Tag Archives: trust

A Leap of Faith

Anchored in Faith                                                         Spiced with                                                      Romance & History                                    Tears  &  Laughter                                                                                                                                             Janet Stobie’s new novel To Begin Again   will keep you turning the pages. 

 

Every time I release a new book, I experience a test of faith. Writing requires trust, yes, and it’s fun. I get lost in the creative process. Whether it’s a reflection, a short story, or a novel, writing feeds my soul. I feel God’s presence with me. My heart soars as my fingers fly over the computer keys. When the rough draft is finished, satisfaction reigns. I’ve responded to God’s inspiration.

Editing is not quite so much fun. It requires hard work and determination. Still, my editor, Ruth Walker, and I become a team. Once again joy begins to flow as she pushes me to use my intellect and creativity to polish the raw manuscript. Yes, it’s work but I’ve come to trust the process. For me it resembles pregnancy. It often takes at least nine months. Yet, I know the baby is forming just as God intends. Eventually, the time comes. I’ve done my best. “To Begin Again” is finally ready to be born.

For me the next two steps require the biggest leap of faith. Ordering one thousand copies from the printer is a tough and painful process. It’s not just the investment of dollars. Yes, it usually pretty well empties my book business bank account. But that’s only money. As I wait for delivery I imagine all those boxes filled with books. This time my study closet will be crammed full, as well as shelves in the furnace room. My mind hammers, “What if they don’t sell? A novel isn’t a ‘how to’ book. Novel’s are hard to sell. What will you do with all those books. I know you’ve already sold one thousand books many times before, but this time. Will people like To Begin Again?

Then comes the biggest “leap” of all. Selling!! For me selling is painful. It requires sitting behind tables, catching people’s eye, talking to strangers, friends, family, offering my beautiful baby and risking rejection. Of course, not everyone will buy. Not everyone even wants to see my baby. This is the point when I cry out to God:

“Thank you for calling me to write. I love it. Thank you for the work of editing. It’s worth it. Thank you for your inspiration. Our baby is beautiful. Poster for blogBUT, THIS TIME GOD, you do the work of selling. Send me heaps of orders especially online. Everyone says that’s the easy way. Make it happen. After all this is book number eight. I’ve given them my heart and soul as food. you make them eat it.”

When I wrote that last line, I smiled and I imagined God smiled too. So here we are today, “God and I”, offering you the opportunity to purchase our baby, TO BEGIN AGAIN.

Buy one for yourself and for your friends and family. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy the story. Discuss it. The questions for discussion are right there in the back of the book. Use TO BEGIN AGAIN to open a conversation about life, your values, what you believe.                     A stand – alone novel and a sequel to Fireweed.

WELCOME BACK TO CATALPA CREEK

Rejoin Steve, Renée & friends.

 

 

Faith and Fear Walk Hand in Hand

Courage
Courage

I’m not sure what is happening. I know only that I have been reading Psalms, traditional and modern, something new. And now poetry is flowing from my pen onto paper, my fingertips onto the keyboard. I’ve been listening to the confusion, the fear, that is filling our hearts as we hear words of intolerance and isolationism shouted at us through the media. Today, as we approach the first Sunday of Advent, I have two poems for you.

Prayer
Prayer

Lament

Hate is spreading.
Intolerance growing.
The icy fingers of fear
are creeping in
through the cracks of our being.
What can I do?

I teach your love.
I write. I speak.
Some listen.
Your love touches a few.
Hatred has gone viral.
Money and knowledge lead the way
Manipulate the media.

One at a time
That was Jesus’ “way”.
A finger in the dyke.
Can that hold back the flood?
Of evil unleashed.
Destruction, murder, genocide
It’s happened before.
It continues to happen.

God says,
“Only love can defeat evil.”
I know from experience,
God’s love can overcome.
God’s love is stronger than death.
God’s love does bring new life.

Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer,
Help us! Please!

Trust
Trust

Advent/Christmas?

A baby is born?
Bringing Wisdom, Compassion
Is there time?

Intolerance grows.
Fear festers.
Evil’s response to love.
A last gasp.
A last grasp for total power.
How big? How long?

I will trust in God,
who walked on water,
healed the sick,
brought sight to the blind.
I will trust in God,
who died in love,
defeated death
brought new life.
I will trust in God.

I will continue to love,
to love this world into new life.
I will trust in God.

This is my faith.

Help!

Can I Forgive?
Help!!

Harassment,
Pain
The guilt is endless
Relentless
I want desperately to help
I am dying.

I’ve tried escape.
His voice comes everywhere.

God says, “It’s time.
Give him to me.
It’s my turn.”

How Lord? How?
He has no one.
Only me.

You entrusted him to me.
I can’t close the door.
I can’t walk away.
He won’t let me
I can’t let me.

God says, “It’s time
Give him to me.
It’s my turn
Your work is done
I gave you love
Acceptance, loyalty,
Honesty, determination.
Holiness
You’ve used them all.”

God says, “It’s time.
Give him to me.
It’s my turn.”
Your work is done.
The foundation is laid.
Trust in me.”

God says, “Whatever happens.
He is my precious child
And I love him.”

It’s Hard To Trust!

Lent is the Christian season that leads up to Easter, in which we examine what we believe and why. This year I am focusing on “Trust”. Experience has taught me that I can trust in God’s care for me always.   When life is good, the sun is shining, and my life feels under control, it is easy for me to trust God with my life. When the going gets tough for me, I know that nothing I can do and nothing anyone or anything else can do to me, can separate me from God’s love. (Rom 8:38-9)  I can look back over my life and see God’s strength protecting me, and pulling me back to the “Way of Christ”. I am grateful for that trust, that security.

Still my trust wavers when I am faced with the traumas, the illnesses, the poor choices of my loved ones. These are the times when I cry out to God, “fix them”, “give them a miracle”, please, please, please.” These are the times when I lose patience and question God’s existence as well as God’s loving care.

Yet, even with my questions, my anger, my pleading, I never totally give up on God. Why? It’s more than the feeling that God is my last resort. Despite all my fear and worry for others, I cling to the fact that God is at the base of my life. My foundation of faith holds me up when I waver. These are the moments when I cry out to God, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

We all have times when the road is so dark we can see nothing, absolutely nothing. It is in those times when our faith wavers, we can turn to the wisdom of our Bible, and the strength of our Christian friends to hold God’s light for us. God never leaves us to struggle alone. Thanks be to God.

 

 

Christmas Thought for the Day

Christmas 2015

May I Receive God’s Love for Me Today.

 May I Pass It On!!!

Rejoice! Rejoice!  Whatever is going on in your life, rejoice. Give thanks for live. Rejoice that we believe in a God of love who has created us to learn. We can learn to love more and more deeply. We believe in a God of love who trusts us with creation, who has come to us in a beautiful baby, in every beautiful baby that is born. We believe in a God of love who has entrusted us to care for all of new life, human, animal, plant. We believe in a God of love, for forgives us, who never gives up on us. We are truly blessed. In the deepest recesses of your mind today, accept the love that God offers. Your thought for today is:

MAY I RECEIVE THE LOVE THAT GOD OFFERS ME TODAY
AND PASS IT ON!!!

Blessed Christmas everyone.  Love to all, Janet and Tom

Thought for Today

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I Can Trust in God’s Extravagant Love.

My daily reading tells me to trust in God’s extravagant love. That sounds simple but I know it’s not. This Christmas, in our family, the fear that comes with serious illness is threatening to wipe out our joy. I know we are not alone. There are many among us who are afraid. Illness, loneliness, violence, grief – Christmas is often laced with fear.

Our precious Christmas story is filled with angels saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Over and over again in the stories of Jesus we hear his message, “Don’t be afraid.” Our faith tells us we can trust in God’s extravagant love. Yet as we journey to Bethlehem this year, many of us are afraid.

Years ago, I read these words in a tiny tattered book that has long since disappeared, “Pray as if.” At 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning I heard this message, “Listen to the angels of Christmas. “Do not be afraid. Come and experience God’s extravagant love in baby Jesus. ‘Pray as if’ you trust in God’s extravagant love”.

If fear threatens to take over your life this Christmas, I offer to you what I am doing. I am praying “as if”. I am leaning on the love and faith of friends. Some days, trusting in God’s extravagant love feels solid. Some days my faith feels based in quick sand. Still, I will continue to pray. I will pray “as if” I am without fear and wait. I can trust in God’s extravagant love. I will open my heart to God’s peace for today.

Thought for the Day



Caring - elephants

What I Do Is Important to God

Yesterday I read a newspaper interview with Louise Penny, the well-known author of the Inspector Gamache Mystery Series. I hadn’t written my “Thought for the Day” before leaving home and I wondered if it mattered anyway. After all, I am only a self-published author, not a Louise Penny. I’m not well-known nor important in this world. It was easy for my mind to slip from that thought to why do I bother to do this anyway.

This morning I woke up determined to write today’s thought even though we are visiting with friends, and I have lots of excuses to skip doing it. I believe God has called me to write just as God has called me to do little acts of kindness every day, to love my family, to be God’s blessing in the world.

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A Caring Touch

God has not called me to judge the effectiveness of my writing or any of my acts of faith. God reserves that right. God only asks me to respond to this world with goodness and love using the gifts God has given me.

Today I offer you this thought. Whatever goodness you endeavour to do today, whether the action is part of your work, or play or something extra, that action is important to God. It may be your smile, your washing of a coffee cup, your loonie given to a homeless person, your opening of a door –  TRUST – that God needs your action done today to accomplish God’s purpose. This is your mantra for today:

WHAT I DO IS IMPORTANT TO GOD!!!

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The Hand of Friendship

Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Prayer
Prayer

Tom and I were square dancing in Marlbank. During a rest break, we told Pearl about our encounter with a deer on the way home the week before. After hearing a detailed description of the accident and giving thanks that we weren’t hurt, Pearl said, “Driving can be dangerous. My husband and I say a prayer each time before we get in the car.” Then she laughed and said, “Never leave home without a prayer. Never leave home without it.”

We both chuckled, and the conversation moved on in another direction. On the way home, we joined the holiday traffic parade on the 401 instead of the more remote Highway Seven. I thought, that’s good advice, Pearl, not just for travelling, but for going to work, to the doctor’s, to school, anywhere. Always take your awareness of God’s presence with you. God is our companion. We can do more than stop for prayer before we go out the door. We can keep the conversation going, giving thanks, asking for guidance and strength. Our approach to life changes when we acknowledge God’s presence right beside us, God’s hand on our elbow, patting our back, holding us.

There is a plaque that says, “God is a guest at our every meal.” For me, God is more than a guest at meal times. There is a wonderful old hymn that talks about Jesus as our companion. The chorus says, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own.” Whether you walk or drive or fly, don’t leave home without reminding yourself of God’s presence in your life. Say a prayer, and not just for safety. Give God thanks for your blessings, and ask God to help you be God’s blessing for someone else. Give it a try. Don’t leave home without it. Prayer will make a difference in your life.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)

Is God’s Supply of Love and Caring Limited?

A sign of God's promise of unconditional love.
A sign of God’s promise of unconditional love.

At the dance last week, we applauded the couple who were chosen as winners of the “spot dance.” They had obviously managed to be in the right place (whatever that place was) when the song finished. I leaned towards one of the other couples and said, “Oh well, I wouldn’t want to waste my luck on such a tiny prize.”

When I think about it, many of us have the same attitude when it comes to asking for God’s help in prayer. Oh yes, we complain to God, and we tell God what we need, but we don’t really expect God’s help in the mundane everyday things, like finding us a parking place when we’re late. We wouldn’t want to waste God’s time and caring on such a little need. We sure wouldn’t want God to get tired of our whining and not be willing to help us when we really need help, when we’re faced with a disaster. We know that we can suffer from compassion fatigue. We don’t want God to have a similar problem, especially when it comes to us.

Does God have a limit to God’s supply of love and caring? I don’t think so. Jesus compared God’s endless and abundant love to that of parental love.  “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:9-11)

For me it is extremely comforting to know that God’s love is limitless. I can’t wear God out when I bring my concerns to God. Just as a mother opens her arms to cuddle a child with a scraped and bleeding knee, God reaches out and draws us under the safety of God’s care when we come with our daily concerns and fears. We can trust that there is nothing too little or too big for our ever loving God.

Let’s Fly

Let’s Fly!

Years ago I enjoyed watching a television show starring a secret agent named MacGyver. Each episode opened with MacGyver receiving an envelope containing a special assignment. The source of that assignment remained a mystery, although we heard a voice at times. MacGyver’s courage in tough situations and his amazing ability to convert everyday articles into the things he needed for escape caught my imagination and love of adventure and creativity. MacGyver never refused an assignment although he knew the risk. He trusted in his skills and abilities. He believed passionately in the world’s need for him to accomplish his task.

As we step into 2015, we need the MacGyver approach to our lives. Each of us has a special assignment from God, unique to us, that is full of risk and adventure. We too have to trust in our ingenuity, our skills, our abilities. Like MacGyver we need to let go of questioning the integrity of God, the giver of our life assignments and focus on the world’s need for us to accomplish our tasks.

Unlike MacGyver, we do not have a choice to accept or not the task of life. God has given us the task of living. We can let fear of failure or even our own safety, or another’s judgment of our journey steal the adventure of living, or we can step forth trusting in God’s guidance, God’s strength and our God-given gifts. St. Paul said “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2Timothy 6-7)

This year, let’s consider ourselves to be God’s secret agents. We can soar on God’s Spirit through our life journey. We can feel the fun. We can bring our creativity to the challenge. We can enjoy our God-given adventure. LET’S FLY!