When we bought our house from my parents a couple decades ago, my father was excited to show me a large fossil rock in the backyard. It looked like it could have been the vertebrae of an ancient critter, maybe that of a huge hawk.
Since Todd has moved rocks and stones around to make garden spaces, we have no idea where the fossil went. I have felt a little sad about that over the years, but no worries, we have another one.
Last week, Todd called me a fossil. After I heard it a couple times, I told him to cut it out. He’s a teaser. It was Valentine’s Day. I sulked. He apologized, I forgave him, the rest of the night was perfect, except that I didn’t sleep because I had an early flight to Tucson to catch. It was time for some good family time with my sister and her family.
But I’m wondering. What does it mean to be a “fossil”? There was a period of adjustment after I stepped down from my job a couple years ago—stepped out and over—to pursue new things. I have never for a minute thought of myself as retired. I waited a long time to discover this place of peace. I work hard at writing every day. My days fly by.
Maybe you can relate, for over a year after I left my job, I felt I wasn’t doing enough, and applied for a few jobs, then was relieved when I didn’t get them.
Does that make me a fossil?
But now as I think about it, I don’t know if that’s necessarily a bad thing. If you can find a sermon in a stone, there’s a novel in a fossil!
This past week, I was in the parking lot of Outpost to pick up some groceries for Todd while I’d be out of town, when I noticed I had a message from the Literary Agent I had queried several weeks ago. I had to blink. They are very clear that the Agency now gets a hundred queries a week and can no longer respond to all of them. If you don’t hear anything in six weeks or so, it just wasn’t a fit. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. I didn’t expect a response. I stood there reading the message with instructions to forward on my proposal and sample chapters to her direct email. Stunned, I blinked again.
Some wonderful things have happened to me during this time since I’ve left my job. Richard Rohr says it something like this, you spend the first chapter of your life making the container—all the exterior things that allow you to feel safe—that takes a long time. The second chapter is about filling it. Some never fill it, he says. I want to fill mine with the Fruits.
And there I stood in the produce section at Outpost, of all places, reading the response to my query to take the next step. I couldn’t believe it. But God. Even if it goes no further, I’ve made it to a new step and that feels good.
I’m new at all this. You have to wonder what possessed me to attempt to be a writer of all things during this, my second chapter of life. Plus, anyone in the business of writing today will tell you that traditional publishing keeps changing, it’s a little crazy like everything else in the world today, like me. And then there is AI. Even traditionally published authors are moving into self-publishing so why would I even try? Why wouldn’t I?
Our stories about God’s transforming power to change lives are important to share and put down on paper. They are His stories to use as He pleases. This keeps me motivated. Plus I have the greatest writing coach, Laurie Scheer, who has walked through each step with me and continues to. And if you need help with your platform, or anything really, writing coach Ann Kroeker who helped me connect to the literary agent, is amazing too.
I prayed if publishing wasn’t a part of the plan I could let it go, and felt at peace.
Because writing allows me to connect more fully to life, to the stories of my youth, to look deeper into who my parents were, who people are, to grow in appreciation of all that life has blessed me with, to see love grow, to see healing, to experience it, to appreciate the beauty in life, and most of all the sacred moments God opens my eyes to each day. Writing helps me to be present, to pay attention. You have to. It flows from the best place in you, in the moment you’re in.
When I doubt myself, Todd says to just move on to the next poem or story or chapter. He’s such a good husband. He keeps me on my toes. To me, there’s nothing more wonderful then this place of peace called Home.
I have to laugh at myself. There was a time when I thought surrendering it all to the One who made it all, meant I would lose who I was. I’d become boring or bored. But I was so wrong. Since the day I decided to follow Jesus, my life has been nothing but one big adventure. And I would lose it all to gain Him. It’s not about religion, but an amazing ever-growing, ever-deepening relationship with the God of the Universe. I don’t write this to try to convince you of anything, just to share my story. We are each on a unique journey. For me, obedience took a twist, becoming a form of respect that flows out of love and turns into this breathtaking freedom.
And now that I think about it, fossils last a long, long time. Just like good books! And that’s a very good thing. 😉
Feature photo: Peter Burton, Unsplash
I’m glad you decided to continue writing.
Deb, I think we realized from the start that we were kindred spirits. I can relate to so much of this! Being way busier than I ever anticipated being at this age, being blessed beyond belief…
Congratulations on your writing career(ministry)! BTW, check out the flashback on my last post, I think you’ll get a bang out of it. God has us on slightly different paths, but He has His reasons for everything!
Love ya, sis!
Oh my goodness, dear Deb! How beautiful you are! How inspiring you are … to this old 82-year-old friend of yours! I have been working on a biography of someone I met years ago for way too long. You are inspiring me to get on with it. Congratulations, dear one!
Congratulations Deb. I am glad you have pursued this tack.
Thanks so much, Don.
That means a lot, Gary. Thanks. The greatest joy is the people you meet along the way.
Sandra, write it! You’ll probably beat me to the finish line! (Are you sure you didn’t mean to type 72…?!) ❤️
Just reread the first two parts. I’m so amazed at the way this story is unfolding. It’s such an important message. I will share it. I have so many dear ones asking, “Where is God in this?” Thanks, Annie. ❤️
Sorry for the delayed response, Deb, I’ve been a tad preoccupied as of late. You definitely have a gift for writing and especially with regard to speaking openly and beautifully from the heart. I am so glad that this opportunity is opening up for you. I pray and trust that God’s Holy Spirit will guide you in His work in you, to God’s glory. Just a word of caution and concern, if I may, concerning Richard Rohr, as he is known to lean heavily into the subtilities of New Age mysticism and there is a real danger there. Because I care, I would be remiss if I did not mention this. God’s continued blessings on you and yours as always. Love in Christ – Bruce
Thanks for looking out for me, Bruce.❤️ If I may ask, how do you differentiate between Christian Mystics (CS Lewis, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Mother Teresa, Madam Guyon and Julian of Norwich, even Paul is referred to as a Mystic) and New Age Mystics? Now I really wish we could sit on your front porch and have a good ol’ talk. (Provided it’s not too cold. I’ve been stranded at airports all day. Spending the night in Denver…😅)
Hi Deb, sorry to hear that you got stranded in Denver. Getting stranded is never fun! Regarding Richard Rohr and the difference between Christian Mystics and New Age Mysticism, that’s a really good question and I am glad that you asked it. Bear in mind that not everyone holds to the same definition of what constitutes being identified as a Christian Mystic or what specifically is identified as New Age Mysticism practises for that matter, so I will answer you in broad general terms.
Generally speaking, Christian Mysticism brings the principles of mysticism (religious experiences) into a pursuit of God in Christ. For lack of better words, Christian Mysticism advocates that the knowledge of God may be informed by the Bible, but also advocates that there are other means of knowing Him, too, such as contemplative prayer or the Enneagram, as examples, both of which Richard Rohr advocates.
You’ve probably heard me mention previously what I call “off ramps”, which is the term I use for anything that would detract us from focusing on the words of Christ and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as delivered to us by the New Testament writers. This is a personal decision that I have made, to avoid becoming encumbered with secondary issues that are outside of what God’s Holy Word advocates. The “benchmark” that I use is God’s Holy Word, by which everything else is tested. I also personally believe that Satan puts many cards before us, that he holds to pick from, and he doesn’t care which one we select, as long as we select one. The objective is, to move us away from our dependency and complete trust in Christ. Most times the shift that takes place when we take one of these “off ramps” cards are initially subtle, but they all pick up in tempo as one moves into them.
I have tested the works of Richard Rohr against God’s Holy Word and to be candid with you Deb, there are red flags everywhere. If you take the time to go through all of the links that I provided for my post on the Enneagram alone, the red flags pretty well speak for themselves. There is much more that I could address but to do so would turn this into a small book. I am acutely aware that not everyone agrees with me, but then not everyone follows the criteria that I endeavour to adhere to.
Don’t be surprised when the card you may pick strikes a cord in your heart as “truth”. Deception is often wrapped in subtle half-truths designed to draw you in. But there is only one truth and His name is Jesus and His words do take precedence over all others.
You are a dear sister in Christ and I have seen you open your heart many times. I care and because I care, I ask you to consider and that is basically all I can do. I’m just a layperson like you are, one of Jesus’ sheep.
Earnestly seek God’s will for you in this and He WILL let you know. I’ll be praying for you too. Love in Christ – Bruce ❤️ 🙏
Aww Bruce, I so appreciate you. You know I love Jesus.
Whoops, I accidentally hit send. I’m in the taxi on the way to the airport and we hit a bump! 😄 Thank you for words always. I could write a book of thoughts too. I will continue to seek God’s Will. It is what my writing is all about! Sending ❤️ 🙏🤓
Never a doubt, Deb! Blessings!
Not a problem and right back at ya!