image: header

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Supernatural: flickering lights, moving chairs, the power of love

The world (and by the world I don’t mean our Christianese word that means “the people who are going to hell in a hand basket”—whatever a hand basket is)—Let me start over…

The whole world is looking for the supernatural God of the Bible. I truly believe that. We want to hear what the prophets of old heard, we want to see miracles like Jesus and the disciples performed, and we want proof that God isn’t some mythical being filing his nails, with no interest in the creation he fashioned and forgot about.

It’s so obvious as we watch TV and peruse—the market is glutted with supernatural stories. Some from a reality perspective, some clearly fiction.

Some MY fiction.


Warning: Shameless plug coming.

I wrote two metaphorical vampire novels for the Christian market. Both on the subject of generational family curses. The first one…alcoholism. The second: co-dependency.
And then there’s the new one. My favorite book I’ve ever written: The Widow of Saunders Creek. Which is selling well and getting the best reviews of my LIFE! Thanks to Jesus and everyone who is reading and liking it!
Shameless plug is now over….

But here’s the thing. I’m the LEAST likely person to write scary stuff. Except maybe, Deb Raney, who, as she readily admits, might be a bigger fraidy cat than me.

When I was a kid and even into my oh…40s. (I’m 42), I was a huge scardy cat. One of the original members of the Big Honkin’ Chickens club—of which Deb is president, although I’m not sure we ever held an election.

I’ve seen a ton of supernatural stuff over the years. Some of it BS and worked up by Christians who are desperate to feel God and hear his voice, but most of it real and true works of a loving Holy Spirit who wants to speak to us and reveal the love of Christ. And set the captives free. Some of it violent, a powerful struggle between evil and love.

I honestly don’t know why God asked someone like me to write The Widow of Saunders Creek. When I wrote the proposal for it, I was alone in the house (DUMB) and as I started to walk downstairs to my laundry room, the stair lights –only--started flickering on a clear night. They never flickered before and haven’t done it since.
It made me kind of mad, so I pled the blood of Jesus, spoke out loud. “God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind” and forged ahead, wildly beating heart, shaking hands, determined to put in a load of towels and not let the devil scare me off.

Then there was the time when I was finishing up the rewrite, preparing for the book to go into production. I was writing a very intense scene where the “ghost” is sounding off and the heroine is about to be forced to run away or confront it, and my chair started moving. MOVING! Back and forth.

I did what any crazy Christian would do. I got mad and rebuked the demon. Then it had the audacity to move my chair again! Hey! Didn’t I just rebuke it? It’s supposed to go away in Jesus’ name. My confidence shaken—clearly I need more faith—I sat there a second or two trying to figure out what the heck I was supposed to do now. Running out of the house and driving to the peace of my mom’s home, came to mind. Also, giving my publisher back the money and finding a nice plot for an Amish novel seemed like a good idea.

Instead, I called out to my husband who was in the kitchen, and isn’t afraid of anything, least of all a demon. “Honey?” My Big Honkin’ Chicken voice trembled. “I think a demon just shook my chair. Twice. Will you come pray?” ☺

He stayed in the kitchen, calm and completely unaffected, which annoyed me a little, but I didn’t let it show, because perfect love casts out fear.


“Good grief, calm down. It was an earthquake. It shook the kitchen too.”

“Oh, thank God.”

Turns out, the Oklahoma City earthquake reached a five point something on the scale and we felt it all the way in Ozarks. (insert sheepish grin).

But writing about the supernatural from a Christian perspective is risky. Christians are scared of the topic and non Christians don’t want to believe the devil and demons are alive and well and kicking serious butt, while we sit back and let it happen.

In spite of my deep down knowing I was supposed to write another supernatural novel, I decided NO WAY. I’m done with all that. It’s too scary and I hate when my lights flicker and my chair moves and fear nearly chokes me. I convinced myself and my agent that God was leading me to go back to writing historicals. So I came up with a really super proposal (in my own mind it was super) worked on it for about six months, which really should have shown me that I was doing it on my own. When God gives me a story, it pops onto the page almost without effort. And we sent it out. I confidently sat back, waiting for all the contract offers to come in…only…YIKES, for the first time in my career, editors weren’t biting.

So after a few months, I turned back to the idea of a supernatural fiction book. I hadn’t been able to get it out of my head anyway, and thought…okay, sheesh, maybe I’m supposed to do this.

But as I finished up a chapter, fear shook me to my core once again. And I told my agent. I don’t think so… I have another idea, a better one. She said, “Okay, I’ll read anything you want to send me.” Her way of saying, “But don’t get your hopes up.”

So I drafted a chapter and a synopsis on a topic that is current and suspenseful, but not scary, and dashed it off to her, confident she would jump on it, be excited and we’d be back on course.

Only….I have an agent who is not only smart and savvy about the market, but ALSO tuned in to God’s heart and quite intuitive about her clients’ motives. So we had a phone conversation. And I recognized Michael Hyatt’s “How to say No” model of YES, NO, YES.

YES: Tracey, anything you write is good

NO: While this proposal is good, I think you should continue in the genre you’re writing (whoooosh, the sound of my balloon popping)

YES: I think you should consider this…

So we discussed why I wrote Widow and I said, I woke up in the middle of the night after forgetting to set the TV timer and Ghost Hunters was on. So I got mad about the lies of the devil on our beautiful world. In the morning I had the idea for Corrie’s story.

She asked, “What else makes you mad?”

Knowing she didn’t want to hear about my son’s filthy bedroom, or the puppy who keeps pooping on the floor, I said, “When Christians won’t love people who are bound by satan because they’re afraid of the supernatural.” Then I proceeded to tell her about another idea I’ve had rolling around in my head since I started working on The Widow of Saunders Creek.

About witchcraft and the person who is bound up by it and why they got into it in the first place and the person God sends to her to shine light in the darkness.

And Karen said, “oooooh.” Which loosely translated means, “Go back to the drawing board and send me a proposal for THAT one.”

And I thought, “Crap.”

So here’s the thing. The Bible says we will be faced with demonic situations. Jesus even said, “Cast out demons.” If we bury our heads in the sand and refuse to associate with and love those who are bound, how will we ever reach them for Jesus?

The people in darkness have seen a great light. Or have they?

Jesus was “moved with compassion” when he saw the sick, the lame, the bound. It’s my heart’s cry to be like him during these days on earth when the dark is getting darker. The light has to be lighter.

So, that’s why I am saying YES to God and continuing to write supernatural fiction despite the obstacles.

As I press forward, I’m keeping the lights on, guarding my heart, and writing what he says write. One day, the battle will be over, but until then, we don’t wrestle flesh and blood. If we don’t shine God’s truth and light into a deceived and dark generation, then no one will.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What's God Saying When He's Not Saying Anything?

I love my quiet mornings on my deck. Everyone is sleeping, except for the birds and the occasional owl, which I happen to think is one of God’s coolest creations. I read my Bible, check email, read Michael Hyatt’s blog, check to see if my friend Lori played her turn in our on-going Word with Friends games. One game ends, another begins. I usually win, but I think that’s mostly because I care more about it—competitive ☺.

Oh well, that was an aside…

For the past eight months or so, even in the coldest days of winter, I have had soul-restoring moments, listening to God, dreaming of the future, blogging, whatever. God has met me there every morning.

Until today.

I emailed Miss Linda and told her, “God’s not talking to me today. What’s He saying to you? Maybe I can piggyback today on your Word from Him.” God always wants to speak to Miss Linda. She’s obedient, submissive to Him. Hears his voice clearly. I usually just open my Bible and point. Seems like the safer way to listen.

Anyway, so far, no word back from her. She must be doing the Memorial Day thing with family or something. So much for that.

I’m sitting in Starbucks, which, in Lebanon, is tucked inside a grocery store. I forgot my earbuds so I’m listening to ridiculous grocery store music designed to lead the unsuspecting shopper to aisles of crap food no one needs so we’ll spend more of our dwindling American dollars.

Thank God for Zen green tea and sweet n low.

As I sit here wondering why God isn’t talking, a question forms in my mind in a very Carrie Bradshaw kind of way—sans the sex…cue the spiritual:

What’s God saying, when He’s not saying anything?

Because, even when He said, “Be still and know that I am God,” he still spoke! I mean, he said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Right?

My heart is getting hungrier as the silent minutes tick away. I miss Him. The grocery store music is interspersed with Blondie and Phil Collins, which is okay, except the store manager keeps calling people over the intercom and it interrupts. And as my focus keeps getting pulled from one thing to the next, I think maybe it’s not that God’s not talking. It’s not even that I’m not listening, but my brain can’t focus today.

We’ve had a full weekend. My third baby graduated from High school. My oldest son brought a girl to church he’s been dating a few weeks and I think he’s getting serious about. Or is headed that way anyway. We’re in talks with someone who wants to move out of her house and we might move into it. I’ve been sleeping away most of the last two days to get rid of a rotten headache and then there was church yesterday.

And then I remember yesterday’s word for me from Isaiah 50:10, “For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going, anyone groping in the dark, Here’s what: Trust in God. Lean on your God.” MSG

I feel like I’m groping in the dark. Either God is silent, or I’m not hearing. Either way, it sort of amounts to the same thing. We have a lot ahead of us, and I need Him.

I remember a few years ago listening to a minister talk about his experience at a tourist place here in the Ozarks called Fantastic Caverns. Which is exactly what the name says. A cavern. Cave, basically. At some point in the tour, all the lights go off and the guide says. DON’T MOVE.

The minister said, “When things get dark, and you don’t know what’s going on, DON’T MOVE until God shines some light on the issue.”

I think that’s where Rusty and I are right now. Things are dark and we don’t have a clue what happens beyond next month. God isn’t directing, because right now, we have all the information we need. Don’t make any sudden movements. Are you groping in the dark? Here’s what: Lean on me, trust me. WAIT for Me.”

So, God may not be “talking” today, maybe He’s not giving me goosebumps and weepy woo woo, but guess what? In the middle of a grocery store Starbucks listening to the worst of the 80s music and the grating intercom, God reminded me the lights WILL eventually come back on. Don’t move until they do and the path ahead of me is well lit. Maybe He was saying something after all. Only, He started talking yesterday and I didn’t get the full gist of the conversation, for whatever reason…headache, distracted, who knows?

He’s talking now. “Stay where you are. Lean against me. Trust. My finger’s on the switch and the lights will eventually come back on.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guest Blogger: Staci Stallings

Please welcome today's guest blogger: Staci Stallings! So honored to have her here.

Life Lesson: Be-Do-Have

This revelation hit me the other day while I was listening to a speaker on having financial balance in your life. The author talked about a goal setting seminar he went to. The lesson he revealed is that too often when we set goals, we are setting the “have” part of the equation, then “doing” the work of getting to the goal without ever making the effort to “be” anything.

If you’re paying attention, there’s a math lesson that translates to this message. Any math person will tell you that there is a definite order to life. A + B = C, and if you get it out of that order, even the simplest of ideas can get overwhelmingly confusing. So this equation must begin with “be” not “do” or “have.”

For example, people set a goal of meeting the right person. That is the “have” that they want, so they begin “doing” the things the world says make sense to get to that goal. They go to bars, they go to church, they go to work, they go to parties, they go to school—all with the spoken or unspoken intention of acquiring what they do not have, a partner. Years ago they called the females with this mindset, “Mrs. Majors.”

They were not in college to get a degree; they were in college to get a husband.

In today’s world some of these types—men and women—have the “have” and “do” parts down to a science. One manifestation of this is the book that became famous a decade or so ago called “The Rules.” This book purported to explain exactly what you had to “do” to get the goal of “having” a mate. The problem is that this is completely senseless when you understand the equation of “be-do-have.”

When you truly get this life lesson, it will have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. No longer will you focus solely on the goal—now you will focus on who you must first become, and the attainment of the goals will follow.

I know, it sounds Pollyanna. It sounds so simple. But it’s the simple-sounding things that are often the most difficult to actually do. I see this turmoil in teenagers a lot. They think that their identity is created by who they are with, what they wear, what their outward appearance is. The reality, however, is that identity is based on who you are.

That’s why you hear of 10- and 20-year high school reunions in which the popular kids are now struggling and some of the most unpopular kids are now the successful adults. When you understand this equation, it makes perfect sense. Think about it. In high school, the “popular” kids already “have.” They have the status, the good looks, the admiration of others. Why work for something you already have?

The unpopular kids on the other hand are forced to find their true identity not in the outer world, but in the inner world. So they work on themselves rather than on what the outside world says is important. Thus, 10 or 20 years down the road, they who have been forced to “be” are now “doing” and “having” in much greater proportion than those who “had” everything.

To be sure, this is a vast generalization. There are popular kids who take time out to work on themselves and “become,” and there are unpopular kids who want to “have” so badly that they contort who they are trying to fit in. The exceptions are there, but so is the rule.

You have to be before you can do, and you have to do before you can have. If you don’t, nothing you ever get will be enough. And if you do, whatever you have will be plenty. With this in mind, find some time today to fit a little “being” time into your “to-do” list. It may just turn out to be the best time investment you could ever make.

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Check out Staci's brand new release...

Houston firefighter, Jeff Taylor is a fireman's fireman. No situation is too dangerous to keep him sidelined if lives are on the line. However, when control freak Lisa Matheson falls for him, she quickly realizes she can't control Jeff or the death wish he seems to have...

To Protect & Serve
The Courage Series, Book 1

To save other's lives, they will risk their own

Buy it on Amazon Kindle:

Buy it on Barnes & Noble Nook:

"To Protect and Serve will hold you prisoner to its pages until the final one is turned. Prepare to cry, laugh, wish, love and maybe even cry again as you become enveloped in the hopes and feelings of Lisa and Jeff."
-Cindy Reiger

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Woman at the Welcome Kiosk

Beauty and grace are a couple of things I’ve often felt eluded me. But God always seems to bring into my life the one person in the crowd who is filled with both. He knows my heart and that, even though my personality lends itself to whatever the opposite of those two attributes are, it’s more of a cover for the grace and beauty I’d love to display, if only they came naturally. Those attributes that I know are hiding somewhere deep, deep down just waiting for abrasive layers to peel away so they can shine.

In my church, there’s this tiny, fortiesh, dark-haired woman who exemplifies both of these qualities in such a way that you just know God is biting His nails, trying not to call her home before her time is up and she can go be with Him. If I know God, He is aware this world needs her, but I bet He’d love to pull an Enoch and draw her into his giant lap, and just cuddle her forever, the way I have a feeling her gigantic six-foot-four (at LEAST) husband probably does every chance he gets.

She smiles, speaks in soft, gentle tones and is adored by all—because she’s the real deal. She loves animals, has a heart for children, and when she talks to you, there’s just a peace that comes over you. And she never seems to notice that you’re not worthy of her time.

Like Melanie Wilkes in Gone With the Wind—only with a God twist—and if anyone is dumb enough to be mean to her the way Scarlett was Melanie, I’ve never seen it. And if I did, I’d probably give them a dressing down that would make them beg her forgiveness—and maybe bake her an I’m-sorry pie.

I think there are very few women like this—and even less men. (not to be a man-basher, I like men too).

She loves Jesus with tears in her eyes and trusts him for herself, and for me.

Yesterday, I slipped out of the sanctuary during a film clip, making a dash to the bathroom before the sermon got a real start. And she was standing at the welcome kiosk with one of my friends. They both stopped talking to tell me they loved my hair and I looked good. Blah, blah, blah. And then she asked me about the house (clearly she doesn’t read my blog—which is probably her only flaw). I told her we lost it.

She seemed genuinely surprised because she knows we’ve been praying. And her God never fails. She said, well, remember, God promised you a house. “Yes, He did,” I said---honestly just wanting to run away. I don’t smile-through-the-tears very well. I needed to pee anyway and get back into the sanctuary where pastor was already preaching the first in a new series about making adjustments. Choices.

“Well, then,” she said, with a slight lifting up of her teeny, tiny shoulders, making her four-feet something stature, rise about a half-inch. “God must have a better house for you than the one you’re in.”

Oh, how I love this woman. Most of the time, I want to take her home with me so I can serve her in any way she needs. She might be the one person who actually deserves to have her feet washed like Jesus washed the disciples feet--but then if you only washe the feet of those who deserve it, you're probably missing the whole point.

“I’m sure he does,” I said.

She gave a confident tilt of her head. “Oh, I know He does." And she smiled, and her face glowed with love and kindness that made me believe maybe God actually does have something even better. And as I walked into the bathroom, I thought, “Lord, make me like this woman, filled with beauty and grace. Let me see the big picture through the tall, full trees that are threatening to suffocate as I navigate the forest. Let me see You in such a way that I trust without wavering, knowing that the end of one season, always brings the beginning of the next.”

I can “say” I trust God, but this woman KNOWS her God is not going to leave me in my weakened state. She KNOWS that if He promised to provide, He will do it. I think she must have seen God’s faithfulness many, many times. Because she has that quiet, unshakeable faith that only comes from experience and relationship.

So I’m praying today at the church with my pastor and whoever else shows up for our first Prayer and Seek service. I’m praying for grace to walk through the doors, not focused on my great need, but the needs of a town filled with people who need to know Jesus the way the woman at the Kiosk does.

Beauty and Grace. A face that shines with the love of Jesus, a gentle voice that brings peace. Kindness for all. Unwavering faith in a heart that knows her God.

Jesus, make me like that.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Change--it is A'coming

As a writer and a blogger who feels very strongly about being honest, letting you walk a journey with me so that you know you’re not alone, I have to share the difficult times as well as the good times.

So in that spirit, I’m sharing today that this is a tough time for my family.

Change is coming. My husband came home from his last deployment to discover the job he thought was secure had been given away. Due to an office error. Our world was ROCKED. And we kept thinking, “ok, in another week, or another month, it’ll work out. A job will be there.”

But it never happened. We fasted, prayed, tithed, gave above the tithe…did all the things we knew to do. But even my writing stopped being lucrative.

Hey, God. What’s the deal, already?

It took me almost a year to stop begging, bargaining, and blaming. (Hey, look at that, three B’s. I could work up a sermon with a title like that!)

The moment I said, Okay, Lord. What can I learn through this? God answered. And for the last seven or eight months I’ve been in a place of correction, change, re-discovering this God I had all-but forsaken. Taking my relationship with him from passive to deeper levels of surrender.

I’ve come to realize that sometimes God says, “no” and it’s for reasons my human brain doesn’t comprehend. I know that bumps up against the faith message. Because God is always good and he delights in the prosperity of his saints. But sometimes, the answer is still “no”. And God has a plan we can’t see while we’re in the middle of the loss.

A lot of people are in the same boat trying to navigate choppy water, trying to stay afloat in the middle of major waves. Financial pressure, foreclosure, loss… That’s where we are. I sit on the deck of the house I love, looking over the beauty of the green and breathing in the stillness of early morning nature, just waking up to the wonder of God’s world. I can’t help but praise Him for the soul-restoring months I’ve had here on this deck. Writing, listening to His voice, loving Him and being loved BY Him, but knowing it’s going to be gone in a few weeks.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. But I have this hope in God. He won’t leave us to fend for ourselves. It’s uncertain right now where we’ll go. Where we’ll live. We have some hard days ahead, but I trust God to walk with us as we go through them.

I know you might be thinking, “But you’re an author, where are all the diamonds?” ☺ I could tell you a lot about how much the average author really makes. But I’ll spare you.

So, as we travel this road, I’m asking for your prayers for guidance and wisdom. We have more decisions ahead than I feel qualified to make. The thought of leaving this area, if that’s what we have to do, hurts me in a physical way. I love my town, my church, and I know at least two—maybe three—of my kids would stay here without us. Because they love the town and church too.

So, change is coming. Is here. I don’t like change, but I’m hoping to move forward with grace and peace. We’ll look back some day and watch in hindsight, the hand of God gently pressing our backs and guiding us to a better place.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Eating Crow

I did something today I’ve never done before. Something I thought I’d never do—after all, I’m a writer and we’re all about our first amendment rights, right?

But here it is: I removed a blog post.

Here’s why. In my attempt to honor one person, I dishonored another. A kind and godly man who didn’t deserve it. I didn’t mean to be a big jerk and bring dishonor to someone who has been only good to me. But as I reread the post through his eyes, I saw that I was and did.

And I’m sorry.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes my expression doesn’t convey the full extent of how I feel.

I wish I were like Anne of Green Gables “The one good thing about me is that I never make the same mistake twice.” Unfortunately, I make the same ones over and over.

Who knows, maybe I’ll learn this time. I never want to hurt someone because of my words.

Forgive me, Jesus. Help me to think before I speak—or write.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Launch Day for The Widow of Saunders Creek

Today is the most exciting book launch day I've ever known. The Widow of Saunders Creek touched my heart in a way no other book I've written has.

My husband is a military guy with two deployments under his belt. As I tried to release my fear for his safety to God during his last deployment, I struggled with the idea that he might not come home. That's when the idea for this book came to me. I thought...did I love him enough, spend time listening to his ideas and concerns, was I a good wife?

I'm happy to say, he came home safe and sound. But Corrie's love didn't.

In the Widow of Saunders Creek, I addressed all my own fears and gave her a story I believe will touch your heart and challenge your faith.

A grief without boundary. A love without limits. A need that doesn't end in death.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

He asked, "What is Self-confidence?

Self-confidence comes hard for me.

Last night during a class about purpose, the leader asked the question: What is self-confidence? There were a lot of answers. Boldness, feeling okay with yourself. The usual…

I’ve been mulling this over since the class. I know my confidence has taken a hit. All my life really. Being overweight, not feeling pretty enough, smart enough, good enough in general. I think for people like me who have a lot of gifts but have never mastered any of them, it’s especially hard to have the sort of quiet confidence that is so appealing in those we look to as leaders.

Instead, we tend to shove on a mask, throw back our shoulders and pretend to be better than we are. It’s that whole “fake it till you make it” garbage. And I get “do it afraid”. For sure. I’d never speak in front of anyone if I didn’t do it afraid. But the problem with pretending to be something you’re not while hoping to step into that place you’d like to be, is that you’re living a lie.

When you live the lie, you start believing it so real change, growth, whatever, never happens. It’s so much better to work hard at inner change so that you BECOME that person instead of pretending.

I think confidence comes through experience. The more you stand in front of a crowd, the more confident you become. Being prepared, surrounding yourself with competent people who help, all those things build confidence in palm-wetting situations.

But the real issue is what’s going on inside? In the core of you, me. Here’s the thing—I am confident about Jesus. I love him, know he loves me. I’m certain he is Lord.

I am also confident that when I’m weak, His strength takes over. I want that feeling of confidence, but I don’t want to be so put together that people can’t relate or that I begin relying on myself to make things happen. God gives us abilities and He doesn’t micro-manage, so when He gives a task, He expects us to carry it out. Then He watches as we take shaky faith-steps and He shoots a little more of His strength in us until we’re feeling a little less like a slug and a little more like Superman. If our hearts aren’t ready for the feeling we can mistake His strength for ours and our confidence turns to pride.

That’s my experience and therefore shapes my opinion. So, I’m praying “God, help me follow through with your plans for me, but never let me become confident in myself.” Because I know myself. I’m a fast and easy target for Pride. But insecurity and lack of confidence are major turnoffs and I don’t want to portray that either.

Daniel says, “Those who know their God will be strong and do exploits.”

Confidence comes through relationship with God. Because only what I do for God, fulfilling his purpose for me matters.

One thing I know…He who began a good work in me will continue it.

If I let Him.

My reason for taking this class is not so much to FIND my purpose. I know what I’m called to do and be in this life, but more to become more stable in my face-forward determination to finish the race. I’ve always started strong and finished short of the goal. But God has been doing an inner work in me over the last few months. The kind of work that brings true and lasting change. The choice is mine. I know I can drop the ball any second and I’m holding on to hope with a knuckle-whitening desperation to stay focused on what’s important.

Self-confidence. Yeah, God wants that for me. But more than that, He wants me to remember where that strength comes from so I don’t mistake His strength for my own.

Only God can accomplish that in me. I’m resting in Him to keep me on course.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Real Story Happens on the Page

I woke up this morning thinking about my new book that is coming out next week (May 8th). It’s got the best cover ever and a compelling blurb on the back. But it came to me. The real story happens between those two selling points.

I think you can see where I’m going here. ☺

God has been leading me—or at least my agent has, I’m hoping she’s hearing from God, and she probably is because she’s much more spiritual than I am—to work on some nonfiction writing. The real stuff that opens my veins and pours my blood onto the page.

I’ve lived so much of my life over the past fifteen years showing a great cover and telling only the best parts of my story that people have gotten a wrong idea of who I truly am. They see my great kids and assume I’m a great mom. Let’s just be real…my kids ARE great, but not because of me. In spite of me.

My marriage looks amazing on the outside looking in, but again, that’s mostly because of my husband’s efforts. Not mine. Although I’m trying to be better at loving him better, so that HIS marriage is also great. And not just mine.

At church, I lift my hands and worship and appear so spiritual, but often my heart is far away from the worship. I smile and say the right things, but my head is often not in the conversation.
Learning to be honest, living authentically, is one of the most challenging mandates God (or my agent, whichever the case my be) has ever given to me.

This past weekend I hosted a writing workshop for new and intermediate writers. I taught about building a novel stone by stone.

And honestly, it went so well, I’m still trying to process why on earth God would cover me in such a gracious manner. Everyone was looking at me, to me, to teach them the tools to start a novel or in some cases, make their existing work better and all day I felt like a real idiot. What could I possibly say to help anyone when I feel like my own work is so far below the books that are published and sitting on the shelves next to mine?

Truly, the real heroes Saturday were the three women who came alongside me and helped make it a success. Laura, who nudged me to do it in the first place and did most of the hard work on Saturday. She covered registration, book sales, introduced me, passed out handouts, drew for giveaways, was the time keeper.

She made me look good. And I got the recognition. Julie and Aleah, the Domestically Divine Divas who catered the whole thing. Kept coffee going all day, made scones for the registration time, decorated the lunch tables so perfectly and worked their tails off to fix an UH-MAZING lunch. But I still got most of the credit.

I am humbled.

But God has a way of taking our weaknesses, adding His strength and working through the motives of the heart to accomplish his purposes. My heart said, “God, use me to speak Your words, in spite of my weakness, insecurity and desperate need to be liked.

And at the end of the day, most of the attendees weren’t ready to leave. It was one of those life-changing moments (hours!) for me. God breathing destiny into my heart. A future and a hope.

Opening the book of our life and allowing people to journey through the pages alongside us can be scary. But I’m learning that the risk pales next to the payoff, which to me, is allowing God to use me.

Here am I, Lord, send me.
Join Tracey's mailing list

Site by Eagle Designs