Friday, April 29, 2011

God Caught Me By Surprise

Of late I've been the one in need of some Encouraging Words. My personal life has kept me moving at NASCAR pace. My mind, my attention and my body haven't been able to catch up with each other since 2011 began. I'm physically exhausted most of the time.

Over the course of my 60+ years I've learned that, for me, physical exhaustion is most often caused by emotional, not physical, labor. That is true once again.

Several areas of personal responsibility keep me busy--too busy--to do the thing I really WANT to do right now--write. I want to write. I need to write. I need to use this small gift God has given me to pen words of encouragement. And I've been worried lately that this year is going to be fruitless in the ministry of writing that God has given me. I've been whining to God (a lot!) about not being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Of course I say that I'm not worrying. I assert that I'm trusting God with the 525, 600 minutes belonging to 2011.

But we all know I'm just in denial.

I've been talking to God about it for weeks. Asking Him to give me more energy. Asking Him to somehow help me find more minutes in each day. Asking Him to help me go without sleep to write. (THAT'S a good one, right?) Asking God to give me peace and joy in the crazy pace and the total lack of time to think, to create, to write, to research and to submit.

Well, earlier this week God surprised me; He answered those prayers in a totally unexpected way.

Isn't He wonderful like that?

I wrote a devotional - 250 words total - almost two years ago and sent it to "Upper Room." A few months ago they bought it and published it in the March/April 2011 edition. 250 words. Of the millions of words that I've hammered out on this keyboard God used those 250 little words to speak to me, to touch me, today.

When I opened my email this afternoon I saw 8 items in my "junk" box. All 8 had the subject line: Upper Room Devotion. I clicked. Within 30 minutes I received 2 more. One was forwarded to me by the Upper Room staff. I clicked and clicked and clicked.

One after the other they were all from people around the US who were touched and encouraged by those 250 words. So encouraged that they took the time to email their gratitude, their blessings and their prayers to me.

250 words pulled out of my heart found a home in other hearts.

As I read the emails I wept. The Holy Spirit made it soooo obvious to me that these emails may have come by way of TX or IN or the other side of the NC mountains, but they really came from HIM.

The loving warmth of God's grace wrapped me up like a soft blankie around a baby fresh from a warm bath. He spoke directly to my heart through those emails. Each one touched me and blessed me and reminded me of how much my Heavenly Father cares for me.

I cried as I read and responded to each one. I cried with gratitude to my loving Father for reassuring me that I am exactly where He wants me. Reminding me that HE is in charge of the words I pen. Reassuring me that nothing I write for Him is JUST 250 words, and that it doesn't take a 3-book deal with a major publisher to be in the center of His perfect will for me.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for His tender attention to the details of my life---

for His Encouraging Words for me.


Anonymous said...

Oh Jean, Happy Day! You are in God's will! Rejoice and be glad in it.

Linda A.

Ellen Mathis said...

Oh Jean......what a wonderful story! God's timing is perfect, isn't it?

Cheryl Barker said...

Praise God, Jean! I am always touched at how, during our busiest seasons of life, God blesses the time we ARE able to give to our writing. So glad He blessed you with these precious responses to your devotion!

quietspirit said...

When God speaks to us, we listen. I'm glad He spoke to you and used others to send you the message.

Carol Baldwin said...

That is wonderful, Jean. 250 words. Didn't take much, but the Lord used them!! By the way you have an extra "b" in the word baby. Thought you might want to fix the typo!

Jean said...

Thank you, one and all, for your notes of encouragement!

God's timing IS perfect for sure!


Kristi Butler said...

Yeah!!!!!! Way to go, Jean!!!!! I'm so proud of you and thrilled for you!!! God is sooooooo good!

Love you!