone. Soon this month will be past too … and the next. And the next.

God help me make the most of every moment, but to remember that what I make of a moment and what You make of it are not always the same. Let me see the days through Your eyes, that at the end of them, I lived for moments of truest worth. In the Name of He who is worthy, the Heir of all Things, amen.

 

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A Prayer for Comfort


I attended a funeral last weekend. I wanted to go, but I also didn’t. I was afraid. Afraid of not knowing what to say. How to comfort the hurting family members. As if, somehow, I could.

Maybe I try too hard to fix things. To work things out. To know exactly what to do and how to do it. To read life carefully. Too carefully.

But some things can’t be fixed. Not here. Not now. Sometimes tears must be cried before the comfort comes. Sometimes many tears.

My dad told me yesterday, sometimes just your presence, and your prayers, are the best thing you can offer to a hurting heart. Yesterday I offered my presence. My timid, unsure presence. Such a small thing in the face of death and the pain it causes.

Today I offer a prayer. Also such a small thing. But somehow, perhaps, calling on the Giver of Life, of Comfort, of Hope, will do more than anything my presence, my words, could ever do.

I hope so. I pray so.

 

Lord, I woke up with the verse running through my mind, entrenched deeply as though it was something I dreamed, but I can’t remember. “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

I don’t remember any dreams, but I know it was the verse that the Father spoke of yesterday at the funeral of a young man who left this life too soon. They were the words You spoke at the grave of Your friend, who left this life too soon. You raised him from the dead.

Father, Your power is not limited. You can do the same today. You have, time and again, worked miracles in this age. So when You don’t, when death’s finality resounds and the curtain is drawn, it conveys a painful message that is hard to understand.

You have a purpose. And though we cannot see or know, that purpose will be accomplished.

But it seems so harsh to say or conclude that You have a purpose in death. Perhaps, if nothing else, it is the effects of a fallen world. A world of sorrow and the harsh reality that Satan is prince of the world, of its pursuits and the way it has minimized those things that truly matter, and glorified those thing that have no meaning. No wonder we grow so weary, so confused, in the midst of this.

God, bring hope to those who are hurting. Bring strength to those who are weak. Your strength. Bring comfort to the weary and let them rest their heads on Your shoulder. Lord, You promised to glorify Your name. Glorify Your name now, even in the midst of sorrow and death. May Your name, oh Lord, be glorified, and let it bring hope and Light and Life to those who are lost, hurting, and broken.

You are the resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in You, though dead, shall live. We were all dead in sin until Your light broke through the darkness of our souls and brought life. So that we who cross the great divide might step from life to Life.

Thank You for that life. Thank You for that hope.

Bring Light to those who wake in darkness.

Bring Hope to those who have none.

Bring Life. Oh Lord, bring Life.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Heartache & Hope, Prayer

 

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The Great Christian Spec-Fic Debate

The Great Christian Spec-Fic Debate

Bonita Jewel:

Great insight from Avily Jerome on the Speculative Fiction genre in Christian literature.
I’m still figuring out my genre … and don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fit myself into a single one, but for anyone who is wondering what speculative fiction is, or how it fits in with Christian literature, this is a good read.

Originally posted on The New Authors Fellowship:

spec fic

There has been a lot of debate lately among Christian Spec-Fic authors about the Christian Spec-Fic market, how it relates to the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), the secular market, and the market in general, and how the genre as a whole is failing. There are those who, as Ben Wolf detailed in this post, and Mike Duran discusses here, feel as though the Spec-Fic genre is badly under-represented at the ACFW conference and other similar conferences. The discussions on Facebook that led to these posts, and the following discussions in the comments cover virtually every opinion on the matter. There are those who are all for conferences like Realm Makers and the opportunity it provides for like-minded writers to converge and learn. There are those who go into how much benefit the ACFW provides for writers of all kinds, and those who point out that it’s a…

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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Unbalanced Balance


juggling pinsOne of my ongoing struggles is with balance. I sometimes feel like a tightrope walker. Sometime like a circus clown with a juggling act … a clown because if anyone were to look closely enough, they would realize how comical it really is. “Why are you trying to juggle that?” I’m not sure if I would have the answer. So I hope no one looks too closely while I keep up the act.

And I get frustrated when I drop a pin or two. Or I get annoyed that no one notices how hard I’m trying to maintain. Or I sink into a dark morass of self-inflicted disappointment, because of self-set goals I’ve missed.

And still, I try to find a balance.

I’m editing a project for a writer, who is also a painter. In order to get a better sense for his writing style, I began reading one of his previously published works, and something I read did more than whisper to me. It spoke, loudly. “Hey, this is you. Listen up!” Maybe it was the timing. Maybe it was just the simple truths. But I saw myself in the paragraphs:

We all struggle with our desire for balance, that place of imaginary security. We all admire balance; we even envy it when we perceive others are living a more balanced life than we. But this balance we see and the balance we desire, is it from God? Is it from a need for God? Or is it personal, prideful gymnastics?

… My pride, desiring to appear balanced, balances on my remaining leg of abilities, my understandings, even my virtues. It takes all my effort and focus just to maintain this appearance of balance. How long I can continue the effort will depend on my resolve.

Eventually, in exhaustion, God offers me merciful futility. I fall down. Gratefully defeated.

There is an unbalanced balance that pleases God. You see it throughout the Bible. It’s only when I accept my imbalance and acknowledge how weak and crippled I am, that I become dependent on God.

That’s where I find the paradox of balance, leaning totally on Him. – Quote from Deepest Thanks, Deeper Apologies, by Stephen Shortridge

A strange paradox indeed. It drew me, on the threshold of a New Year, to make this my prayer …

Heavenly Father, it’s 2015. I meant to have everything worked out, my goals and vision and to-do list for the entire year. Okay, maybe not that, but probably just as bad.

An unbalanced balance is probably what I need to embrace this year, at least in the beginning. Please help me, Lord.

I don’t have everything figured out and that’s okay. Rather than patting myself on the back because of my misguided sense of control, it will force me to depend on you. And that’s what I really want. And even when I don’t want it, it’s what I really need.

Forgive me for trying to figure it all out instead of resting in You and allowing You to work in me and through me.

Help me to understand that the things I try to do without Your power and guidance will only fall flat. And the things that You do through me, often almost without me even knowing or realizing, are the things that really matter. The things that go farther than those things I am grasping to control.

It’s the start of a new year. Let me be led by Your Spirit, guided by Your hand. Let these not be just words but the deep prayer of my heart. Help me to surrender to You in every way, even when it means giving up some of my so-called rights.

Lord, You had every right, and made Yourself a servant. I have no rights, and make myself a queen.

Forgive me.

I know you have. Your grace is renewed each morning. Thank You for that, dear Lord. Help me to lean on You and in leaning, find my strength, my joy. My true balance.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Prayer, Quotes, Thoughts on Thoughts

 

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2014 in Review – A Word Fitly Written


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading Leads to Writing


unfinished story

A “Word Fitly Written” often begins with a word read. … Usually more than a word. An idea. A concept. Something that reaches from the written page into the soul and whispers a truth or invokes an emotion. Words read that inspire the writing of more words, the exploring of other truths, the creation of other emotions.

When I am inspired to write, it is most often a result of reading. Not everything I read urges me to write, but many things do. When I read something that mirrors my thoughts or exposes an undiscovered piece of my soul, I feel the need to explore it further. This naturally leads to writing about it.

The art of writing, someone once said, is the art of discovering what you believe. There is something enlightening, sometimes cathartic, at times painful, about writing. Especially when we are honest with our emotions and in our words.

This past year, 2014, I kept track of the books I read. It was the first time I ever wrote down the title of each book I read in a one-year period. At the beginning of the year, I also told myself that I would make a change, adopt a new habit, or try something new as a result of each book I read. In other words, I would not allow it to be mere words on paper, but I would strive to make them a part of me somehow. I would choose to develop and grow as a result.

I haven’t been so faithful in that, although I wrote down some good ideas and copied a few great quotes. I haven’t allowed myself enough time to reflect as I read. After all, it’s been a full year. A busy year. A good year.

In total, I read 50 books this year, almost 13,000 pages. Keeping track of them through Goodreads made a difference in helping me finish some of the books I began … as did the idea of reaching that “round number” of 50. “Meeting” some authors also helped.

I feel blessed to have discovered a few “new” authors, so often like reuniting with old friends. Every time a book, or a chapter, or a page inspires me to write a page, a chapter, or a book of my own, I am grateful. Grateful to the author who was the source of the inspiration, and to the Author of every life story, and the Source of all inspiration, creativity, and beauty.

Happy New Year! Happy Reading … Happy Writing.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in A Writer's Life, Books

 
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Glorious Mess from Christmas


Christmas quote

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2014 in Christmas

 

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