publishing peace (and conflict)

I just read Nahum after realizing that I’d forgotten Nahum was even in the Bible.  Whoops.

“Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!” (Nahum 1:15a)

Such an interesting choice of words– “who publishes peace.”  Definitely makes this writer stop and think.  In my writing, do I bring good news, do I publish peace?  Juxtapose this question with all I have been learning lately about conflict in stories: how we need conflict in stories even when we avoid it in real life.

Think of the gospel– the word gospel itself means “good news”– and yet it is full of conflict.  The climax of the story involves a death.

And a resurrection.

While I’m still sorting out my thoughts on this, what this means to me is that while a Christian author needn’t shy away from the conflict (and, in fact, should embrace conflict in the story!), there should also be a nod toward hope, toward peace.  The story might not end with sunshine or weddings or all the questions answered (I think I’d be annoyed if it did), but I think there should be a peek, a pinch, an inkling of hope.

I want to be a writer who brings good news, who publishes peace.  And conflict.  All of it.

sunrisecrop

Martha, Martha.

Productivity really matters to me.  A lot.  Maybe too much.

This was my prayer the other night:

I love You, God.  I really do.  Why don’t I spend more time with You?  I have this idea about productivity meaning that I churn out a product.  But it is productive to spend time with You.  I think of the Mary/Martha story– Martha was cleaning and serving and being productive, but You said that Mary made the better choice– to sit at Your feet and listen, adore.  Calm me down.  Help me to not feel like I always need to produce.  I know that part of it is just the creative spirit that You gave me that drives me to create– and in so doing, I believe I am mimicking You, hopefully to Your glory– but I never want my creative tendencies to get into the way of my relationship with You.  Holy Spirit, I need You to change this in me.  Help me to be satisfied just to be with You.  I do feel like we are together while I write– and I am writing for You– all I do is for You.  I want to be like Mary, to sit at Your feet and adore.  But it is not in my nature, Lord, so I will need You to engender that in me.  Martha, Martha, you are worried about so many things.  Jackie, Jackie.

survival

I made it through last week!  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

There are all sorts of changes going on at my workplace, but I’m through the worst of it for now (I think/hope!).  I felt as if God were taking my hand every morning and walking me through each day without letting go.  So lovely.

No one wishes for hard times to come, but I find that when they do …

* I am driven into my Bible
* I cling to God more savagely
* I am forced to reevaluate my life and choices

… and it usually ends up working out for my best.

I am so grateful for a God who stays and sustains me, for the wisdom of Scripture, family, and friends, and for incredible new opportunities!  It’s not a perfect analogy, but this week, I kept thinking of the story of Joseph– how his own brothers sold him into slavery, how he was wrongly accused of rape and sent to prison, and yet rose to power in Egypt.  I love when later he says to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”

Amen and amen, yes?

Proverbs

I have been reading the book of Proverbs in my search for wisdom/guidance, and here are some of the things that are standing out to me, over and over again:

1) Foolish people hate feedback; it’s the wise people who like to be corrected– then they learn from it.

2) It’s better to be poor and happy than rich and unhappy.

3) God hates lies and deception and loves righteousness.

Now to put all these things into practice … to truly embrace constructive criticism, to rejoice in happiness, to rid myself of my deceitful ways.  I want to be a better, wiser woman.