October 31st, 2016

A Month to Love

Psalm37_4_5Those close to me know October is not my favorite month. For decades each September depression would begin brewing inside me and peak in October. The closer it came to October 31st, the worse it became. In fact, I still remember twelve years ago having to explain to my best friend from high school that the reason I didn’t attend her daughter’s birthday party the weekend of Halloween was because my depression was so bad I almost committed myself. She was surprised, to say the least, because in our friendship of twenty years I had never told her how bad my struggle was.

Even though I’ve been set free from the bondage of depression, an uneasiness rises inside me each October. This year was no exception. Within the first week, I found myself struggling with anxiety and worry. There was so much to do and so little time. My mind felt constantly divided. I felt a bit like I was sinking in my personal life, so I reached out to my Savior with a short, but earnest prayer.

“God, I need balance. I need to focus on You. Show me how to make that happen.”

The answer came almost immediately. Get off your personal Facebook for October. Give me your time and attention this month.

Happy to oblige, I typed a sweet farewell to my FB friends and deleted the app from my phone. I must admit the first few days I went to open the app at least four times before I realized it was gone. Once I settled into the idea of not posting, I found myself more focused, more attentive, more relaxed. I also found my spare moments during the day spent talking to God instead of my online friends. I prayed more for myself, our family, friends, and prayer requests from others. While standing in line at the grocery store I typed a scene for my book in my email. I talked more to my family and actually texted friends who were on my mind. Oh, the beauty of personal relationships! What I lacked was worry and stress, anxiety and doubt. I didn’t miss that at all.

And then, as if those blessings weren’t enough, God began opening doors. It’s been two and a half years since I published any books. At the beginning of September, we were given pledge cards in church. On the back was “I’m believing God for….”. I decided to go big and wrote “The publication of my next book series”. Would you believe that in a month I’ll have the first two in print? I’m also on track to completely finish the third this year and the fourth by early spring. I was still marveling at that when I received an offer to do social media promotion for the best Christian Writer’s conference in California. My reward? Free admission. This came days after the reality hit that we just didn’t have the money for me to go as I previously hoped to. I shot a prayer to the Lord – “God, I know You can make this happen if you want to. I trust You completely” and it happened. But wait, there’s one more blessing. The audio book I had someone begin producing months ago is now in its final stages. As I listen to Running in Such a Way with my kids, proofing the completed chapters, I am humbled and amazed at God’s goodness and love. All this “bookended” with at least an hour with the Lord each month and quality time with my husband and kids, and I feel overwhelmed with God’s blessings and love.

I had written off this month. By October 2nd, I had decided nothing worthwhile would come in the next thirty days. I’m so very glad my God likes to prove me wrong.

I venture to guess at some point (if not now) you will go through weeks, months, maybe years believing all is wasted, thinking the best you can do is simply survive. Maybe that’s why Sarah laughed when the angel of God said she’d have a baby. The only season she saw ahead of her was old age. No doubt that’s why Jesus’ followers were downcast right after His death. Their Lord was crucified—how could God make good come out of that?

Several weeks ago as my daughter and I pulled off the freeway she suddenly said, “Mom, look at that tree! Isn’t it pretty?”

I glanced to my left to find this beautiful tree filled with pink blossoms. The sparse grass surrounding it was littered with trash, even beat up construction cones. With a freeway off ramp on one side and the entrance on the other, no one dared roll down their windows because of the exhaust surrounding them. Yet, in the midst of this unpleasant place, beauty had sprouted. It doesn’t thrive because of it’s surroundings, but because of its Creator.

You don’t need to dread or fear your situation any more than I needed to dread October. God is there. He knows your heart’s desire and He wants to make it come true. Trust in the Lord and do good. Make the next month a time to simplify and focus on Him. Read His Word, pray, and believe Him for big things. Allow His goodness and love to redeem what you thought was lost. Commit this season to Him, my friend, and He will give you the desires of your heart rather than simply helping you through.

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