A Poetic Warning

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By Marcia Lee Laycock

In an Interview by Joy Biles, poet Carrie Fountain said:

“Be wary of becoming a poet. Be wary of becoming anything. I mean: you want to become a surgeon. Or, I should say, you want your surgeon to have become a surgeon! But don’t become a poet. You’ll never get there. Just get started. Each morning, make a little progress. Send out a little prayer. Take note of something. Try to be facing in the direction of the surprise.”

I think there’s a lot of wisdom in her words, wisdom that pertains not only to poets but to writers of all kinds. I think perhaps we try too hard to become writers. We agonize over it, set our schedules rigidly, watch our reviews on Amazon, try to do a hundred and one things using social media and all the other marketing ploys. And all the while the art suffers because of the ‘have to.’

Oh I hear you. Yes, it is necessary to market our work if we want people to discover it. Yes, it is necessary to learn the skills of our craft. But no, we don’t have to work so very hard at it that the joy evaporates and our ears become deaf to the voice that longs to speak to us through our own words.

I love that simple sentence, “Take note of something.” That’s what it’s about. Take note. Watch for it. Record it. Let it live inside you as you express it. Let it change you. Then give it to others so they too may live it through you.

I often wonder what it would have been like to be a scribe during the ancient times. What would it have been like to sit in the courts of Xerxes or King Saul and King David? Did they realize the importance of the history they were recording? They were trained to be accurate, to record the very words of their king as though their lives depended on it. Often it did. But did they have moments of awe as they wrote? Perhaps not. Perhaps it was just a job, a very ordinary thing to sit at the feet of the king and record his words and the everyday goings-on in his court. Perhaps yes. Perhaps a particular ray of light as it hit the king’s crown caught the scribe’s eye, or the compassion in his master’s eye as he listened to the stories of his subjects. Perhaps his heart was moved as he wrote.

We too are scribes, recording our times, recording and revealing the glory of our King. It is our job to lean into it, to recognize its importance, to be moved by it, for the very quality of our lives may depend on it.

“I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw” (Proverbs 24:32).

Yes, “take note of something, try to be facing in the direction of the surprise.” And don’t forget to “say a little prayer.” 
****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada
where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the
winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One
Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards.
Marcia also has three devotional books in print and has contributed to several
anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books. Her work has been endorsed by
Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 
Abundant
Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 
Marcia’s most recent release is A
Traveler’s Advisory
, Stories of God’s Grace Along the Way.

Sign up to receive
her devotional column, The Spur

Is Your House Leaking?

Is Your
House Leaking?
Ever had a leak in your
house? We sure have! Numerous times. It can be quit

messy and expensive, can’t
it? But more crucial than a leak in our physical house is a leak in our
spiritual house.

There’s a commercial that
gets my attention every time: it’s on flood insurance. It’s a cartoon. The voice-over
is that of a young girl. Part of it goes something like this:
There was a nice house that lived with a family.
One day, it started to rain and rain. Water got inside and ruined everybody’s
everything. The house thought she let the family down. But the family just
didn’t think a flood could ever happen.
The reality is, floods do happen.
Though God said He would
not send a flood upon the whole earth again, we do need to be prepared for spiritual
floods.
Solomon warned, “Through
lowering of hands, the house leaks.”
(Eccl. 10:18 Masoretic Text, emphasis mine) According to the definitions, if
through inactivity, negligence, or idleness, we lower our hands from lack of
prayer and praise, then the house begins
to weep
.
So, whose house is
leaking? Whose house is weeping? Our house? Our child’s house? Our friend’s
house? Our neighbor’s house? Our nation’s house? What about God’s House?
On the mount of victory with hands of surety uplifted
into the air, Moses’ spoke prayers and praises as Israel prevailed against the
enemy. When he lowered his hands, the enemy prevailed.
In the book of Acts, the disciples said, “We shall
devote ourselves whole-heartedly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.” (Acts
6:4 Phillips)
In our prayer efforts, let not our knees go unbent
nor our hands weaken in lifting praise to the Lord that the enemy not defeat us
in our battles.
Others need us to
pray for them as well. As the Amplified says in Hebrews 12:12, “So then, brace
up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping
hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees.”
Over whose house is the
enemy prevailing? Have you raised your hands in prayer to stop the leaking, to
stop the weeping, to stop the enemy?
Raise your hands and stop the leaks!
From His feet, Lynn

Lynn Mosher loves to dig into God’s Word and treasure hunts for golden nuggets along the road Home. Lynn lives with her hubby (since 1966) in their Kentucky nest, emptied now of three kidlets and embracing three giggly grand-chicklets. Her greatest passion is to share those nuggets in her devotionals and inspirational stories, fulfilling God’s call on her life to encourage others and glorify the Lord. Lynn writes monthly for several sites and bi-weekly at her online residence, Heading Home

A Simple Grace

The Tiniest of Seeds

By Marcia Lee Laycock

There are times when trying to wrap my head around all the difficult theological issues in the Bible gives me a headache. There is so much I don’t understand, so much that seems incomprehensible, so much that etches a thin line around my tiny speck of faith.

But then there are moments, like a while ago, when I sat with a cup of good coffee in front of a comforting fireplace and watched as a tiny girl dressed in a red snowsuit skated an elegant loop around the pond across the street. And I am so thankful for all the small graces, the atoms of hope that form and design my days like the multitude of pixels in a digital photograph.

I don’t need to understand all the theological questions, though it is good to stretch my brain to try. All I need is that simple faith, the smallest drop of faith, as the scripture says, even as much as the size of a mustard seed.

Jesus compared His kingdom to that mustard seed as He wandered the roads and byways of Jerusalem and beyond. He said, “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches” (Luke 13:19).

Notice the parts to this little story. The man took the seed – he was willing to receive something from God. Then he planted it – he took action and used what God had given him. As a result the plant grew into what God had intended it to be. And finally, the birds came and made it their own – the plant was useful and appreciated.

I love that last phrase – it’s one of those atoms of hope for me because it speaks of purpose and usefulness and blessing. That tiny seed buried in the earth resulted in a flourishing plant, part of a beautiful garden that brought joy and peace to those around it. That gives me hope for the tiny seeds I have spread and planted in my lifetime. I may not even be aware of most of them, but God can use them to bring about His purposes.

Can we see a parallel in our lives? What it is that God wants to give us that will follow the same pattern? Has he offered you the ability to teach, to write, to speak? Has he offered you what you need to nourish your children and family for the future? Has he gifted you with a personality that He intends to use to attract people to Him? Has he opened the doors of heaven and invited you to be a prayer warrior?

What steps do we need to take to make ourselves open to receive these small graces? The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:21 – “Those who cleanse themselves … will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” 
****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central
Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult
daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award
for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed
in The Word Awards. Marcia also has three devotional books in print and has
contributed to several anthologies, including the Hot Apple Cider books. Her
work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark
Buchanan.
Abundant
Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 
Her
most recent release is A
Traveler’s Advisory
, Stories of God’s Grace
Along the Way.

Sign up to
receive her devotional column, The
Spur

Not Just a Salesman – Not Just a Writer

My Dad in his shoe store

By Marcia Lee Laycock

My dad was in the shoe business. He started young, working in a shoe factory while still in grade school. He was taught how shoes were made from the sole up. The smell of leather must have gotten to him because when he finished high school he went to work in a shoe store and when he came home after WW2, chose that as his trade. By the time I was born he owned his own store and within a few years had opened a second one.

My dad knew shoes. He knew them so well that when he noticed a customer wasn’t walking properly, he advised them on what needed to be done to their shoes to make things easier. Word got around and soon orthopedic doctors were sending their patients to him to have shoes specially made. When he finally retired, those same doctors begged him to keep working, at least part-time. They said he wasn’t just a salesman, he was a craftsman and there were few people of his skill around anymore.

I think of my father from time to time, the years he spent in apprenticeship, the obstacles he had to overcome to set up his own business, the satisfaction he had in later years, knowing his attention to detail made a difference in people’s lives.

I think of my father when I’m frustrated with my writing career. When I wonder what difference I am making in the world, I think of the man with a crooked leg who was able to walk without pain because of the shoes my dad made for him. I remember the three-year-old who skipped into my dad’s store one day, his mother beaming from the doorway. That child had been unable to walk barely a year before.

I remember the look on my father’s face that day, and I keep writing because this is the work I have been given to do. There have been frustrations and obstacles but there have also been those moments – times when I’ve received an email or a letter or a phone call from someone telling me how my writing has made a difference.

We are in the word business. Some of us started young, scribbling poems and stories in school. We learned our grammar and spelling and all the rules of writing. We’ve done our apprenticeship and have become skilled craftsmen. There may be times when we want to quit, when the obstacles seem too high and the frustrations too much to handle.

But we must hang onto those times when we know that what God has directed us to do has made a difference. This is the work we have been given to do. So, like my dad, we must keep on, until Jesus calls us home.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central
Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult
daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award
for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed
in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has
contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund
Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
Abundant
Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 
Her
most recent release is A Traveler’s Advisory, stories of God’s Grace Along the Way, available from Amazon in paperback and as an ebook.

Sign up to
receive her devotional column, The
Spur