Aiming for the Prize – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

My birthday falls smack dab in the middle of hunting season, and this year I decided to celebrate it in the Malheur National Forest with my husband and his hunting buddy. I knew I wouldn’t exactly be with them, though. I’d touch base with them before they’d crash after a long day’s hunt and a meal. I was warned it would be hunt, sleep, and eat, and then more of the same.

I could handle that

I relished the idea of exploring a new landscape, spending hours on end writing and reading and praying. I’m sure they expected me to ditch camp and head home after the weekend, but I was determined to stick it out the full ten days.

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My poor little beige Camry didn’t know what to do in the middle of a parade of dusty trucks bouncing by camp. I didn’t either, feeling out of place having no encounters with another woman for days. How weird to discover I’d miss that.

On Day Three we moved to a campground south of Prairie City, hopeful we’d run into elk there.

It’s been a test of my endurance, to see how I might manage without most of my favorite things: My bed, my food, my friends, my chair, my thermostat. There’s no shower. No cell coverage. No internet.

Just me and Jesus

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).

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I feel like I’m testing myself by giving up some comforts for a while. The prize I hope for is a walk with God from a more trusting heart which will bring me clearer direction on my journey.

One perk I’ve enjoyed is talking to God out loud, or singing, or humming when I feel like it. Sometimes solitude is wonderful.

Today, on day seven, I drove into Prairie City to find internet access in order to post my blog. I’m at Roan’s Decor & Gift Shop sipping a hot, creamy Chai latte. How fun to walk into town a stranger and leave with a hat full of new friends.

I also got caught up on email and social media. You know, those vital things. Soon I’ll  head back to camp, start the fire and cook a good meal. Sleep, eat, hunt, you know.

I hope they let me come back next year.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Night of the Living Dead Christian – a Book Review

I don’t like vampires and werewolves, and I usually have no interest in such stories, but author Matt Mikalatos tells a remarkable outside-the-box monster tale that was well worth my time in “Night of the Living Dead Christian.”

Are you in for a challenge?

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I appreciated Mikalatos’ previous book, “Imaginary Jesus,” and still refer to it in day to day discussions. The story invites me to examine my understanding of who Jesus is and consider how I may have re-made him into something entirely different. The author’s creativity runs amok in his story telling, but he keeps delivering truth. Amazing.

A Relevant Magazine review of “Imaginary Jesus” states, “Think Monty Python meets C. S. Lewis. . . . Rarely does a book slide so easily from the laugh-out-loud moments to the tender-yet-challenging moments.”

Uncomfortable is OK, for now

Maybe one reason I don’t like monster stories mixed with faith, like “Night of the Living Dead Christian,” is because I don’t want there to be dark things lurking about. I’m forgiven and cleansed, yes. But it’s still a struggle every day to keep my thoughts focused on what’s good and my tongue from misbehaving.

This book confronts the things that “go bump in the night,” the very things we’d like to keep hidden but had better not.

That’s so good for me.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

My Annoying Grandma was Right – Matthew 22:36-39

I was seventeen when a man got off the city bus and followed me home.

He was a quiet, bearded guy who’d engaged me in a few conversations during my rides home from work, but when he asked for a date I didn’t know how to handle it. All I knew about him was that he was quiet and had a beard the same color of red as my dad’s. I liked his appearance but had no desire to start cultivating a relationship with him.

Hoping it would scare him away without having to say no, I told him he needed to meet my folks. He agreed to come. Today.

I felt trapped.

When we came in the front door my hopes for a quick way to send him packing plummeted. For there in our living room was my grandma, sizing us up through her thick glasses.

There was no escape, so I introduced them and ducked into the kitchen to find our guest something to drink.

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My Grandma Kocher looked at life simply, having raised a large family with an invalid husband through the depression. My dad remembers her leaving the house early in the morning to walk to a neighbor’s farm and milk the cow, deliver the pail back home, then head for work in the fruit packing plant. (My favorite memory of her is the open Bible on the kitchen table where she and Grandpa sat to read every night.}

I returned to the living room in time to hear my no-nonsense Grandma ask him,

“Of course, you are a Christian?”

He didn’t stay long, which I guess is what I wanted. Still, did she have to embarrass me like that?

My other grandma was no easier on me. She overheard me expressing interest in a boy from school, and she jumped right into the conversation.

“Does he love the Lord?”

I protested inwardly. Of course he loved the Lord, or at least he would once he got to know him. Besides, there was more to consider than just loving God. What people believe and how they live are important, too. I was more concerned about him being a good worker. Does he have a faithful heart? Does he speak kindly?

But my grandmothers were right. Loving God is the most important thing.

” ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV).

I prayed God would send me a husband who loved God more than anything, including me. My prayer must have narrowed the field considerably, because I waited a long time before Jerry invited me to link my life with his.

My prayer today: Thank you, Lord, for my persistent grandmothers who taught me the important things. And thank you for your patience with me as I learn your ways. I do love you, most of all for sending your Son to pay my overwhelming debt. Thank you!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

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Note: The OCW summer writers conference last week filled me with new insight and motivation, so I’m rearranging some of my priorities. From now on I’ll be posting less frequently on my blog in order to concentrate more on my contracted work and story ideas. You can still find me on Facebook and Twitter, where I’ll continue to talk about writing and family with a touch of scripture. See you there!