Well? What do you think of the new look? I read an article today in this month's Guideposts magazine on Ty Pennington - the Extreme Makeover Home Edition guy (the cute, loud one) - and thought, "Hmm. Maybe it's time to give the blog a new look, eh?" I think it's a good change . . . for now. Please notice the Prayer Concerns list on the left. Names are listed there with the date of the post where you can find the specific details for their needs. If you or someone you know is in need of prayer, please email me directly (you can get to it through my profile) and I'll be happy to post it for you! There IS power in prayer!
School starts for me next Friday, August the 1st. I'm not disappointed to be going back to school. On the contrary, I'm looking forward to seeing all of my wonderful friends and getting a fresh class of eager third-graders. By this point in the summer, Ali and Livi are eager to go back and start using all of their new school supplies that I've been trying to keep them out of for a week now! Preparing for a new school year is so exciting! No, I'm NOT disappointed about going back to school, but I AM disappointed that I didn't get more work done on The Heart's Journey Home this summer. Of course, there's only so much you can do when you're a mom . . . and a wife . . . and a teacher . . . and a . . . Do I need to go on??? I've been convincing myself for months now that I'm not super woman nor am I anything even in that ball park. One look around my house will make that blatantly obvious! But I did manage to set a reasonable goal for myself (and reasonable is the key word here) and as long as the Lord keeps me inspired, I'll be able to move into editing stages by late October.
That's where YOU come into the picture. The former headmaster of our school was big on accountability. It really IS a good thing! I would love to hear from you - my supporters, my lifeline - periodically checking on my progress. Keep those nominations coming. I can't tell you how they inspire me. (Oh, and did I mention earlier that the winners of the contest would get signed copies of The Heart's Journey Home?) And spread the word of what I'm doing here. Forward this blog address to anyone that you think would be even remotely interested. It only takes a minute. In return . . . let me guess. You want an unedited snippet. Well . . . okay.
Today's snippet comes from a little further on in the book. Kate has been struggling with her faith ever since her husband's death, but she's been asked to do something that will require her to use faith. I chose this scene because I've found with me personally getting busy in day to day life, I sometimes forget that God is closer to me than anyone else - my husband, my children, my family or my friends. He's right there in my heart.
Finally, she came to the sanctuary.
She pulled open a door, slipped inside, and walked up the aisle in the eerie silence. The only light was from the late afternoon sun streaming in through the large stained glass windows, and the two spot lights illuminating the mammoth cross that hung just behind the alter.
Kate slid into the first pew and just sat there staring at the cross. The burdens it represented were so great in comparison to hers and yet at the moment she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t even think straight.
She stayed there for what seemed like a long time, perfectly still, soaking up the quiet and waiting for the peace that was supposed to come simultaneously, showering down around her like a gentle rain, but the worry and fear never left her heart.
“I . . . I need Your help tonight. I don’t know if I can do this without You.” She sighed deeply. Her shoulders sagged. “I came here to find You, but I still feel alone.”
“Maybe you’re looking in the wrong place,” a voice said from behind her, cutting through the silence like a switchblade, causing Kate to nearly jump out of her skin. She put a hand over her racing heart and turned as Pastor Ben slid into the pew behind her.
“You scared me.”
“Expecting someone of a . . .” Pastor Ben glanced heavenward, then back at her with a light expression. “higher stature.”
Kate offered a weak, lopsided grin, which fell with her gaze a second later. “No. Hoping, maybe, but not expecting.”
Pastor Ben leaned forward and rested his forearms on the back of the pew Kate was sitting in. “Kate, sometimes we can see God all around us, every where we look.” Pastor Ben paused. “And sometimes we have to search deep inside ourselves.”
Kate looked at Pastor Ben. She didn’t want to admit to him what she had confessed to Grandpa Clayton and Elizabeth, but she knew she couldn’t pretend either. “I don’t think I’ll find Him there either.”
“Are you sure? Because I found Him there.”
Kate scrunched her brows in confusion. “I don’t understand how. It’s kind of been a while since I’ve experienced a close relationship with the Lord.” Kate paused, then quietly added, “Or any kind of a relationship at all.”
“So you still haven’t done what I told you to do the day that I asked you to consider leading the support group.”
Alarmed, Kate sat up straighter. She was an excellent planner and equally skilled at organization. She couldn’t stand the though of leaving something undone. “What do you mean? What haven’t I done?”
“Search your heart.”
Kate’s rigid posture melted away. “Oh.”
“Of course, I imagine it would be difficult to sift through the rubble of something that’s been so broken.”
Kate wished she could’ve thought of something to say, even if it was an excuse, but nothing, besides a sharp stab of shame, came to her.
“He’s there, Kate. You can ignore Him, try to run or hide from Him, even convince yourself that He’s not there, but He promised us that he would never leave or forsake us.” Pastor Ben tipped his head to the side. “Kind of like how you promised not to leave Maggie when she was going through labor. Maggie still had to go through it. You couldn’t take the pain away, but you were there to hold her hand, to encourage her, to make sure she knew she wasn’t alone, and, when it was all said and done, something beautiful came out of what she endured.”
Kate pondered his analogy, tears of understanding filling her eyes.
Pastor Ben watched her with an expression of deep compassion. “I know sometimes it’s hard when things don’t make sense and you have so many questions, but you just have to trust Him, Kate, and you will end up with something beautiful, too.”
Prayer concerns: Please pray for my grandma, Angela Dominick, who fell on Tuesday and broke her hip. Also, please continue to pray for my best friend from high school, Patty Smith, who continues to battle ovarian cancer. William Hickson is my friend's little boy who has mitochondrial disorder (please see the Caring Bridge link on the right to learn more about him and his wonderful family). My friend and fellow teacher, Alicia Sharpton, just got out of the hospital after having gall bladder surgery. Please pray for a speedy recovery for her. And on a happy note, my sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Jon Roeder, are expecting their second child sometime in March! Please pray for a safe and healthy pregnancy for Julie.