nagato-typingSome days it feels like my fingers–and brain–are flying. Like vivid scenes are flashing behind my eyes (not before, because I’m pretty sure that’d make me schizophrenic.) so quickly, I can barely keep up.


Then there are days that every word, every punctuation key, is a giphy1_zps7e7c8e69struggle.

And I wonder, Lord, are you in this? Is this your story?

I still ask that question. A lot. Because if God’s not in this writing thing, I want nothing to do with it. But, with five completed novels and three contracts behind me, I’ve learned not to measure the nudge by the ease.

In other words, I’ve learned, sometimes life gets hard. Sometimes–most times–progress requires work and determination and wading through periods of stagnation or confusion and of resuming the trekk after incredible setbacks.

Because it’s in the confusion, in the wrestling for answers, that we often find the most clarity.

The novel I’m working on now is tough. Like crazy tough, and at the beginning, I wondered if it was too tough. If perhaps I should set my idea aside and move onto something new.

But prayer after prayer, the theme of the novel–longsuffering love–kept returning, I knew the only response I could offer was surrender. And once I did, pushing my expectations and concerns aside, my creativity started flowing again. (In fact, the novel is fully plotted and I hope to have the proposal to my publisher within the next two weeks. Yay!) More than that, I began to see the lessons God wanted to teach me through my own writing.

But that doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing from here on out. In fact, I expect to encounter many more speed bumps and potholes.

You see, I’m stepping into what has become a timeless battle in the evangelical world, only I’m digging in a bit deeper, past the battle lines and picket signs to the hearts on both sides.

I have a feeling you wish I’d divulge what battle I’m talking about, but my silence on that is intentional. Because it doesn’t really matter what the battle is. Our response must be the same: Love. Longsuffering, unconditional, no-strings-attached love.

To love without strings means to love without an agenda. That means reaching out even when our efforts are spurned or fall flat

That means showing love because God is love, and as His children, we are called to reflect who He is.

So that’s my story. And it’s tough to write, partially because I’m diving into an issue I have little direct knowledge of. But mostly because I sense I’m teetering on the edge of something hugely important. something that, if we Christians really grabbed hold of, could radically change the world.

That something is recited so often, it’s become cliché:

Love the sinner not the sin.

Ah, but it’s the living this out that gets hard. You know what makes it hard?

The sin, namely pride, within us.

Pride says our efforts should be reciprocated, that we should see results, that our efforts should instigate change in others or the situation.

But listen to Jesus’ words in Luke 17:7-10

“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. 10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty’” (NLT).

Servants give up all rights and expectations and simply obey.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. I’m pretty sure we all know someone who feels so difficult, so bitter or angry, or perhaps so far from God, we’re ready to wipe our hands of them and walk away. To find someone else more responsive. Granted, there are times when God does indeed redirect us, but even so, He never, ever, ever stops loving a wayward heart. Remember as well, He hasn’t asked us to change or convert our friend. Rather, He asks us to reveal Himself. The rest is up to Him. So relax, take a deep breath, let your expectations go, and simply surrender.

Oh, before I go, my publisher has released a free sample of the first 36 pages of my novel, Beyond I Do. (Which, last time I looked, was still available at a discounted price on Amazon. You can purchase it here.) You can read the excerpt here.

Plus, I’ve been making the cyber-rounds and would love for you to join me on the following blogs:

On Friday, I visited Christian fiction author, Lena Nelson’s blog for a fun interview. You can read this here.

On Saturday I visited Janet Brown’s blog to share of a time when I got schooled, and rightly so, by my daughter. You can read this devotion here.

On Monday on Inkwell Inspirations I chatted about resting in God and His purposes for us. You can read that here.

I also stopped by my friend Gail Pallotta’s to share a devotion on closed doors. You can read that here.

On Tuesday I visited my friend Naomi Musch’s blog to share how creation walks helped mold my daughter and my relationship over the years. You can read about that here.

And yesterday I was interviewed at Misty Bellers’ blog. You can read that here.