Go 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 where I’d stay 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.

Ponder Psalm 139:16 – “…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

Go with the Flow by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Grizzly bears, driving rains and headwinds – feeling insecure on a mighty river.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

God is in control of the current that carries you.~ 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 his 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.

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.

TWEETABLES
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.

Lessons in an Art Gallery

by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock

There was a hush on the fourth floor of the Vancouver Art Gallery as we entered, almost a reverence, I thought. People meandered quietly through the halls and rooms, taking time to study the paintings on the walls and read the commentaries and quotes from the artist’s journals. As I joined them I was aware of my own sense of awe. Emily Carr was an artist I had admired since I was a child. Her work always made me pause, drew me in, made me aware of something beyond myself.

The quotes on the walls captured my attention as well. This woman, who is famous in my own country and beyond for her depiction of the west coast region of Canada, was a woman of faith, struggling to comprehend the greatest mystery there is – the deep, deep love of an all-encompassing God.

Emily Carr’s work depicts that struggle, that striving to faith, that longing to comprehend that which is unknown yet deeply sensed. The first quote visitors to the Vancouver Art Gallery saw as they entered the exhibit was “Art is Worship.” Ms. Carr worshipped with every stroke of her brush, the swirling movement in her work drawing the eye up toward the heavens. A painting labelled Untitled, one of my favourites, is especially strong. The artist’s love of creation and its creator shouts from the canvas.

Emily Carr saw the divine in the deep dark forests of British Columbia and in the work of others, especially some members of the Group of Seven who welcomed her as one of their own. She was dumbfounded, while at an exhibit of their work, to see one of Lawren Harris’s paintings, Mountain Forms, ignored even by a priest. “Surely he would understand,” Ms. Carr wrote in her journal, “Wouldn’t the spirituality of the thing appeal to one whose life was supposed to be given up to these things? He passed right by …”

I understand Ms. Carr’s frustration. So much that is redemptive in this world goes unnoticed at best, scorned and ridiculed, at worst. Yet those things that draw us all closer to our creator are enduring. Mountain Forms was recently auctioned for just over eleven million dollars.

As I wandered in that gallery that day I was not only stirred by how Emily Carr drew us to the Divine through her work but by the recognition that we can all do the same, whatever our field of endeavour. We have all been created to express praise and adoration through everything we do, whether we work in oils or with words, whether we sweep floors or design buildings, whether our work is recognized or ridiculed. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters … It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23,24).

I was also struck by the reality that Ms. Carr caused me to praise and worship without saying a word. There was no banner declaring “Jesus saves” scrawled across her paintings yet we are able to stand in the midst of those deep dark forests and worship with her. It made me wonder, does my art cause people to worship? Does it cause them to ponder the depth of God’s greatness and goodness? Does it glorify Him? Walking among Emily Carr’s paintings made me pray it may be so.

TWEETABLES

Lessons in an Art Gallery by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

Ms. Carr worshiped with every stroke of her brush.~ Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)

We have all been created to express praise and adoration through everything we do.~ Marcia Lee 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

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).

TWEETABLES
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.