Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Unwritten Books!

I've been asked to give a talk next week at a Ladies' Luncheon.
I think it will be about
"Books I Did Not Write"!
Often when I am asked to speak, it has to do with the events that triggered the writing of "Joy in the Mourning", the story of surviving the tragedy that took the lives of three of my siblings as we were on the way to our dad's funeral.  Many of the ladies in this group are familiar with this account, so I began thinking and praying about what to talk about.
 I started thinking about the books that I have never written - books about stuff that I have gone through or struggled with.  Some of the books that I have not written are because they have been written by someone else.  One of these is a book by Jan Frank entitled "A Door of Hope".  The really weird thing is, the next book I was going to write was going to be entitled "A Door of Hope", and it was about the very same subject that Jan Frank wrote about!
The reason I was going to name my next book "A Door of Hope", came from a Bible verse I had read from the book  of Hosea - Hosea 2:15  which says "There I will give back her vineyards to her and transform her Valley of Troubles into a Door of Hope. She will respond to me there, singing with joy as in days long ago in her youth after I had freed her from captivity in Egypt."
Well, I hadn't been to Egypt, but I had walked through my own "Valley of Trouble" in my early years.  I had been sexually molested by two family members, one of which was my very own grandfather on my mother's side!  However, when I read Jan Frank's book, the need to write my own story seemed unnecessary.  Mrs. Frank had a master's degree in counseling, and with her expertise, I was sure that any writing I would do on the subject would pale in comparison!
The next unwritten book for me would have been about my struggle with trusting God after the death of my nephew Joel.  Joel was like a son to me.  He lived with us on and off through his adolescent and college years, and became the youth pastor at our church. Soon after his marriage, he moved to California and became active in church planting there. Before he was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer, he and his wife had moved to Hawaii working on video productions along with his work at the Salvation Army.

Joel bravely fought his cancer, undergoing three brain surgeries.  During the process of chemotherapy he had a stoke.  Through it all Joel kept telling us that the Lord had given him a verse, and this whole process he was going through was so that the glory of the Lord would be revealed. His special verse was Isaiah 40:5, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Thousands of prayers went up for Joel as he and his wife posted his progress (or lack of it) on their Facebook page. I couldn't understand how the glory of the Lord was being revealed through his suffering and death. I was still questioning this, when my sister gave me a book entitled "Glory Revealed" by David Nasser.
The author shared how God receives glory in many ways, but the chapter that captured my attention the most was Chapter 7 - "Glory Revealed Through Suffering".  Mr. Nasser shared how suffering is inescapable, a part of living in a fallen world.  But more than that, suffering reveals God's glory by His being our anchor in the storm.
Joel's sister saw God's glory revealed through Joel's illness before I did.  As we discussed it one day this past summer, she said:
"How could you not see it?
God's glory was revealed in the way he fought his illness.
God's glory was revealed in his attitude toward his suffering.
God's glory was revealed in the way his wife took care of him.
God's glory was revealed in the way both Joel and his wife faced his death,
And God's glory was revealed in the fact they didn't quit trusting God,
even when God didn't answer the way we all wanted."

I'm still in the process of understanding this, but certainly not ready to write a book about it!


Okay, so let's move on to Book Number 3 that I did not write!   "A Tearful Celebration".   My friend Joyce gave me this book a year or two ago.  At the time she gave it to me, I just couldn't get into it.  I laid it aside, and then voilah! One day I picked it up and began reading it, and it was just what I needed!  I was still grieving the loss of my nephew Joel, when the cancer came back with a vengeance in my sister Alice.  I truly could not understand God's ways.

The description of this book on Amazon's website says:  "Trust the God Who Allows THIS? The last thing you want to do when crushed with indescribable pain and suffering is turn to the very God who allows it all to happen. What right does He have, especially now, to ask for your loyalty, your obedience, your love? When cancer took his wife and left him despairing alone, James Means unwillingly had to ask God the same questions facing you. A Tearful Celebration is the candid, pull-no-punches account of his struggle to understand God's ways and to stand firm in the face of incalculable loss. This new edition of a 1986 Gold Medallion finalist will lead you to the place you most truly long to be: right with God and secure in Him again."
Yes!  He kind of described how I felt!  About the time that Joel moved back to California, Alice and her husband Earl moved to Arkansas.  Alice and I became close friends as well as being sisters, especially after her husband died.  I  learned to know the fun side of her, and was happy to have her live nearby.  But when God called Earl, Alice, and their son Joel home within the space of about three years, it was a lot to handle emotionally.
We all have unwritten stories...  The Apostle John said about Jesus, "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25
Paul the Apostle said, "Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it." 2 Corinthians 3:2
Most of our stories are never published.  All of us have them.   Unwritten stories...  But they are read!  If I did write another book, maybe I would write about "Stubborn Courage". I did a blog post about this, and also gave a talk on it BEFORE my sis passed away.  That's what I want my life to show, whether it's published or not - STUBBORN COURAGE that helps me hang in there and keep trusting God when I don't even know how to pray!!!
So.... that's kind of what I plan on talking about at the women's luncheon.   But when I give a talk, nothing ever seems to come out of my mouth the way I write it down, so we'll see what happens!


In case you're wondering if I've lost my ability to format this blog,
well, you're partly right!
I tried starting a new blog using WordPress instead of Google,
but it didn't work out so good.
I used the "Copy and Paste" method to transfer it back to this site,
but it kind of threw off the formatting.
Thanks for being kind enough to overlook it!

1 comment:

Lisa notes... said...

Sounds like you have many good books in you still to come! But I do love this: "Most of our stories are never published. All of us have them. Unwritten stories... But they are read!" Amen.