A is for …

Perhaps on another day, the writer’s link with a blogging challenge for the month of April would not have caught my attention, but on that particular morning it did. With nothing more than a quick glance at the rules of the game, I registered.

Fast forward two months, and what seemed like a great idea back in February has me feeling a bit like an April fool today.

Still, I’m already in, linked up, and set to go. Besides, whenever I’m in, I’m all in.

My mission for the month:  Blog through all 26 letters of the alphabet.

Just in case you’ve forgotten a certain little poem often taught in elementary school, April is only a 30-day month. Even the slowest of math pupils would understand that 26/30 means a lot of posting in April!

Quite frankly, my track record for blogging is not that good. I’ve had this blog for about a year now, and have managed only 16 posts or so during that time. Statistically, I’m not even blogging twice a month.

Generally, I try not to feel guilty about my lack of consistency in keeping up with my blog. After all, as the mother of five, all teens or tweens, it’s not as if I’m sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, and eating bonbons all day.

Which leaves me with one burning question:

 Why did I ever think I could manage publishing 26 times on my blog during a one month period?

Looking back, I know much of my eagerness to participate had to do with a desire to improve my writing skills, develop better blogging consistency, find new writing inspiration, and build my readership. I recall thinking, “What better way to possibly improve in several of these areas than by taking a part in this challenge?”

Yet, as the weeks went by and I thought about the actual process, I began to feel nervous about exactly how this challenge would play itself out.  Many writers taking the challenge blog through the alphabet with a theme in mind, which seemed like a great idea to me.  Several times I tried to come up with a theme: homeschooling ideas, Bible verses, godly thoughts, favorite books to read with children, etc.  Each time I would get excited about the theme possibilities …  and then panic would set in.

Oh, no! What will I write about for Q or X? What if I run out of ideas?

With the focus of succeeding in this challenge centered on me and my abilities, I knew I was setting myself up for failure. Something had to change. Or rather, there was something that I didn’t need to change. I needed to stay true to who I am as a writer.

The one big thing that is consistently true about my writing is that I write for God. He’s the boss and I work for Him.  In our writing relationship, He always gets to pick the topic. My job is to pretty much just write whatever He tells me to write.  And since He mostly gives me insights about Himself through the ordinary (and sometimes not-so-ordinary) experiences in my life, I try not to complain.  It’s actually a really great deal, and I love my job … though it might be nice if there started be an occasional payday involved.

I have come around to understanding that there won’t be a theme for my blog during in the A to Z Challenge. At least, that is, there won’t be a theme chosen by me. And so far, if God has picked a theme, He hasn’t let me in on it yet.

He did, however, stay faithful to His part of the bargain, and give me the idea as well as the words to write in this initial post.

letterA

That’s why A is for Aspiring to blog through the Alphabet in April

Stay tuned for B.  At this point, even I have no idea what God might want me to blog about tomorrow.

 

My heart is moved by a noble theme, 
as I recite my verses to the King; 
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Psalm 45:1

The Start of Something New

For my 40th birthday (which wasn’t all that long ago), God Himself gave me a very special gift … a life verse.

The term life verse is taken directly from the “Dictionary of Christian~ese.”  Okay, not really.  However, if you don’t frequent churches or are perhaps new to the faith, then it is quite possible that you aren’t familiar with this terminology.  Life verse basically refers to a scripture that is deeply personal, and perhaps when you read it you feel as though God is leaning down and whispering directly into your ear.  Life verses tend to address a theme that appears over and over again in your life, telling of how God has worked in you or through you. It’s like the mission statement of your life.

So back to my 40th birthday and my gift from God, which was, as I said previously, my life verse. The back story is that I had always wanted a life verse.  I can’t tell you the number of times I had prayed and asked God for a wonderful life verse.  Over the years, I had scriptures that I loved and held particularly close to my heart, but I knew that none of them were my life verse. In fact, I had finally reached the conclusion that I probably was one of those people who just didn’t have a life verse.  On top of that, I was turning 40, which was turning out not to be all that fun.  I suppose I felt old and useless as I approached what was likely the second half of my life.

Anyway, a sweet friend of mine, who was keenly aware of my emotional struggles (at least the part about turning 40)  gave me a birthday sunshine box … a box filled with a week’s worth of small tokens and treasures, one to open each day.  Each small gift was wrapped and on the outside was a scripture that gave a clue as to what was inside. Each morning I allowed the children to pick a gift so that we could all guess as to what might be inside.

As the morning of my birthday dawned, I have to admit that did not feel like it was in any way a happy day.  My husband was working out of town. And frankly, I just wanted to pull the sheets over my head and sleep the day away.  But before the sun was very high in the sky, those five lively kids of mine were singing the birthday song and pulling the next gift out of my sunshine birthday box.  And the gift they placed in my hand that morning was wrapped up and tied with a ribbon that was attached to a card containing the following words that changed my life.

My heart is moved by a noble theme as I recite my verses to the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Psalm 45:1 (HCSB)

           The instant I read those words, I knew it was my life verse.  I’ve always loved to write. It’s how I express myself.  It’s how I find myself.  Moreover, it’s how I find God.  In my youth and young adulthood, I wrote for me.  But in my 30’s, I had found joy in learning to write for God … to please Him and to share His love through words.  Truthfully, I longed to do more with my writing, but I had no idea what or how.   So for God Himself to reveal to me a plan for my future that included writing … well, for once, words fail me.

          Since that September morning, I’ve been praying in a knock, seek, ask sort of way.  I’m daring to dream and believing that God has plans to use me by allowing me to write for Him.  It’s the start of something new … not because I’m new to writing, but rather I’m new to believing that my writing is useful to God and to His purposes.  I’m new to dreaming that He will take my writing places I never dreamed it might go.  And I’m new to expecting God to use my writing to encourage others, especially ordinary women just like me, to know Him more.