I haven't been blogging very much. I'm not a journaling type of writer. I don't keep a journal, I don't like to write down my thoughts. To me, it doesn't compute. I'm more set your teeth on something and write, write, and write. One of my professors in college, a psychology professor, even made it a point to limit the number of pages for our take-home final exam to ten. He advised us strongly, looking right at me, to keep it under 10 pages or he would dock us a grade. I still gave him 20 and I believe I got an A. The point is... what was the point... oh yes. When you blog you only write a relatively short amount. I can't. So... here it is:
Recently I've struggled with putting the newest book 'Dangerous Relations' out on print. Every. Single. Time I put a book out it's like world war III breaks out around me and in me. I get attacked. Oh, not physically but definitely spiritual. Putting a book out is like going through labor in an African country without the help of a physician, while I have the flu, and it's in the middle of the summer. Of course we're out in the sticks, in a tent. Anything else? Mmm. Nope. That's about how it feels. Of course this time, it's the same. I'm struggling and fighting and then – whammo! Out comes the sledge hammer (spiritual – you understand) and knocks me into tomorrow. It hurt the first time. And this time I actually felt my brain rattle. Talk about pain.
But that's not the reason for this blog (which is going to be longer than the average 3 lines, people). As I was telling the Lord that, yep, I was done, that no way could I get up from the last sucker punch, my wonderful son, who is so sweet and kind, started my computer because we'd been listening to praise music. I have to digress here – sorry – but one of my very good friends advised to blast the praise music when you're down. And it helps. Okay, back on track. He opened up my computer and a song played. So while I was down in the dumps, trying to lift up my head without any success (believe me, I just couldn't even do that) this song played over and over. It's called Thief by Third Day. Yes, it's one of my favorite songs, but when I heard it, I got even angrier. Why is that stupid song playing now!? I want nothing to do with it right this moment! (I don't know about you, but when you're having a moment you feel quite entitled to your tantrum.) But the more the song played the less upset I became, I was able to stop crying and the anger left.
That's when I wondered why in the world that song played. Logan hadn't chosen it. My computer was closed and the song started to play, so he let it play. This morning as I think about it, all makes sense and my eyes are filling with tears as I think about how good our God really is! You see, writing has been about what I thought God wanted me to do. I was doing it for Him, which is a good thing. But... I was somehow doing it because I wanted Him to approve of me (ouch, this is raw honesty people, don't judge me here). I wanted Him to be proud of me for what I have done. As the song about the thief on the cross played, I realized that, man... I have nothing to bring. Once again, Anne comes empty handed! It is not my books that are going to make God sit up and write down a few comments in the book of my life. Wrote Christian books. She get's to go to the front of the line. Give her a gold star for now.
We all want to hear that Well done, my good and faithful servant. Every one of us, whether we admit that we believe in God or not. But we look at it all the wrong way. It's not about how many people we feed, how many mission trips we've participated on. Oh, don't get me wrong. Those are good things, but the most important thing God wants from us is our heart. Plain and simple, difficult and sometimes excruciating to execute. At the cross, the thief – dying next to the King of Kings – realized that he had nothing to bring. He was probably going to even die before Christ. And he knew it! He deserved hell! And yet he asked to be remembered in His Kingdom. Did Christ say, Yo, dude. You're a thief. You're here because you got caught. I'm NOT going to let you into MY perfect kingdom. And as soon as I'm there, I'll have forgotten you. You need to read the story of the thief if you believe that. He told the man, with his dying breath – mind you, when you're dying on the cross it's not a party. You can't breathe too well and I'm sure speaking is pretty difficult – that he'd be in heaven with Him. There was no check list. The man hadn't published a Christian book in his life. He probably had never helped anybody – or had he?
The point I'm trying to make is that my heart's condition, my surrender, my love for Christ outweighs whether I've been to church lately, whether I belong to the right denomination, whether I've helped a stranger, whether I've published a book or not. Those things will come. Opportunities will arise and the Holy Spirit will nudge you. And this is not about being punished. God isn't punishing me. He's growing me, guiding me. The opposition would like to see me quit. That's why it's so hard to publish a book.
So, once again I have learned a very valuable lesson. When I put a book out, watch out! Here come the sucker punches and just to remember that I may not be doing this to gain favor with God, but He does delight in my writing. Because I enjoy it. I didn't gain any brownie points by it. It gives me pleasure to write about love – for Christ and for other people. It gives me a kick when I get to a funny part. My poor family has been subject to hilarious laughter when I write.
And that's why I'm not done yet! The apostle Paul didn't quit when he got stoned. He got up, walked right back into the town he was ministering in and continued. Talk about gumption! You go, man! That said, I need prayer. Lots of them. So I thank you for it in advance.
If you came up to me and asked what I do, I'd have to tell you that I'm a wife, mother and teacher. A writer? you ask. Wow. Now that is something I never thought I'd be. But through God, all things are possible.