Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bench Warming

This year, my daughter moved up to the varsity team in high school volleyball. She went from the proverbial big fish to the new kid behind a dozen ultra-talented girls. Coach talked to her about it before the season started. He warned that she would see very little court time this year but would be positioned as a starter for next year. She said she understood and could accept that. Slugging it out in practice day after day, knowing she will likely warm the bench the entire game didn’t sound so bad in theory. A third of the way into the season, she finds living this challenge harder than she expected.

I know just how she feels. For decades, I've been an expert in my professional field. After twenty years, motherhood is mostly familiar territory. But now God has called me to something new in this writing and speaking business. Now, I am the new kid behind dozens of ultra-talented ladies in the game. Like my daughter, I was warned at the beginning that there would be a long period of practice with little or no court time along the way.

God really thinks He’s funny. It is just like Him to put me in a position to advise my daughter on her frustration. What will I suggest she do? Go back to something that isn’t so hard? Change sports to improve her chances of visibility? I don't think so.

I am always amused when my kids back themselves into a corner where they have to answer their own question. Today, I feel God smiling. He has to be amused, watching me squirm and knowing that in the end I will do the right thing. Just like my daughter. So let the endless practices roll on—for both of us.

What about you? What waiting room are you in today? Is there something you keep practicing only because you know there will one day be a harvest? I would love to hear from you. It's much more fun to travel when others are on the same road.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6, NIV.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Merrill's Been Lynched

The financial headlines this week have a lot of folks worried. My nest egg currently looks like a wool sweater inadvertently tossed in the dryer. But it wasn’t long ago when the only eggs I knew about came in a carton of twelve. When I worry about where money will come from, I do well to take the apostle Paul’s advice and, “think of what you were when you were called” (1 Corinthians 1:26).

Several years ago, God told me to quit a full-time job with benefits to start a Christ-centered business. At the time, I had two clients, two school-aged children and two hundred dollars in the bank. Literally. Today, I know where next month’s groceries are coming from. My daughters will likely graduate college without a crippling load of debt.

The world’s assessment would be that my “gamble” paid off. I know better. I know that God delights in using impossible situations to demonstrate His sovereignty. The years have taught me that even if I lose every dime tomorrow, my needs will all be met.

God has promised to supply all our needs (note He didn’t say “wants”), according to His glorious riches (Phillipians 4:19). Not according to Wall Street. Not according to the Federal Reserve. Not according to the price of a barrel of oil. So when we hear the financial sky is falling, we can remember that God is planning something far greater than our golden years. And we know that, "He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23). In that thought, we can always find the peace that surpasses our human understanding. We can leave it to the world to panic.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
Psalm 37:25, NIV.

Monday, September 15, 2008


The trajectory I’ve felt in the past five days would shame Busch Garden’s highest roller coaster. On Wednesday, I sat with a friend and her husband overnight as she lay dying. On Friday and Saturday, I sat in an arena with six thousand other women praising God at the Extraordinary Women Conference in Lynchburg. On Sunday, I traveled to Richmond where my parents and all three of my brothers had gathered. It was the second time in fifteen years we have all been together.

Today, I took the dog for a walk. That was about all I could handle. What a relief that Christ often spoke of withdrawing to a quiet place to rest. If the Son of God needed a break, it would be arrogant to think we mortals can go without it. So an extra nap is in order this afternoon.

If you are visiting this page, you are someone I love whether or not we have met. Please come back again this week when I have regained consciousness. The words are stuck for now, but I know there is much to relay when the thaw comes.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31, NIV.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fear of Failing, Part II

Recent weeks have seen a fizzle in my writing momentum. Satan has been running tapes in my head that are not true (see post 09/05/08 for details). When truth eludes me, my best bet is to go to God’s Word. When fear is the problem, I turn to the first chapter of Joshua.

As the Book of Joshua opens, Moses has just died. God has appointed Joshua to take Moses' place and lead Israel. Joshua’s first assignment leaves no time to reflect on the new limelight. God commands him to move the nation into the Promised Land within a matter of days. No pressure here! So what does God tell Joshua (read, Gail/insert your name here)?

“I will give you every place where you set your foot.” (v. 3)

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (v. 5)

“Be strong and courageous.” (v. 6)

“Be strong and very courageous.” (v.7)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (v. 9)

God did not repeat Himself because Joshua was hard of hearing. He said it over and over again because Joshua needed to hear it over and over again. Hmmm . . . sounds like someone else I know.

God’s question to Joshua was, “Have I not commanded you?” I need that reminder. “HELLO?!! Who commanded you to write? Was it Satan? Was it some mere mortal? NO! It was the Creator of the universe, the Great Jehovah, the God of Israel, the One who swallowed up death. Now, what was it you were afraid of?”

I forget. At least for now, which is all I need to get started again.

Come back later this week as we look at more strategies for moving ahead when the fear beast is calling.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the (wo)man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3: 15, 16 (NIV).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fear of Failing, Part I

When I see planes flying, I daydream about where they might be going and what adventures await their passengers. I will jump on an airplane at the drop of a hat. I once got on a plane in New York, flew half way around the world and moved to a country where I knew neither the language nor a single human being. That honestly did not scare me.

Yet somehow, this tough cookie has found herself in a paralyzing bout of fear over the past several days. With another writers’ conference just weeks away, I find myself balking to the point of inertia. What if my writing dreams are no more than dreams? Perhaps it is better to not look than to look and find out I am deluded about my ability to craft words. My keyboard sits silent, taunting me as an enemy rather than the old friend I know it to be.

The Evil One has been working me over with the shadow of doubt. “Who are you kidding? You know you can’t do this. You are different from all those other people God used. They were worthy. They were persistent. They were chosen. You are none of those things.” I really do hate that guy.

Since he first sowed seeds of doubt in the mind of Eve, Satan has stuck with this powerful strategy. What’s a girl to do when fear sets in like a thick morning fog? Join me over the next few posts as we explore the ways of the Son who can burn away the most tenacious mist.

May you feel His grace today,
Gail W.

The last Word:
He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44, NIV.