To wait, or not to wait, that is the question

After I posted on waiting, I received an excellent blog post on the trap of “This, too, shall pass.” The writer said it was the worst possible advice for writers, and encouraged us to be constantly creative. Amen.

While Abraham waited, he moved his family to a new country and built his wealth–thus he was able to rescue Lot. While Moses waited, he tended sheep, leaning how to shepherd God’s flock out of Egypt. While David waited to be king he learned how to lead and inspire. Even Jesus learned to be an obedient son.

I told my publisher once I’m glad I didn’t publish when I was young, because I believed a lot of dumb-dumb things back then, and I’m glad they aren’t in print over my name. Gestation is a period of rapid, explosive growth, although for the most part it’s invisible (love those sonograms!). Waiting is a time of preparation and instruction–for me, learning the craft of writing. Waiting is a time of meditation–moving those spiritual lessons from the head to the heart.

As my hero in the Singing over me series,  Ian O’Malley says, God doesn’t waste time, He uses it to make us ready for His plan and purpose in our lives. When we wait in faith, doing what it is our hand finds to do in that time, He is ever shaping us. Be a wife, be a mom, work at your job, find purpose in every season, and you’ll be ready for the next one!

Though the Vision Tarry, wait for it

Have you ever “known that you know” something, but it doesn’t come to pass? Decades ago I shared with my niece I was sure God had a call on her life–she was never happier than when leading retreats, and used her vacation time to do so. She was never fully satisfied with her various professional endeavors, although she was accomplished and successful. I had done my thing, told her my impression, which I thought was from God, and stepped aside.

At age 50, she sold her house and began seminary. This weekend we will attend her graduation from Sewanee Episcopal seminary. God bless her as she brings His life to many in Texas! The vision has begun to be fulfilled–Glory to God, and His blessings to my beautiful, radiant, and Spirit-filled niece!

Now I await the publication of five books–Invisible Wounds, the sequel to my first published book (in 2012), should come out this month, and the 4-book series Singing over Me, about the Irish-American musical family. Now I have more in the chute, and an assignment for 5-6 book series called Hope House Girls about each one of the friends Missy O’Malley made at the maternity home. My vision for publishing novels came my sixtieth decade–and I know I was called to this, and it will come to pass.

Excuse my absence

Sometimes I believe the End of the Age is upon us and the days are being shortened for the elect’s sake because time flies by.  Or maybe it’s my age–a day, a month, they are an insignificant fraction of a long life. At any rate, it’s been too long since I’ve had a visit.
After the long winter, good news:
I have the covers for “Invisible Wounds” (sequel to “His Brother’s Wife”) and “Recovered and Free” (the first of four in the Singing Over Me series)–two books are in publication! Soon you’ll be able to order them from Oak Tara or Amazon.
I will be speaking in Charleston. WV, Saturday, May 3, at Valley Assembly, I look forward to this return visit with Pastor Phil Dunn’s marvelous congregation.                                                      I have two grandchildren on the way, one natural, one adopted.
I have completed two manuscripts in the upcoming series: The Hope House Girls, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through a third.
Joe and I have been traveling–he taught freshmen medical students at Duke in February, and we went to the Orthopedic Academy Convention in March. He doesn’t need me on thee jaunts, but he wants me along. That, too is good news, after all these years, he still wants me to travel with him.
I’ll be blowing trumpets in Zion when the books are in print. Keep tuned in.


It Takes Two

As a writer, I consistently trumpet God’s plan for marriage. I have five books under contract with Oak Tara, and my publisher recently said I should expect “a flurry” of books coming out soon. All champion married love.
About two decades ago when our youngest son was in high school, a conversation at the lunch table revolved around the importance of having two parents in the home. He was horrified–no one agreed with him that fathers and mothers added different dimensions to parenting, and each was essential. He’s a father, and recently we revisited this theory. He affirmed his position, rejoicing that God had given him a helpmate to mother his son and affirming her value in the family.
Tragically, many young people today don’t experience God’s plan for a family. This Sunday, our pastor taught on the Song of Solomon–I’ve never heard a sermon on that beautiful, neglected book. He said, the source of most marriage struggles, and the beginning of most heartbreak, can be traced to the church’s neglect to teach God’s plan for marriage.
For my male readers, I commend C. J. Mahoney’s book Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God. Another good one: Sex Begins in the Kitchen, by Kevin Lehman. And I repeat my constant theme: Sacred Passion. It’s God’s Idea.
I’m currently working on the Hope House Girls Series, which will tell the stories of each of the girls in the maternity home where my heroine began her journey.

Intimacy and Marriage

My husband and I our day with God, reading Scripture and praying, before we go to work—he to his medical practice and I to “the Salt Mines,” as I refer to my writing room in the basement. But I also read a daily devotional TGIF (Today God is First) by Os Hillman. I recently read one titled “Finding a Cause Bigger than Yourself, and I realized I have such a cause that motivates and permeates my writing, and it is the Sanctity of Marriage.
While I recognize God is a Redeemer, and He gives second chances, and certainly two of my characters in my upcoming book, When I Am in Your Arms, experience His love in the arms of a wife who is not their first shot at marriage, I believe God’s will is most perfectly experienced in a long and happy marriage.
On our Fiftieth wedding anniversary, our son sent a card and added in his own hand: “Thank you for being role models. I am grateful to your example of what marriage looks like. You two were not only dedicated to each other, but to the institution of marriage. When many parents of friends were divorcing, I never doubted you would stay together.” We made our mistakes in rearing our children, as all parents do, but stability goes a long way in maintaining a home.
Christians are called to remain faithful to one another, and my blog theme is “Sacred Passion, it’s God’s idea.” God requires sexual purity, not to limit our joy, but to increase it, to provide a safe place for intimacy of the one flesh relationship of marriage. As a mentor mom for the Mothers of Preschoolers Group in our church, I consistently underscore the importance of I Corinthians 7—our bodies belong to our marriage partners. Intimacy brings joy, and it heals hurts and restores unity after misunderstandings.

A Time to Renew

In a recent authors’ blog post, I said as writers, our best work is when we write what we know. Readers often think my novels are true stories. They aren’t, but often the conversations are ones I have had with girls in crisis pregnancies, or young moms struggling with their children or their husbands.

After fifty-one years of marriage, I’ve learned a few things about maintaining an enduring and loving relationship, and one of the most important secrets: Renew. One of my favorite Bible readings is Ecclesiastes 3, a time for everything. To be born and to die, to kill and to heal, to tear down and build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance . . . .

Joe and I recently spend a few days away to celebrate our anniversary. No kids. No grandkids. Just us, and no agenda. A time to renew, to remember why we’ve chosen over and over again to share our lives.

When we were young, we couldn’t afford to go to a fancy hotel, but we could turn off the phone, sit on the couch after the kids were down and watch a movie. We could take them for a walk–I remember getting large appliance boxes from the back of a store and taking our three little ones to the levy in New Orleans so they could slide, roll, and tumble–and giggle. Didn’t cost a thing. Renewal. Try it with the one you love–even if the love seems frayed and worn.

And the Family Goes On

One of our daughters-in-law has started calling Joe Father Abraham. Only recently we were counting our blessings–six grandsons! Truly, he is a a Patriarch–and, although I’m not having our first son in my 90′s as Sarah did, I feel having these new grandsons in our 70′s is remarkable. (I have laughingly called it God’s joke.)
Sitting beside one of our older grandsons in church yesterday during the children’s Christmas program, my heart ached as I realized perhaps when their babies come along I wouldn’t be here to see their program. I wanted to assure them I would be among that great cloud of witnesses, and if they paid close attention, they would feel my love even though I couldn’t be physically present.
Another son and his wife traveled four hours to come see his new nephew last weekend. Maybe their sixteen-month old doesn’t know the significance of that, but his grandmother sure does. When we have left this earthly place, our family will go on. By God’s grace the brothers and sisters will have one another, and the heritage we leave them.