I’ve been thinking about this blog for a long time. I suppose that seems obvious, since it’s been two months since the last time I wrote one! But more than just a new post, I have been thinking about this whole process of blogging, and I want to share those thoughts with you, so you might know better where this blog comes from in me. Writing is nothing new for me…I love to write…I do it all the time. I write things for work, I’ve done a magazine article or two, I write poetry, I write emails almost daily, I’m a consummate note taker, and I’ve been known to journal off and on. But the thing I love to do most is write cards and letters to the people I love…to family, friends, and neighbors. Funny thing, it’s just in the last month or so that I’ve realized just how much I delight in this activity. If there were some way to make a living writing letters to people and sending cards of encouragement, I’d be right on that. It’s a tantalizing thought…so much so that I’m almost afraid to think it. Have you ever done that…thought of something so wonderful that it was almost painful to let your mind rest there too long? I’d like to explain how I came to that thought, if you wouldn’t mind walking down that trail with me a ways. I’ll try to keep it short…
A small group of women and I have a Bible study at my house once a week, and we’re just getting done with the “Believing God” study by Beth Moore. It’s basically about believing God rather than believing in God…which are two very different things. I found I had a lot to learn. If you can participate in this study sometime, you should. I was blown away by it! Anyway, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it starts on the premise of reaching a Promised Land. Most of us probably know the story of God freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and leading them to Canaan, their Promised Land…a place of their very own, where they could settle in and prosper. (If you read the first five chapters in Deuteronomy you’ll get a good overview of where the Israelites had been. Then read the first chapter in Joshua, to see them just before they enter the Promised Land.) Amazingly, as common as that Bible story is, and as many times as I’ve heard or read it, I never really understood the greater application. We all have a Promised Land here, in this life, on this earth…not just the promise of heaven. Just like the Israelites were promised a real place on this earth, so are we. Ours isn’t land, per se, but it’s the place where our passions intersect with God’s will for our life…a place where we will flourish and where God can really use us…a place that God wants us to be! Let that sink in a minute.
Isn’t it delicious? Think about it. God has a place where the things that you absolutely love to do, that comprise the very favorite, blissful moments of your life, actually collide with His will for your life. Can you wrap your head around that? I’ve been trying. First, I had to think about it…what are the most favorite moments for me…the blissful things? Well, I can think of a few. I love to create things…doesn’t matter if it’s a centerpiece, an outfit, a room or space, a handmade card, a beautifully wrapped package or something in the kitchen. I just like to make things. I love the process. I get lost in it. When I was a kid I loved to play with Barbie dolls…but it wasn’t making up storylines (though I loved that) and dressing them up that really delighted me. I loved to make things for Barbie…a wooden bead that could stand on end became a flower vase when I put a few tiny silk flowers in it…tiny tennis shoes became fuzzy slippers with fake fur sewed on (it was the 70’s…fake fur was abundant )…an oatmeal box cut just right became a table, half a salt box with a notebook cover wrapped around it and cut just right became a chair, and chiseling out Mr. Potato Head’s cowboy hat worked just great when Barbie wanted to go western. There was no limit to my imagination when it came to providing Barbie with amenities. Think about when you were a kid. What did you get lost in? What could you spend hours and hours doing? That’s a passion. That’s something God gave you. Another passion for me is words, or, if you will, what you can do with words. I still remember as a kid, reading something that really touched me, and trying to tell other people about it, to get them to understand how I identified with what I’d read…and how frustrated I was when they didn’t seem excited. How I loved that words could express things that were in my head that needed to get out! How I loved that a deep, emotional part of me could find its way onto a page with words. I started writing poetry as a kid. It wasn’t very good, but it was an outlet that gave me a great deal of joy. I even felt that way about papers in school. Oh sure, I complained about having to write them like all the other kids, but secretly, I loved the whole process of finding the words to say how I felt about a book or some other subject. If a teacher praised my writing, I felt like an Olympian winning a gold medal! It was very personal to me…it was a passion!
Now, if you just read that last paragraph and couldn’t tell that I got excited while writing it, I must be doing something wrong. If you were to tell me about the thing that you could spend hours and hours doing, wouldn’t your face light up and your voice crescendo the more you talked about it? Sure it would…because that passion is God-given. It’s part of your very being. Well, you say, that’s very nice, but “I have to have a real job that pays the bills,” or “I’m a busy mom who barely has time to comb her own hair and right now my driving passion is to find the floor of the laundry room.” Well, okay, I understand that. I also have to have a real job, and while I don’t have small children, there are still times when I would love to find the laundry room floor. But that doesn’t mean God is not in the process of moving us toward our Promised Land. The Israelites didn’t conquer Canaan in a day, and there was a lot of prep work that went on before they even crossed the Jordan to set foot there…but that didn’t mean that the promise wasn’t real. Stick with me here, I am coming to a point…
I know that we all live in the real world with its various struggles and cares…where dreams and realities never seem to intersect, and where we often just hope to get by instead of buying into hope. I’m right there with you. That’s why something my mom said to me the other night, just sort of in passing, made my heart race as I thought about it later. We were talking on the phone, and I mentioned that I had written a letter to one of my nieces the night before, and how much I enjoyed doing that…how fast the time went when I was writing letters. She said something like, “You should just write a book of letters.” In the moment, that seemed kind of strange. Who on earth would want to read a book of letters? Letters about what? But as I lay in bed that night, thinking about it, I thought I heard God say, “You should write a blog of letters.” Why did that make me giggle out loud? The very thought of it was too heady to consider, but only for a second. I did consider it…and the more I played with the idea, the more excited I became. I lay there for a long time wondering if this might just be a footstep into my Promised Land. (The last time I had an idea that excited me that much was when I finally figured out how to put shelves in my kitchen that were both functional and fun, and I could hardly wait to get going on the project. To this day, the kitchen is my favorite room in the house.) You see, while I have loved writing this blog, there have been times when it has been hard for me to know just how to proceed. I don’t want to sound like I am preaching a sermon, and I struggle with getting started sometimes. I needed a format, a direction, a premise to work with…and I’m pretty sure this past week I heard God say, “Letters.”
So, from here out, I am going to write this blog as I would write a letter to a friend. Do you know that I consider you a friend, dear reader? A friend is someone you like to spend time with, and if you are reading this, you are spending time with me, even as I am spending time with you as I write it. I pray for you as I write, that you might be blessed with something you read here…that God might always be at work in you…continually growing you in His grace. Pray for me as you read, that I might serve God and you humbly through this privilege of writing letters
One last thing. Will you take just a little time this week to think about your passions and what your Promised Land might be? Remember when you were a kid and try to picture the things you got lost in as they might look in the adult world. Tell God your thoughts and ask Him to give you new insights into yourself and your passions. Ask God to help you believe that He really does have a Promised Land just for you. And if you are sure that all the mistakes and missteps and wanderings of your life have you so far away from your Canaan that it’s impossible to get there from where you are, consider this…what if the most difficult things about your story, and the painful moments of your life, are actually the place where God wants to birth the greatest passions you’ll ever have? You see, sweet sisters, with God you can never ever get too far away from your Promised Land that you can’t enter. You might wander in circles for a very long time, but when you get serious with God, He will do a mighty work and you will eventually cross your Jordan on dry ground…and step into that place where you can flourish to the glory of God…your Promised Land!
“Now then…get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to (you)…I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised…” – Joshua 1:2-3
“And without faith it is impossible to please God…By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
– Hebrews 11:6a and 8