Friday, November 17, 2017

When God Leaves You In the Dark. Devotion by Dianne J Wilson


Some days I pop out of bed with a sparkle in my eye, excited about everything that God is doing in my life. I can see the purpose behind every chance meeting, strange happening, even the bad stuff makes sense. These are seasons of clear vision.

I wish I could say that this is always the case. Some days, I only just manage to peel myself out from under the duvet, the bad things gang up on me (really, Cat, you choose today to start using the carpet behind the couch as your toilet?) and I can't see the purpose in anything. On those days, I feel like God picked everyone to play on His team but me. Sometimes those days can carry on for weeks. Months. Years.

How do you make sense of being left in the dark like that? Well, here's a picture for you. Sometimes a mother hen tucks her little chicks under her wing. They are safe from predators, close to her heart, and though they cannot see where she's headed, it doesn't matter because they will be going with her. They can't see, but she can.

Sounds great, right? Not so much from the chick's perspective. He was just discovering how great worms taste and how well his little stick-legs work and now here his is, in Mom's armpit, sweaty feathers getting up his nose when he tries to breathe. Not exactly the high point of his chick-life.

And yet...

   He is close to her heart.

   He is safe from predators.

   Even though he doesn't know where he's going, momma hen does.

    He is held close enough to go with her no matter which way she turns.

If you're in a season of breathing in feathers in the dark, take heart! God has you close enough that you'll move with him whichever way he goes. Don't fight it, cuddle close. Tune in to his heartbeat. Allow him to take you with as he moves.  Trust him. It will be worth it!

Proverbs 3:6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”


Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She is writing a three book YA series, Spirit Walker, with Pelican / Harbourlight. Affinity (book 1), releases on the 8th of June 2018.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.


Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

God’s Timing, and Stepping Out in Faith


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get a little caught up in production mode. I’ve had a pretty busy year with lots of deadlines to meet, and at times I’ve felt a little bit like a meerkat being busy, busy, busy then when I’ve met my deadline, poking my head up to peer around to see who and what is available for a chance to relax, refresh and reinvigorate.

Last month, a week before the Omega Writers Conference in Sydney, I had such a moment, and just so happened to attend my local chapter of the Jane Austen Society. We were fortunate enough to have a guest speaker, Tim Bullamore, who is the editor for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine (and who also, incidentally, writes obituaries for The Times newspaper). After his talk about Jane Austen’s life, death and legacy, I spoke to him, where it just so happened someone mentioned I was a writer. He gave me his card, saying if ever I would like to submit an article for his magazine (which Jane-ites from around the globe subscribe to) then to send him an email. I took his card, thanked him, and went back into busy mode, all the while thinking, thinking, thinking.

Having done a fair amount of historical research for my Regency novels I wondered if he might be interested in an article about Brighton, England’s Royal Pavilion, something I mention in my latest book The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey (and something Donna Fletcher Crow just so happened to write about last week). I sent off an email, went to the conference, and had a great time. The following week was back to busy, busy, busy as I work to get my sixth book ready for submission next month. In the midst of my busyness, mothering duties called me to Sydney (1½ hours away) to pick up my daughter from a concert at the Sydney Opera House. Having some time to kill I thought I’d visit the nearby New South Wales State Library, where they just so happen to hold a copy of the most marvellous book, The Making of the Royal Pavilion: Designs and Drawings by John Morley. This book examines the renovations and refurbishments that took the Royal Pavilion from Brighton farmhouse to the jaw dropping edifice of Moorish / Chinese / Indian design that it is today. I was able to read this, take a few colour photocopies of some of the designs, then pick up my daughter, all the while marvelling that I had such (relatively) easy access to one of the only copies of this book in Australia. Why did I want to read this? It was a faith step, just in case Mr. Bullamore said yes to my article proposal.
 
It just so happened that two days later I received an email saying – you guessed it – yes, love that idea, please submit, etc, etc.

As a Christian, I’m trusting God will open the right doors at the right time. Not everything works out, but so many times when I’m asking God to direct my paths and submitting my plans to Him it just so happens that I see Him provide opportunities, opportunities that I’m learning to say yes to. Life can get pretty busy, but taking time to follow those Holy Spirit nudges can be so much more rewarding than we realise. Sometimes we need the reminder that God holds our lives in His hands, and we just need to trust Him and His timing, and step out in faith.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        www.carolynmillerauthor.com
                                     www.pinterest.com/camillering


SaveSave

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What Are You Afraid of?

Hello Sandra Orchard here.

These days I’m spending time with my young grandson as he recovers from leg surgery. The first couple of weeks, he stoically endured the painful steps he had to take to begin the process of putting weight back on his leg, but by week three, he’d start to panic at the mere mention that we’d be doing it soon.

The fear of the pending pain became more debilitating than the pain itself.



As I started praying against that, I realized such fear hinders us from doing a lot of things.

Have you ever thought about how many times fear is at the root of procrastination?

Think about it. We know we have to get something done and it should only take a finite amount of time to do and once it’s done we’ll likely be hugely relieved it can be scratched off the to-do list. So why put off doing it?

Why play that game of FreeCell instead? Or check those emails? Or Facebook?

Yes, I’ve come to the conclusion fear is what keeps me from sitting down at the computer and writing the next chapter, especially when I know something in the story isn’t working, and, as much as I’ve been praying for guidance and inspiration, I’m not feeling it.

So I decided to think about what exactly I might be afraid of and came up with a few ideas:

-       I’ll waste hours writing scenes I ultimately won’t be able to
-       I’ll spend hours at the keyboard and make too little progress to show for it
-       What I write will be boring, uninspiring and useless

All three have happened time and again, so the fear is totally justified. But . . .

I also realized that unless I’m going to procrastinate by doing something else practical that needs doing, the reality is writing something gets me a whole lot closer to figuring out how to make the story shine than a game of Free Cell.

So I’ve made myself a two-part reminder note for whenever I’m dogging it:

You won’t finish the story unless you write it.
And…
Every little effort makes the story stronger.

It’s true, too. Just as my grandson’s micro-inch steps make his leg stronger, so do my feeble writing attempts. When I write scenes that don’t work, they help steer me toward what will, and they usually help me to understand my characters better or to see what I haven’t figured out about them yet.

That said, I’ve also learned that it’s a good idea to quit for the day while the ideas are still flowing. I jot a few notes to remind me how to carry on the next time I sit down and then I’m far more eager to get back to it the next day, than if I’d written until my ideas ran dry.

Gotta run now. I have a story to write!


Your Turn: Have you experienced victory over a fear? Did your fear turn out to be worse than what you’d been fearing?


Be the first to know when Sandra Orchard’s next book is available! Follow her at http://bookbub.com/authors/sandra-orchard  to receive new release and discount alerts and/or subscribe to her newsletter at http://bit.ly/OrchardNews

Distress Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net