It’s that time again–when my already busy schedule feels squeezed, my calendar is packed full of obligations and author interviews, and amidst it all, my brain determines to take a brief vacation.
Leaving me with two choices: Try harder and chain myself to my computer, or take a hiatus.
I’ve decided to do the latter, starting tomorrow, not because I’m quitting. I’m far too stubborn for that. Rather, because, well, I need a break. And I believe there are times when we simply need to retreat. To refuel. And spend time with those you love.
And I can do that, because quite frankly, this writing thing, my ministry, and really everything God calls me to do is not up to me. Part of it is–the obedient part. The rest? That’s all God. Because He’s bigger than my schedule, my blank computer screen, or anything I could stress and angst about.
About ten, maybe fifteen years ago, the children’s director at the church we attended asked if I’d be the “point person” for our Vacation Bible School–the first VBS we’d done, at least, since my family had been attending. Can I share my ignorance here? I didn’t know what a point person was and assumed it was someone who, well, pointed people in the right direction. So I was like (in my head), “Sure. I can greet parents as they come in, direct children to their appropriate groups, whatever. No problem.”
Fast forward a month or so, and the children’s staff asked me to go to a VBS informational meeting. Again, I had no idea what that was but figured, sure. I can go, listen, and bring back information.
Um, no. They sent me to a VBS curriculum fair to help select curriculum.
Great, right? Except … I’d never been to a VBS. Ever. Up until that moment, I hadn’t a clue what they were. Actually, I still wasn’t sure, even after I spent an afternoon flipping through curriculum and talking to people.
Maybe a month later, with curriculum picked and purchased, I sat on my bed and spread the material before me. Trying to figure out what in the world I was to do with it all. Not knowing what else to do, I read it. Every page of every booklet. Took notes. Then stared at my notes, wondering what in the world I was to do next.
Fast forward another few months, and I was once again sitting with my material spread before me, only this time I was pool side. I’d joined my husband on a business trip, and I’d brought the VBS curriculum with me. By now, I had more of an idea of what to do, and I’d even begun to form a team of volunteers–all of whom were much more knowledgable and experienced in this area than I, praise God!
I was still confused, and yet, I felt incredible peace. Because somehow, somewhere between when I first accepted the assignment to that moment at the pool, I’d come to the realization that our church’s VBS event wasn’t up to me. I would do my best, learn what I could, and enjoy the process. I’d let God take care of the rest.
At this time, I got to chatting to a woman lounging in a pool chair beside me. I don’t remember our conversation, except for me sharing what I was working on and how I was surrendering the results to God.
Her reply: “That’s what you get when dealing with volunteers. They don’t care about the outcome.”
And I thought, ‘Nope. That’s what you get from walking beside Christ. You know you’re not responsible for the outcome.’
Fast forward another couple of months, and our church had a phenomenal Vacation Bible study that drew a large number of children from the community. Kids accepted Christ, volunteers experienced the joy of serving Him, and the peace I felt that morning at the pool dominated my heart the entire week.
I’d like to say that peace, that level of surrender, stayed with me over the decades since, but unfortunately, it hasn’t. I have a tendency to want to hold too tightly to my assignments, to throw my expectations into the mix, along with a chunk of my pride, making it hard for me to surrender. But every once in a while, often when I’ve reached the end of myself, I sense God saying to me, “Remember …?”
And then I smile, nod, close my computer, and loosen my grip.
For those of you wanting to follow my online book/blog/author tour … I’ll catch you up next week. 😉
In the meantime, here’s more info on my latest release, Restoring Love:
Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. She’s almost his worst nightmare, and she’s also working on restoring something—herself. As he struggles to keep his business afloat and she works to overcome mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends soon discover they have something unexpected in common—a young mom who is fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back or unite them and bring redemption along with true love?