2006 started out with a high-flying fireworks kind of bang. I'd just received my first "big break" in the form of a three-book contract with my dream publisher, I'd sold three articles that I was very proud of, we were out of debt for the first time in our marriage, and life felt pretty good.
So it was no surprise to me when I started praying about a word for the coming year that would define something God was going to teach me, that He gave me “enjoy.” I was pretty excited about what the new year would hold.
Come to find out that was sort of like praying for patience…
Watch out! ;-)
In previous posts I’ve shared the plethora of things God put in my life that seemed at the time to contradict my idea of what “enjoy” would mean.
Back to back physical illnesses. Out of control diabetes. My oldest daughter in the ER. Me in the ER. My computer designer husband’s wrist injuries. Cars dying. Marital stress. Extended family stress. Major rewrites. Deadlines.
All of that within a two-month period of time.
To say I was unprepared is a huge understatement.
It was hard to understand how the painful things May and June ushered into my life would teach me about the word enjoy.
Since then I’ve finished two full novels and in the midst of my rejoicing also grieved for two close friends who delivered babies not into a doctor’s hands, but straight to into Jesus’ arms.
I remember that experience well. We named our tiniest one Jordan. His or her silver memorial tear hangs on my Christmas tree every year and Jordan’s name is heard often in our home.
After three years, my arms still long to hold that little one. But the place where tears once reigned, now a different emotion resides.
Not the feeling of total happiness and “isn’t the world great?” euphoria. But I think the very thing God had in mind to teach me this year. It took reliving past pain and experiencing fresh wounds and faith-shaking questions for me to see that God was and is teaching me what the verb “to enjoy” really means.
It didn’t come as I expected.
But God’s lesson is taking root in my heart.
Because it’s all about God. Not how well I handle my circumstance. Not how much or how little I smile. Not the big exciting good things that are happening in my life or the major tough issues right alongside.
But I’m learning that “enjoy” is all about how to wrap up in and savor His presence in the midst of life’s ups and downs. The heart-pounding thrills. The gut-wrenching grief. The everyday in betweens.
It’s about hanging out in my Heavenly Daddy’s arms and allowing the unanswered questions and longings of my heart to be quieted by His soft whispers of love.
Enjoy is a much quieter word than I’d originally thought.
It’s also a much more powerful one too.
Isn’t it so like God to take something we think we understand and turn it on its head to show us what He knew we needed to learn?
In the novel I just finished today there’s a minor character that plays a major role in my fiction world as much as my real life. He’s based on a real person whose life was a physical picture of joy.
His love for kids.
His passion for sharing Jesus.
His three-year battle with cancer.
One of the things I have my fictional character say that so reminds me of Ken fits well with my musings about what “enjoy” really means.
He talks about how for better or worse, we need to hold on tight to the truth. Because God is still on His throne. And He is good. Always.
My version of my fictional character’s words: Hang on tight. Love deeply. Slip into Jesus’ arms often.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
1. A wonderful husband who is my biggest fan
2. Three awesome daughters~ one of which just turned 6
3. Ransomed Dreams is complete and turned in on time!!!
4. An awesome cover the team at Multnomah designed for Ransomed Dreams
5. My husband's participation in designing my cover
6. I love writing again~ Thank You, Lord!
7. I'm almost done with book 2
8. An awesome dinner with my critique partner Meg as thanks for all her help
9. My family's good health
10. My daughters' wonderful horse lessons
11. Beautiful summer days that taste like freedom
12. Cruising in my SC2 with my new James Taylor CD cranked
13. Living my dream and finding moments to actually enjoy it!