You may have noticed some lag in my posting lately. Firstly, I want to assure you that I haven’t been kidnapped, electrified, struck blind, contracted pneumonia, got a leg hacked off, or even suffered from a bad bruise. My house hasn’t been burned, ransacked, or swallowed up into a sink hole. To be perfectly honest, nothing particularly bad has happened in my life. But a lot of unexpected things have occurred.
One of those things is Story Embers.
You’ve probably already heard of this place by now, but in case you haven’t, it’s an awesome site dedicated to guiding and inspiring Christian artists and writers. Several dedicated individuals will be working there, including Josiah DeGraaf, Brianna Hilvety, Rolena Hatfield, Gabrielle Pollack, Brandon Miller, Cindy Green, and many others.
And guess who else is going to be on the staff? *squeals* Me! I must say I’m very proud to be a part of this new place, but I’m also sad because it meant saying goodbye to another place I’d come to know and love. The part I’ll miss the most is the interaction with the people on the Kingdom Pen forum. At least it isn’t a complete farewell since I know I’ll still be working with many of the same people. And if you are one of those crazy, awesome people from the KP forum, YOU’D BETTER HOP OVER TO STORY EMBERS ONCE IN A WHILE SO I WON’T DIE FROM MISSING YOU!
*cough* Really, you don’t have to (but I would love it if you would).
Besides all that, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. There were moments when felt like giving up and isolating myself from the internet forever. I wondered if all the effort and time I put into my art, this blog, and my books were really worth it. I’d become so weary of marketing and building a platform that I just wanted to blow up the entire foundation.
Don’t worry, I didn’t.
Maybe my attempts haven’t always been successful, but God is showing me that every unsuccessful attempt is a stepping stone to the right path. All this—my blog, my marketing, everything—is one big learning process. I will fail. I will do stupid things. But that doesn’t mean I should give up. The best things take time and work. And even if my kingdom crumbles, that doesn’t matter. God’s kingdom is more important than mine and I can put my trust in it because I know its walls are unshakable.
So what does all this mean? It means I’ve decided to take a month hiatus from my blog so I can redirect and reevaluate my goals, plan my battle strategies, and use my energy to help Story Embers as it gets up and running. However, once this month is over, I’ll be posting some sad yet exciting news about the next road I’ll be taking, so keep an eye out!
I've got one million dreams,
Or at least so it seems.
I dream of being an artist who splashes life onto pages,
And of penning adventures that captivate all ages.
I dream of being an animator like Walt Disney himself,
And seeing my name printed on a novel on some bookstore’s shelf.
I dream of being a chef whose delicacies everyone craves,
And cracking jokes that ripple laughter like waves.
I dream of devouring all the theological masterpieces of literature,
And someday memorizing every sentence, word, and letter of Scripture.
I dream of launching a blog that ignites smiles on a thousand faces,
And of planting God's seed in far-off places.
So many drawings, so many stories, too many dreams, not enough time,
Not to mention so many other dreams I haven't mentioned in this rhyme.
I've got one million dreams,
But out of them all, one gleams,
Like the blinding sun it shines forth,
Reducing my other dreams to a penny's worth.
If I ever abandoned that one dream,
The others would lose their beam.
This road may lead to trial, persecution, and tribulation,
But in the end I'll arrive at my heavenly destination.
I've got one million dreams,
May each one magnify the God who redeems!
“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ ” (Luke 17:10)
If a janitor could win an award for scrubbing the floor extra hard, then writers should receive a medal for scribbling two more words than they did yesterday and hairdressers should receive a plaque for cutting an extra pound of hair. At that rate, we should be awarded for getting up in the morning. A boss will rarely applaud his workers because they did what he told them to do, but he will chew them out if they don't.
Sometimes we forget that we are God's slaves as well as His children. Whether we spread the gospel, give money to the needy, or encourage a suffering soul, it is what we ought to have done. We might think something we did was particularly stupendous until we remember our greatest feats are mere crumbs on the Master’s table. It's the very least we can do to live for Him since He died for us. We deserve no praise for cleaning off the table; it is the job our Master gave us and let us do it with all our might. And even if our daily duties were something to boast about, all our faults, sins, and stupidity would smear the gold on our trophy. If God hired us according to our past record, I think a five-year-old would have a better chance of getting a job constructing atomic bombs than we could getting a job as God's servants. Supposing He would overlook our inexperience and hire us anyway, we'd flub so much on the job that any normal boss would fire us in two seconds.
But God is not a normal boss—He hires the most unlikely candidates and turns them into artisans. He still praises us, even though what we do is not praiseworthy, and He pays us a salary more than we deserve.
“Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” ( 1 Corinthians 13:7)
Nothing can break love, it might crack, but it will never break. Paul did not merely say love bears many things, he said it “bears all things.” We often tend to bind love with limits. “My friend cast me away; I cannot love,” we say. “My father died; I cannot love,” we think. “My house burned down; I cannot love,” we resolve. There are many events we think we can't bear—and we won't if we chain ourselves with hate. But wrap your arms in the Father's love and you can bear anything, even the tragedies you don't think you can.
Saying love “believes all things” makes love sound gullible. Does it literally mean love believes all things, or that believes all good things? I'm inclined to believe the latter since love wouldn't believe lies since it rejoices in the truth (c.f. 13:6). However, love will believe all things God tells it. God says the world was created in six days. We believe it. Why? Because it's verified by scientific facts? Yes, but also simply because our Father says so. Having experienced His love and goodness, we know He would never lie to us.
Love’s light never dwindles even when the world grows dark. How can we smile when tears stain our cheeks? If we have love, we have salvation, and if we have salvation, we can smile at the hope of a better tomorrow. God's love can do anything, so we can hope for everything. We can hope for the salvation of the wickedest, peace in war, and life in the stench of death.
Many homes cannot stand the force of a tornado but love can withstand a hurricane. Whatever the weather, it endures, and if it doesn't, then it's not love. When we are weary, we eat to keep up our strength. So when your heart is tired, feed it with love. Study the accounts of enduring love. Job endured, David endured, Paul endured, why can't we?
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
The reason love is greater than all other attributes is because all those other attributes flow from it. You can faith without love and you can have hope without love, but if you have love, you will undoubtedly have hope and faith. After all, does not love fulfill every commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)? Solomon exhorted his pupils to seek wisdom, but it would have been wiser for them to seek love. Once you have love, you will naturally seek out wisdom because love adores learning about the Wise One. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but the love of the Lord is the beginning of truth, faith, hope, mercy, humility, forgiveness, righteousness, and all wonderful things.
“Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6)
Sadly, error has often been shielded in the name of love. Although love forgives the greatest sins, it does not condone them. “Do not judge!” a person cries as a strange looking sheep enters the congregation. I beg their pardon, but neither I nor anyone else wishes to be torn to shreds by a wolf. Christ told us not to judge according to the appearance but judge with righteous judgement (John 7:24). That is how love judges. Overlooking a friend’s sin is like ignoring a leak in their boat; you are helping them drown.
Also, love is thrives in an environment of truth and will wither in error. Some have gotten the notion that it is loving to accept all who profess Christ as genuine, regardless of what they believe. But that is being unloving, to that person and to God. Would you want your friend to give their life savings to conman? It is unloving to let a person think they're headed to heaven if their lives show they are headed for hell. Wouldn't it be kinder to warn them before it's too late? And we're being unloving to God when we accept a doctrine that dishonors or misrepresents Him. Would you like it if someone called your mother a liar? Then don't let others call God one!
Some people wonder how a Christian can hate sin but not the sinner. What if you had a loved one who stabbed themselves everyday? Would you love what they were doing to themselves? Wouldn't you do everything in your power to make them stop? Or what if you had a friend that smoked all the time, wouldn't you still love them even though you can't stand the smell of cigarettes? Genuine love cannot tolerate anything that destroys and since sin destroys, love hates sin. “You may depend upon that man who will tell you of your faults in a kind and considerate manner.” *
And if we don't love righteousness, we can't love God because He is righteousness. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15). Since we love God more than all our heart, soul, and mind, we should be willing to sacrifice anything for Him—even our most cherished sins. The desire to please Him should consume our heart and the way to please Him is by practicing godliness. True, our works can never earn our salvation anymore than a few pennies could pay off the national debt. Rather, they are a small token of our gratitude for all He's done for us.
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume Three (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 16.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist and aspiring children's author who captures the glories of God's creation on paper. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a master's degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio