A new year is upon us. Chatter of resolutions and goals echo in conversation, sermons, and on social media. Have you chimed in? Have you made your list? Posted your plans? Does the thought of 2019 and the clean slate before you cause you to feel pumped…or in a slump? Inspired…or just tired? Motivated…or debilitated? […]
Thankfulness and Connection:
Since attending the Write2Ignite Conference in September, I’m thankful for reminders about the connection between thankful attitudes and desirable outcomes – in relationships, projects, and inward peace. Sometimes these connections remain stable for many years – they’re comfortable, we enjoy them, and we take them for granted. But sometimes, they change. Change can be good, but changes in important connections can be difficult.
The playground set shown here (incomplete), assembled by my husband for our grandchildren, is no longer in this yard. That’s because we recently sold the house and the new owners didn’t need it. So he took it down and relocated it to the yard of the house where we’re living now. We’re both glad that our grandchildren’s connections to this play equipment will continue for many years, as they associate it with “Grandpa’s house.” Disassembling and reassembling it took a lot of effort. It was neither comfortable, enjoyable, or routine. The payoff comes when the project is coming together, we can see the progress, and the end – a complete play area – is within reach.
Were we always thankful during the process? Yes and no. We were thankful for a pickup truck to move large sections, so the entire set didn’t have to be completely disassembled. We were thankful for a few days of good weather to get it in place. We were thankful for a level spot in the yard to set it up.
We weren’t feeling particularly thankful when the bolts weren’t fitting easily into their holes, the washers were hard to find, and the frame was unstable while those large pieces had to be held together by hand.
“In everything give thanks . . . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) This is God’s standard. It’s not second nature to us, but it’s exactly what we need to keep our focus on where we need – and want – to be connected.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, friends, coworkers, or struggle with a connection that requires relocation or other kinds of uncomfortable change, may God keep you mindful of what He is building into your life with this change.
What changes and connections will your stories show? May we all write from thankful hearts.
a service project of Write2Ignite Conference devotional book with covers In September 2017, the Write2Ignite Team was meeting to plan the 2018 Conference and explore other possible programs. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, shortly followed by Maria, were fresh on everyone’s minds. The subject of a service project came up, and we wondered, what can we do? […]
O Pilgrim, Where Art Thou?
The way to his longed-for destination, the Celestial City, passes through many places, some welcome and some not. Fortunately, he expects a blessing when the path enters North Greenville University, where there are mountains in sight and a promise of fellowship, grace-filled conversation, and deeper insight in the ways of sharing intersections between his story and the divine story. Look for him when you enter Write2Ignite Conference!
Storytelling is active. It’s something all people do: it’s in our DNA. Pilgrim hears others’ stories and tells his own to anyone who will listen. The compulsion to share stories is what we writers have in common. It drives us to think, remember details, write, and get stories out to others.
|Date:||September 19, 2018|
|Appearance:||Storytelling: The Pilgrim Journey|
Thoughts for the journey: pray, prepare, proceed, and practice.
On the journey, Pilgrim takes time to pray, especially after a few hasty decisions put him in harm’s way. Having been instructed, he prepares for future challenges in conversations with fellow travelers, discussing ideas and bringing up Scriptures to keep their focus on God’s truth. Rehearsing these verses during the journey helps Christian and his friends practice telling their story and God’s role in it.
Each new obstacle Pilgrim overcomes adds a chapter to the story he can tell to those he meets. Challenges, especially in areas where cresting rivers and floods are barriers, lead to stories as residents and helpers work to clear away debris, repair damage to roads and buildings, and deal with losses. In the process, God’s promise to comfort those who mourn brings a vision of restoration: “To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3, NKJV)
In communities where downed trees and heavy spirits make joy seem impossible, God is planting in the lives of people who follow Him, to make them as majestic and upright as the most beautiful trees standing. The journey—and the story—continue.
|Date:||September 18, 2018—September 25, 2018|
|Appearance:||New chapters and more stories to share|