Something That’s Better

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“You are a beggar.” I tisked and shook my head at our nosey Sun Conure, Mango.

Leaning against the kitchen counter, I ran an avocado under the faucet then dried it with paper towel. Avocados are one of my favorite healthy additions to salad, and I try to eat at least one a week. I ignored the needy bird, slicing the fruit in half and twisting it open.

From his perch across the high bar separating our kitchen from the dining room area, Mango jiggled in a beggar bird dance and fluttered his wings in case I’d forgotten he was there.

“Nope. Can’t have this.”

Mango enjoys fruits and a few veggies: apple, blueberry, banana, raisins & grapes, strawberries, mango, broccoli, carrots, and corn. His store-bought bird food contains some of these items as well as all sorts of nuts and seeds and dried fruit.

We give him two or three food treats a day. But he is absolutely not allowed to eat avocados. (Or chocolate.)

Mango and one of his favorite treats–a blueberry.

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I’m not sure why he can’t have avocado, but it’s definitely a no-go.

As I finished scooping out the firm, greenish-yellow avocado halves, my mind wandered familiar paths…school starting for our boys, unsettling issues I’ve been having with my asthma, home remodeling projects undone, the book I’m trying to finish editing before a big writing conference, the writing conference itself…

As they often do, my worn worries turned to whiny prayers. “Lord, why can’t…”

“Help me let this go and trust You…”

“Keep them safe while…”

“Please make it that….”

One particular writing concern, something I’ve been praying specifically about for two years–something that almost worked out recently but ultimately didn’t–weighed so heavily I blinked away frustration tears.

Another prayer trickled from my lips. “Why couldn’t that have…”

Mango eyed the chunks of avocado and dance-strutted across the thick perch over his cage.

I glanced up, shaking my head at the bobbing bird . “You can’t have this. It. Is. Not. Good. For. You. I’ll give you something else that’s better.”

I handed him a sliced almond, and he eagerly grabbed it with his black beak and dug in. (Eating only 5% of it, as birds do.)

And the still small voice, the one God’s given us to guide and direct, nudged and kneaded my heart, still tender about the dream.

“I’ll give you something else that’s better.”

For I know the plans I have for you…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Giving that tender dream back to God…I needed to do it. To be reminded that He’ll give me something that’s better.

If you’re in a similar place…praying, hoping, praying, trying to trust. Maybe downtrodden and discouraged about a closed door, too. Or even confused about something you thought God had planned for you.*

Hold fast to the Hope you have, and trust God’s higher ways. He loves us–He made us–so He knows what’s best for us.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Ps.27: 13 & 14)

 

*Praying for you, friend.

 

 

 

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Wonderful Writerly News

 

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“You’re not allowed to cry, mom!” Chase stares at my face intently as I listen to the phone message that arrived while we were out that evening.

(He doesn’t like when I cry, even if it’s a happy cry.)

A sweet voice drifts over my dining room table, words this writer yearned to hear …”I’m calling because you’re a finalist in the Genesis Contest! I wish I could hear you screaming…”

She was so right. I was screaming. Scream-cry-smiling, Scrimling, something like that. Add a side of jumping up and down.

However weird that must’ve looked and sounded, I was so thrilled to get this encouraging news.

I can’t share the title, but it’s a cute story that came to me randomly the end of last year–a ‘what if?’ scenario that turned into two characters inhabiting my imagination, urging their story to be told.

While I have a huge soft spot for my middle grade characters and story, I had so much fun writing a romance that (one day, Lord willing) makes readers smile and sigh, too. And I’m so thankful to my two critique partners, who helped shape the story from its messy beginnings.

Along this slow and often frustrating path to publication, each step up is a step forward. And while a contest semi-final or final is not a guarantee of publication, it is a huge encouragement for moving in the write right direction.

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Winners are announced at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Nashville in August. I’ll be sure to post pictures and news after the conference! 🙂


Recently I read 2 Chronicles 31, and two verses grabbed my attention. Chapter thirty-one details portions of the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, how Hezekiah destroyed the idolatry prevalent in the land. He determined to make it right between his nation and his God.

Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered. (verse 20 & 21, bolding emphasis mine)

Everything Hezekiah attempted to do, he was successful in accomplishing. Not because of his own power and wisdom, but because he sought the Lord in all he did, he did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, and he worked with all his heart.

Matthew Henry notes: “In all that Hezekiah attempted in God’s service, he was earnest and single in his aim and dependence, and was prospered accordingly. Whether we have few or many talents intrusted to us, may we thus seek to improve them, and encourage others to do the same. What is undertaken with a sincere regard to the glory of God, will succeed to our own honour and comfort at last.”

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In chapter thirty-two, Hezekiah’s encouraging words to his military men before a big battle also encouraged me.

I pray they encourage you, too.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles” (32:7 & 8).

Whatever you’re facing this week, this summer, this year, know that the Lord your God is with you, to help and to fight your battles.

God Bless You!