Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Despise the Day of Small Things

I just returned home from a writer's conference in Philly and my heart is wrestling. I can't decide if I should be encouraged by the compliments and affirmation, or if I should temper my excitement with reality. The reality is, the road to publication is a long, bumpy, sinuous road.

But I met with a friend today and she confirmed something that I already knew -- God is planning my steps with purpose. My husband, Eric, is my biggest cheerleader. Sometimes he has so much faith in me I know I'll let him down. But I think he was sent directly from God, meant to encourage me on this journey so I don't give up when the going gets tough. Without his full-hearted belief in my craft, I wouldn't have even made it this far in my writing.

So it encouraged me to see all the little places that God is planning my steps. And when I look for them, I see them everywhere! I haven't been able to find a job this past year - much to my dismay. But without one, I spent all my free time writing. And now I've finished my book. Maybe it was a blessing, then?

Think about where you are right now. Are you working toward a goal? Something you feel like God has placed on your heart for you to do? Is it missions? Or pursuing a childhood dream? Or even sharing with your coworkers about the love of Jesus?

Delight in the small things. Zechariah 4:10.

Since it normally is a long road before we see fruit for our labors, learn to love the small things that God gives us to show that we are on the right path -- even the encouragement of someone else. Maybe God sent them there to do just that. To encourage you toward the goals He has set before you. Because He has given you the ability. So use your talent - don't hide it - and He'll do even greater things in you.

I am praying specifically for Kingdom Creativity -- for me, and everyone else who is tackling a form of the arts to reveal God's love and truth.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review

A while ago, I read the most incredible series that literally changed my life. I know, that sounds dramatic. :) It's the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.

If any of you have spent time with me recently, you know how much I talk about these books. Probably to the point of being obnoxious.

But the main character, Hadassah, astounds me. Actually, everything about these books impacted me. They take place in 70 AD, just a few decades after Jesus died on the cross. The details included in these historical fiction books make the entire Bible come alive. When I read Romans now, I can picture Rome. I can visualize the wickedness, the idolatry and the promiscuity in this vulgar society.

When the book takes you to Corinth, all of a sudden, everything in the books of Corinthians seems truly legitimate. The call for purity and holiness was urgent and necessary.

But, the best part of the book was the story of forgiveness. **Don't worry, I won't give anything away, since I'm sure you'll want to read these books!**

We all know the story of when Judas betrays Jesus. I couldn't even tell you the first time I heard the story, but I would guess around the age of 6 or 7. Either way, the meaning was lost on me back then. And I somehow lost the imapact of the story. Every time afterward, I read about Judas' betrayal and it came as no surprise. I expected it. So it was almost like the emotions were removed from my experience. I didn't really think about how Jesus felt when one of His best friend's chose to turn Him in to the Pharisees, ultimately leading to His death on the cross. Did Jesus feel unloved? Used? Inadequate? Insecure? Even being fully God, Jesus was fully man. So he felt all the emotions we do.

In the Mark of the Lion, there is a betrayal not unlike what happened to Jesus. And this time, I didn't expect it. For the first time, I really imagined the situation. I could picture Jesus' face when Judas kissed him on the cheek. I could see His gentle eyes, filled with sadness. I felt His heart aching in His chest. Even the tears stinging His eyes.

Jesus had been innocent and pure, but still, He hung on a cross until death. For us. At any point, He could have called down a legion of angels. We wouldn't have stood a chance. But, He chose to be the final sacrifice. Our Savior. He destroyed death, so that we could spend eternity with Him.

Us. You and me. Even though we ridicule and mock Him, dishonor and disobey Him.

Betray Him.

Isn't there so much glory in that? So much LOVE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


What does FOMO mean?

I'll give you a hint, it's something that a majority of people feel at some point in their lives -- if not every day. In fact, it's quite a basic, natural feeling for us.

It means "Fear Of Missing Out".

Since the beginning of time, people have had this same fear. It's not a new feeling. Although nowadays, we add a new twist to it: facebook, twitter, and blogging. Our main objective: accruing followers on twitter, gathering friends on facebook, collecting readers for our blogs, etc.

I read a recent review of the book "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr. The reviewer, Fritz Nelson, explained that FOMO is also "mixed up with anxiety about social standing. We don't want to become invisible, Carr says, so we keep sending messages. It has become a way of life."

Somehow these social networks give us a sense of self-worth, because, if we have followers and facebook friends, then we have self-worth. But it doesn't end there. We must also be active on these social networks... lest people "forget" about us.

But why is our fear of missing out so wrapped up in facebook, twitter and blogging, when our relationships online are rather flat? Back in the day, before phones or internet, people had to actually meet up with their friends in person -- that, and writing snail mail, were the only ways to stay connected with one another.

Since when is sending a quick message to a friend on facebook the same as truly maintaining a relationship with someone? Fritz quotes playwright Richard Foreman: "We risk turning into 'pancake people' -- spread wide and thin." We have 800 friends on facebook, but how many of them do we actually keep in touch with? And even then, is a quick message on someone's facebook wall the same as grabbing coffee with a friend and spending hours encouraging one another?

The review was a bit startling to me, because I often fall into this, if I were to be completely honest. It's an easy fix to message someone: "Just wanted to check in and say hi! I've been thinking about you recently, and wanted to see how you were doing." You feel good about yourself for having reached out and initiated contact. And then, maybe, you'll get a message back with a brief synopsis of that friend's life.

Again, wide and thin.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In Him we live, move, and have our being.

I'm preparing for the arduous journey toward publication. I have nearly *finished* my first book (I say *finished* because, as any writer knows, there is no such thing as being finished. I think I am on version 398 of my book, with more to come).

The Pursuer takes place in England, 1816, and has been years in the making. I am half excited to be so far along, and half petrified that the pursuit of publication is just around the corner (whoa, alliteration!). I've heard horror stories of people writing 17 novels before ever getting published--although maybe that's not a horror story at all. At least they were published. I can only pray that I am so blessed.

I plan on using this blog for many purposes, mainly to post news about writing and my book. But sprinkled throughout, I'll probably share what God is teaching me. Right now, I am learning about trusting in Him -- even BEFORE I start looking for a publisher.

I've had moments of panic already. I've spent so much time pouring into my book, what if it never gets published? And then I think of all the people who would know about my failure, my lack of success--how humiliating. On top of that, Regan and Seth's story would never be told, which saddens me because I think (of course) that it is a wonderful story.

...And then I am reminded that I am not writing for myself. Or even for others' enjoyment. I am writing for the pleasure of the King. I am using the gifts He has given me, and I am cultivating them. Whether or not I ever become a published author does not matter.

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of God." Galations 1:10.

I pray that God does use me to share the message of His love and mercy through the stories in my books. I want to be like clay in His hands, molded into a place where I can be a vessel for His light. So many books that I've read have empowered me, inspired me, and transformed my heart to be more like His. I only pray that God uses me to reach others with His love. How humbling to be used by God.

Katie Vogel Media

Katie Vogel Media