No Fear

As you know, something wonderful happened last week: I got an acceptance letter.

This is not, however, even the half of it.  In her follow-up email, the editor said, “I love your writing style.  In my most recent review, I described it as ‘edible’.  I like the flow, the dialogue, the informality, and the humor – it’s compulsively readable.”

Wow!  Edible!  Who doesn’t want that?

This email had me so excited that I promptly read it out loud to the people standing near me at church.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on your level of Zen), the email continued.  I need to revise it “with an eye to strengthening its opinion stance”.

I know, right?  That stopped me in my tracks too.  What?  I can’t do that!  I don’t even know what that means!

But then, I was reminded of words the Lord has given me:

I have called you to write.

And then, listen to this one, spoken by my friend Betty to a whole group of us.  I feel like it is just for me:

You are going through a dynamic change in calling and gifting.  Do not be afraid.  I will not lead you where I have not prepared you.  My intent is to make my name famous through you.  You have already tasted my leading in several ways, but there is much more.  I need people who really do trust me and will allow my love to flow in all circumstances.  I am faithful and true.

Amen, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

So here I go, choosing to believe that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength – including making his name famous.  Including being a writer.

Including, even, revising an essay.

 

Acceptance at What Cost?

This last week, I got the news I’ve been waiting for — my whole life, maybe.

“Congratulations!  Your essay has been accepted for publication.  We love your writing!”

Those last four words did a lot to erase some doubt that has been lurking around, trying to creep in and set up residence.

Here’s what’s funny: that essay had already been rejected — twice.  And, the same day, I got two other rejections.  Actually, “funny” doesn’t quite cover it.

But here’s the thing.  Who am I writing for?  Just who am I trying to please?  One letter I received went something like this: “A fun read, but not the best fit.”  Sometimes, as an author, it’s not my writing that is the problem — it is the match between what I’m trying to do, and what the editor is trying to do, at that one moment in time.

I’m in Kansas City now, visiting sisters on both sides — mine, and my husband’s.  Both are dealing with feelings of unacceptance.  So, here I sit, in Missouri (Kansas? Missouri? What is wrong with this city?  One state isn’t good enough for you?), giving hugs to sisters who need it, sisters who need to hear, “Congratulations!  You’ve been accepted!  I love you!”

It pays to remember that, for every rejection we get, a more important acceptance is sitting there, waiting.  Let’s all remember: Just who are we doing this for?  Who are we trying to please?

Top 10 Things I Will Miss about Teaching

Top 10 Things I Will Miss about Teaching

School is in session.  Unless you are in the Seattle School District, of course, where negotiations have ground to a halt.

Come on, teachers!  Who doesn’t want to work a few extra hours a day for no pay?

Actually, I recently heard on NPR about the Chester-Upland school district near Philadelphia, where teachers and support staff have been working with no pay.  None.  Zippo.  Girl, those teachers are CRAZY!!!  I know.  And it’s not just the teachers – it’s the aides, the custodians, the receptionists.  It’s an entire school district.  When the district ran out of money, the “staff voted to come back to work anyway” (italics mine).[1]

I have major questions about what is going on in the community.  But with the teachers?

That’s easy.  Because, for all the things I won’t miss about teaching, and for everything I have gained by taking a sabbatical (time with my family, time to pursue writing, sanity), here is what I will miss:

Top 10 Things I Will Miss about Teaching

  1. The students.
  2. The students.
  3. The students.
  4. The students.
  5. The students.
  6. The students.
  7. The students.
  8. The students.
  9. Ok, my teacher friends that I worked with every day.
  10. The students.

Oh, my students.  The hole you have left.  I miss you every day.

[1] Benshoff, Lauren.  “School Districts Squeezed by Pennsylvania’s Budget Impasse.” National Public Radio. NPR, 03 Sept 2015. Web. 14 Sept 2015. http://www.npr.org/2015/09/03/437132870/school-districts-squeezed-by-pennsylvania-s-budget-impasse.