What Now?

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

I have no idea what to do now.

I’ve written and rewritten and edited. The in-text notations are formatted. The bibliography is finished.

Ten months of work (in fits and starts) completed.

What are you supposed to do when you reach the goal?

At age six I knew I wanted to be one of three things: a writer, a teacher or a gardener. Occasionally I flirted with the idea of becoming a lawyer, but for the most part the dreams stayed the same. Wonder of wonders, the Lord has seen fit to grant me the desires of my heart. Oh, not in the ways I imagined. There is no dust jacket (yet). I don’t stand at the front of a classroom. I’m not a master horticulturist. Still I get to pound on the keyboard and lead people through Bible studies and dig in the dirt. The path has been anything but straight, but I am fortunate to be able to do exactly what I set out to do.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m bewildered that I’ve written a book.

It’s almost…embarrassing. Perhaps the sense that I should feel…ashamed?…for seeing it through. There’s a feeling I can’t quite describe associated with the completion of this project. I can’t quite believe it’s really done. That I, this person whose faults and failures I know all too well, did the thing.

I’m not searching for compliments or reassurances. I’m aware that defeat snatched from the jaws of victory has its source in the Enemy of my soul. He wants me to stay down and stay hidden. He’s madder than a hornet that I’ve finished. I get it.

Stupidly I am more comfortable with that then the sense of the Lord’s pleasure at my obedience. Yes, I am hard on myself. I know. But this is the battle. Getting that last word on that last page was the easy part, and I sweat plenty of buckets in the process. Now, figuring out what to do next, that’s the truly hard thing. I could quite easily let this manuscript sit in the netherworld of the Google cloud for the rest of my life.

People can’t tear apart what they can’t see.

So, dear reader, I seek your prayers. I ask you to join with me in petitioning the Lord to make His will clear. It’s easy enough to know that I am supposed to share this thing others. The how isn’t easy to discern. I would love to have a professional editor hack apart my precious and mine from it the jewel within. That costs money. I would love to find and hire an agent. That also costs money. Even if I go the self-publishing route through Amazon (a viable option), I still need to find someone who would be willing to comb through each page in search of errors. If that’s not a professional, then it would have to be someone who is both a grammar nazi and not easily offended.

You see, I did not write a fluffy book. My words are going to make people angry. This isn’t my intention, to inflame tempers, yet it is an inevitable consequence. I know that I’m going to be attacked in a vicious and highly personal way whenever the words go live. Pray for me on that account as well. Ask God to make me strong and brave. Ask Him to help me remember the words He’s given me over and over:

God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people. Tell them, ‘If I bring war on this land and the people take one of their citizens and make him their watchman, and if the watchman sees war coming and blows the trumpet, warning the people, then if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet and ignores it and war comes and takes him off, it’s his own fault. He heard the alarm, he ignored it—it’s his own fault. If he had listened, he would have saved his life.

“‘But if the watchman sees war coming and doesn’t blow the trumpet, warning the people, and war comes and takes anyone off, I’ll hold the watchman responsible for the bloodshed of any unwarned sinner.'”

– Ezekiel 33:1-8 (MSG)

Not that I am a prophet. By no means. Certainly I have not been given some extra-biblical revelation. I fully understand the historical and theological context in which these words were spoken and who they were meant for. Nevertheless, every time I have questioned, doubted, wondered, in the process of writing, the Lord has brought me to this passage. I would be a fool not to pay attention.

I don’t ask you for money or for you to abuse any contacts or friendships you might have. I ask only that you cover myself and this book in your steadfast, hearty prayers. I ask that you join with me in seeking Him. It may be that He’ll have me release the book as-is, on this site, for free. That’s fine. It might be something different, something harder. That’s fine, too. I want to follow where He leads.

Thank you, friend.

I won’t bring this up again until the way forward has been revealed. We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging about everything and nothing.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo credit: Patrick Tomasso

Five Minute Friday: Because

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Gentle Reader,

Doing this on time for a change. Many thanks to the lovely Kate. Tonight we write: because.


Because life is hard. Because sorrows come.

Because we need reminding.

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

Joseph M. Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.


My journey to faith. (15)

The Detox Diaries, Five Minute Friday Edition: Fill


Gentle Reader,

After my two-week hiatus I am once again linking up with the FMF crowd at our new hangout, Heading Home with Kate Motaung. Yes, our beloved Lisa-Jo has passed on the baton. But that’s okay! Sometimes it’s right to let a good thing go.

For this first post with Kate, we: fill.



I’m running on empty today, God

What You gave her just isn’t enough

I need You to meet my need

Adjust Your outpouring supernaturally

I don’t want to complain

I don’t want to be greedy

I just need enough of You

To fill the omer within me

I wrote this poem, based on Exodus 16, years ago, but it came to mind as soon as I saw this week’s prompt. God has answered this prayer over and over again, today in a parking lot being the latest occurrence.

Just a brief recap: as many of you know, I live with some chronic health issues and back in May began the process of coming off of Cymbalta due to liver problems. Thankfully the withdrawal symptoms have passed, but the road to an understanding of what’s happening to my liver is a long one.

A long one full of potholes.

On Monday I had blood work done. Tuesday the doctor called and told me that my enzymes were elevated. Higher than they were in May. I needed to come and see him as soon as possible and get a referral to a specialist. I stayed late at work yesterday so I could leave at mid-morning today and trek across two towns to get to the appointment. He didn’t tell me much more than he did on the phone, but I got the referral and an order for more labs, to be done tomorrow morning.

I’ll be honest: I freaked out when I got that call on Tuesday. I’ve made changes to my diet. I’ve been exercising. I was really hoping that, after two-and-a-half months, there would be some improvement. I certainly wasn’t expecting things to be worse!

The closer I got to the office today, the larger the lump of panic in my throat. Pulling into the packed parking lot, I located an open space beneath and tree and clunked into the…whatever that concrete thing is that keeps you from running into the grass on the other side. Turning off the engine, I closed my eyes, took and deep breath, and prayed.

Okay, God. I need You. I need You really bad. I need You to fill me with that peace, that peace that doesn’t make any sense. I don’t need high blood pressure right now. Calm me down. Help me to hear what the doctor says and make whatever decisions I need to make. Give me clarity. I am with You, Jesus. You are with me. 

I got out of the car and finished with, “Let’s do this.”

My blood pressure? 117 over 70-something.

Almost before the words came out of my mouth, the peace flooded in. From head to toe, I was filled. Completely. There wasn’t any room for fear. I listened, I asked questions. When my doctor told me not to freak out, I smiled.

Because whatever happens, I’m with Jesus. And His plans are good.


My journey to faith. (15)

To read all the posts in The Detox Diaries series, go here.