"I’d Written a Sermon to Myself?"
Something had prompted me to pick up that 1995 Daily Planner to read it. As I opened it, I couldn't believe what I'd written on the first page, at the beginning of the year. Exactly the same things I'd been praying this morning. It was a sermon to me.
After three months full of wonderful activity, my body is crying “ouch.” I haven’t been getting enough rest. I’d spent more than a month with old friends, Carolyn and Con, in North Carolina. At their home, I met people involved in Hearts of Hope ministry. I’ve been inspired by the leaders, the group, and by their people who have recorded for me their stories of second chances.
Carolyn and I had planned for several months to attend a Christian Writers Guild writers’ conference, headed by Jerry Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series. The instruction and fellowship was fantastic. We enjoyed the atmosphere of The Cove, Billy Graham’s retreat center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Carolyn directed my wheelchair up and down hills and through long halls.
One highlight was attending workshops led by Les Stobbe, who, almost thirty years ago, had encouraged me to write poetry for what became Fanfare: A Celebration of Belief. He continues to be full of good insights, help, and encouragement.
However, this week I realized how driven I've been since July. After flunking one writing opportunity, last week, to be one of several writers hired for a series of books, I have been taking it easy and doing some reflecting.
I've really been praying about what I'm supposed to be doing. Friends have been telling me, since the door has been closed on the mentioned writing possibility, God must have something else in mind. I do want to do what I can, while I am here on earth, to produce good works to glorify the Father.
I see myself declining, and wonder if the brain cells are suffering as much as the muscles and other body parts. Will God inspire and strengthen adequately to overcome the lost youthful spark and easy flow of ideas and expression?
I'd love to write a book that would draw people to a yearning to understand and experience how wonderful God is. I know that what I want to convey really can't be expressed in words. But I'd sure love to try, without being constrained to be mindful of target audience and market potential. I want the writing to flow, capturing the wonder and joy of relationship with such a Mighty Being.
So, in taking stock, I wonder whether “you have not, because you ask not” applies directly to me All sorts of ponderings! What has God equipped me to do? What are his purposes for me? I feel I haven't fulfilled the promise of what might have been.
Then, today, I found a daily planner from 1995 in my desk. That is the year my children’s book, I'd Like to Ask God, was published. The planner pages were full of notes about what was going on with the illustrator, editors, publisher, etc. I'd noted how pleased I was with the beauty of the first copy I received. More notes told about contacts to sell the book, and about autograph party dates. The final autograph date, at a museum, was cancelled after I had a freak accident, rupturing my quadriceps, leaving me unable to move my leg below the knee. Instead of going to the museum, I went to surgery and to a nursing home for two months.
When I returned home, I experimented making notebooks full of early versions of my poems, with graphics, and giving them away. That's how I learned to work with Adobe Photoshop on the computer. Dates were marked when poems were submitted to magazines, and when some were published. All that activity looks amazing to me now, compared with how little I'm doing.
But something had prompted me today to pick up that planner to read it. As I opened it, I couldn't believe what I'd written on the first page, at the beginning of the year. Exactly the same things I'd been praying this morning. It was a sermon to me:
Goals for the Year 1995
1. To speak truth about the Lord.
Go beyond duty — serving the master with love.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." Eph. 1:17
2. To be to the praise of his glory.
"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything to conformity with the purpose of his will in order that we who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory." Eph. 1:11, 12
3. To know and do the good works I was created to do.
"For you are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
4. To have, because I ask.
"Ye have not, because ye ask not." James 4:2
5. To know what to ask and pursue.
"...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
Rom 8:26, 27
"...I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask
in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my
name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete."
John 16:23, 24
6. Be a good and faithful servant — not coming to this
"So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have
only done our duty.' " Luke 17:10
Read all of Nancy's previous articles: