I chased the sunrise this morning. It didn't start out that way. I woke this morning with a stomach ache and hand pain. I was reminded of all the people who have told me since my hand surgery five weeks ago that taking medication on an empty stomach can produce stomach issues. Problem is, I can't prepare much food by myself. I can't even peel a banana with one hand. My husband wouldn't have minded making me breakfast, but since it's one of his only days to sleep in, I decided to drive through Starbucks.
It was on the way home that I caught sight of wispy clouds against a beautiful orangish red backdrop. It was so gorgeous, I decided to pull over and eat my breakfast on the side of the road to enjoy it. The beauty not only made me smile, it pierced my heart. See, I was caught in this "poor me" cycle. While the pain from my thumb surgery should subside in seven weeks, the past several years have been filled with pain. Pain and suffering. It's interesting that you can have pain without suffering and suffering without pain, yet when the two collide it feels beyond overwhelming. That's the place I've struggled to escape from. I received a text from a friend as I was eating that stirred up the desire in my soul to be closer to God, so I chased the beauty of the sunrise.
If you attend church you've probably heard it said that worship is more than music. Worship is an experience. An outpouring of your heart, a connection with God. As I made my way through the windy roads of the Temecula wine country, cold wind hitting my face with my seat warmer turned on high, I worshiped God. I worshiped Him not because of my situation but because of who He is. I worshiped Him not for what He's done in the past but because of what He's going to do in my future. I rejoiced for who He has made me---His daughter, His beloved, His redeemed. In this season of feeling like so much is taken away, I worshiped Him for the freedom I have in Christ. I lifted the brewing anxiety about not being able to finish and publish my next book and I placed my trust in Him. Yes, that has been a source of pain for months. God knew my heart's desire was to be able to release The Redeemed, book three of the Once Lost series, this fall. He was also well aware that I would have a painful spring and summer. He knew the family commitments I would have. He knew my physical limitations. And most of all, He knew how much I needed to grow to write the story He wants to share with the world. I thought I had grown enough, but He knew better. The biggest desire of my heart is to glorify God through my writing and bring others closer to Him. I do that by experiencing life, working out my salvation in the midst of all the hardships, and writing about it. Anyone can publish a book. It's truly easier then ever. Perhaps a true author doesn't give in to the anxiety of cranking out another novel. Instead, a real author considers each word carefully because they matter. Each word comes together to create a story others will love or hate. Or maybe love to hate and hate to love. Maybe a true author doesn't need a publishing contract or royalty checks larger than they could imagine. A true author cares about making sure the story is told in the best way possible. The past few days the truth has settled in my heart that I most likely will not use the keyboard on my computer with both hands until February. Just saying those words brings tears to my eyes. For over a decade I've made writing my identity. But when our identity is wrapped in our professions or people we love and want to please, we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment. My identity needs to be in Christ alone. Whether He calls me to write, speak, or sit on my sofa, I am still His---His daughter, His beloved, His redeemed. Yes, there will be a third book in the Once Lost series. The rough draft is there, half polished, just waiting to be completed when I can use my left hand again. Maybe, Lord willing, it will be out around Easter time. That is the time of rebirth, resurrection. Regardless, I know it will be amazing because I'm allowing the Lord to write the story on my heart before I type "the end."