Last week at our Ladies’ Christmas Tea, a woman who enjoys reading my books said to me, “God has given you a wonderful gift.” Maybe it’s the season of the year, but instead of hearing “gift” the way I usually do, as a talent or ability, I immediately pictured a beautifully wrapped present.
A gift! I did nothing to earn it or deserve it. Unlike Santa Claus, God doesn’t give gifts to “nice” children, and lumps of coal to “naughty” ones. My delight in telling stories and any ability I have to do it well, came to me as a free, no-strings-attached gift from a loving Father who chose it especially for me. I’m not a member of some select group who was chosen to receive a gift while others were excluded. When explaining God’s gifts, scripture says God “gives them to each one, just as He determines” (1 Corinthians 12:11). No one is left off His list. And He has a huge variety of gifts to give besides the ability to write books.
As I’m doing my Christmas shopping this week, I love thinking of each individual person on my list and choosing something special for each one. I enjoy seeing my loved ones’ pleased reactions when they open them, and I especially enjoy seeing them use the gifts I’ve given. I hope they will think of me each time they do, the same way that I remember the people who gave me certain cherished gifts over the years. I would be so disappointed if the people I love kept their gifts wrapped up beneath the tree, unopened and unused.
Here’s the thing. I know many, many people who aren’t even aware that God has given a gift to each of us—the most important one being the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Sadly, their gifts remain unopened instead of being used and enjoyed. I’ve also met people who acknowledge that they may have been given a gift such as writing ability, but they choose to wait for the perfect set of circumstances to open and use it. “When I have more time,” they say. “When the kids are grown.” “After I retire.” Too often, that perfect time never comes.
I was the mother of a nine-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn when I first sat down and started to write. If I had waited for ideal conditions, I would still be waiting! I took an important step in unwrapping my gift when I signed up to attend a Christian writers’ conference. That’s why I love to say “Yes!” whenever I’m now asked to teach at a conference. If you’re waiting to tear off the wrappings of your writing gift, I invite you to attend the Word Weavers’ Florida Christian Writers’ Conference (https://word-weavers.com/floridaconference) on March 6-10. I will be teaching the Fiction class, and the keynote speaker will be the fabulous Liz Curtis Higgs!
I especially love watching little children open their Christmas presents, don’t you? I love seeing their anticipation and enthusiasm, their sheer joy as they tear off the wrapping paper and pull out something special. Why not be like a child this year and tear into the gift that your loving Heavenly Father has delighted in giving you? Please don’t wait another day! Merry Christmas!
You are just such a sweet person and an amazing author. God bless you.
I just finished reading your book “Pilgrimage” given to me by my daughter-in-law who lives in Orland Park, Il. I believe she said she has been at a writer’s conference, and maybe even met you a number of years ago. The book was such a blessing to me. My husband and I went to Israel with a group from our church more than twenty years ago. Our trip was not as detailedS as yours and we did not go to all the places you visited, but the book brought back so many memories and was such an inspiration. I lost my sweet husband of fifty-four years almost four years ago. Both my children and their children live away – my son in Illinois and my daughter in Tennessee. I have five beautiful children (19 to 24) and have never lived close enough to enjoy them on a regular basis, but God is so good. I have been tremendously blessed and have always had friends and a church family there for me. My children are always here when I need them.
Thank you for your book and the inspiration to move into 2019 determined to serve God more fervently than I ever have. I will be eighty years old in March and feel I still have work to do for His kingdom.
I will also be going to the library and enjoying more of your books. Christian fiction is my favorite pastime at night when I am alone. I watch very little TV.
God bless you. Continue to write.
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