Monday, February 20, 2017

GOD'S TIMELINE AND MINE--TOTALLY NOT THE SAME

Acts 1:7  He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority."


It was 2004 and I had written my first book. My 216 page manuscript about our teenage son's battle with terminal cancer would surely set the world on fire! When my well meaning friend, Lisa, shipped my masterpiece off to Oprah we waited. Visions of talk shows and Good Morning America danced in my head. Certainly the world waited with baited breath for my literary contribution.

But the phone didn't ring.



It was 2010 and I had written my first children's book, a story for children with cancer. No doubt every children's hospital across the country would snatch that puppy up. Perhaps Disney would catch wind of it and make it into a movie! I mean, come on people—I had the songs chosen for the sound track!

No producers called.



It was 2015 and I was retiring from teaching. Now I would have time to promote my writing! I would attend writers' conferences and snag lucrative speaking engagements. My 3 unpublished manuscripts floating around in query-land would finally land on the appropriately ordained desks. I practiced my stage presence in front of the mirror.

Three days after I retired our 21 year old, Jarrod, was killed in an accident. Both of our sons were now with the Lord. Then my husband became ill and the bills mounted. 

It is 2017 and I am now unretired from teaching. We have sold  most of everything we own and have started over. I am back working long hours teaching, my computer waits for me when I get home, but I'm often too tired to turn it on. The agent who encouraged me to build my social media platform, query him again, probably won't hear from me any time soon.

So what have I learned? God's timing and mine aren't even close.

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.


 I am slowly surrendering it all to God. Now I wake up and ask Him what He wants me to do today. I think of some of my heroes like Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs who was imprisoned and tortured for his beliefs, and Corrie ten Boom who was sent to a Nazi prison camp for aiding Jews. They were grateful for small blessings  and they never lost their faith.

I think of my own hero, my son, Chris, who at the age of 14, assured me that he was at peace with dying. "Jesus is coming, Mom, and I'm going to go, so don't worry because I'll be okay." He had pointed to his schoolbooks on a shelf and smiled. "I won't be needing those where I'm going." His faith was bigger than mine.


Who am I to complain?

The Lord has given me a new ministry for now, a classroom full of needy kids. I am the third teacher they have had since the beginning of the school year. Most are from divorced parents, some in foster care, others have been ravaged by violence, abandonment and addiction. Right now God wants me to deal with real-life characters.

So every morning before school starts I kneel at my desk and I give God my classroom. I ask him to make me a light.

Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 The other day one of my students "Sam" had a breakthrough. He has been stealing and lying about it all year. He finally trusted me enough to tell the truth. He admitted his fault and submitted to my leadership. Deep down, he knows that I believe in him. Sam has taught me a lot about what my relationship with God should look like.

Once in a while I get encouraging emails from people who have read my books. The best ones are from children dealing with cancer. They tell me my story helped them cope. Perhaps my apparent lack of earthly success in the book industry is really a triumph in the timeline of eternity.