My series on priorities – Taking up your cross daily to follow Christ – has spread to a number of different authors. I’m loving getting to meet new people and learning how the Lord is working in their lives.
Today’s post is from Jodie Bailey, author of newly released, Quilted for Christmas.
This time last year, God let me know clearly I was to leave my teaching job to be a full-time wife/mother/writer. After a lot of prayer and confirmation, here I sit, totally blessed to write without distraction.
If only that were so.
You see, I have no doubt God has called me to write. But life often intervenes, even now that this is my full-time job. Want to know what interferes the most with my writing? (Tweet This!)
Before I published, I had the luxury of writing a book, revising it, then moving on to the next one. It was this beautiful, wandering thing.
I still love writing. I can’t imagine ever not loving it. But that wandering beauty? Today, I sit down to write the opening lines of a new suspense novel. I’ve done all of my pre-writing and I’m ready to go. But this will not be all I do.
I will be a wife and a mom.
I will write blog posts.
Help a friend with some knots in her story.
Visit social media to work and have some much-needed downtime.
And the writing? Well, there’s the story I’m starting, which is part of a series. There’s another suspense series in development. A stand-alone contemporary that has been begging me to write it for the past two years. And another contemporary series I’m revising for publication. At some point, the revision letter for the novel I turned in yesterday will come and everything will stop to focus on that. All of these characters and plots compete for attention, even as I sit down to tell Sean and Jessica’s story.
Is this taking up my cross? That’s an interesting way to think of it. Writing doesn’t seem like a job most days, but it definitely is hard work. I’m reminded there have been days when I literally laid in the floor and cried and told God I’d rather feed rabid alligators by hand than write another word. Thankfully, those days pass.
Sometimes I think we get the idea that taking up our cross is supposed to be painful all of the time. I wonder if our cross isn’t the callings God gives us—in our jobs, our families, our communities—and being faithful to those… Even in weeks like this one with the tasks on my to-do list… And my daughter’s athletic banquet, a meeting at church, two days o f working in a classroom, researching for a seminar, and prepping for two book festivals.
I suppose I could drop everything and curl up with the fabulous book I’ve been reading. I could stuff my face with Doritos and Mountain Dew and lose myself in someone else’s story for the rest of the day. But that’s not what God’s called me to do. So I will sit down, fire up my desktop, take up my cross… and write. And I will love every second of it, because my God deserves all I have to give.
Jodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her novels include Freefall and Crossfire, from Love Inspired Suspense, as well as Quilted by Christmas, from Abingdon Press. Her devotions have appeared in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs.
Her latest story, Quilted for Christmas:
Taryn is keeping a secret she never should have kept.
You’re needy. Manipulative. You used me. In Taryn McKenna’s last conversation with high school sweetheart Justin Callahan, his angry words rooted themselves deeply into her heart. After Justin abandons her to join the army, Taryn vows to never love again. And she decides to keep a closely guarded secret from him—forever.
Focused on being completely independent, Taryn pours herself into teaching high school in Hollings, North Carolina and helping her spunky Grandma Jemma. But when Jemma’s health takes a turn for the worse, and Justin reappears, Taryn’s emotions get more tangled than a knotted piece of thread.
A hand-stitched Irish chain quilt holds the message of healing Taryn needs. But will she realize the depth of God’s unconditional love for her?
I can hardly read Jodie’s post without standing up and shouting AMEN! So many truths captured in short sound-bytes. My favorite is “my God deserves all I have to give.” How does that look for you today?
2014/November at 2:19 pm
I like the idea of looking each day for a renewed experience with God. good for you. This is what happened early this morning when I did just that.
A passion for living for Christ.
How do you place a measure on a passion for living for Jesus? How would a person dare measure the height and width and depth of the loving care of our Lord?
I’d not considered this thought for awhile, even though the press of live swung around me, forcing the urgent to replace my passion for Jesus with the pseudo- cares of this world.
My writing jolted me awake early this morning as the keyboard pounded out a sequence new to me. In this fantasy world, the people can fly about on a clear disk known as ‘lo’, (think of the ultimate hover board), given only to those of enough faith to want to take on darkness at every turn and (lo, I am with you always…). This might be a stretch for you to imagine, but for those who can, please continue.
In my new sequence our bold rider of ‘lo’ is the hero of book two. He is newly married to a wonderful bride that challenges his concept of depth of faith. She is also a story hero, having brought a troupe of defenseless children through a time and travel in darkness.
But… She has yet to fly of ‘lo’. Oh, she knows the way, the ‘how to’ after watching him show off in spirals of fun and near collision. But to step forward in faith as she knows she must do has yet to happen.
It’s at this point that I pulled my fingers back and sat in stunned silence. My two ‘riders of lo’ had just ‘nailed’ a spiritual truth for me that had eluded me for a while, pulled away by the storms of life.
Here is the direct sequence as it taped out for me. Praise the Lord for clarity of mind and keyboard.
Bach lor’ Thoren shivered in the early cold. He looked down at Pocininni, wondering how to proceed. “You sure you’re ready for this?”
She smiled back bravely. “No, but…”
He still waited. “Have you stepped yet of lo?”
She shook her head. “No, but…”
He waited a bit longer. “Tell you what. I’ll step of lo and we’ll see what happens. No one knows who lo chooses to bless and why, but…” He stepped forward and the clear disk of lo rose from the ground under him. He turned with a look of faith in her inner goodness. “Come on!”
She squeezed her eyes shut and stepped in faith as he had. She gasped as her step wasn’t on the ground, but on her own reward of faith. She leaned forward to reach for his outstretched hand. To her amazement, her feet glided forward in as natural a motion as she could have expected.
She heard herself giggle. “Bach…”
He was right beside her. “It’s okay. Lean forward and see what happens. Remember. No one yet has fallen off of lo. Ever. It seems to shift ahead of your thought, no matter what daring way you place for it. Watch!” He lowered his profile to seem as one with the clear disk, leaning as far ahead as he could. In response, lo leaped forward and up into a tight spiral of effort, then topped out into a slanting fall, shooting past her spot as if he hadn’t a care in the world.
She clapped at his efforts, wanting to be as brave as he. In response, her feet moved ahead and up, starting an upward spiral of her own. In a desperate heave of thought into action, she collapsed forward and down as he had, clinging to the clear disk as if her life needed to. Her stomach and blood seemed to leave her as her spiral reached a peak and flattened out, just as his had. Tipping over and down, she followed a slanting curve to brush past his stand of amazement. He joined with her in amazement. “Just like a kestrel. Do you know that only a handful of the riders of lo have ever attempted and completed the kestrel turn like you just did? I…”
She looked away from his high praise.
He nodded again to confirm his thought. “No doubt about it. Not one in a hundred could throw their body into such a tight configuration as you just did. You’re… You’re a natural. He grinned the more. “You see… As you peeked out of your climb, your center point passed under lo, letting you twist into the flip and dive of a kestrel.”
She stammered a bit. “I flipped over?”
He grinned the more for her. “Yup! Tighter than I ever have. And on the first try. You’ll have to teach me your technique.”
She smiled for the first time. “I was so terrified that I clung to lo for life, seeing the spiral and tip as you did it for me.”
He rubbed his chin in thought. “Wow. That’s a deep thought. To cling to lo for life.” His frown deepened as his thoughts raced to the fight of light over the dark reach of evil. “It’s what we must all do – cling to lo for life! Only in the ancient scriptures of lo is there found Life, and Truth, and the Way. It’s there for us to take, if we only have the faith…” He looked sharply at her. “The faith of Pocininni!”
Did you catch it? To cling to ‘lo’ for life. In this sequence, ‘lo’, also is the Spirit of the living God, moving through life with us, opening a way for our path far beyond what we think or know.
To ‘cling to lo for life’ is the key! Do you? Do you leave all that life demands and soar on high each day with the Spirit of God? Do you cling to the Spirit of God for life? It is only through His Spirit that we can continue in His Strength in the first place. Why then do we try to fly on our own through the hills and valleys of life?
Next time, try to let go with the Lord. Perhaps he has a higher level of flight with him than we could ever imagine.
Let go with God and truly live!
Taken from the fantasy novel series, Chronicles of Orm, book two, Of Birth and Rejection. Fictionbypalmer@gmail.com.
2014/November at 2:44 pm
I love that! Clinging to the Spirit of the living God as though my life depends upon it – because my life DOES depend on the Spirit of the living God! Thanks for sharing!