A Perfect Gift


God recently surprised me above what I could have asked or imagined. As my tears flowed and shock coursed through my veins, James 1:7 flashed in my mind.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

My local writers’ group asked if I’d put together a presentation on entering writing contests for our January meeting. Though the thought of getting in front of adults makes my stomach somersault, I’d had a feeling for months that this would be part of my writing path.

Sharing what I’ve learned. Helping other writers on their publishing journey. Guiding those a few steps behind, so they can catch up.

I was nervous but really excited {but nervous}.

(Did I mention I was nervous?) 

In preparation I pulled together this information and that information, eager to share all I’d learned in a *hopefully* positive and coherent manner.

A couple writer friends from the group got in touch, letting me know they’d be there. Grateful for their support, I gathered my materials that evening and headed to the church where we meet.

I arrived fifteen minutes early, just behind a group member who’s about to move. We chatted about the process of packing up her home of many years. I unloaded the books I’d brought and set out the paperwork for the presentation on entering writing contests.

A couple minutes later, another person walked in. When I glanced sideways, smiling a welcome, my breath caught.

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Someone so dear, so unexpected, walked in. And though we’d never met, I knew her.

Almost three years ago, Vie judged my entry in a contest (I didn’t know this at the time; we only connected afterward, when I emailed my thank you letters to judges).

Her comments on that entry (my middle grade story) touched and encouraged me tremendously. In some moments, those precious words kept me afloat amidst a sea of negativity and rejection.

  • I printed the email and taped her comments to my computer and the bulletin board in our office.
  • I read and reread those words when road blocks and closed doors and sheer time weighed on my shoulders and made me want to give up.
  • I hoped and prayed to meet her one day and give her a big hug for the gift she’d been and the kind encouragement she showed.

We live quite far apart, and finding an opportunity to meet at writing conferences never materialized.

So when she appeared that evening, smiling tentatively as I’m about to give a presentation on writing contests, I lost it. (She wasn’t sure if I’d recognize her.)

She said she’ll never forget my face. I just remember bursting into tears because of the gift it was to see her in person, at that moment.

(She happened to be in my home state when she saw my post about the presentation.)

Having her there….it meant the world. It was a gift from God I hadn’t expected. But isn’t that just like the Lord? We think we want this or that, and instead He surprises us with such good and perfect gifts.

This sweet woman’s encouragement three years ago also affirmed the heart of my presentation that night:

We’re not writing in a vacuum. Pray for others. Encourage others. God calls us to love and serve others on this writing journey (sometimes, even above ourselves).

This is the key ingredient to the writing life…loving and helping others. Otherwise, we write in vain.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Phil. 1:3)

Me, too…But then

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you?


This post is a little different, though.

I’ve experienced situations with harassment and sexual advances that were totally unwarranted. Unwelcome and icky. Both occurred in high school.

The first was during PE, in a rowdy class of 10th & 11th graders. It began with leering looks from a boy no bigger than me, but determined. So determined. I avoided him when possible, because he was rough and lewd and all hands.

I’m thankful it ended before things grew worse.

The second situation occurred at my first official place of employment–Burger King, back in the day when Lion King toys stuffed the kids’ meals and customers paying via credit card was impossible.

(Wow, I’m dating myself terribly.)


Anyway, a young man joined the crew a few months after I did. His verbal teasing and overlong looks turned quickly into a poke here, a grab there. Leering and innuendos that made me nauseous.

We’ll call him Joe.

*Good time to note I also met my future husband at Burger King.*

Joe enjoyed hiding in the walk-in cooler or behind corners then jumping out, scaring me. A couple of times, his hands were involved and his leering increased to uncomfortable levels.

I mentioned it to Trevor.

While washing trays in the huge silver sinks one day, water suddenly soaked my leg. A tight vise gripped my calf. I jumped back, nearly tripping, recognizing my tormentor below the sink, wielding one of the faucet handles (they stretched really far), spraying my uniform pants and grinning lecherously.

I’m sure I shouted something, because I’m not quiet and one of my pant legs was soaked.

I was ticked.

Trevor appeared, my knight-in-shining Burger King uniform.

I can still picture it as clear as it happened twenty-three years ago. Calm, steady Trevor reached down, dragged Joe to standing then held him out, his hand wrapped around Joe’s throat. He didn’t let go of his throat as Joe wiggled, jerking around like a rag doll, punching Trev in the face a couple of times to get him to let loose.

I don’t remember what was said or how long until the manager broke it up, but I’ll never forget the wild-eyed look of shock on Joe’s face when Trev finally dropped him.

He never bothered me again, and I’m so thankful I was a “me, too… but then.” ❤

Parents–let’s raise our boys (and girls) to honor and love the Lord and respect others. To be the “but then” makers in their lives. This starts in our own hearts and homes.

Because each person is Hand-Made and precious.

Meanwhile, there are so many women with far worse situations than I experienced. Jobs threatened or lost. Memories they wish could be erased and devious, hurtful actions that changed the course of their life. Broken hearts from betrayal of the worst kind.

I hope you know that God loves you and He can heal your hidden wounds.


“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

(Ps. 9: & 10)