He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.

Psalm 37:6 ~ The Message 

I closed the pages yesterday on Ed Cyzewski’s book Pray Write Grow. Lovingly placed it on the shelf as I do with most books. It’s rare I find one void of any treasure. In the words of my six year old grandson, “this one had loads.” The pages marked, corners turned down, folded over, quote after quote recorded in my journal.

Pray Write Grow fell somewhere in the middle of the gifts I listed a day or so ago. Evening before, I walked across the yard with Lola and my sweet man. He had a treasure to share. One he did not want me to miss. A treasure we had impatiently waited on for two years.

Our blueberry bushes are in bloom, tiny berries beginning to emerge. The promise of sweet blueberries recorded. Number three~hundred and six this year on my list of one thousand gifts in the wilderness.

Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, came into my life four summers ago. It lay in a basket four pages in. Seemed the timing wasn’t right. I picked it back up the following January. Plunged in to deep waters, naming the gifts and giving thanks become a life line for me. It’s a practice I continue today.

We slowly ambled back to the house. Sat opposite one another as we often do in the quiet of evening glow. Sharing tidbits of our day. I had called him earlier in the day with my exciting news. As we chatted, I shared with him, I now felt validated as a writer.

The tenderness he graces me with never fails to take my breath. With the wisdom of a man who had weathered a few more years than I, he reminded me I did not need validation. I have already been validated by God.

Wise man…well, he did choose me after all…~smile~

I had received an email earlier in the day telling me I had made Tell His Story‘s featured writer of the week with my post Glitches, Grace, and Gentle Reminders. (Link found here

Tell His Story is a link up graciously hosted by Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol and her soon to be released book The Happiness Dare. I have followed her writings since she had made her on line appearance.

 This news, three~hundred and seven on my list.

I have been writing in this space for a some time now. I had been on the mountain with God. As I stumbled off the mountain top towards the valley of life and living the hard, there was at first a gentle nudge to share my story. I pulled a Moses. Arguing my case, justifying my no.

I was not to be left alone. The nudge became a force pulling, and pushing me in. After months of this round and round wrestling with God, I surrendered. Awkwardly, technically challenged, and insecure, I began to pen words here.

With each word, I grew, plunged deeper in. My words became more personal. Transparent. Authentic. The thing I never talked about much, soon became the story. My story. I built a lovely on~line community with writers. Made connections with others suffering through hard.

I was burdened by how many suicides are committed by those suffering with a chronic illness. Depression, hopelessness, the weary in the dailyness of it.

In my knowing, there was a call to go deeper. To give more.

I stood frozen in fear and uncertainty. Mired up in comparison. Stuck.

Uncanny, isn’t it, how God works in mysterious ways? The thing I felt validated me had come through the vessel of the very woman who penned the words in Love Idol: Letting go of your need for approval and seeing yourself through God’s eyes. 

The words I shared with my Sunday School class on Sunday came back to haunt me.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13~NIV

I went on to say, “With the filling of the Spirit, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.” 

The prodding and encouragement of many friends, one in particular (you know who you are~smile) I long to sit across from soon, coffee in hand. Gift three~hundred and seven, this, this was confirmation.

Confirmation it is time now. Time to make a commitment to The Author of my story and honor it. Where He will take it, I haven’t a clue. It’s not the end result, but the stepping out, for me, more like jumping over the edge, in faith.

So I will…

“Are we willing to open our lives fully, to be used for God’s glory and not our own?”

Love Idol~Jennifer Dukes Lee

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

other places you may find me…