Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Overcoming Oneself

This is another one of those posts where I don't know if I should put it on my author blog or here, because it has to deal with both. But, since I'm going to focus less on writing and more on me, I chose this blog.

We all do it. I do it. You do it. So it should come as no surprise that I've done it.


What am I talking about? Well, I've been stupid. This is a bit more serious than doing something stupid. It's a moment when you really just shut your brain down and become actual stupid. Briefly.

Years ago when I first accepted God's call to write my stories for His glory, He gave me a precious gift. He said that all I ever needed to do was ask, and He would personally become my barrier between myself and the influences of Satan. He would keep the tempter at bay and allow me to do the work He has ordained me to do.

When you think about it, that is an awesome gift. As in something that can NEVER be paralleled or matched. And I used it. There were times when, creating my first novel, I had to pray before I sent an email or it wouldn't reach it's destination. Satan was working hard against me, and he hasn't given up.

If you've been keeping up with my blogs, you know in early December I chose to heed the Spirit's call to quit my job and write. I received confirmation from my Heavenly Father that I have TWO callings in this life. The first, and most important, is that of mother. Nothing will compensate for short-changing my children. The second was that of writer. This is not a hobby. This is not a job. This is a CALLING FROM GOD. An important distinction, I think.

So, for a while I did pretty well. I took a week off after leaving my job and then wrote a 7500 word Christmas story. And I thought I had found the groove. I started working on The Lost Princess. Then the holiday came. And then we got word that my mother in law had passed away.

And then everything fell apart.

I'm not kidding. The weekend of her death our computer--where I do all my writing--and the refrigerator DIED. Kaput. Within the next week, our heater stopped working as it should. The dryer developed this insanely loud clunking sound every time it runs. The washer refused to operate on any cycle other than normal with cold water. No more large loads. No more small loads. My father in law knew a guy who came out to fix the fridge, which turned out to need only a $22 part. That time. And I managed to get internet on my hubby's laptop, which is what I'm now using. I don't have all my stories, and some of the ones I have aren't current--like the one I was working on when the PC died. That I've had a hard time getting back to.

But it didn't end there. My son broke his arm playing keepaway after mutual one Wed night. His twin brother got the flu. My youngest started getting these incessant and unceasing headaches. Bryan is having a difficult time coping with everything and it's left him troubled and moody. Yesterday, the same son with the broken arm came home and showed me his finger (on the opposite side of the arm he broke) was all swollen and hurting. He'd injured it trying to play one handed basketball with his friends because he didn't want to let them down. While taking him to the ER I had to make a short stop at the school so my daughter could get her play scripts and a guy in a truck backed into me. My 11 yr old daughter lost a classmate in a house fire. And the fridge died again Monday morning. For good this time.

WE are under attack. I'm not kidding. While I can see the hand of God in everything we are going through--the broken bone could have required surgery, but didn't. The flu was extremely mild and he got over it quickly. The finger wasn't broken. The damage to the car was minor. A friend had a spare fridge which we picked up yesterday--it's pretty clear we are being assaulted at every turn. I still haven't been able to fix my PC. The dryer, washer, and heater are all still acting up, but they are working and so aren't getting attention right now. Because of all of this, I have been unable to write anything. Which is what I quit my job to do. And I'm paralyzed. I sit down to write but nothing comes, until I go to bed or am somewhere I can't write. The creativity is there, it's alive in me, but the outlet isn't working.

So I have been thinking quite hard about that gift God gave me, that precious barrier. But I hadn't done anything about it. Why? Well, therein lies the stupid part. I have a horrible weakness that is a form of pride where I don't take my problems to God because I don't want to bother Him.

As if I can burden Him. As if anything I can bring Him would be too much. See, stupid. So I've been trying to take on Satan myself, announcing my plan to fight him and not back down from what I know is my calling in this life.

And, obviously, I've been failing. Duh. Why in the world would I try to take on the father of all lies by myself, when all I have to do is call on God's protection and He takes care of him for me? Again, stupid. What's worse is the detriment to my family.

So last night, while I was minding my own business (which here was being exhausted from yet another round of hospital visits and X-rays, stress, and aggravation) I checked my email. And received this from a friend and fellow writer for God:

Okay, so, you're going to think I'm crazy, but in case you don't, I'm going to say it anyway.

I strongly recommend that you get a blessing of protection.

All the stuff you're going through sounds a whole lot like my last year, and I can't share everything that happened, but I'll just say that I got a blessing of protection, and most of it stopped.

So ... take that for what it's worth.  :)

I knew she was right. And I knew the time had come to stop putting off asking for God's protection. So when my husband called I told him I needed that blessing, and he reminded me there was something I can do myself until I got it.

So I did. I got down on my knees and apologized to my Heavenly Father for my pride and weakness. I begged Him for the barrier He promised me. I renewed my promise to write good things.

And then I wiped my tears and sat in the silence of my house (at 1:30 am even though the kitten tried everything to get my attention during my supplication) and realized something vital--

I could breathe again. The air was somehow cleaner. I felt peace. And it was precious. You sometimes don't notice how deeply the influence of evil has permeated your life until you ask God to force it out.

I can still feel it, the peace. I noticed a distinct change as I listened to the kids getting off to school this morning. (yeah, after not going to sleep until well after 2am I could not get up at 6 to help with that) Bryan was calmer. The kids were kinder. It was a miracle, right here in my home.

So I thank God again for helping me. The gratitude will remain in my heart, but I wanted to say it publicly. He loves me. He loves all of us, but that doesn't diminish the fact that He loves each of us individually. He knows us. He knows what we need. He is never as far away from us as we are of Him. Think about it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Count 'Em Up

As I shared in a PREVIOUS post, I recently gave up my job and heeded the spirit's call to return to writing. Within 3 weeks of my last day of work, the following things happened:

My mother in law passed away December 29th. She'd been sick for a long time, but it was still something of a gut punch to lose her that morning.

That same weekend, the refrigerator stopped refrigerating.

A couple of days later, the computer crashed. No kidding. Dead. As. A. Doornail. All recovery methods have so far failed. My brother is sending me some things to hopefully help. I may have to send him the computer (which hasn't worked so well in the past). That was after I wrote an entire short story and added about 10 pages to my WIP. I was actually *doing it* people, and the computer just died.

The clothes dryer started making a horrible squeaking sound whenever it's operating.

The washing machine now only works on *one* setting, and it's only 2 yrs old. (my conviction there is that it's the low water pressure in this house/town. It's one of those awesome front loaders, but you can't use the large load settings, the hot or warm water settings, or even the small load setting anymore)

I learned how it feels to attend a funeral and a wedding on the same day.

My son broke his arm on his brother.

My daughter nearly broke her arm at school when a heavy metal lid fell on it, sandwiching the arm between the metal box and the lid.

(Yes, I have, in fact, wondered why my son broke his arm hyperextending it while trying to stop his brother from getting the ball in keepaway, and my daughter *didn't* break her arm after such trauma.)

One of my other sons got the flu.

There, I think you're all caught up on the last 2 and a half weeks. Why am I telling you all this? Am I trying to make you feel sorry for me?

Of course not.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that life happens when you're busy making other plans. And in Plan B (C, D, E, F, G....). I also KNOW without a doubt that the more things that pile up in my path--the more convincing it becomes that I'm on the right path in the first place.

Here's what I'm supposed to do: Get discouraged. Let these things bring me down. Want to quit, throw in the towel, respond to at least one of the two job offers I've had in the last month. Stop writing.

Ya, that would make someone down there really happy. The jerk.

Now, here's what I'm GOING to do: Keep writing. Even if it's slow progress, it's still progress. Read my scriptures. Love my kids. Spend time with my family. Trust in God, and in His plan for me.

It's not easy. And I'm definitely accepting support if you're offering.