Numbers…Get Thee Behind Me!

We are a people controlled by numbers.

I’m not saying it’s all bad. It isn’t. But I am saying that we often determine our worth by numbers, and by comparing those numbers.

Step on the scale the first thing every morning, and the numbers recorded either say “Yay”, or  you move the scale to a different position on the floor and try again until IT gets it right!

The phone rings, and the number that flashes across the small screen determines whether you’ll answer.

You get a friend invite on face book, and you check the number of mutual friends you have.

You post something on face book, Instagram, or Twitter and your ‘likes’ are tallied, and of course that’s a sure-fire way to assess how well you’re loved. And it’s important to keep the number who follow you well above the number you’ve chosen to follow. Again, a real test of popularity.

 

There are apps for your phone that count the number of calories you’ve eaten, the number of steps you’ve taken, and my phone just ‘dinged’ to remind me to read my Names of God: Through Thanksgiving and Christmas reading plan and…yes, the days I’ve missed are also recorded.

And now my biggest hangup  (as a debut author) is…my numbers on Amazon, the number of books sold, the number of pages read, the number of reviews,where I rank from 1-1 million. In one week I’ve gone from ‘pretty good’ to ‘uh-oh’, and I’ve allowed those numbers to elate and deflate me. I’ve compared and been disappointed.

And then, my Gracious Heavenly Father reminds me: HE has ordered  (counted) my days, and my counting them isn’t going to change His number; HE orders (counts) my steps; He follows me; He’s my friend, and we have many, many mutual ones.

And as far as my ‘ranking’ goes, well He loved me enough to die for me.

‘Nuff said!

 

 

 

I Can’t Sing…But I Shall!

Years ago, several ladies in the church we were attending took turns sitting for a few hours each week with a lovely, godly, older woman who had Alzheimer’s, so her husband might have a few hours to run errands, or just get away for awhile.

This sweet woman loved music, and I soon realized that she would sit and listen while I played the piano—and when I played songs about the Cross, she would clap and try ever so hard to sing the words. They had a little terrier dog, almost like their child, and this dog would lay at my feet while I was at the piano. And while this pet was tolerant of my presence, it did NOT like for me to sing. I couldn’t blame him. I can’t sing. In my head I have a beautiful contralto voice, but when it escaped the confines of my very exaggerated imagination, it caused the poor doggie’s lip to curl, his teeth to grind and a menacing growl would shut me up real fast. The one positive–the sweet lady thought it quite comical.

For several years I have read through the Psalms (five Psalms a day and you read it through each month). I’m not trying to imply any sort of super spirituality here.  While I would love to be able to say I never miss a day, it would be a bold-faced lie. I do miss. Some weeks I am too lazy. Some days I deem myself too busy. However, in the Bible I normally use, I have underlined and double underlined and triple underlined passages that have spoken to me as I’ve read and re-read them.

Recently I purchased a journaling Bible, and  I’m trying something new. This time, as I work my way through the Psalms, I’m looking particularly for the songs, especially those scriptures that I’ve sung over the years. And in the journaling margin I’m drawing notes, and writing the words of the particular song. My prayer is that one day my children will see those entries and know that even though I can’t sing–and yes, they are very aware of that deficiency–they will know I treasured those scriptures.

But what I hope they understand even more, is the correlation the Psalmist records between “crying out” to the Lord, and the “new song’ the  Lord gave as a result.

We are living in a very troubled world, in very troubled times. On any given subject we’re a divided people—sadly, even among those of us who are followers of Christ. Oh, we cry out loud enough, but so does a child who wants their own way. When was the last time you heard your child cry “Father, tell me what to do!  Father, show me the way! Father, I’m wrong for being too lazy, too busy, too selfish!”, all the while pulling with all their might to take the object  (win the argument) away from the other child? It doesn’t work that way, does it?

II Chronicles 7:14 states clearly what we are to do—whether it’s Isis, Syrian refugees, illegal immigrants, corrupt politicians. You name it. It’s covered in His word.

The New Song will be given when I (we) cry for something other than my (our) own agendas. Taking a stand on face book isn’t going to solve anything unless and until I (we) first fall on my (our) knee(s) before a powerful, sovereign, Almighty God in obedience. Then and only then will come the song of deliverance–that New Song. And then I (we) shall all sing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Bob is a lot of things: a man of his word; wonderful husband; incredible dad and grandpa; neighbor; friend; handyman, and the list goes on. However, he is NOT a reader of fiction.

All these years of writing and writing he’d say “If you ever get it published, then I’ll read it.” Yet, he’s been my biggest and most faithful cheerleader: shelling out money so I can attend conferences; gas money, etc., so I can travel 3.5-4 hours each month–even if it meant my being gone several days–so I can be active in my writing group and on the conference committee. Plus, he’s eaten more sandwiches than any man should have to endure so I can keep writing.

But did I mention he’s a man of his word? Look who’s reading my book. I can’t even begin to explain what this does to my heart when we sit of an evening–me with my laptop on my…well, lap…and My Bob with his nose in my book.  AND he asks questions, and scolds me when I answer them because “now you’ve told me what’s going to happen and it won’t be a surprise!

Oh, how I love this man.

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Sneak Peek–Day #3

A twig snapped and a tingle ran the course of William’s spine. He he been stupid enough to let someone get behind him? Heavy breathing accompanied another crunch of undergrowth. William shouldered the gun and whirled to face his opponent.

Sneak Peek–Day #2

A sudden stillness dropped like lead around them, and in an instant she lay against the rough stone foundation of the depot, the weight of the stranger heavy across her. A rivulet of muddy water slid past her cheek, and the scent of bay rum filled her otherwise numb senses.

Sneak Peek!!

He didn’t come. Now you’re alone. We told you so. Now you’re alone.

Her sisters’ admonitions taunted in rhythm as the big iron wheels of the steam engine began to roll, and the train hissed and chugged past Robin Wenghold. She braced herself against the strong, hot wind and gripped the handle of her valise so tight her fingernails dug into the palm of her hand. 

+Thus begins Robin’s story…

One Week Away!

It’s still so very surreal. One week from today my very first novel will release. Unless you’re a writer, you won’t  understand the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes that have gone into this endeavor. The expectations, the disappointments, the picking up and starting over again. The desire to succeed coupled with the fear of failure. Hope deferred, only to be re-gifted.

But perhaps even more noteworthy, is that on the very same day this book releases, my husband and I will celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary. These years, too, have morphed into months, weeks, days hours and minutes. We’ve had expectations and disappointments. We’ve known joy beyond anything we could have imagined, and grief deeper than we knew could ever exist. We’ve had to redefine success, set new goals, give up dreams, and had dreams become true. We’ve birthed and lost, and both have their own kind of pain. We’ve sown, and we’ve reaped. We’ve hoped and we’ve despaired. We’ve grown weary, and we’ve had strength renewed over.

And through it all, even when we cried and doubted and laughed and celebrated, the one constant has been our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory is His. The novel. The anniversary. It’s all Him.

Oh, that I might never, ever forget or take for granted all that He has done. Nor doubt what he is able to do.