August 28, 2018

Hold Fast to Him

Deuteronomy 11:22-23
“For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him - then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.”
I recently read these two verses above and could not miss the obvious lesson in verse 22–a beautiful outline for how we can build our relationship with God. This is how we can go deeper in our walk with Him. When we go deeper we will hold fast to Him. This is where we experience victory in our Christian life. For the Israelites that was driving out the other wicked nations, for us it is overcoming difficult circumstances in our lives.

How We Can Go Deeper

There are three progressions: Three Steps
It starts with Love.

Step 1: To love the Lord your God - I cherish this invitation from a High and Holy God who wants us to love Him.

Step 2: To walk in all His ways - This is what scripture teaches us in our Bible, how to live the Christian life. We must be reading His word to learn how to walk in His ways.

Step 3: And to hold fast to Him This is what makes the difference in a close relationship and in difficult times. This is the vital key to going deeper. Hold on and hold on tight!

If we don’t hold fast, we are much more vulnerable to grow cold and/or to stray.

Holding fast keeps us close and will prevent us from straying and going after false gods or those things in our lives that take the place He should have, the preeminent place that is rightfully His.

Deuteronomy 13:4 is another verse that calls attention to holding fast and Joshua 22:5 brings this message home in the words of Joshua, chosen by God to be the Israelite leader and commander following the death of Moses.

Deuteronomy 13:4
You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

Joshua 22:5 “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” 

Do you love the Lord? Are you walking in His ways? Are you holding fast to Him?

Hold on and hold on tight.

August 25, 2018

When Fear Knocks

Last month I turned 60. Yes, I am sixty years old. I am still trying to get used to that number!

I stopped coloring my hair early 2017 so this is my all natural look now. I even have a brand new headshot photo which was done for my book – so here I am at 60 with some strange mix of sandy gray hair.

Turning 60 has been a big deal to me as much as I try to make it not be. But there is a reason it affects me in a very deep way. Both of my sisters, Ann and Donna, died at the age of 61 and 62 in 2009 and 2013. One had cancer and the other died in a car wreck with her husband.

Not long after Donna and Dewayne’s deaths in 2013, I began to experience fear that something bad was going to happen to me.

Not because there was a genuine threat, but because I succumbed to worry.

I began to hear irrational thoughts in the far recesses of my mind growing louder day by day. Is something bad going to happen to me? Am I going to die young?

There it was—fear, gnawing away at my peace, robbing me of my joy, and trying to take up residence in my life. Ultimately, I know my life is in God’s hands and I know my sisters and brother-in-law are with the Lord. God did a great work of healing in my life to move me beyond grief. But the reality of their lives suddenly cut short was causing me these anxious fearful thoughts.

There are so many things that can cause us fear. Even Job said, For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25

God has encouraging words for us about fear in 2 Timothy. These are words I take to heart and words that help me do battle when the fearful thoughts descend upon me.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear, when you knock at my door, I am not going to answer anymore.

I am making a choice with power and love and a sound mind – I will not be ruled by fear.

August 22, 2018

Standing in the Deep Unknown

This week I wrapped up the writing of my dedication page, acknowledgments, author bio, and back cover copy. Every word, every paragraph, every page of the manuscript is now edited, formatted, and ready for print.

While I consider what happens next, the lyrics to the song Oceans (Hillsong United) have resonated with me as I approach the release of First Breath of Morning.

You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.

My feet sometimes feel like lead blocks of fear and not brave at all. I am standing in the deep unknown every day wondering what God will do with this book.

I was talking to my husband about how many books will sell, not that sales are my focus, but it crosses my mind and naturally, causes me some anxiety. I threw out a modest number I thought was a realistic possibility and he turned around and threw out a much larger number and my anxiety level cranked up multiple notches. Without thinking twice he assuredly believed this book will do better than I think it will do.

On one hand I was humbled he has such great expectations for the book, and on the other hand I could only think he is completely wrong in thinking it will do that well. Then my worries turned to fear I will disappoint him.

I have a journal where I have tracked my writing journey. I also have a chronological timeline which documents the long list of rejections in response to queries and proposals to publishers and queries and proposals to agents, and now, today I stand in the deep unknown waiting to see what God will do with a devotional book He has blessed to be published and soon will be released into the world.

I don’t know how many books will sell. I do know who made this all possible and I know this journey God has walked me through was one that strengthened my faith. When fear begins to overwhelm me like deep waters around me, I will cling to this faith on which I stand.

And there I find You in the mystery, in oceans deep my faith will stand.

August 14, 2018

First Breath of Morning - Part of the Back Story

My journey to a book contract was a bumpy winding road. It included one editor with a publisher dropping the ball (her exact words) at the point where she was preparing to pitch my manuscript to the editorial and marketing people but then was offered a new job with a new publisher and it all fell through. I didn’t have an agent at the time to make sure my book kept moving through the process. I do have an agent now.

That was just one of the many detours and yet I know God navigates His plan for our lives through the setbacks and detours, and surprises we don’t anticipate. God’s ways are designed to teach us to trust Him through it all.

I ended up finally going to the conference that had been recommended to me by a LifeWay editor and there I made the connections that resulted in a contract for my devotional book, First Breath of Morning. 

I almost didn’t go because I was discouraged and considering giving up. I had looked at the website and saw the date for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina and then I pushed it to the back of my mind telling myself I didn’t want to travel that far from Dallas to a conference and spend that money for a book nobody wanted.

Then a funny thing happened last spring. My husband received an invitation to his 40th high school reunion from the Christian school he attended in Maryland, except, it wasn’t being held in Maryland. The lady that organized it lived in Greenville, South Carolina and she wanted to have it in Greenville.

Well, if you look at a map and calculate the distance from Asheville to Greenville, you will clearly see that it is only 63.7 miles. The date of the conference: May 22 to May 25. The date of the reunion: May 27-28.

My husband sat across the room with the reunion invitation in his hand asking me again, what was the date of the conference and location and when I answered he said, “Kathy, I think God wants you to go to that conference and I think He is making sure you do!”

Yes, God did that! He orchestrated events in His perfect timing and perfect way and I will never forget what He did for me and for this book. 

First Breath of Morning - Where God Waits For You Every Day - A 90 Day Devotional, will be available October 1st. For book description click on my Book Info Page.