Saturday, April 16, 2011
"Shout it out loud!"
My eyes are getting older I guess. I find them burning in the late afternoon much more often that I used to. At night, they itch and burn as I try to relax watching re-runs of “Criminal Minds” on a cable channel. It seems that every couple of pages of a book I’m reading is followed by the rubbing of my eyes. Even as I sit as the computer terminal at work, I find I need to step away a little more often to let my eyes rest so they can stay in focus.
It’s not only my eyes are struggling to stay in focus these days, it’s also the direction of a book I’m trying to write. I had the pleasure of attending a Christian writer’s conference with my sister Deb a few weeks ago and it got my “writer’s juices” flowing again…well, at least trickling a little bit. For the past several months I’ve found my mind pulled in so many different directions that the book has been set on the back burner as I’ve worked to establish a small antique business. Even in the midst of the busyness of my thoughts, my mind continues to go back to the story that I’m destined to write. But it seems that every time I start to focus on the book, I realize that I’m not sure of the story that I want, or need, to tell. What I’ve needed is a clear picture of message that God is intending through my story. I think I’m finally getting closer to what that is.
As we drove back from the conference, Deb and I were discussing what impacted us most about all of the sessions that we had sat through and the speakers we had listened to. For me it was the need to discover what that one absolute truth was in my life that my book could illustrate. Initially I thought about the truth that I serve a God of “second chances.” Certainly my life is a reflection of that as are many stories in the Bible.
But my story is deeper than that and my sister reminded me of a story that I’d shared with her only the day before about the sermon my pastor preached on the Sunday I got on the bus and headed south to a Federal prison in California. He told his congregation that he was going to go visit a friend after church that day who was getting ready to spend the next three years behind bars…in a prison far away from his friends and family. And that he wanted to visit with me and pray with me before I got on that bus. But then he reminded the people sitting in the church pews that morning that although I was going into a “physical” prison, I was so much freer than many of them were because they were living in their own prisons of sin and secrecy and unforgiveness. I knew that place because I had lived there much of my own life. And Debbie was right.
It always amazes me how God reinforces what He would have us do. We’re in the midst of preparing for our Palm Sunday concert at church and one of the songs that the choir will be singing is called “The Very Same Power” and it contains a chorus that has resonated with me this week.
“No more chains, holding me. From now on, I am free…I’m gonna shout it out loud!”In that one line of the chorus I’m being directed on the direction that my book will take. My life was a prison and I was shackled with chains that nearly destroyed my life. And like many people I’ve found freedom from those chains. Now I am called to “shout it out loud” in pages of a book.
Photo from Flickr
"Very Same Power" lyrics by Free Chapel