This week, I have been sick. Each time I attempted to write a new post, my brain was too foggy to concentrate. However, I received an email that challenged me to push through the fog. A portion of it read: â€œThanks for the encouragement you give me through your blogs! It is lonely out here and we are having a tough transition. Your blogs help me to feel connected. The other day was very difficult and after time in the word and prayer I looked at your blog. I was waiting for it to download on my iphone, because our landline and internet were down...I desperately needed to hear from God. "Please let there be a new word from Cathy!!!" I cried out to Jesus. I cried when a new post came up and saw that you had added ones for kids and teens...Please keep writing Cathy I Need it!!!"
My friend's note broke my heart. But it also affirmed that I need to continue to be obedient and disciplined to write. As I said in my last post, writing is hard work. If I let you peek inside my journals, you would find entries that date back years where God has spoken to my heart or encouraged me through others to simply write.
I remember the first time I recognized that writing was to be a part of God's call to teach. It happened on my daily walk, as I prayed through Proverbs 31. When I came to verse 24, I prayed, "Lord teach me to make linen garments and sell them, and supply the merchants with sashes, and whatever that looks like today. But please don't make me sew!"
Believe it or not, that silly prayer triggered a memory. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a writer. I was going to write novels. Suddenly, I felt like a kid in a dark, musty attic who just discovered a long, lost treasure. That day, as I walked along a little country road, God reminded me of a dream that was misplaced and forgotten in the busyness of college, marriage and having babies. My pace picked up. I was overjoyed, because I knew God didn't want me to sew. He was calling me to write!
At home, later that day, I decided to start writing. And, for the next couple years I wrote. There were weekly devotions to go along with our Women's Bible Study. A monthly newsletter for our church. And, a series of letters to moms. But life happens, and eventually my writing was put on the rear burner (again). However, this time it didn't get pushed to the back recesses of my mind. I read books about writing. I took some classes and attended a conference. And, I dreamed about writing. There were even times, after I had finished reading a book that profoundly spoke to my heart, when I would cry out to God, "Please, let me write like this to touch and change people's lives." But, except for outlines for the messages I shared and notes for Bible Studies I taught, I didn't write!
Finally, for the big 5-0 birthday, I decided to start a blog. I thought surely I could write once a month. But I didn't. Then one day while reading through my old journals, the light went on. I read the words of a good friend. It takes discipline to write. All of a sudden, a thought occurred to me. Self-control (which I felt well schooled in) was different than discipline. And, I was sorely lacking in discipline. This woman, Pam Farrel, who had influenced me, believed in me, encouraged me and invested herself in my life, exemplified a full and fruitful life because of her personal discipline. "Lord, I prayed please help me to learn be disciplined."
The Lord started answering that prayer. And, this summer on my fifty-second birthday, I took the step to write a post in my blog once a week. No one was watching me or holding me accountable. This was a commitment of obedience to follow God and to practice the discipline of writing. Of course, my hearts desire was that what I wrote would be read and encourage others. But I knew I needed to do this even if no one ever read a word that I wrote.
I confess, at times, I wonder who is reading my blogs. And, I wonder if the words I write bless others. And, when I'm tempted to quit because it's hard work or it seems unfruitful, the Lord is gracious to send a message, like the one from my hurting friend. Or like one from another reader: "Thank you for continuing to post your experiences on your blog! They are very encouraging and enlightening, and it's so great to see how God works!"
As I prayed about it, the old expression, WASTE NOT, WANT NOT, seemed the appropriate title for this post. Because (as I wrote last week) while I was waiting to go---to speak, teach and travel---I also wasted so much time and talent. I lacked the discipline to do the hard work to write the messages God was laying on my heart. I am so thankful that God is patient. That He is forgiving. And that He is in the business of redeeming what is lost and restoring it somehow for His good and glory.
So, as I end this post and climb back into bed, I wonder do you have a dormant talent or dream God has given you? Perhaps this post reminded you of a forgotten gift or vision. Take it out, dust it off and ask the Lord if it is His time to invest in it, to pursue it, to share it with others. And definitely don't let regret about neglecting it keep you from embracing God's call. With the Lord it is never too late!