A Story Written Just For One

by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock

An interviewer once asked Mother Theresa why she gave her time and energy, indeed her whole life, in the face of the millions in need. The misery was so pervasive, the interviewer purported, how could she possibly hope to change it? I found it fascinating that, at first, the tiny woman did not understand the question. Her focus was so fixed on the dignity of each human being that even if she could help only one, she believed it was worth giving her whole life. I believe that is the focus of Christ. He says it himself in the story of the lost sheep – the shepherd leaves those who are safe to rescue the one that is lost.

I once thought about what it would be like to be lost while walking through the jungle in Papua New Guinea. It made me shiver, even in that tropical heat, to think about trying to find my own way in that place. The jungle was thick with hidden dangers – vipers, poisonous spiders and centipedes, sago swamps full of thorns the size of stiletto knives and leaches almost as big. I had no idea which plants were edible and which were deadly. I had no idea where to find fresh water. I had no idea which of the many paths would lead to a safe place and which would lead deeper into danger. I did know that in only a few short hours darkness would descend and I didn’t even want to think about all the things that would come out then! But because I had a guide to lead me, that walk through the jungle was like a stroll in a park. Well, almost.

Consider one who is spiritually lost. He’s in a frightening place full of hidden dangers, unknown paths and lack of nourishing food and water. It’s a place of constant stress, with nowhere to turn, no way out. Then the guide shows up – suddenly there is someone to point out the pitfalls, someone to shine a light on the path, someone opening a door into a comfortable room with a feast spread out on the table. Imagine the sense of relief as the lost one follows the direction and accepts the hospitality of the rescuer. Imagine the peace.

As writers of faith, we too are like guides in a jungle full of dangers. We have the means within our hands, within our stories, to lead readers to a safe place, a place full of light and living water. Eugene Peterson has said, “We live in narrative, we live in story. Existence has a story shape to it.” And so, it is within story that love, nobility and truth live, waiting to be revealed and understood.

And even if only one makes it safely through the jungle of life because of something you have written, that is enough.

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A Story Written Just For One by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

As writers of faith, we are guides in a jungle full of life’s dangers.~  Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet) 

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One Smooth Stone

Desperate to escape his past, the police, and especially, God, Alex Donnelly picks a good place to hide – the Yukon wilderness – but he finds even there he is pursued. What will it take for him to discover that no matter how far you run, God will find you, and no matter what you have done, God will forgive you?



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.

When the Boat “Planes”

by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock

When I was about nine years old my father taught me how to run the small motor on our ten-foot boat. I was thrilled that my father trusted me enough to let me take it out all by myself.

I was cautious at first, only going out on the lake when the wind was down, and only opening the engine’s throttle half way. I would chug around our small bay and come back to the dock, feeling very mature. Then one day my dad went with me. We ploughed along the shore for a while. Then Dad turned to me and made a hand motion indicating I was to open the throttle more. I moved it a couple of notches. He signalled for more. I took a deep breath and opened it up, all the way.

Then it happened. That old boat rose up and began to plane – the power of the motor was enough to overcome the resistance of the water and lift the boat. It made my heart soar as it almost seemed to fly across the lake. When we returned to the dock, my dad smiled. “Don’t be afraid of it,” he said. “The motor is made to drive the boat forward.”

There have been times in my spiritual life when I’ve been like that old boat and motor, chugging along with little energy or delight. I knew the truths of the Christian faith, the disciplines that are meant to move us forward in our faith, but I was only employing them half heartedly, with little faith that they would really make any difference. The doubts and fears of life had crept in and were blocking my sight, blocking my effectiveness.

Recently that has begun to change. I’ve been pondering the meaning of what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.”

I have always believed that Jesus, by dying on the cross, opened the way for me to come into God’s presence, but I am just beginning to comprehend that He also opened the way for us to have complete union with Him and His Father. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

The power of that realization is beginning to make my spiritual life like that old boat when it planes. Suddenly I’m soaring.

God has trusted us with gifts and talents and all we need to do good work (like writing novels and devotionals and poetry that sings). We are empowered to do that work when we do it in Christ, in His power and wisdom, not our own.

“If anyone speaks (or writes), they should do so as one who speaks (or writes) the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1Peter 4:11 parentheses mine).

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When the boat “Planes” by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Suddenly I was soaring. #InChrist, #Christian novels, #Christian writers~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

God has trusted us with gifts and talents and all we need to do is work.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)


One Smooth Stone

Alex Donnelly is running from his past, the police, and from God. The Yukon is a good place to hide until a young lawyer shows up at his cabin with news that draws him back to his birth place in search of the truth about his family. What he finds throws him into turmoil once again. What will it take for Him to surrender?


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.

Of Fish and Crushed Dreams

by Marcia Lee Laycock

Writers are dreamers. We dream of accolades and awards, of lives changed, perhaps even saved. Sometimes it feels like our dreams are close to coming true. But sometimes our dreams are crushed. Our career looks like nothing but a pile of pointless efforts. Sometimes all the sacrifices seem to have been for nothing and we come close to giving up on all the dreams.
I think that was the state the disciples were in, when Jesus was crucified. The hardest day in their lives was probably the day before the resurrection – that very long day when they were in hiding, fearing that they too might end up on a cross.

Imagine the dreams the disciples had – dreams perhaps of the glory and acclaim they would have as his disciples when they came into their own in his new kingdom. It was an earthly kingdom they were dreaming of, that did not include the brutal rule of the Romans.

Imagine what they’d sacrificed – they’d left their homes, families, their livelihoods – the fishing nets that supplied their food; in Matthew’s case, the money collection stall that made him wealthy; in Luke’s case, a fulfilling and lucrative medical practice. They’d allowed Jesus to turn their lives upside down. And now what? He was gone and it looked like it had all been for nothing.

No wonder Peter said, “I’m going fishing” (John 21:1). He’d given up on the dreams. He didn’t know what to do with himself, so he went back to what he knew – casting his nets, and he took some of the other disciples with him.

But look at what happened – in the last part of vs. 3 of John 21 it says, “but that night they caught nothing.” Then, early in the morning, when they were heading back to shore empty handed, a man calls out to them – “friends, haven’t you caught any fish?”

Imagine the tone of their voices when they say no. But the stranger tells them to throw their nets on the right side of their boat. And you know what happened. The nets were so full they couldn’t haul them in and then they recognize Jesus.

I love this next part. Jesus has made a fire and is cooking fish. When the disciples arrive, he says, “Bring some of the fish you have caught.” I can just imagine their bewilderment as they struggled to understand what Jesus was trying to teach them.

I think he was trying to tell them that he had more for them to do than just catching fish, more for them to be concerned about than just making a living. He was telling them He would provide for them. The story wasn’t over. In fact, it was just beginning.

Noted author and counselor, Larry Crabb wrote – “God is always working to make His children aware of a dream that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream, a new dream that when realized will release a new song, sung with tears, till God wipes them away and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts.”

Yes, sometimes our dreams can look like their dead, but lift up your head. Jesus is there, with a better plan.

TWEETABLES



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 also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and 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 is available on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format. 
Her most recent release is Celebrate This Day, a devotional book for special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

Going with the Flow

By Marcia Lee Laycock 
@MarciaLaycock

I stared at the small rubber raft, then peered at the mighty Yukon River, the third largest river in North America. My friends had left the raft for me to use to get to their cabin about fifty miles downriver from Dawson City. The raft looked very small. I knew it was a bit risky, but I remembered my friend’s words – “You won’t have to paddle much,” he’d said. “The current will take you.”

I tossed my pack into the small craft and launched. That’s when I noticed there was only one paddle. That concerned me, but I was already out into the current and heading north. For a while I tried to steer, but all I managed to do was go in circles. I knew it would take all day to reach the cabin I’d stay in that night, so I wasn’t too worried, though there are strong eddies in the Yukon River and with only one paddle it wasn’t easy to avoid them.
My efforts to control where I was going were, at best, pitiful, so I sat back and decided to ‘go with the flow.’ As the small raft carried me north, at a leisurely spin, the silty water hissed against the rubber of the small craft. The wilderness was beautiful, vast, and, at times, overwhelming. I felt tiny and rather helpless. Seeing the massive form of a grizzly lumbering through the bush on an island only a few strokes away didn’t help. Watching the rain descend across a small valley and head directly for me was a bit disconcerting. And realizing that at times I was almost at a standstill because of the headwinds was more than a little frustrating. But all I could do was trust the current to get me there and do what I could with my small paddle.

Taking a step into the world of publishing is a lot like launching a small rubber raft onto a mighty river, even though you only have one paddle to steer it. But I believe there is One who controls the current. Like my journey on the Yukon, our efforts to control our careers, and indeed, our lives, are often futile. But when we realize we can trust the One in control, we can take joy in the journey, though there will be strong eddies, rain and headwinds, and perhaps even a Grizzly or two along the way.

Our careers may not go the way we want at times, but we can be joyful because we know the One who is in control, trusting that everything that happens – the eddies that take us off course, the Grizzlies that frighten us, the rains that pour down and the winds that blow – are all for our good, meant to teach us, meant to draw us close to our Lord.

Psalm 139:16 says – “…all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

So relax. Go with the flow. And enjoy the journey. 

TWEETABLES
Going with the Flow by Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

But all I could do was trust the current to get me there~ Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

So relax. Go with the flow. And enjoy the journey.~ Marcia Laycock (Click to Tweet)

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 also short
listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and 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 is available on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format. 
Her
most recent release is Celebrate
This Day
, a devotional book for special
occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving. 

Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur