I forgot about you. Is that what you were thinking?
No, quite the opposite. This is the longest blogging break I’ve taken in our four years together and I’ve missed you. I hope you will forgive the silence for what I have to tell you.
On December 1st, after weeks of long writing days, I clicked send on the manuscript for my first book. The work is now in the hands of my editor (insert wild cheering and confetti).
H and I celebrated with glasses of bubbly, standing in the kitchen surrounded by dirty dishes. Well, I was jumping up and down over the joy of writing 59,000 words about the way God is changing people through Sabbath, and he was smiling (probably with some relief).
Unlike some of my author friends, I don’t have the capacity for blogging and writing a book at the same time, thus why I’ve been quiet here. However, if you are in the Sabbath Society, you know about all the details I’m going to share in the following paragraphs.
While I was sipping champagne, H said he had something to tell me that wasn’t as happy as finishing my first book; news he received while on the tube traveling home from work.
My daughter had a car accident.
She’s okay. But can I tell you how helpless it feels to be an ocean away from her trauma? I put my glass of champagne on the counter and proceeded to shape minced lamb into burgers for dinner.
Luckily, Murielle flew to London two days later and she is staying with us for a while.
Despite our moments of glory, life and all its mundaneness continues beckoning.
Before dreams are actualized, idealism fuels hope and hope pushes us into the future. Without hope, we are stuck in a world we have created for ourselves. And God is the Creator.
Between a preferred future and everyday reality is the spacious place of grace. Because let’s face it, things rarely, if ever, turn out exactly the way we envision them.
Marriage, parenting, your first kiss, the first time you live in your own place, obtaining a driver’s license, pastoring a church, landing your dream job, adopting a child, traveling to an exotic destination and landing a book contract – never what you expect and sometimes, even better.
But if we hold on to idealism with a death grip, we desecrate the work of grace to do exceedingly; abundantly above all we ask and think. God is greater than the future we envision. And He is jealous for our undivided attention.
The outcomes to life situations are not determined by how hard you work or how well you follow the rules, but in how you anticipate His coming.
Even in times of sorrow, we can be hopeful knowing He is on the way.
The Jesus way doesn’t fit into a nice, neat journey with tidy endings because the mystery is what creates our longing for Him.
And we must long for Him to come before we can fully receive the fulfillment of the seeds he plants within us.
While I was writing my first book, I signed a second contract. A second book before the first one launches into the world is not what I envisioned, but better. This is the spacious place of grace. I have more to share with you about that in the coming days.
For me, writing a book requires pushing practical details to the fringes – emails, blogging, cleaning my house, buying shampoo, talking to people – in order to meet contracted deadlines.
I’m aware of all that needs attending but in order for the seed to germinate and bloom into something beautiful, I have to remain focused, otherwise, the seed shrivels and dies within me.
Shortly after I clicked send on the manuscript, I pulled the four Christmas boxes we brought with us out of the garage and began decorating the house. I have been cleaning as if my life depends upon it.
I am waiting for Jesus to come during Advent in the same way I am waiting for Him to come every week on Sabbath. And preparation seems to provide a spacious place of grace between the stress I am carrying and His ultimate fulfillment.
There will always be trouble in this world but Jesus says, “Fear not, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) This is my hope, not only for the unknowns my daughter is facing but for the hurdles in everyday life.
Preparation ushers in expectancy for Christ to come and it changes our attitude.
As I hang twinkle lights (or fairy lights in the UK) from garlands in the rooms of my house, the light feels cozy and reminds me that Jesus illuminates the darkness — not just sometimes, or whenever He is in the mood, or when we’ve done something remarkable, but always — because He loves us. And that is worth celebrating, yes?!
In the celebratory atmosphere of Advent and because these books I am writing wouldn’t be possible without the stories of those in the Sabbath Society and your blog readership, I am hosting a giveaway to say, Thank you for believing in me.
The generous people at Zondervan are making it possible for me to give away copies of the NIV Bible for Women: Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today’s World, a new Bible for which I am a contributor. Published in September of this year, this Bible includes a forward by Shauna Niequist and devotionals throughout, written by a bevy of remarkable women. It retails for $36.99.
All you have to do for a chance to win is reply in the comments with one thing you are celebrating and one thing you are waiting for. I’ll pick two winners on Friday so check back. And this offer is only for those in the US, sorry to all my international friends.
As we wait for Jesus to come into our joys and sorrows this week, may we expect Him to abide with us in the spacious place of grace.
Already have the Kindle and physical copy of that Bible.
Celebrating one semester of grad school left.
Waiting on being able to open my Bible again and feel at home at church again. Wilderness is hard and sometimes it becomes like home.
So happy about the book stuff. Praying for your daughter. I needed your words today.
Sure have missed ! Congratulations on the book!
Celebrating new friends after our recent move.
Waiting for my prodigal to come home.
Congrats! Beautiful photos – thanks for taking us to where you are.
This advent I’m celebrating Immanuel- that God is with us – in a new way with my children. I see Him reaching out to them with His presence.
And I’m waiting for myself. I’m waiting to watch myself be faithful to my own call.
Celebrating the hope that we rejoice in during times of chaos and fear. The world does not give us things like peace or hope or contentment. What I am waiting for is this new year to bring changes that are good, hubby retiring, plans a head of us for traveling and ministry. It is good as we wait.
I cannot wait to read your books! Your family is continuously in my prayers. I am so glad Murielle is ok!
I am celebrating applying for my M.Div (saying “ok, God” is something to celebrate) and I am waiting for the ability to experience motherhood.
Shelly, first: Murielle! Praise God she is ok. After what she (and you) went through w/ that truck, one would think there would be no more accidents. One was surely enough. I’m so sorry. But how I rejoice that she is okay and safe and sound in London. What a Christmas gift!! And you made me smile, because in many ways I am like you. I think I’d die if I had to write a book, blog, do FB and other social media simultaneously (and for me, journal, too!). Thank goodness for your H and my Michael. He did all the housework and cooking at that time in my life. All I could do was to write. Im very singly focused. And that’s what you had to do, too. But now you can turn your thoughts to other words….words of intimate conversation with your family and the Lord, your resumption of Redemptions Beauty, FB, emails, Sabbath Society letters (of course!), and carols….oh the words of all the beautiful English carols you’ll hear. I think envy is wrong, but I am a teensy bit envious of the glorious music that will encompass you this Christmas. The boys choirs in England are rapturous.
Now to your questions: I am celebrating the birth of the Savior and healing for my dear brother, when even a year ago we wondered if there were any hope left for him. I am waiting for the promise of new land to be fulfilled in my life. How wonderful about the Bible. It sounds so special!!
And congrats about book #2! You were only thinking about one, and look what the Lord did!
Waiting for: well it was 3 yrs since I clicked send on a manuscript, changed publisgers, had a crazy Portland photo shoot this June and book will be out in the spring of 2016. Waiting for it to be finished. Done. Finito. (So that I can love the project t again.)
Celebrating: this hard and crazy year. We survived surgeries, newly licensed drivers, the news of our 13 yr old graduating with our 17 yr old, trip to Israel (20 yrs in the making), and sooo many blessings!
Sorry M is had an accident, but glad she is home with you#
Very glad that Murielle is with you and is all right; how a mother’s heart hurts when a child is across the ocean and hurting. Our son was in ICU in London when we lived in the US and I was away speaking on a retreat where there was no internet or phone signal; to find all the messages once I was back within signal and to be still so far away was horrendous. Praise God you, she, he and I are in good places now!
Celebrating: a huge decision which was finalised just last night
Waiting: for the coming of a Saviour; and for the wonderful outcome of the aforementioned decision. More anon …..
And I do have a US address !!
Celebrating friends and a non biological family to be part of. Waiting for peace and wisdom in raising teen girls. Your writing always stops my heartbeats for a sec as they sink in. Thank you for sharing your story.
Celebrating the completion of Hosting His Presence in house church and the new awakenings. Waiting for more of Him to be more of me. Will send an email about all the rest! BTW – I’ve really missed your writings.
My iphone is very annoying to send comments with, so forgive me if I sent two by accident…It is so very good to read your words again Shelly. I am toasting you from my tea mug with sarcastic humour printed on it from the other side of the Atlantic on your book! One thing I am celebrating is that I am actually enjoying the Holidays this Christmas. Seriously I am have been such a cynical grinch for several years. Having joy seems strange. One thing I am waiting for is for our house to sell so we can move an hour away where we both currently work and our 4 girls attend public school
Well yea, I missed you! Though knew you were weaving words to publish…good to have you back!
Personally, I’m the long waiting for a faith crisis to wind its way back to vitality. Following ancient Biblical wisdom to remain in worship, in study, in prayer until the perplexity of fog and shadow lifts. Waiting with a focus on the internal flicker that still burns.
Congrats Lisa! You won one of the two Bibles I’m giving away! I’m praying for you as you remain faithful through a difficult time in your faith. May God continue to fan the flame, He is faithful. xx
Congratulations Shelley on your new book adventure, I’m, sure it will be wonderful. I love following all of your posts and will look forward to reading your new book. One thing I am celebrating is that my husband is growing stronger in his relationship with the Lord. He is becoming an elder in our church. One thing I’m waiting for is reconciliation with my sisters who are estranged from me since we moved to Florida. I’m praying that they will come to understand we still love them even though we are thousands of miles away.
Yes, you were missed! May Christ’s light fill you with joy and peace and all the love your heart can hold this Christmas!
Congrats on not one, but two books!
I’m celebrating the renewal that is going on at my church right now – it’s really quite amazing.
I’m waiting on my prayer to be answered for my youngest to live for God.
The merriest of Christmas wishes for you and yours.
1. Praise God for watching over Murielle so attentively — again! Your heart must have done flip-flops, as your mind returned to that other accident a couple of years ago. 2. Congratulations on hitting the send button! (Such an anticlimactic conclusion to a gargantuan effort. At least you had some bubbly at the ready!) Your weeks of silence had me thinking that perhaps you were being tapped for another ministry there in London which left little time to write. As it turns out, you were writing more than ever! 3. Currently I am celebrating the anticipation of the whole family gathering for the week after Christmas, and waiting for some of those members to embrace their faith fully and live the God-enhanced life.
We are celebrating my husband’s new job – which reflects God’s constant grace over our lives. I’m waiting for God’s direction in my son’s life.
Congratulations on your books!
Hey there, Shelly. I know it’s been a long while since I’ve left comments, but I’m still out here reading. I’m so sorry about Murielle’s accident, but am so thankful she’s okay. And, that she’s there with you now. I can only imagine how you felt in that moment when H told you about her. My only daughter now lives 1800km from me, having moved to Prince Edward Island this past March. She’s only a two-hour flight from home, but in a moment of crisis I know I’d be panicking wanting to get to her.
What am I celebrating right now? The biggest thing to happen this year, is that our little granddaughter is indeed OURS. We finally rec’d the final word from lawyer and Adoption Services the last day of July! Paperwork is s-l-o-w here so it could be February – April of the new year for all finalizations to be recorded. But we don’t care, ‘cuz we know she’s ours. SO happy and SO grateful to God.
What am I waiting on? The summer of ’16, praying God helps make possible another trip to PEI to visit daughter & SIL. We flew out there this past summer–my very first time to fly and I. LOVED. IT.!!! It’s so tranquil and slow-paced out there; even my husband totally relaxed within one day!
God bless, Shelly. So anticipating your first book, as well as hear about the second you’ll be writing. Still loving ALL your beautiful photos!
This is beautiful Shelley. Thank you.
I am celebrating two days off today and one thing I am waiting for is to see my daughter succeed. She is a newlywed, re-located, new job, husband sick and not working and she needs a break. This post brought tears to my eyes. We encourage her. I would love to win this for her. She could surely use this and she does not have the money to buy it. Thank you for this opportunity.
I’ll chime in although I am considered international.
As we have to move yet again, I look forward to the next home which hopefully is the house that God has provided for when the next adopted child joins our family.
That said, I rejoice over my first son Bek. He has been with us 3-1/2 years now. He loves Christmas like his Mama, especially the lights that adorn houses. His obvious delight thrills my heart.
Congratulations! Thank you for helping create this spacious place of grace with your words. I am celebrating my 4th trip to South Asia coming up in 2 months, just got a 10-yr visa and I am so happy to be going back to the land I love, if only for a week this time. I am waiting for God to show me what is next with my writing. 2015 has been a year of awakening and God just surprising me at every time. I have no clue what is next and it is exciting and scary. I am just trying to wait for His leading!
Nicole, you won one of the two Bibles I am giving away. Yay!! Congrats. That trip to South Asia sounds exciting. Praying God shows you what is on his heart for you in this next season.
Praising God every time I think of you and this beautiful journey He has you on and how it will continue bless so many!
Today I’m celebrating the end of my husband’s volleyball season–he’s a collegiate coach and I’m so proud of the way he works with integrity and invests in the lives of young people. And I’m waiting for one more week to my kids and I are both done with school and the whole family is on winter break!
I am celebrating the small things…waking up on time for my early am dentist appt, lunch with a friend and headed to a local holiday market with a coworker. It’s the little things.
I am waiting in anticipation for our little babe…first one for the beau and I due in mid-April. Walking through Advent while expecting is quite an eye opener.
I am celebrating my Mom’s life! She died 3 months ago, so this is the first Christmas season without her. And I’m waiting for the Resurrection. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
Congratulations on the good news and amazing giveaway. God Bless! One thing I am celebrating is Jesus the gift that keeps giving.One thing I am waiting for is more of God’s love to give out to the world.
We are celebrating God’s faithfulness. A very long year of financial hit after hit left me at the point of surrender. Finally. Two hours later, I found a very unexpected check in our mailbox that paid off our debt. We wait. Still. For open doors in our careers. This Advent, I can’t quit thinking about the dark & silent 400 years. Before the Light of the World arrived & changed everything!