Reserving my Spot

by Deborah McCormick Maxey

            I’m always among the first to register for a favorite writer’s conference held at a massive complex, tucked into the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. What a blessing to learn from top professionals in Christian writing, share laughs and meals, crazy costumes on genre night and deep and moving praise time together. Not to mention that my mountain girl heart soars looking out on the majestic scallops of those blue mountains lining the horizons as I walk in the woods. I feel so close to God in outdoor cathedrals.  

But the reason I book super early is I always want the same room. Every year. You might wonder why I would request a room that overlooks a huge parking lot and the backside of a mountain.  But the reason is beyond the asphalt and the wooded hillside directly across from my window. What draws me to that room requires me to look up. Like the first step in worship.

High atop the hill that my window faces is a massive white cross that can be seen on the interstate from miles away. I look forward to doing my devotions every morning in a small chair pulled up to the window and focusing first on that enormous cross and what it represents.

No matter what I do throughout the conference, when I unlock that door and return to my room, I feel a sense of home at the foot of the cross.

But the first morning of the last conference I attended, when I prepared to do my devotions, I positioned the chair and opened the drapes only to stand in stunned silence, flooded with disappointment. Fog. Fog so dense I couldn’t even see the parking lot.

After I read my devotions, I turned to prayer, starting with praise.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

So, digging deep, I thanked God for the fog and whatever reason He had for it. Within minutes warm tears of gratitude slid down my cheeks. I felt His presence, loving me with a fog lesson, recognizing that even though I could not see the cross, I knew for certain that it was still there. In those times when it seems as though my prayers hit the ceiling or I pray but don’t feel Him near me, it is just like the fog, my limitation. My emotions and thoughts, seasons, years, cultures, government, even white crosses on a hill can change. But not God.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)  

My worry, doubt, fear, disconnection, or emotional numbness is only a temporary internal fog.

We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7(KJV) 

I am so grateful that unlike a manmade sculpture our Father is indestructible, steadfast, unchanging, and waiting faithfully in the fog of my humanness with outstretched arms. Arms that reach as far as the east is to the west (Psalms 103:1 KJV), to welcome me back from my internal nearsightedness.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.  Her debut novel, The Endling is available for preorder on Amazon, and will be released by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media, May11, 2021. https://deborahmaxey.com

Join the conversation: What Scriptures have encouraged your heart lately?

Bicycle Built for Two

by Pam Farrel

“. . .  for we walk by faith, not by sight. . .”  2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB

When I was a newlywed, I worked as a special education aide.  Bill and I helped Anton, one of my blind students, experience as many physical activity activities as possible. He dreamed of doing things like baseball, bike riding, swinging on a swing, or sliding down a slide. One day, we rented a bicycle built for two. I got on the front, and Bill helped Anton onto the back seat. I peddled away with the sound of giggles and happy squeals behind me as Anton peddled away into complete darkness. He showed great trust that day, completely leaving his well-being in someone else’s hands.

It was not unlike the kind of faith that God sometimes calls us to have in Him.

A personal example of this in my life was when God called Bill to attend Talbot Seminary to become a pastor. That meant moving this farm girl to the heart of Los Angeles. I wasn’t even sure God existed in LA! But just as Anton trusted me to steer him into one of the best adventures of his life, I climbed onto the back of a bicycle built for two, and Bill wheeled us to the heart of Los Angeles to prepare for a lifetime of service to God.

I imagined it was a lot like Sarai when God called Abram out: “The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1 NIV). Can you imagine the ensuing conversation?

Abram: Sarai, God told me we are moving.

Sarai: Moving! Where?

Abram: Don’t know, He will tell us.

Sarai: When do we leave?

Abram: Now.

To her credit: she went!

How many of us inadvertently squelch the hopes and dreams of others? It is so easy to allow our fears crush the faith of those close to us– people like our mate, our friends, our pastor, our business partner, or our children. When your friend, your mentee, or your child is offered an opportunity to spread their wings and soar, do you clip them?

When your husband shares his clear call from God, how do you react? With skepticism? Anger? Nay-saying? In marriage, trust God’s leading and HE can take you BOTH on an adventure!  He knows you are a team and will honor you both as you walk through the doors God opens for you.

Sarai trusted God enough to obey him. And in the new land she was blessed with her long-awaited miracle son.

When you trust God, peddling by faith into what might seem the dark unknown, often it will become the blessed ride of your life!

Hop on!

Lord, let us not be fearful of the adventure. Father, you are in the driver’s seat so we choose to trust You when we can’t see the path ahead. Amen.

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel  loves bike riding with her husband. Together they are international speakers and co-authors of 45 books including A Couple’s Journey With God , which inspired this article. The Farrels invite you to join them in “Living Love-Wise” at the intersection of God’s love and God’s wisdom.

Join the conversation: Has God ever called you to step out in faith?