I’m lying awake at night thinking about how many times I read a blogger mention writing a book. It makes me think that perhaps I don’t need to be one more person creating noise in an already loud world. I’ve tossed and turned convincing myself of this, until I talk to my best friend in Kansas the next day.
“Why do you think we have four Gospels that tell the same story,” she asks. She points out that though the stories are the same, each one communicates in a different voice with unique perspective.
And isn’t this much of life? Standing among the crowds on the sidewalk, watching the parade of life pass by, I see the clown’s makeup while you notice the wheels on the car carrying the homecoming queen.
That simple, but wise statement my friend makes, it cracks the sky open for me on why it’s okay to be one more voice in a crowded room. God speaks often, just rarely in the same way.
The same is true when it comes to grasping how much God loves us too. Don’t we need repetition, reminders of what is true about Him?
I’m learning from Moses – a man born in obscure circumstances suffering with self-doubt – about why I don’t need to feel guilty about circling around an issue I think I should have already conquered as a Christ follower. Why I can read a passage of scripture one hundred times and the next time it becomes revelation.
Moses didn’t get it the first time either, how much God loved him, believed in him to lead the people out of Egypt. So He appeared as a burning bush, made hands appear leprous and then cured them, turned rods into snakes, turned rivers to blood, and parted the Red Sea.
And maybe this girl born in obscure circumstances suffering with “you want me to do what God” is a little like Moses too. Because sometimes we need one more miracle to believe in the kind of love we can’t comprehend.
I told you last week about having a series of dreams after an intentional time of prayer and listening. How my husband picks up a stray dollar bill lying in the parking lot at the mall and it reminds me of the dream I had the night before. I dream about collecting money lying around in a crowded room full of people who never saw it.
He buys me a bottle of water at Costco with it, reminds me that it’s a gift.
Two days later, I take a morning walk on the same path I usually take, except today I notice something different. This tree lined, quiet street scatters with play money on the pavement and grassy edges, like someone let go of a stack through the window of a moving car. It isn’t until I take a picture of it that I remember that dream.
And on my way back home, I bend over, zigzag across the pavement and collect what looks like strewn trash. Each piece of green and white collected like God whispering, “I love you, I believe in you, I’m with you.”
On the way home from work, my daughter stops to get a bag of ice and remembers she doesn’t have cash to pay for it. And just as she turns around to get back in the car, the owner of the icehouse insists she take a free bag.
When she tells us about what happened, I smile inside. He knows I need repetition to hear the message. That just like that water bottle and bag of ice, his love is a free gift, living water I can’t do anything to earn. And he will use a burning bush or random money scattered on the street to remind me.
Linking with Soli Deo Gloria, Just Write, WLWW, God Bumps, Walk With Him Wednesday, and this new community hosted by Duane Scott:
I love this and needed to read this today. I finally posted something new to my own blog (after a month of silence) just today. And I do believe that part of why I hadn’t posted in awhile is that I, too, felt like “one more voice”. Thank you for this post. It feels heaven sent to me friend.
OH, this makes me so happy Danelle. Your comment is an answer to prayer. And can I just whisper some honesty here? I struggled with this one, almost didn’t publish. God is good. He uses our most weak and lowly moments to lift the head of someone else. I’m glad you hit publish too.
I struggle so much with this too: one more voice thing.
I agree with the post, don’t get me wrong and there is always value in writing out our thoughts but maybe there is a time and a place to just lay low and be filled just for the sake of being filled?
Yep, I agree Duane. Doing some of that over the next two weeks. Taking a break from blogging while I rest at our cottage on a lake in Ontario Canada. I’m looking forward to unplugging and just taking it all in.
Such beautiful imagery of the Father’s love. You are hearing Him, He is guiding you. Your testimony has blessed me so.
You couldn’t have said anything more to make me smile. Imagery of the Father’s love is a great gift. Good to hear from you Diane.
Oh my, Shelly!
I opened my blog way back 2008 and I felt that same thing, “who will read my musings?’ There are a million or more good gifted and educated writers all over the web. Some have written published book. Mine would be a gab, a gong sounding one.
Then came along Pam and Diane, where I used to post comment upon, nudging me to go and re-open my blog. I did and I am glad I did…… for if no one else reads/listens, then It was meant to change me….. and writing them is freedom-satisfying-thing.
Go, Shelly, I can see that this is God-appointed, and the time is nigh. Then, one day I will have your book in my grip close to my heart.
I’m so glad that God used Pam and Diane to encourage you to share your words. Your heart sings with love for Him in all that you write. And I agree, most of what I write is about the process of transformation and healing that takes place within. If it blesses someone else, then that is wonderful.
Oh isn’t this a common struggle for us here in the bloggy world…and if someone so gifted…you can only imagine those of us less gifted…but His body is made of many different parts…what the toe needs is different than an arm…but He knows how to meet each one…and make each one fit together to make the body work. And He never tires of showing us…teaching us how much He loves us. I just figured out I have been here a year…I was shocked to think I lasted a year:) Keep listening…He will lead you on the path He has for you…just for you:) blessings
My one year anniversary is coming up Ro. Hard to believe and then I think about all the people I’ve met in a year and how rich I feel knowing people like you, it is so worth every minute. Thanks for your encouragement. And truthfully, when I wrote this, the whole writing a book thing was a minute part of my thinking but its what everyone has picked up on. I was thinking more about the way God loves us, when we feel unworthy.
You’ve only been doing this one year???!!!! Girl, you have used that time so very well.
Thank you so much for sharing this. It kind of brought tears to my eyes. I have many times been overwhelmed by the sea of voices out there speaking, not wanting to be unnecessary noise. Thank you for encouragement 🙂
Lori, it so great to meet you here and I’m so humbled knowing this post comforted your heart. May his words to you be heard with great clarity today.
Shelly, I loved this. It made me want to call you up and give you a little speech I often give myself about writing. As you can imagine I have asked the same question a number of hundred times. I’m typing on my phone but may I drop you an email? I love your writing and the spirit it conveys. Others would too in a book. Hugs to you.
I would love for you to call me anytime with the little speech, it made me smile just reading your comment. Please do email me @ email@example.com. Would love to hear from you and to be quite honest, I’ve had a nudge to email you for weeks but keep putting it off.
Tonight can I just say Yes! Great advice from your bestie. Take it! It was free 🙂 love you sweet Shelly!
Love you too Dea . . .gobs!
Every time I read one more beautiful writer in the blog sphere, I wonder if I really have anything to say. God is reminding me daily that He is speaking His heart through many unique voices, that He has given us each something, a different shade or hue, a variance on a melody, to share…and that if we hold back, we are holding HIM back. I think we are listening to the enemy’s lies when we doubt. The answer is in even one person who is touched.
Someone who is such a wondrous writer reminded me of that this week, telling me how my simple words touch her. Part of me is amazed…her life seems so much fuller on so many levels. But the Holy Spirit can take any word we say and speak into a heart just what they need of Him in that moment. And maybe sometimes it isn’t even what we thought we were writing…but the way He speaks it into someone. I think that is why a scripture we’ve read a hundred times suddenly opens up with new revelation…because it is alive with the Holy Spirit. Our words are not THE word, of course, still I believe He puts His anointing in them as we seek Him to… and I know He is doing that in yours, Shelly. I wonder sometimes about music. How can there be so many variations from a certain number of notes? God. Infinite Creator. And He asks us to partner with Him in that creation. Wondrous. I encourage you to know the jewel He’s put in your hand, in your words… .
I was struck by words in the liturgy at church on Sunday, ones I have heard many times but stuck out for some reason: You have made me for yourself. And if this is true then all we do, all we are, is for Him. That settles my spirit when striving tries to take over.
I like that… I think God’s been trying to tell me that lately. I need to stop the self doubt and trust Him to lead… I think I was talking to myself above, too.. . 🙂
Shelly I would love to read a book you write! Thank you so much for sharing the money dreams.. I had one shortly after I read your blog. I dreamed I was picking up coins on the street no one else saw. Then someone more needy than me came along and I said to them I wanted these for myself but I guess I will give them to you… I don’t know exactly what God is saying to me. But one is I feel like I am always searching for scraps just to make it. That maybe God has more for me to receive and also to give. I am so thankful you are giving your words that are comforting. And if you write a book just like when you teach a class you learn the material more. Even if no one reads your book, God could use it to confirm more of what he is speaking to you and doing in your life.
Laura, Just wanted to share that your dream reminds me of what the Word says… that sowing, casting our bread upon the waters, brings reaping – that God wants to bless us to be able to sow more and more into others. I think that is the cycle God desires. I’ve been seeking Him a lot on this lately.. 🙂
Wise words here my friend. And because you had that dream, similar to mine, I’m wondering if God is up to something larger than I realized as He speaks a similar message to his people. Thanks for your encouragment Laura, its so good to hear from you here. I’m tucking what you said in my heart and pondering a bit more.
Sweet Shelly, Do you recall about a week and a half ago when I said that if you would write a book, your readers would all gather with you at the throne of grace, worshiping the God who makes writing and insights like yours possible? No doubt a number of people have said something similar, and now they are confirming this yet again! That alone speaks volumes. And I can’t believe what your KC friend said! Just two days ago at my cabin in the woods, I woke literally asking God, “Why should I write again after such a long hiatus? There are plenty of wonderful new writers, especially those blossoming in the blogosphere.” (I have not written seriously since 2004, out of obedience to the Lord, when He asked me to slay my writing on the altar of my heart–a most painful proposition). But lately, I have begun to feel God’s nudging to write again. *Immediately* after I asked that question, this thought consumed me, quite unbidden, instantaneous, and unexpected. I wrote it in my journal: “God’s image is so vast that every, single one of us [writers] is needed to reflect His image.” This thought came so suddenly that it didn’t feel a part of my own thinking. I further wrote: “Lord, this seems to me to be a deep thought, and one that I would not be able independently to conjure. So please help me to shine in whatever way You choose. Despite my sinfulness, help me purely to reflect that small facet of Your image that You’ve given me to beam into the world. You are a multi-faceted jewel. Please show me what I am to reflect to a lost and dying world.” Your friend Pam has encouraged you to know the jewel God has placed in your hands. God’s diadem is set with many jewels. Shelly, please continue to let Him polish yours and let it shine however He ordains–blog, books, letters, emails. You and your lyrical, meaningful prose are needed to help reflect Jesus to those who need Him most.
I echo this part of your prayer Lynn: Despite my sinfulness, help me purely to reflect that small facet of Your image that You’ve given me to beam into the world . . in whatever way He chooses. Thank you so much for your encouragement, I got your book in the mail today and I will treasure it.
I love the way He sends us messages of love! The story of Moses reminds me that no matter how incapable, doubtful, or weak, He has a plan to use you. Great post!
He is such a great example in that isn’t he? His life makes me breathe a bit easier.
oh, this is awesome! what hope and encouragement you have offered here. just what i was supposed to “hear” today.
thank you for being you and sharing your heart in such a profound and beautiful way! your voice is one i so enjoy reading.
have a fantastic day!
I hear the way this resonated joy in you Steph and that just makes me happy. Thanks so much for your tweets and shares today, I’m so appreciative.
Once I was told that research shows that for average person to buy a new product they need to see it advertised 40 times. That is why most new products do saturation ads. How many times have I read the same words from scripture and missed something that pops off the page now.
It is same message with new package, like a treasure passed down through generations that blesses, even though it was on Grandmother’s shelf for ever, and now gets attention when wrapped up with a big new bow and passed on. Love to see my children’s faces each Christmas when I give them something from generations past and tell them the story of where it comes from. You write that book girl and know that it will bless many.
I love how you do that Anne, give away something meaningful to you children from the past. And as life passes, we cherish the things that hold sacred markers more than those things of monetary value. Love you.
Shelly, I love how God is speaking to you. He speaks to me in dreams as well and it’s been a long dry season since I’ve heard Him that way…. Praying always for you, that you’d just keep pursuing Him, whatever that looks like. He will be glorified by your willingness and obedience to serve Him as you do. XO
Kris, I’m so glad our paths have crossed. You have one of the most generous and kind hearts I have come across in the blogging world. You make me want to be better. I’m so grateful for you and know that I am praying for you too. Please let me know if there is anything specific I can pray over you @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelly, I am so glad we are circling together. I am so blessed by you.
“God speaks often, just rarely in the same way.” I love that. According to what I read regarding the disciple John writing his gospel, he had the believers pray with him to discern if the Holy Spirit was leading him to write yet another account of Jesus’ life. I think it is beautiful that John begins with, “In the beginning was the Word.” I love words…arranging words…images imprinted by words. I’m so glad he didn’t start with “In the beginning was the number”!
And this is what I love about you my bestie, you have so much wisdom and knowledge alongside some healthy humor to keep us smiling. Love you and thanks for inspiring this post. We need to talk more often. 🙂
Beautiful, Shelly. Love that He is always teaching us and shaping us, we just need a heart to hear the lesson.
Amen Eileen, the question isn’t whether God speaks, its are we listening.
I’ve been reading books about ADD, trying better to understand the brain of someone I know and love. The author, who also has ADD, said she often feels like when she’s trying to move forward in learning something, it often feels like she’s got one foot nailed to the floor and is spinning around in circles; learning the same lessons over and over again. Except, she said, sometimes she feels like the circles widens or the spiral deepens and she catches a glimpse of something new she hadn’t seen before. That’s what this post made me think about.
I guess (guess?) maybe I have spiritual ADD. Heaven knows the Lord needs to repeat himself to me. Often. Usually over a short span of successive days.
Your comment reminded me of that movie UP where the dog is always distracted by a squirrel. I am so easily distracted, it drives my family crazy I think. Love your perspective on life Nancy, its full of joy and so refreshing.
I think it’s ‘interesting’ how we wrestle within, and question ourselves, about the value there might be in adding our voice to the millions of others ‘out there’. But you Shelly, add so much to so many every day with your anointed words and thoughts expressed. I too, would love to hold a book of yours in my hands, and open it to be fed and uplifted. Along with your outstanding photography—you are truly gifted by God for this. Oh how I hope you will take the leap He may be calling you to. You are in my prayers, Friend.
My His Kingdom come, His will be done . . .that is my prayer Jillie. And I hope I have ears to hear when he speaks. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It means a great deal.
What a generous God we have. So glad that He’s been whispering into your spirit, Shelly. Thanks for this encouraging message.
More generous than deserved but I’m so grateful.
I’ve struggled with those same thoughts. What makes what I have to say any different from what this other person has already said? And then I add to it–they said it so much better anyways. Thank you for reminding me that God can use my words however he chooses–even if its just to speak to one person.
What a blessing to have such sweet reminders of God’s love for you all piled up together like that! Makes me stop and think if maybe I’m missing some of His reminders as I’m fluttering around like a busy bee.
PS I’m hosting a new link up on Wednesdays called WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday. I would love for you to join us!
I will join you in a couple of weeks Mary Beth, thank you for letting me know. I missed it today and I’m taking a break from blogging for two weeks while we go on vacation.
“…perhaps I don’t need to be one more person creating noise in an already loud world.”
I sometimes wonder the same thing. And yet, somehow, God seems to bring people along who are blessed by my words.
I’ve concluded that we are each called to reflect His glory in our own unique way. Somehow, He knows how to use that…
Thanks, Shelly! I always love seeing His glory reflected in your writing!
I’m learning that my thoughts about being another voice in a crowded room are common to many of us that write. I think Ann Voskamp is an example to follow in not looking around at what everyone else is doing, just solid focus on hearing His voice and obeying. That’s it.
Shelly, God speaks to me through you in ways no one else ever could. How I would love (and pay) to hold your words in my hands.
and yet I know what you mean. I hear the noise that my words don’t matter, too. Striving with you to hear His whisper. His love. cuz He’s worth it.
Father, use me…use Shelly for Your glory….
I’m with you, @simplystriving. I would love to hold Shelly’s words in my hands, too. Love you, ((Shelly))…
Love you too Jennifer, thank you.
Nikki, your comment really touched my heart, oh my. I am quite humbled and so thankful for you friend. And yes, I echo your prayers for both of us.
Shelley, wow……oh, God is always speaking if we are listening. I love the way He spoke to you and is obviously confirming whatever your next right step is….This will be exciting!
He told us in Joel the holy spirit would give us ‘old people’ dreams and visions–can’t wait to hear how He reveals more to you.
I’m ready and listening Jody, for whatever it is He has to say and just hope I’m not too distracted by my own thoughts when He does. 🙂
Goosebumps! I love this! And write that book my friend. Just because the “world may not need it” doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want you to write it.
So there is my two cents. Write it. Worship God with it. Grow with it. And teach others through it.
I’m holding your words close Gianna, they really spoke to my heart – just because the world may not need it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want you to write it. Thank you.
Beautiful, Shelly. I can be pretty dense at times, so I appreciate reminders! I also appreciate daisies (they’re my favorites) 🙂 Thanks for the gorgeous shots.
Me too, need lots of repitition . . .unfortunately. Those daisies are a sign to me that summer is in its full glory. Those are blooming in my front yard and I love that they come back year after year.
Dreams can be very important… maybe not often, but sometimes so filled with His way of drawing us closer to Him and instructing us beyond our usual expectations. A main one for me: Two nights after Labor Day, 2003, He gave me a dream that was the beginning revelation that I was to go to Soroti, Uganda, and help in the rebel situation. It was a total surprise and a total clear direction… and the results have changed a number of lives, including my own. Again, I don’t ignore dreams and what you experienced is so true and such a godly blessing, touching you and yours.
You’ve mentioned Uganda many times Joanne and I can hear the way God used this in your life as a marker of faith, growth and challenge. So thankful for a heart like yours that is tuned in to hearing Him and then responding to action.
I’ve gone to the bookstore and wondered the same thing — why would I add my words to this huge pile? But you spoke the same truth a writer-friend of mine shared with me a long time ago. “Every story has been told, but not from your unique perspective and experience. Your words have value because you have value.” That changed my life, really, but it took so long to truly take hold of my belief system — ten years later I began blogging, putting the story that’s been told in words my own out for others to read. Ten years! Moses had his 40 in the wilderness, David his 25 before he took the throne… I guess a decade of self-doubt may not be as bad, but why did I wait so long? Bless you, friend and your words, your story…thank you for making them mine, too.
God’s timing is perfect. Maybe ten years was his timing for you. Glad you’re writing now, words are timeless, enduring long after we’re gone.