The Best Reason to Rejoice – Luke 10:17-20

It’s satisfying to reach a goal, like when I showed sample pages of my manuscript to my dream editor – and he asked to see more. Or when my publisher offered me a devotional contract. It was also rewarding to pose with dozens of other finalists for the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade award, though I didn’t win this time, for a group photo.

But a greater joy comes when the Bible speaks directly to me in the moment. It happened this week while reading from the book of Luke.

I had been second-guessing my writing abilities all week. My lack of progress with my book made me feel like my feet were dragging through wet concrete and getting nowhere.

That’s when the Scriptures clearly spoke to me.

Jesus taught a group of his followers how to approach people with the good news of the kingdom of God, then he sent them out to the towns he planned to visit.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:17-20 NIV

This is what I’m hearing from these verses.

Kathy, don’t dwell on your successes. God sees everything from beginning to end, and you’ve only done what he sent you to do. It’s great you made it to the top of a mountain. Enjoy the view, but don’t even think of pitching your tent there. You don’t get to stay. Now it’s time to prepare for the next climb. Wait till you see what’s ahead!

And don’t let yourself feel dejected because you haven’t finished your book. Instead, rejoice that your name is written in his book. Nothing is more amazing than that. Absolutely nothing.

Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Finalists. I’m standing on the right in the green dress.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Stay the Course, Telling the Heart of the Story – 1 Kings 13:15-32

What should I do if someone disagrees with the path I’ve chosen? I know what God wants me to do: Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, strength, and love my neighbor as myself. One way I express this love is in my writing. Love is his command, writing is my response. But what if a person I trust directs me a different way?

While reading 1 Kings 13 this week I contemplated the part that two prophets played in the story. One, a man of God from Judah, and the other an older prophet. The older prophet disputed what God told the man of God to do. He lied, claiming God told him to instruct the man of God to change his course. The man of God believed the lie and disobeyed God’s command, which led to his death.

Isn’t the older prophet responsible?

What bothers me is that the older prophet’s part in the man of God’s downfall isn’t addressed. Not one word–even though the older prophet confronts the sin that he enabled. Did he carry no guilt for his part in his fellow prophet’s downfall?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know whatever God does is just. I can certainly trust him.

Sticking with my story

My takeaway is that I need to stay on course. The writer of 1 Kings 13 focused on the man of God’s path, not the old prophet’s. If there’s another story to tell, it will come in a different chapter, from another writer, or at another time.

I’m to plow ahead in obedience, even if someone more experienced attempts to direct my path differently. Managing my response to the distraction of dissenting voices is a huge part of living. It’s good to listen to the opinions of those we trust, but I need to be careful to only let God change my course.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

I’m a Finalist!

I’m enjoying some good news I received this month. If you follow me on social media or receive newsletters from Oregon Christian Writers, you probably heard I’m a finalist in the Cascade Contest. The winner will be announced at the summer conference on August 22.

2018 Finalist

My entry, currently titled Memoir of a Living Doll, traces the roles dolls played in my growing up. I learned from Chatty Cathy, the pre-owned doll who arrived with marks and scrapes, to see the value of loving imperfect people. This translated later into becoming a foster parent. And Raggedy Ann, who wasn’t crafted for the purpose of merely adorning my bed. She taught me the importance of releasing the ones I love to fulfill their missions in life.

I’m still knitting, pulling out stitches, and reworking my story so I’m sure I’ll discover more surprises along the way. For now, I’m excited my concept and sample pages pleased the preliminary judges. Thank you, Cascade staff, volunteers, and OCW!

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Here’s a scene I’m working on:

It didn’t matter if Chatty Cathy couldn’t speak well. She didn’t have to tell me what happened to her before she came to my house. I wanted only to care for her and be a friend. However, over time Chatty’s fraying string became more resistant to my tugs. I feared it might break with the next pull, stealing her speech forever.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” I laid my hand over her chest, feeling the ridges in the grill covering her voice box. “I’ll talk for you.”

I positioned Chatty’s legs and seated her on my hip, the way Mom carries Baby Sister. It had to be uncomfortable, but when I pulled her string again she didn’t complain.

Chatty never complained, but I understood about putting a smile on your face while still carrying hurts inside. And she didn’t always say the phrase I expected. Sometimes I couldn’t say what weighed in my heart, too.

“Te-te-tell me a story.”

“Here’s my brother’s favorite book.” I squeezed her close. “It’s called Go, Dog, Go. Let me tell you about the funny dogs.”

We both needed a good story. (end of excerpt)

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A few months ago one of my critique partners, Wanda Fisher, gave me her Betsy McCall doll to express her love and support. How thankful I am for the encouragement and reminder that Betsy also has a story to tell.

Hopefully, my book will help others tell their stories, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis