Do you remember when I blogged from atop a double-decker bus going to NYC for my friend’s book launch and signing? The new experience delighted me! And I loved taking you with me on the journey. I feel that way now, seven years later, writing on an airplane. Only this time, I’m returning from my own event where I signed books and spoke for women on all the best verbs in scripture (seated, included, guarded) and gave an ending talk on Luke 5 and what it means to leave everything to follow Jesus because He is that great.
I remember at my friend’s party in New York how nervous I was to pitch a novel idea to an agent. I remember thinking how I’d always be an outsider in the whole world of publishing. I told this agent about my novel—her name was Kate and she was fancy and professional and kind— and I even sent her a copy of it which she rejected immediately.
Then I found another agent for that novel who, now, all these years later, and under the direction of another agent in that same agency, will try to sell the book again this very week! I love the timing of it. I love thinking about life and growth and flight patterns. Sometimes, you change course a bit. There’s turbulence. There’s stalling on runways and all kinds of uncomfortable delays. And sometimes, everything happens in a flurry and you’re running to catch flights.
I love that God sees the whole landscape of a life, like me looking down from this plane.
It’s beautiful. I’ll arrive right on time.
So hello to you from way up here in the sky. The sun sets. Night falls. And I’m here, amazed.
I have no pictures. Imagine: deep, glorious orange. The leaves shrivel and allow the sun to ripen them. I’m amazed!
As I speak in Colorado this weekend, I remember my goal: present God’s word. Rather than seeking approval, I seek alignment with this singular goal.
(If you don’t hear from me, for a few days, it’s because I’m high in the mountains with poor reception.)
I read this today, and I laughed: “The juice is worth the squeeze.” It’s such a good reminder that whatever you’re going through–whatever crushing pressure or squeezing stress–is worth what it produces: dependence on God and humility.
The juice is worth the squeeze.
I think about perseverance, of setting hard goals, and about being uncomfortable in order to achieve something later.
The juice is worth the squeeze.
These past few days, I’ve been so nervous about my fall speaking schedule. Will I do a good job? Will the women feel connected to God? Will my words make sense? Did I choose the right scriptures and stories?
I keep asking God to give me confidence and an overwhelming sense of peace regarding these events.
What He does do is remind me of a quote from Os Guinness in his book, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life.
It’s this: “Unsure of ourselves, we are sure of God.”
I’m crunching acorns underfoot as I walk around the neighborhood in the dewy morning air. I think about how Paul must not have felt particularly comfortable or full of cozy feelings when about to suffer imprisonment or stoning. I think of so many other heroes of the faith who rested in Jesus and not in their own emotions about what was happening.
Unsure of themselves–or their circumstances–they could be sure of Jesus.
It feels like the breakthrough I need: moving forward, I am sure of Jesus, not myself or ability to perform, choose the right words, or create the right response. In fact, staying unsure of myself means I stay certain of Jesus; I’m dependent, humble, meek, and desperate.
I’m sure of Jesus.
My pumpkin patch continues to amaze me. A single seed! Planted in compost because we tossed a rotting pumpkin out like garbage! Something we don’t tend or care for!
And yet! This one, for context, is about the size of a large toaster oven.
I think of letting God in—even a little bit, like a tiny seed of surrender—and what He makes from it, no matter what the conditions, no matter how rotted our heart.
I’m excited to read the book of Zechariah because my sister reminds me of the key verse I needed to hear today: “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
I remember what God does by His Spirit, not by any other form of strength, intelligence, planning, money, or other resources we insist we require now, by our own means and in our own ways.
Since the pumpkin patch overtakes the raspberry canes, I resign myself to a diminished harvest. Even now, with the blue sky, the bright red berries, and my little bowl balanced on the beam that helps stabilize my blackberries, I find myself filled with joy.
Ordinary, simple. These, I eat with yogurt or alongside afternoon tea. Or, in that strange atmosphere of equal parts summer’s retreat casting warmth and autumn’s outstretched arms chilling our toes in the garden, I’ll invite my daughter–the one in her own transition to new seasons–and we’ll stand together in the uncertain weather, gobbling the sun-warmed berries.
I’ll take what I can get.
As I peer into the enormous pumpkin patch, I note the once dark green pumpkins slowly begin their transformation to bright orange. It’s so exciting! They turn colors much as the leaves do; they stop producing chlorophyll with the longer and cooler fall nights. The green pigment fades, and we begin to see the carotenoids that give the orange and yellow tint.
I love thinking about autumn: the beauty we observe represents a slowing down, a decay, a loss, and a fading. We delight in something aging, and in this loss, we see the most glorious colors. The decay was a condition for art. The beauty requires a certain kind of losing.
It’s a joyful, marvelous losing.