Take My Advice

Photo Credit: AlaskaTeacher via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: AlaskaTeacher via Compfight cc

The first time I attended a writers’ conference I found out that the novel I’d just written was totally wrong. Plotting, characters, pacing . . . all wrong. The professional editor who taught the course also evaluated the writing sample I’d sent, and by the end of my critique session, I felt like he’d put my manuscript through a paper shredder.

After my wounded pride healed, I spent the next year re-writing my novel following his advice. I returned to the conference confident that I’d done everything right. But there was a different teacher this time and according to him, I’d still done everything wrong. A year’s worth of work—all wrong. His critique of my manuscript ended like the first one—shredded.

I returned home too discouraged to write and began reading the novels on both instructors’ recommended lists. Presumably, these authors had written their novels “correctly.” I began with a book that the first instructor had praised—and couldn’t finish it. It was boring enough to cure insomnia. I turned to the second list, and while these books didn’t put me to sleep, I still didn’t enjoy them.

Photo Credit: christian.senger via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: christian.senger via Compfight cc

Then I read an article in Writer’s Digest magazine that told me the absolutely correct way to write a novel. My way! I learned that my two instructors represented opposite ends of a continuum of writing styles. The first loved literary novels and believed books should be character-driven. The second loved action-packed novels that were largely plot-driven. I wanted my novel to fall in between with strong characters and a vivid plot.

Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/12567713@N00/316195442/">born1945</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a> The answer wasn’t to throw out everything I’d learned from both teachers because they’d taught me the basic rules of good writing. Instead, I began analyzing books by my favorite authors using both sets of guidelines, beginning with three of my favorites: Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, and Chaim Potok. Their characters are so real and engaging they feel like old friends. And their plots never fail to deliver a story I can’t put down. As I spent the next year re-writing my novel, I finally found my own style and voice.

Me with my children and my first published novel!
Me with my children and my first published books.

Take my advice . . . learn all the rules of good writing from a wide variety of authors and teachers. Tear apart novels by authors you love, chapter by chapter, sentence by sentence, to see how they do what they do. Then listen to what your heart tells you. Trust your instinct. If you believe in yourself, in your own unique storytelling style and voice, you’ll learn to sift through all the conflicting advice that comes your way—and write your own story.

Dream Killer

One of the biggest OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAobstacles I faced in becoming a writer was fear. What if I wrote for years and never got published? What if I was no good? What if people laughed? I was so afraid of failing and of being criticized that my husband was the only person who knew I wanted to write. One day during my quiet time, I realized fear was killing my dream. I needed to trust God and take the seeds of my dream into the sunlight so they could grow. I had to risk calling myself a writer.

Not long afterwards, I was writing on a Saturday morning while my children played nearby and my husband taught music lessons to a parade of students. One young man awaiting his turn wandered up to me and asked, “Whatcha doing?”
I hesitated. Should I admit to this 16 year-old stranger that I wanted to be a writer? I decided to overcome my fear and trust God. “I’m writing a novel,” I replied. “I’m a writer.”Summer 2010 029

“That’s really cool,” he said with a huge grin. “My mom is a writer, too. You should meet her sometime.”

I was speechless! When I could finally talk I asked, “What does she write?”

“We’re Christians,” he said. “She writes devotional books for Moody Press in Chicago.”

The following week, Glenn’s mother came with him for his lesson. And from that day on, this gifted Christian writer, Alma Barkman, took me under her wing and mentored me. In a Canadian city of more than 300,000 people, God had brought a published Christian author right to my doorstep and into my life. I wonder where I would be today if I had been too fearful to call myself a writer?

One of the first things Alma did was invite me to her writers’ critique group. Again, fear nearly defeated me. How could I possibly read my feeble work in front of other people? And risk criticism? No wÒay! But I set aside my fear—and quickly realized how helpful it is to have unbiased readers critique my work. I had to leave this group when we moved, but one of the first things I did in our new location was form a critique group.  Two dear friends from that new group, Jane Rubietta and Cleo Lampos, have now been meeting with me for 21 years. None of us had published a single word when we began. Now, we all have multiple books to our names.

Whatever your dream is, don’t let fear hold you back a single day longer. Bring your dream into the sunlight where it can grow.  I promise you, God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

Just Do It

A friend recently told me he had an idea for a book and planned to write it after he retires in 10 years.  I frequently hear comments like that, often about writing or some other dream for the future. “Someday, I would love to…” Followed by the excuses: “My kids are involved in too many activities right now; things are really crazy at work; I don’t have a calm, quiet place to write; I don’t have time . . .”
mom and kids

My advice is always the same: don’t wait! Your life will always be too busy with too many things to do. You’ll never have time unless you carve out time. And the quietest, calmest place you’ll ever live is in the cemetery. Harsh advice, maybe? But I learned it through experience.
Gods and Kings

When I first dreamed of writing I had a nine-year-old, a two-year-old, a newborn, and a husband who worked two jobs. I had no idea if I had any talent and not a clue about how to get published. I simply sat down one day when my oldest was in school and my younger ones napped and began to write. It didn’t take long to figure out I loved it. The short story I thought I was writing eventually grew into a 5 book series entitled “The Chronicles of the Kings”. I was hooked. And then my kids outgrew naps and life turned crazy.

I attended a Christian Writers’ Conference two or three years later and author Jerry Jenkins offered some wonderful advice. His sons were young at the time, and he still had a full-time job, but he said he’d promised God he wouldn’t write until his children were in bed. “Of course,” he added, “I sometimes have to put them to bed at 4:00 in the afternoon…” He was joking, but his point about setting priorities was exactly what I ndeskeeded to hear. My spiritual life and my family were my top priorities. But if my dream to write truly had come from God, then it needed to be near the top of my list, too.

I set up my computer in our family room, in the middle of Lego creations and dollhouses and art projects, and learned to write in spite of the chaos and constant interruptions. I carried notebooks and research books to hockey practices and swimming lessons, and planned my next chapter while pushing kids on swings. I didn’t know the meaning of “peace and quiet.”

My point is, don’t wait! Just do it! Do it now while the dream is vivid and your passion burns. Chances are the urge that won’t go away, the dream that won’t die, is exactly the dream God has for you. It’s never too soon or too late to start. Rearrange your busy life. Adjust your priorities to make room. Then—just do it! Let your only regret be that you didn’t start sooner.

Editing—and Life!

             Dad's pics 112How long does it take to write a book?  The answer is different for every author, but for me the process takes one year. Since I write historical fiction, I begin by doing research, a step that is truly fun for me. I love reading and digesting hundreds of facts and images and ideas about different time periods and pouring that information into what I call “story soup.” For the biblical series that I’m currently writing, I’ve read several translations of the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, along with a variety of study notes and commentaries.  These historical sources are fascinating to me, especially the archaeological discoveries from this period. One book compared the details of Queen Esther’s story in the Bible with the archaeological ruins of her palace in Susa—and the Bible proved to be amazingly accurate. But my favorite part of doing research is traveling to the places I’m going to write about—in this case, the land of Israel.

            Doing research generates story ideas, and the next step in the process is creation—taking all of the raw materials and crafting them into a story. I begin by creating my characters, and I even pin pictures of how I imagine them to look on a bulletin board above my desk. This is the fun part of writing. I can let my imagination soar, using my creativity to transform historical facts and images into a story that will bring the time period to life for my readers.In my office workspace

            I try to let the story flow freely, and I since I don’t outline the novel ahead of time I make up the plot as I go along. But I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and usually can’t resist the urge to edit what I’ve written as fast as I write it. I often begin each writing day by re-reading yesterday’s pages (which seemed so brilliant as I was writing them!) and re-working them before launching into the new writing for that day.  By the time the book is finished, I’ve re-written and edited the story dozens of times.

            I’m blessed to be part of a writers’ critique group, sharing my writing life with two very special women—multi-pusharpen verseblished authors Jane Rubietta and Cleo Lampos. We’ve been meeting together for more than 21 years now, and as they critique my work-in-progress, our collaboration always makes my novels even better. As scripture says, “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, The Message).

            When my final draft is complete, the novel still isn’t finished. I always print out the manuscript so I can read and edit the printed pages.  Then I type those edits back into the computer for one final rewrite. By now, my deadline usually has arrived so it’s time to send the manuscript to my publishing company. I always wish that this was the final step, that I could be finished with the project and move on to writing the next novel. It isn’t.

            My editor gives the manuscript to several in-house readers and compiles their comments and observationsEditing an English language document, along with her own, into a long letter of things for me to “consider” as I re-write it one more time. I confess, I dislike this step most of all, and would skip it entirely if I could. It makes me feel the way I did in school when a project I’ve worked on for a long time comes back with a grade of B instead of the A+ I was hoping for.  

            But the truth is, we are often blind to our own faults. The characters and story are clear in my own mind because I’ve lived with them for nearly a year, but to an outside reader, there may be thoughts I failed to convey, or holes in the plot that need to be filled, or maybe a loose thread left dangling. Fresh eyes can see these flaws much more clearly that I can. So in the interest of publishing the best possible book, I’ve learned to value these comments, even when they prick my pride and feel like unwelcome criticism.

            I’ve discovered that I need other people in my Christian walk of faith, too. We Americans are proud of our rugged individualism, and that attitude can carry over into our spiritual lives if we’re not careful. “Me and Jesus—that’s all I need.” But it isn’t true. I know how much my writing improves as I share it with trusted friends in my critique group, or with my editor . And the same honest sharing of my spiritual struggles can benefit me as well.

david-and-nathanIt’s difficult for me to let someone “wash my feet,” and even more difficult to be the one to point out the need for washing to someone else, especially someone I look up to. I admire the courage it took for Nathan the prophet to confront King David after he sinned with Bathsheba. And I admire the humility and courage it took for David to accept Nathan’s rebuke, knowing that it had really come from God. Psalm-139-23-24-web-nlt

            Whether it’s my manuscript or my life, I need other people to be my outside eyes, helping me stay on the right path. When I’m brave enough to pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24), I shouldn’t be surprised when He sends a friend into my life to gently point the way back to the right path.

Chasing Success

(I shared these thoughts as a guest on the Seekerville blog for writers on October 26 and thought you might enjoy reading them here)

Gods and KingsWhen I first began writing, my only goal for nearly eleven years was to get published. If I could just hold my own book in my hand and see my name on the cover, I would know I was a successful writer. When that glorious day finally arrived however, it didn’t seem to satisfy me the way I had hoped it would. I still didn’t feel like a real writer. What was missing?

I needed a book signing! Successful writers had them, didn’t they? I made the rounds of several local bookstores and managed to arrange a signing at one of the BIG ones. My family and a handful of friends from church were kind enough to show up, but the general public seemed annoyed that I was talking while they were browsing through the real books. My second book signing at a Christian bookstore seemed more promising since it coincided with their grand re-opening at a new and larger location. But I wasn’t the only celebrity that day. I shared the spotlight with a famous red tomato, and my table near the front door turned out to be a convenient place for parents with small children to stop and ask for directions to the real attraction. No risk of getting writer’s cramp signing four books.


When my first royalty statement arrived, I was sure I would finally feel like a success. But the dismal numbers told me that my books were sitting in a warehouse, not in readers’ hands. Hardly a sign of success. A few more years passed in which I gradually sold more and more books but I still struggled to feel like a real writer. Then my publisher invited me to promote my books at the International Christian Retail Show. This, I learned, was a really big deal in Christian publishing. Authors get to sit in “personality booths” for thirty minutes signing huge stacks of books. Sometimes the lines of eager bookstore owners stretched across the convention floor. At last, I would feel like a success! But it turned out that there were several “personalities” occupying several booths, all signing at the same time as me—and of course the lines for the Big-Name authors were much longer than mine. In fact, most of the people who stopped by for my autograph asked me not to personalize their books. I found out later that they intended to sell these free copies in their bookstores to help pay for their trip to the convention. My signature wasn’t going to be one of their cherished possessions.


It was hard not to become envious while at the convention. The shuttle buses from the hotels to the convention center featured bus-sized pictures of celebrity authors and their latest books on the sides. Book trailers played on TV screens during the bus rides, advertising other famous authors’ books. (Why didn’t I have a book trailer?) Everywhere I looked the advertisements and promotions and handouts seemed bigger and brighter and flashier than mine. I left the convention feeling even less like an author than before. When would I be as successful as everyone else?

The bestseller list! That was the true mark of a successful writer, wasn’t it? How could I claw my way to the top of that? A place in the Top Ten became my benchmark for a while, and when I finally did get on the Christian Bookseller Association’s list I discovered that the mark of a real writer was the New York Times’ bestseller list. Oh, well. Still not there.

Winning a Christy in 2010One wonderful day I learned that my book had been nominated for a Christy Award. What an honor! I went out and bought copies of the two other books that were finalists in my category, and of course, both were better than mine. I was envious and certain that I wouldn’t win. But I did! So, was I success now? Would eventually winning eight Christy Awards and being inducted into the Christy Hall of Fame do it? My royalty checks had more zeros in them than ever before, and I received wonderful letters and emails from readers—marks of a true writer, right? But there were always other authors who had larger royalty checks and sacks full of mail arriving in their in-boxes.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I was like a greyhound on a racetrack, chasing a man-made rabbit that I had no hope of catching. It was time to stop the craziness and the envying and the yearning for more, and clearly define “success” for myself. Otherwise, each achievement would fail to satisfy because someone else would always be higher on the bestseller list or have a bigger picture on the side of the bus or longer lines at their signings or a flashier book trailer (I’ve still never had a book trailer.) In my morning quiet times, I asked God to show me the answer . . . What wasSummer 2010 029 the true indicator of success as a Christian writer? And little by little I began to see that success in God’s eyes looks very different from man’s measures. Jesus, by His life and death and resurrection, showed us that success is defined as obedience to God’s call. It’s as simple as that. Was I obeying God and giving all my heart and soul and strength to His purposes for my life?

Numbers don’t count for much in God’s eyes—people do. He sent Philip on a long, hot desert journey just to touch one Ethiopian eunuch’s heart. God would think it was nothing at all to ask me to labor for hours to write a novel in order to bless one lonely, hurting, struggling reader. I would be a success in His eyes if I obeyed His calling and accomplished His purposes even if I never saw tangible proof of the results. If a novel that sold only 1,000 copies and never made it to anyone’s bestseller list was used by God to change one life, would it be a success? Absolutely!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve finally re-defined success for myself, after 21 published books. I now consider myself in the same line of work as a missionary, willing to work hard and serve God wherever He chooses to send me. People don’t become missionaries to be rich and famous or to have their pictures plastered on the sides of buses. They don’t measure the success of their ministry by the size of the church or the number of converts or the amount of money they’ve collected. Instead, they simply choose to obey God and then make the necessary sacrifices in order to answer His call. They do the work, trust Him to provide for their daily needs, and then leave the results in His hands. If I do the same things with my writing, I will be a success. Sure, the awards and bestseller lists are nice but these are no longer goals for me. (And honestly, do I really want to see a larger-than-life-sized photograph of myself cruising through the city streets?) I can’t compare myself with other writers because I can’t see the behind-the-scenes work that God is doing with their books as readers’ lives are changed. My greatest rewards aren’t royalty checks and trophies (although I’ll admit they’re nice). My rewards are letters like the one I received from a reader the other day saying, “Thank you for showing me the way back to God.”

DSCN6330My advice for aspiring writers is to make sure you define success for yourself, early in your career. Once you define it, you’ll be able to outline the steps you need to take in order to accomplish that goal—and you’ll be able to congratulate yourself when you reach it. You will finally feel like a success. But for me, no other reward will ever compete with the satisfaction of knowing that I’m serving God and touching lives for His glory, not my own.

Digging my Research

Authors do a lot of crazy things while researching their novels but my all-Gods and Kingstime-favorite research experience was the month I spent as a volunteer on an archaeological dig in Israel. The first books I ever wrote were the 5-book Chronicles of the King series, based on the life of the biblical King Hezekiah. I needed to know what everyday life was like in 700 BC, but more importantly, what it was like to see the Israeli sky at dawn and at sunset, and to breathe the Middle Eastern air. I was gleaning much of my historical information from reading Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, and when I saw the listings for summer volunteer dig opportunities, I knew I had to go.


I ended up choosing the dig at Tel Batash–the biblical city of Timnah, made famous by Samson (see Judges 14:1). But Timnah was also one of the cities that King Hezekiah fortified when the Assyrians threatened to invade his land. Previous digs at Tel Batash had uncovered storage jars he used for army supplies, sealed with his signet ring. I would have loved to find one of those seals! And so off I went to dig in Israel for a month with my oldest son, Joshua, who was 14 at the time.


The dig began with a tour of Israel that included all the important archaeological sites, then we settled into our beautiful resort hotel in the hill country outside of Jerusalem.  Our wake-up call came at 4:00 am every morning (the stars were still out!) and we left for the site by 4:30 to beat the heat. I used to joke that if God wanted me to see the sunrise, He would have put it later in the day! But what a wonderful experience to watch the sun dawn every morning from the top of the tel, accompanied by a chorus of doves in the almond grove below us.


We worked until 11:00 am when the temperature grew too hot, moving bucket after bucket of dirt. “Archaeology is planned destruction,” the head archaeologist would remind us. My work site was at Timnah’s main city gate where we found the cobblestone pavement from Samson’s time. It was such a thrill to think of him walking that very street. My son wanted to find a skull—and he ended up finding an entire skeleton. He had lots of expert help unearthing it, of course. I thought the dig experience would get archaeology out of my system but it turns out, it merely whet my appetite. I’d love to do it again!

Wings of Refuge 001When I finished the Chronicles of the Kings series a few years later, I decided to use my experiences to write Wings of Refuge, a novel about a woman who goes on an archaeological dig in Israel. The story gives readers an idea of what my experience was like, but I also tell two parallel stories, one about the founding of modern Israel, the other about Christians in the First Century who lived in the ruins that my heroine is excavating.

In the meantime, I’ve written novels with other historical settings, but readers continually ask if I’ll ever write another series like the Kings. Well, the answer is YES! I’ve begun writing a 3-book series called The Restoration Chronicles, based onimages the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Once again I needed to travel to Israel to research this series, but this time I had the enormous pleasure of staying with my daughter and her husband who were living in Jerusalem. We had a great time traveling around and researching together. (And she didn’t make me wake up at 4:00 am!) The first book in the Restoration Chronicles, “Return to Me,” will be out this fall.


Going on an archaeological dig had been on my “bucket list” for a long time—what’s on yours? And by the way, the oldest volunteer was in her eighties, so you’re never too old to dig.


Never Give Up

Aspiring writers often ask me for my number one piece of writing advice. My reply? Never give up! I know thsnoopyat sounds obvious, but becoming a writer can be a long and difficult journey, a roller coaster ride filled with challenges and discouragement. I know. I nearly gave up before I ever got published.

I began writing more than 25 years ago when I was a stay-at-home mom, living in Canada with my husband and 3 children. After a great deal of work, I completed my first novel, Gods and Kings, and began the long, tedious process of sending my book proposal to publishers, getting rejected, sending it out again, and trying not to get discouraged. Then one glorious day I finally heard back from a Christian publisher in the U.S. who said, “We like your proposal—please send us your complete manuscript for review.”

       It seemed like great news, but after nearly a year went by, I was still waiting. At last they told me that the manuscript had one final hurdle to clear before they would decide whether or not to offer me a contract.
This was the era before cell phones, so I hung around my house for two anxious weeks, fearful of missing the phone call that would change my life and send me on the path to realizing my dream. But insteadbag of the telephone, my doorbell rang. It was my mailman, delivering a black plastic garbage bag with my name and address taped to it. My first thought was, “Don’t I have enough garbage? Who’s mailing me more?” But when I opened the bag, there was my manuscript!
The pages were in complete disarray, tossed haphazardly into the trash bag as if someone had turned on a fan and thrown the pile in the air. Several pages had footprints on them. Others had tire tracks. This had to be a mistake! I rooted through the bag and found the box I had used to mail the manuscript, battered beyond recognition. It must have burst open somewhere between the U.S. and Canada and the post office had kindly shoveled the mess into a garbage bag to deliver it to me.
I sifted through the disheveled pages and finally found the letter from the publisher. It said, “We’re sorry, but we’ve decided not to publish your book.” The trash bag seemed like a prophetic sign to me. Not only had my book been rejected, it was garbage.

I gave up writing.

Since I had worked as a teacher before my kids were born and my youngest was now ready for kindergarten, I decided to sign a teaching contract for the coming school year. But God has His ways of turning us around when we’re headed in the wrong direction, and a few months into my new job, I began to feel like Jonah in the belly of the whale. I was under so much stress at work that I became ill three different times during that school year with three different stress-related medical conditions. After I found myself flat on my back for the third time, I surrendered and asked God to show me what He wanted me to do. His answer—


give up
And I was immediately successful? Not even close! I did resign from teaching but a few more years passed before Gods and Kings was finally published. It became the first novel in a five-book series that has been translated into numerous languages. Today I get letters from readers all over the world telling me how much the book has blessed and inspired them.

Gods and Kings
What if I had given up for good?

I can’t answer that question but I do know that I love this writing life and wouldn’t trade it for any other. And so my advice to aspiring writers will always be, never give up. Even if your dream comes to your door in a garbage bag.


Playing, Writing…and Playing

I enjoyed Robin Lee Hatcher’s blog last week about how much she loved to read as a child, and I envy her early discovery of the joy of writing. But I have a confession to make. While I also grew up in a household of readers—my mother was the town librarian—I was never a reader as a child. And I couldn’t sit still long enough to write! I remember my third grade teacher reading one of my writing assignments aloud to the entire class and praising it—my first 5-star review—but I still didn’t catch the writing bug.

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The Beginning

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” (Genesis 1:1)

         I love new beginnings, like the beginning of this New Year, 2014. Of course I have unfinished projects and unanswered prayers leftover from last year, but there’s something about a new year that makes me excited and hopeful and ready to put past disappointments and failures behind me and start all over again.

        As each new year begins, I return to the book of Genesis and start reading through the Bible once again from start to finish. If I keep up with my daily readings of about 20 minutes each, I will complete the Bible a year from now with Revelation. I will also begin to write my next novel at the start of the year. This next book is called Upon This Foundation, which will tell Nehemiah’s story. The plot and characters come from the Bible of course, but the “fictionalized” part of the story is already forming in my head and I can’t wait to put it down on paper… or in this case, type it on my computer.

         Beginnings are very important. Good writing advice says that the first words and pages of a novel are very important and must hook the reader like a fish on a line and entice them to continue reading. I’ll try to do that with Nehemiah’s story. And the Bible also begins our salvation story with a great hook:  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Makes you want to keep reading, doesn’t it? But a few pages into God’s story, we read of tragedy as sin enters the picture.

       As I begin writing each novel, I always have great plans for it, imagining how the book will take shape and what readers will experience as they read. But somehow, my novels never seem to end up the way I’ve planned them in my mind. They aren’t bad or flawed…they just turn out differently than I expected. Not so with God’s story. From the beginning, He knew how His creation would end, even after sin entered the story—and what a glorious ending it will be: “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

         An interesting thing happens during the year that it takes me to finish my novels, and it may explain why the story sometimes deviates from my plan. I become changed along the way. God seems to use the daily events of my life throughout the year, along with my daily Bible readings and the Christian books I study, to challenge me and change me and help me grow spiritually. By the time I complete the first rough draft of my novel, the themes and challenges I’ve faced in my own life seem to be reflected there. If I’ve struggled with forgiveness, for instance, I see a theme of forgiveness emerging. If I’ve resisted change in my own life, my characters seem to encounter a similar problem. The losses I’ve wrestled with become my characters’ wrestling matches as well.

        As I embark on a new beginning in 2014, I wonder what new insights I will discover in the pages of Scripture, and what new challenges I will face in my personal life. I already know what some of those challenges will be, since my husband is retiring and we’re moving to a different state, leaving loved ones and friends behind. But no matter what this year may bring, I’m comforted to know that not only will God always be a constant in my life, leading and guiding me, but He already knows the ending:

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).

       Don’t you love the way God’s story begins with darkness and ends with light? May God bless you as you journey with Him in 2014.