I can’t seem to get everything done these days. I have a “to do” list a mile long of things that must be accomplished between now and graduation. I mark off two or three or four items only to add five or six or seven more. I’m not sure I’ll ever get ahead at this rate. It makes me want to grab a stack of books, hide, and ignore all the “to dos” that are calling my name—although I’ll try not to ignore my few but faithful blog readers!
I read the story of Abigail and David again today. (I Samuel 25) I’ve always loved this story, from many different perspectives through many different seasons of my life, but today a new thought struck me: I need to pray that I will be an Abigail in the lives of my friends and family and I need to pray that the Lord will raise up Abigails in my own life.
Why? Because, like David, who one chapter earlier told Saul that the Lord would judge between them but he would not retaliate against Saul for trying to kill him without cause, we forget our great stands of faith. When Nabal insults David and his men, David rears up in anger and readies his men to slaughter Nabal and his house. That’s when the Lord sends Abigail to step in and remind David not to, in her words, “avenge himself by his own hands.”
I want to have the courage to step in between those I love and those they desire to avenge themselves against, whether in word or deed, and remind them that it is the Lord who will fight their battles. What more incredible act of mercy and love is there than to help keep them from sin they will later regret? Abigail arrived in the path of David’s anger with humility, kindness, and truth. And she kept David from bloodshed he would have later regretted. Our battles don’t often involve actual bloodshed these days, but they do involve words that wound and actions that hurt others financially, socially, or in myriad other ways.
Lord, send “Abigails” my way to keep me from sin and give me the courage and grace to boldly step into the face of another’s anger and remind that one of who You are and how You will fight for them.
This evening, I walk into the kitchen to find my daughter trying to wash paint from her hands. Not latex paint, mind you. The hard stuff. But do we have any paint thinner in the house? Of course not! As I gather my keys and purse (all the while muttering under my breath and counting to 10, then 20), she says, “Wait, Mom. I think this is working.”
I look up. “What’s working?” Of course I’m rolling my eyes and slipping on my shoes. Nothing but paint thinner will remove that paint. I know. I’m the mom.
“Yes, it’s working,” she says. “I’m using olive oil and it’s coming off.”
Open-mouthed, I stare at her clean hands, watch her dab a bit of olive oil on one last spot. It comes clean.
Who knew olive oil would take paint off your skin? (OK, so other people know because I googled it after the fact. But I had no idea!) And who knew an almost-eighteen-year-old could actually have the sense to try it?
I read the story of Saul again the other day. It really is an awful story if you read straight through from his being chosen as king to God saying He will tear the kingdom from Saul and Samuel refusing to ever see Saul again. (Read I Samuel 9-15.) He falls so far, so fast. But the thing that struck me this time as the saddest part of the whole situation comes at the very end of chapter 15. “And the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.”
Wow. I don’t ever want to live in such a manner that the Lord “regrets” where He has placed me! Looking back over Saul’s life, I think the biggest key to avoiding that outcome is humility. Saul went from knowing he was nobody to believing he was somebody. He forgot, in his position of authority and fame, that it was the Lord and only the Lord that raised him to that place. He had done nothing to deserve it. But it all went to his head. Suddenly, nothing was his fault anymore. He didn’t make decisions based on anyone’s good but his own. And he used the outward appearance of worship only when it elevated him in the eyes of his subjects, not because God deserved it or required it of him.
It’s a good lesson for us all.
As I have researched my new novel, set in 1918, I’ve come across some fascinating facts. I thought it might be fun to pass some of these along once a week or so.
Here’s your first installment:
In 1917, Herbert Hoover was the U.S. Food Administrator. One of his jobs was to conserve food at home in the U.S. in order to feed the troops fighting The Great War overseas. In an effort to do this, he designed a voluntary food conservation program. The people took to calling it “Hooverizing.” What was this conservation program? It consisted of Wheatless Mondays and Wednesdays, Meatless Tuesdays, and Porkless Thursdays and Saturdays. Americans complied; avoiding any government mandated rationing of food during WWI.
When Jed Pepper’s best friend Daisy goes missing, the insecurities that stem from Jed’s family’s secrets come raging to the surface. What kinds of secrets does a Texas pastor’s family hold? You’d be surprised.
And that is the premise for Mary DeMuth’s newest novel, Daisy Chain. It is the first in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy and, in Mary’s words, is a “long answer to a conversation with a friend” concerning that friend’s family of origin. Hearing the story of a father touted as an upstanding Christian man in the community but who spun into physically violent and abusive rages behind closed doors sparked Mary’s compassion for that family and her desire to explore the issues inherent in such a situation. Her ultimate goal is for others to find freedom in Christ, as she has experienced as well. In one effort to facilitate this freedom, Mary has also launched a companion blog where people can anonymously post their family secrets in order to loose their hold by telling them, by keeping them completely secret no longer. It is becoming a community of encouragement and prayer. And that, too, comes back to Jed and Daisy’s story.
Throughout the pages of Daisy Chain, help is afforded Jed by two characters who help him process both his feelings and his faith. They point him toward the redemption that only the Lord can provide in his present circumstances and past failings. Does that make you want to know more? Well Daisy Chain is a complex story of suspense and mystery and coming of age that is painful and wonderful all at the same time.
If you want a more traditional “review” of this book, check out some of these other bloggers!
In our Sunday School class (which is actually on Saturday night!), we’ve been going through the gospel of Mark. It has been fascinating! This week, we talked about the Syrophoenician woman’s encounter with Jesus in Mark 7.
Do you remember this one? She had a demon-possessed daughter and she came to Jesus for help. He told her that the children must be fed first, that their bread shouldn’t be thrown to the dogs. Her reply? “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”
Now there is a lot in that story, but here’s the thing I can’t get out of my mind. Just before we finished for the evening, our teacher made this statement: “This woman understood the power in one crumb from Jesus’s table. We have been invited as guests to sit at the table and partake of the feast.”
I know my faith in the feast is often much less than her faith in one crumb. But I don’t want to live that way. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.
My name is D’Ann, and I’m addicted to historical fiction.
Yes, it’s really true. I spent the whole day on Tuesday immersed in 1918. It was wonderful! I didn’t want it to end! I love it all—the writing, the research, the escape into another time and place with its own unique set of challenges for the people who lived there. There is something about putting myself back in time that just thrills me.
Not that I haven’t enjoyed the contemporary stories I’ve been writing. I have. But they didn’t feel like this. I haven’t really felt this way since the fall of 2001 when I completed my first novel, also a historical and one I hope to re-write someday.
The hard thing is waiting between-times, being patient until another chunk of time comes along in which to literally lose myself in a story of the past.
I came across Beth Moore’s blog recently. Her Bible studies have meant a lot to me, so I bookmarked it and peruse it occasionally. In the most recent post, she confessed herself to be a bibliophile (I knew I like her!) and asked people to comment telling ONE book that they love.
Well of course this got my attention. I decided I must scroll through the nearly 750 comments because, of course, there might be a new title to add to my “to read” list! Interestingly enough, most of the books mentioned—even some of the obscure ones—I’ve read. Now, if you know me or have been reading here very long, you know I rarely read non-fiction. So guess what? An overwhelming majority mentioned a fiction title over a non-fiction one. (I didn’t do the math but it was probably around 4 or 5 to 1, and possibly greater than that!) Isn’t that fascinating? For me, fiction has touched me more deeply than non-fiction. Apparently that is true for others, as well. Not that there aren’t valuable non-fiction titles. There definitely are! But when people think about a book they love—a book that stays with them or that they re-read often—it usually comes back to a memorable and well-told story.
That’s why I write fiction. And reading those comments inspires me to keep at it.
March has come in like a lion—in more ways than one at our house! Not only did we get a windy, cold weekend, but our schedule, always busy, seems to have been bumped up a notch as well. I’m not sure why this happens, but it happens every spring.
Maybe it is having two children’s birthdays in the spring, just 10 days apart and both usually near Easter. Maybe it is the “culmination” of so many school things into a ceremony or program or event that I must attend or get my children ready to attend. Maybe it’s that baseball games seem to last so much longer (each individual game and the season as a whole) than the other sports, and track meets are all day events, even though there are very few. Maybe it’s just that I get antsy for school to be out so the schedule will slow down!
Although I’m unsure why it happens, the frenzy of spring around here is as certain as white flowers blooming on Bradford Pear trees and green grass popping up in the yard. Unfortunately, I’m starting to see both!