Thursday, July 30, 2009


Isn't it amazing how much can be wrapped up in a single scripture verse? Take the following, for instance:

"If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised." 1 Peter 4:11
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Thinking more about Mary and Martha this week, (and how I tend to be such a "Martha personality") I couldn't help but wonder: Had Martha been serving with the strength God provided, would the Lord still have given her that gentle, earnest rebuke? I doubt there would have been any need to. Martha would not have opened herself to it.

When she went to Christ with her complaint, she was not seeking His strength. She was seeking, instead, to get Mary off her lazy tush so that she could bustle about and lighten Martha's load. Her eyes were on MARY and what she perceived as laziness; If she had been at all spiritually minded just then, she might have stopped to consider that mary was engaged in an important activity: She was actively listening to the Lord of Creation!

You could argue that maybe Martha didn't fully realize who Christ was; But she called him "Lord."

She tells him after her brother died that if He had only been there, he could have prevented the death. So she knows He is God.

Martha's problem, on that fateful day when her personal complaint was recorded for all of history, was that she wasn't thinking spritually--about God's provision--but only of herself.

Oh! As a mom in a household of seven people, I am often a Martha.
I look at my family and think, "Why aren't they doing more?"
If they were sitting at the feet of Jesus (or even reading their Bibles or praying) I could
handle it with peace, I think. But when they are watching TV or playing computer games, or reading, I believe I am correct in making them get moving to do their share.

Nevertheless, it sometimes feels like a tightrope walk: trying to remain conscious of the resources God gives me to be a mom and 'domestic engineer.' Or to discern whether I am falling into total self-reliance, forgetting to serve in God's strength. And what about the days when I look around and think, "Well, I don't have the strength to do all that needs to be done, so I guess it just won't get done," instead of seeking HIS strength.

Finding the balance of where I begin and end, and where God's help comes in, is not always immediately possible. For me, that is.

How do
you do it? Will you share a story or incident, or your own take on this? I'd love to hear it!


PS: The text size refuses to behave and stay small. Does anyone else have this problem with Blogger?

photo from Fotosearch

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tyranny of the "Urgent"

Have you ever noticed that when you start to pray you are sometimes instantly flooded with all of the urgent needs in your day? The things that must be done--right now! I mean, they can't wait another second! (At least it feels that way.)

Usually, I am prepared for this onslaught and can keep praying. In fact, the irony is that these things which seem so urgent are occurring to me just as I am praying, (and can get help!) which is twice the reason to stay solidly on my knees, or at my desk with my head bowed--and yet there are days when I succumb to that "urgency" and leave my Lord to "accomplish" something.

I firmly believe there ARE times to leave the prayer closet before you pray deeply, such as when you must take care of tasks which have been left undone--despite divine nudges. But these are few and far between. Some are:

  • When unforgiveness has lingered, and you need to make something right. You may need to speak to that person, write a note, extend an invitation for a get-together, whatever the case may be. This IS urgent, for unforgiveness will come between you and your Lord and must be attended to. It is an ugly weed in your life and you need to get that thing at the root! (Asking for divine help to do so is wise, however.)
  • When God has already been dealing with you to do a thing, and you have been dragging your feet. There are lots of reasons why we dread doing certain tasks in life, but if the Lord has already been dealing with you about something, then by all means, DO IT! Whatever the issue or task, it is not worth becoming a sin in your heart, which also comes between you and the lover of your soul.
  • When other people will suffer from your absence. If your kids need you first thing in the morning, you must either get up earlier to pray unhindered, or take care of them first. Same for anyone else who is dependent upon you for their care or sustenance.
This morning when I went to pray, the usual onslaught of URGENT tasks hit me with a vengeance, including the "need" to write about that very thing here on my blog. I stopped to do so. For everything else that came, and continues to taunt me, I will give them all to Jesus. Right now. Because being Mary in a Martha world is the "better thing" that won't be taken away from me, ever. I hope you'll be a Mary today, too.



Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm Back from Recent Public Speaking

I loved meeting and speaking to the Women's Book Club of the First Baptist Church of Roanoke, VA. They put on a luncheon fit for a queen, and were the friendliest, sweetest bunch of ladies you could ever want to meet. What fun it is to be an author!

I spoke about the Faith of Jane Austen and Every Woman's Search for Romance, and we had a really fun time. They asked lots of wonderful questions about my writing and both Before the Season Ends, and The House in Grosvenor Square.

I signed books and spoke to the fun-loving ladies of the Lifeway Christian Store
Book Club in Atlanta, GA. This group is run by Nora St. Laurent, who let me "listen in" while she and her girls spoke candidly about my books. I discovered that some of the ladies had really strong feelings about some of my characters, particularly Mr. O'Brien, who one woman called, "a weasel!" They also admired Mr. Mornay to my heart's content, and told how they adored Ariana. I felt like they were talking about my own children. It was SO enjoyable! Having dinner with Nora was also wonderful, as it was to meet my friends Sandi Andrews and Vickie in Virginia the week earlier. One of the most gratifying experiences for me (aside from letters from readers) is having made some wonderful friends like Sandi, Vickie and Nora.

Another new friend I've made is Mimi Pearson. She runs the WildCard Blog Tours for excellent Christian fiction, and after touring two of my books, we were ready to meet for real. We got to swim together, visit the Linville Caverns and take a small hike to the Linville waterfalls. What a treat.

In August, I'll be teaching two workshops at the FaithWriters Annual Conference in Michigan. Check it out!

I'm hoping to post more pictures of me with my other new friends this week, so stay tuned.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Thought for The Disciplined Life

"Through Scripture, creation, the church, and by his Spirit, God fills
the world with his voice. The only issue is, 'Are we listening?' "
C.J.Mahaney, Disciplines for Life.

How's Your listening, today? Have you taken some time to speak
to God and hear His voice? If not, take five and do it, now!

Sometimes, as the old song says, "It only takes a spark to get
a fire going!" If you're feeling lifeless, bring yourself to God and let
Him kindle that spark in you.

[Where have I been? Meeting my latest book deadline, and traveling, and entertaining company.
I hope you enjoyed today's little thought; I need so much time to be a wife to my husband, mom to my five kids, and manager of my home, that writing my daily devotions
was getting too time consuming--hence my "vacation" from this blog. My solution for now is that I'll be posting some "God-thoughts" a couple times a week or more--just a snippet from my devotional time with the Lord. I pray you will find them edifying, as I have.
It's good to be back!]