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

Beauty in the Darkness

by Marcia Lee Laycock

Winter has landed here, its cold hard boot slamming down on the country and its inhabitants with the force of a sledge hammer. We had been lulled into thinking it wouldn’t hit so hard this year. We’d only had a skiff of snow and a few days of chill, but nothing to be concerned about. So this icy blast is a bit of a jolt to us all. How quickly we forget the true face of winter, it’s harsh landscapes and bitter winds.

As I peer out my front window I shiver and pull my sweater tighter around me. The sun is just setting, the darkness dropping quickly behind the homes on the other side of the pond. It has caught a skater unaware. She continues to glide and weave across the small space as the light fades. And then it happens. Just for a moment the horizon glows, the light shimmers on the ice, the skater is thrown into a silhouette of fluid movement. And the beauty of it takes my breath away.

I am reminded that beauty is always there, just waiting to reveal itself, waiting to slip out of the darkness. I am blessed that I was there, in that moment, to see it, to be struck by it and to give thanks for it. It makes me realize that a big part of being a believer in Christ and a writer of faith, involves watching, waiting for the beauty. It is ours to bring these moments to light, to make them known to the world. We are the observers, the recorders, the ones who point and say, “Oh, look! Look!”

There is a great need for us to show the way to beauty in the world today, in the face of the images of wreck and ruin we constantly see in the media. There is no greater need for it than now. There is no greater need than for the world to know that beauty exists, that Christ was born to bring it back to us, to elevate it to the holy place where it was intended to be, because all beauty comes from the Father above.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the place of Jesus’ birth was likely not considered beautiful? It was a common, homely place. Some would even have said insignificant. But then there were those moments – the moment when that brightest of stars stopped over the spot where the Christ child lay, the moment when the angels revealed themselves in the skies near Bethlehem, the moment when their voices peeled out with the good news of His birth, the moment when kings bowed down and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As we head into this new year let us all be watchful, waiting for those moments when The Christ is revealed through the beauty of this world. Let us all receive the blessing of those moments and then shout, “Oh, look! Look!”

“Go now, write on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness” (Isaiah 30:8).

TWEETABLES


The world needs to know that beauty exists~ 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 can be downloaded on Smashwords
or on Amazon.
It is also now available in Journal
format on Amazon. 

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

Expressing Praise through Your Gift

by Marcia Lee Laycock

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 is 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 see as they enter the exhibit is “Art is
Worship.” Ms. Carr worshiped 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 canvass. 

Untitled By Emily Carr

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 will soon be
auctioned and is expected to sell for between three and five 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 always be so. 

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 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 Christmas, a collection of short stories that take you from the outer edges of the galaxy to the streets of an inner city and the cold landscape of the far north. In all of these unusual settings the Christmas Spirit is alive and well.
Sign
up to receive her devotional column, The
Spur

God’s Best Plan: Stop Writing

By Marcia Lee Laycock

“Why don’t you ever have time for me?”

My
heart stopped and I turned to my nine-year old daughter as she burst
into tears. I gathered her in my arms and we talked. She had needed me
when she came home from school that day, but I was glued to the computer
screen, and had only given her a vague “uhuh” when she started to tell
me what was on her heart.

A short time after that, a man stood
up in a congregation and said, “What you are doing is good but your
obsession with it is not.” I knew immediately God was speaking to me. I
knew my writing had become an idol in my life. When I needed comfort, I
wrote. When I was afraid, I wrote. When I was angry, I wrote. I went to
my writing instead of my God.

So I prayed and God answered.
“Stop writing fiction.” I didn’t like that answer and I argued with Him
about it. But eventually I gave in but I asked the Lord for one thing –
“Please, please take away the stories that continually flow through my
head.” I feared I would go mad if they continued and I was not able to
write them down. He answered that prayer. For over two years. No story ideas, no scenes, no characters came to mind. I continued to write devotionals and articles for a local newspaper, but no fiction.

Then one Sunday morning, after the service, I  chatted
with a woman about abortion. She asked, “Can you imagine what it would
be like for someone to discover that his mother had tried to abort him?”
I did imagine. A character began to take shape in my mind so vividly I
knew God had released me to write his story. I prayed and then I wrote.
That novel, One Smooth Stone, won the Best New Canadian Christian Author
Award. And I wept, not just because of the award, but because of what
God had taught me.

He taught me that if I am obedient to Him He
will bless me in ways I could never have imagined. He taught me that a
strong “no” may seem harsh but will always be given with loving intent.
He taught me that He intends “to prosper (me) and not to harm (me)… to
give (me) a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Those years
of fasting from fiction changed me and changed my work. It was, in a
way, a time in the wilderness that stripped away what was not good and
left a clearer, truer path. The withering away of what was dead left room for the new and necessary growth.

“Stop writing fiction” was not what I wanted to hear, but it was God’s best plan. 

TWEETABLES
God’s Best Plan: Stop Writing by Marcia Lee Laycock (Click to Tweet)


If I’m obedient to Him He will bless me in ways I could have never imagined~ 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 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 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