Be Still

This morning, when I walked outside, I was surrounded by evidence of Spring. Flowers of every size, shape, and color were bursting forth to announce a change of season. But then I turned to find a sprawling oak, which appeared dormant. The only leaves were dead. They were still clinging to barren limbs, long  after the winter’s frost. It was then I remembered a passage of scripture: “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

So I have to ask, why am I impatient? I know Spring follows winter, and all things are blessed with the hope of life renewing itself. And yet, I sense a restlessness rumbling in my soul. It is nothing I have not experience before, but somewhere beneath the surface I feel “change is coming”. The anticipation causes renewed hope.

My word to you dear friends: don’t give up. Yes, we may feel like the barren oak, but winter is over and we must remember God’s promise of “life”.

Blessings, Donna

 

 

Happy Ever After

Why did I become a Romance Writer?

When I was girl, rummaging through books at our school library, I was always drawn to the genre of Romantic Fiction. Now some people may think I was very precocious, and I don’t argue the fact, but I was drawn to reading books that promised a happy ending.

Romance writers are bound to that trusted code: to offer hope in the midst of tragedy, and to overcome all obstacles that interfere with our quest for perfect love. Of course, in real life, I’ve never witnessed the perfect hero or heroine. When I began writing and finally submitted my work for professional review, the critique read: “what happen to the happy ending?”

I had forgotten the trusted goal of all Romance Writers. And I finally realized, I didn’t have any experience with a happy ending. But as a writer, I learned  to take truth from my own human drama and interject the “what if” solution.  So I discovered our regrets can be examined and edited. We can rewrite the scene, using the wisdom of “hind sight”. The results offered a marvelous boost to my moral.     

Authors are given something we all cherish…complete control over those we love. We find the opportunity for a “do over”. When we create a picture from life experience, we have the opportunity to control our characters. No matter how long the antagonist may rail against us, we have time to write the perfect response.  If innocence is endangered, the hero can ride in to save the day. How wonderful!

And you might say, “but that’s not true to life, and it’s not helpful”. If Romantic Fiction offers anything, it may be a pleasant distraction from reality. And sometimes, it allows the writer a safe place for healing. So the next time you’re feeling down, there’s no need for drugs, alcohol, or a feeding frenzy. Try the art of self-expression. Pick up a pen and start writing.

Blessings, Donna

       

Boot Camp

Today at church, a young woman asked me to pray that God would allow her to leave her current situation.

I listened to her describe feelings of emptiness, isolation, stress, and “just needing a hug”.   

My heart ached for her current emotional state. But when I responded to her request, I had to be honest about my future prayers. “I will pray for God’s will and ask him to give you peace.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what all that has to do with my chosen title:”Boot Camp”

Anyone called by God must first experience a time of trial and testing. And just as marine recruits have learned… in boot camp, they tear you down in order to build you up.

In military training, recruits must leave their comfort zone of family and friends. They become totally isolated from their outside world. They must learn to obey, to trust, and to live a life of discipline.

So dear friends, if you find that you are going through a time of discomfort, ask yourself what God is trying to teach you. Ask Him to give you the strength of a warrior. You can’t face the battle until you first receive the knowledge of handling the “weapons of warfare”.

Please know, I do pray for you. And I trust that God will get you through this time of training. I know when this training is over, you will walk out stronger than you ever imagined.

Blessings, Donna

“Fear Not”

It’s almost Christmas, and most people are preoccupied with thoughts of gifts, parties, and holiday cooking. In the hectic schedule of celebration we cling to each tradition. But for some, life is not so simple.

On the night Jesus was born, poor shepherds were sleeping in an open field. The small  village of Bethlehem was filled to capacity with people who had traveled to obey the decree of Caesar Augustus for a census. Across the land of Israel, Roman soldiers marched to collect taxes from its citizens.

Life was not easy under Rome’s military control, but suddenly an angel appeared with a message from Heaven: “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

Tonight, in our own country, many people are fearful because of bad news they received concerning illness. Other families suffer with the worry of financial need, or the tragedy of   broken relationships.But the message of a Christmas angel still offers peace in a trouble world. “Fear not!”

Let us take a moment to consider those in need, and offer them the one gift which has eternal value, the Christ child.

Merry Christmas to all. Be blessed, Donna

Celebrating Christmas

For Christians, this time of year can seem like a tug-of-war between the traditions of man vs. the true reason we celebrate Christmas. This morning, on Face Book, a young mother asked a question: “How many Christmas gifts do you give your kids?” Now, I know this may be a struggle for most parents. We want to give all we can afford, and then more with each passing year. But this woman’s question sent me back to the time when I was a young mother, and a new Christian.

It was a year when my husband was overseas. I was left alone with three little boys, very little money, and a broken heart. But I was not the only woman who was alone, so many of us gathered at the military chapel. We sang Christmas carols, and celebrated the birth of Jesus with a Candlelight service. When I sat there in the glow of candlelight, looking at the cross, I felt the true warmth of His love.

Many years later, I traveled to the place where Jesus was born. When I arrived in Bethlehem,  I soon learned the city is closed to the biological family of Jesus Christ. There was a large security gate with barbed wire, and a sign telling Jews to “keep out”. Now, Christians are the adopted children of God, so the order “keep out” should apply to all His children. But in spite of the warning, I needed to see the place where our Lord came into this world.

If you ever travel to Bethlehem, you will find a large church called the Church of the Nativity. And after you enter, and follow a long line of people, you walk down a few steps to the cavern of a cave. On the floor you see a gold star, marking the place where Mary gave birth to Jesus. The place has no magical power, but when I knelt on the stone floor and touched the star, I offered myself as a gift to the Christ-child. It was something I’ll never forget.

Now, back to my story about the young mother who was concerned about Christmas gifts: We all understand why we give gifts. It’s because “wise men from the East” came to visit Jesus awhile after he was born. They gave expensive gifts to honor the “King of kings and Lord of lords”. But most of us can never offer our children anything so lavish. When we buy gifts, we want them to know how much we love them. We want them to know the joy of sharing God’s love.

I’m sure you agree, there is no material wealth that compares to the love I have for my children. They were God’s gift to me, just as Jesus was God’s gift to the world. So on Christmas morning, do you want your children to celebrate Santa Clause, and all the gifts he can bring? I recommend you take time to teach your children why we gather around the tree, that beautiful ever-green that represents eternal life.

Merry Christmas to you all! Be blessed, Donna

Thank You

Today is the 241st Marine Corps Birthday. Tomorrow, our country remembers all our military  veterans. My husband served in the Marine Corps for 26 years, 5 months, and 19 days. I must say, that time was shared by our entire family. Two of our sons followed the  tradition to serve in the Corps. But our youngest son, who is now an ordained minister, also shared in the sacrifice of service by sharing his family for the sake of others.

“Follow Your Heart” was the first installment in a series written to honor all military families. It does not matter if the uniformed service member is your husband, father, son, and I must include daughter. When a member of your family takes the oath to serve, we all sacrifice a piece of  ourselves.

I hope you will all take a moment to pray for our country, our military, and especially those family members who are left behind. May God Bless you all.

Blessings, Donna

 

The Battle

Last night, as I was reading my bedside devotional, I discovered something that I want to share:

He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me.” Psalm 55:18

Dear one…if you have chosen to follow the path of righteousness, it was never meant to be a broad path of flowers and sunshine. If that was so, why would God give us a suit of armour?

   When we read about Jesus’ life, we understand he was the anointed of God, and he carried power. But this world was a rebellious place, with mankind warring against God’s Word. It was a physical and spiritual battle field.

Now I’m sure many of you realize, the world condition has not changed. But you should find peace in the fact that God, our Father, has not changed. He is “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 22:13)

When I read that verse from Psalms 55, about “the battle”, I couldn’t help but think of all my sisters and daughters-in-Christ who are presently struggling with health issues, family  and marital problems, or the ever-present financial pressures of this world. I can only say: you are not alone in the battle. There are many prayer warriors, who are called to defend you (when you are hurt, or too weak to fight.)

So, please take time to catch your breath. And remember who you are in the Body of Christ. Jesus told us there would be trouble…”But take heart! I have overcome the world.”( John 16:33)

Be Blessed, Donna