Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Courage to Trust in God's Delays

And the Lord answered me:“Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it;  it will surely come, it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).

Mid October I shared in a blog post that an opportunity for me to publish my devotional book, Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter, When Challenges Dim Our View, had come into my life. On November 17, I signed my book contract! Yes - it is all real now and progressing!

There were some major aspects of the book texts I felt a need to complete before signing my contract. There were  Acknowledgements (so many people to thank), an About the Author page (that was a challenge), and I still had a handful of personal property release permits to get so that my personal photos, taken on another person’s premises, could be published without any concern about liability. People who said they would endorse my book needed to be alerted that the time had finally come and then get their words to me. 

It has been an intense number of weeks but finally, I felt I could in good conscience, sign the contract with Redemption Press. I clicked the send icon, I heard from the publisher, the texts I sent are on their way to a copyeditor. I soon will meet my project manager whose name is Amber! She is bound to become a very important new person in my life and surely a friend! 

It was a significant day for me as one of my hopes, when an early retirement from teaching was necessary in 1992, was to write inspirational non-fiction. The hopes were that it would be published to be of value to others. I had begun another manuscript but a severe health set back in 2005 shoved that ambitious effort onto a shelf. What emerged out of that turn in my road was the invitation, 3 years later, to write devotionals for Rest Ministries, an online Christian site for those living with a chronic illness. The book to be published is a compilation of some of those writings. And a future goal is to get back to that original manuscript. 

As I have thought of the blessing God has brought with the signing of the contract to have the devotional book published, I’ve been led to look back on all the delays that were needed to get to His right time and place.

I was reminded, not only of the Habakkuk verse that heads this blog posting, but of an article I wrote that was published in 2006. I am posting that article below for surely it means a lot to me now and it may mean something to you if you are in a waiting time.

Living in the Questions

Nearly 20 years ago, I cut out a piece in a church bulletin and tucked it among other bits and pieces that have meaning to me inside my Bible. To the best of my recall, it was written by Chuck Swindoll. The paper upon which it is written is so small, there have been times I could not find it when purposefully looking for it.

“It is your future.
Don’t back into it.
Don’t grope into 
its mists blindfolded.
Put the hand of your faith 
into the Hand of God.
Get used to His voice.
He warns you of dangers 
and of strangers.
He leads you to experience 
His prepared future.
It does not disappoint.
There is always more
 for those 
who walk with Him.
He straightens question marks
 into exclamation points!”

Many questions about my future were present when I first read these thoughts. More erupted over the ensuing years including the continuing daily challenges with vertigo, cancer, follow-up treatment, and an early retirement from my teaching career. Somewhere along the trail of my life I got to thinking more deeply about the message this bulletin excerpt presented and I came to a conclusion that brought me encouraging perspective.

What could it mean to really live within the questions in my life? A question marks the spot of a seeking moment. It stops me. I want the right answer and I want it now! Often, I discover that the right answer requires a different timing than my insistent now. In such cases, all I can really do is wait.

I picture the literal configuration of a question mark with its curves and swirl. It actually is shaped like the outside of a human ear. What if I were to crawl right into a question mark? This would curl me into the fetal position, quietly waiting upon the Lord. I would need to depend upon him much as I had to during my own gestation time. When the answer is ready, the birthing takes place and reconfigures the  ?   Into an  !  . Right timing—God’s timing. Right answer—God’s answer.

My Bible and the various meaningful bits and pieces I have tucked inside it serve to remind me that there will always be questions—but eventually there will be answers. If I choose to live in the questions, curled up securely where I can listen for God’s voice and directions, I cannot wander far. I'll be near enough to hear his voice exclaim the answers when his time is right.

?   !   ?   !   ?   !   ?  !

photo: Lynn's desk

Friday, October 16, 2015

I'm Expecting!!!

In July of 2010, I began a journey towards the hopeful publication of my devotional book, Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter. . .When Challenges Dim Our View.

Oh, the twists and turns these past five years have held. It has been a roller coaster ride with open doors, then closed doors, then an open door only to have it (and more) close.

The Lord kept me motivated and believing, even when my feelings would be drooping and wondering. There was a dormant year and then a potential open door came to my attention in July of 2014.

 That open door was a self-publishing company “in the making” and I knew the man at the helm and believed with him, and for him and his business partners, as they worked. I had been asked to come on board with them when all was ready. 

Waiting with some tangible realities was still a waiting time, but one that appeared hopeful for all concerned.

The end of August of this year, word came that their endeavor had to be surrendered. It was a great disappointment to the ones who had worked so hard for nearly 2 years to bring their dream of creating the publishing company to fulfillment. True, it did have ripple effects for me but mostly I was focused on these other individuals who were needing to let go of their dream. 

During the year of 2014, as I waited on that self-publishing door to open, I was aware of Redemption Press -  a company in my geographic area. I am acquainted slightly with Athena Dean, the Director and Co-founder of this company. I know some history of how this company had risen out of the ashes of a dire set of circumstances that had affected many lives - lives now healed and whole again and thriving. 

They named their company well for, indeed, it was a redemption of what they had been through.

So, I got redirected!!

Redemption Press had not been in existence during those years of my own journey of twists and turns and open doors and closed doors yet God keeping me believing - even through some drooping times.

God knew back in July of 2010, when He started my journey toward publication of our book, what was waiting to unfold - not only in my life along the way but how He was working in the lives of the individuals that now comprise Redemption Press.

He needed the time to work - His timing - so that we could all meet up at the intersection of the fulfillment of the dreams.

I sought out information from Redemption Press and found the right answers and a seemingly ready-made “family” right in my own backyard. Personal attention will be a plus when working with facts and figures and questions.

On Tuesday, October 13th, I had an hour phone consultation with Athena Dean Holtz. With all my years of preparation, I had  the information she needed to work up a pre-publication proposal which arrived the next day! 

I had already been revising and editing my manuscript weeks before and am, as I write this, still working toward completion this weekend of the major text parts. 

Redemption Press is ready to take those and get them going to their copyeditor. 

My book cover, which I designed, has been approved - so grateful - and in time a graphic team will take over with that and my photos to get all of the book formatted.

The process is fascinating and it is a testimony to God’s faithfulness in bringing the right people together at the right timing - His promises to fulfill.

I am expecting!! 

The due date is February, 2016.!!

In awe of God’s faithfulness - I share this good news! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Cana Wine

 New Day’s Dawning - Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee
.July 5, 1979

No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 

But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 
( Luke 5: 36-38)

( from a wall plaque in the small church foyer )
Cana of Galilee, Israel
July 6, 1979

"Cana proclaims to us that Jesus is the Lord Almighty
Who turns water into wine
Who can still today, by one word, transform anything:
Sorrow into joy,
Mountains of difficulty into straight paths.
Do we bring our needs to Him?"

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 

When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now. (John 2: 1-10)

The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; 
( Job 42:12a)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Personalizing Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

“Lynn’s Psalm 23 to the Lord”

YOU are my shepherd.
YOU are my refreshing green pastures.
YOU are my still waters
YOU restore my soul.
YOU lead me on your right path.
With YOU, I need fear no evil that lurks about.
YOU defend and comfort me.
With YOU I can dismiss the enemy.
Our relationship is a banquet  where we celebrate “us”.
Your Presence is anointing oil softening my worries from head to toes.
YOU fill me to overflowing with the goodness that is You.
YOU restore my past afflictions with the gift of your forgiveness.
YOU are goodness. YOU are mercy. YOU surround me with your Light.
YOU are my dwelling place - before time, during time, and into eternity.

 Isaiah 30:15b 
“. . .in quietness and in trust shall be [my] strength.”

( Lynn's photo of the River Cam, Cambridge, England (2001)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Birthday Reflections - 2015

Birthday Reflections - 2015

I am reaching into my blog archives to re-post this from June of 2012. I recently heard the song that is the basis of this sharing and was catapulted in memory to the dearness of what evolved in this sharing. I loved re-visiting it and I hope those who remember it do, too.

 I’ve not done any blog posts for some months so here is one - not new - but in some ways fresh again to me! 


My birthday directs me into reflection. There is gratefulness for life - God’s gift of days to me that today number sixty-nine years. I’ve received a wonderful outpouring of care, yet one gift took me by surprise and it is via its offering that I share my reflections with you.

As one who has entered the world of social media, I have been blessed to meet people online who have become friends, enriching my days. Through my writings for Rest Ministries, there are those who share in the challenges of living with chronic pain and/or illness. Other support sites have become places where understanding is given and received.

But Facebook crosses all spectrums of my life experiences: some family members keep me informed of their life events, friends from over the years, work colleagues who remain friends, my former students, and those in the groups mentioned above. 

Additionally, a whole new community of friends on Facebook “find each other” because of shared interests.

I dedicate this blog post to one such friend, Owen, in thanksgiving for the gift he brought to my page in birthday greetings with a song!

 We met online because of our mutual admiration for the trumpeter, Chris Botti. I had not expected greetings from Owen which made the ones he sent most exceptional. I could not contain my tears. 

As I told Owen, “Chris and Christ” brought us together!” 

How could it be otherwise when I live near Seattle, Washington and Owen lives in the Philippines?

Though the song he shared is most known for its being sung at weddings, it mirrors the relationship that Christ longs to have with us. Here are its lyrics  intertwined with my birthday reflections for this year.

I Will Be Here
(composer and lyricist: Steven Curtis Chapman)

Tomorrow morning if you wake up 
and the sun does not appear
I will be here

Sixty-nine years ago, at six months gestation, I was born as a wee preemie.The words that greeted my mother were, “There is no way your daughter will survive. There is hope for your son [my twin], but not for her.”

Four complete blood transfusions later + one incubator + a God with plans had me resting in His care for two months before being released to go home.

“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” 
(Psalm 139:15-16 NLT).

If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand, and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

Baptized at birth, a conscious awareness of Jesus all my life, and an adult commitment to Christ as my Lord and Savior have equalled ensuring years filled with joys and challenges and always God’s faithfulness.

“Be still, and know that I am God” 
(Psalm 46:10a NLT)!

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” 
( Hebrews 4:16 NLT).

And I will be here
When the laughter turns to cryin'
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
I will be here

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7 NLT).

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I will be here
Just as sure as seasons were made for change
Our lifetimes were made for these years
So I will be here

Twenty years ago this month, it became necessary for me to take an early retirement from my beloved teaching career. God brought His peace to what would have been a gut wrenching decision without it. 

June is a natural time to reflect on those priceless years and young faces. My students are grown now, many with children of their own. In my daily prayers for them I turn to this gift from God’s Word - words that  held me steady during my teaching years.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young”
 (Isaiah 40:11 ESV).

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

True, the mirror of life reveals changes as I have grown older. Yet the gift of years is to be treasured if I have followed the One leading me and helping me learn life’s lessons along the way - lessons that keep me close to Him and to those who are gifts in my life.

“Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you” (Psalm 35:4-5 NLT).

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

With God the Father’s plan in place, Jesus lived out his earthly days and, as promised, reconciled me [us] to my [our] Creator. 

In turn, being true to Him is being true to the One who sent Him to model on earth the life I am to lead.

“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me” 
(John 17:6-8 NLT).

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I will be here
Oh, I will be here.

Birthdays are special celebrations. Yet a new day is birthed within me each morning and with it comes the Lord’s glory and presence uniquely greeting me. May I be faithful to carry that gift to others for more years to come.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1 ESV).

Thank you, Owen, for the gift of this song 
as recored by Gary Valenciano

"The Masterpiece" print by Bette Myers
Photo taken by Lynn - scene in her apartment

from the June, 2012 Facebook Posting

Owen: here is a very good rendition of this song. sung by one of our finest filipino artist. he is also a Christian. and this is for you, HAPPY BIRTHDAY friend!

Lynn: Owen - I respond to your glorious birthday gift through tearful eyes. Across the many miles you have touched my heart with this song and its message. I cannot imagine a better gift that will come to me! The song is so meaningful at this time, as is your friendship. God bless you!

Owen: thanks! it's my pleasure and a blessing to have you as a new Christian friend.

Lynn: . . . and all because of Chris and Christ!

Owen: ha ha ha... AMEN!