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This was not supposed to be today’s post. I’ve had Wednesday’s, May 24th post penciled in my planner for three weeks. It’s a hard one to write and I know I’m supposed to write it because it was confirmed, first-hand, at the Dollar General this past Saturday morning. However, the Spirit of God dropped this into my heart on Sonday afternoon as I binge watched Fixer Upper after church and lunch with a dear friend. It was a rainy day. I was in my favorite spot, yellow recliner, living room, at the window, Sam at my feet, iPad in my lap, Chip Gaines making some goofy joke, Jo-Jo rolling her eyes and plop goes today’s title.
You see that’s how God works with me. He first gives me a title. I write it down. I look at it for (sometimes) weeks, definitely days.
My heart overflows with a good theme…my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45.1 (NASB)
That good theme? At times is a hard theme. I am 66.5 years old. I have been writing for 58 years. I began writing my first book in the 90’s. The Lord told me to start writing devotions. He named me A PRUNED BRANCH…ouch.
His pruning shears came out. Chop. Chop. Chop. Chop. Chop. (John 15)
Did I say He chopped? Oh, He was relentless.
Change of employment. Rebellious children. Broken marriage. Near-poverty. Unemployment. New business. Money. Disappointment. Rebellious children (oh yeah, I mentioned that!). Dysfunctional relationships. Broken covenant.
For 10-15 years He wielded those pruners like a pro-gardener. He’s the best you know. After all, His work began in a garden – He knows a thing or 102 about gardening. About pruning. About producing good fruit vs. bad fruit. About branches. About burn piles. Yes, HE IS THE MASTER GARDENER.
And, I was His branch. His Pruned Branch.
There’s a book by that name. A book that, in all truth and reality, took ten years to finish. It can be found here.
Even THIS post is being steered by HIM. The words penned, fingers guided by Him. My friends, I don’t write what I want to. I write what I have to. Here it is in a nutshell, a list. Because for some reason we all LOVE lists. Ready?
- I do not write what I wish to write.
- I do not write fluff and fun (well, once in a while FUN!!!)
- I do not write with any one person in mind.
- I do not write whimsy and tickling words.
- I do not write unless I am guided by … Holy Spirit.
- I do write His way.
- I do write His theme.
- I do write when He prompts me.
- I do write only His ideas.
- I do agonize. I analyze. I write. I delete. I write. I edit. I write. I go back.
Get my drift? This is God’s work. This writing I do? It’s His work. He called me to it. And, He tells me what to say and how to say it. I never intend to hurt, mis-use, insult, anyone.
My Writing Coach is in charge of me…my words are His words. Every jot and tittle is in agreement with His written word.
I write with holy conviction not fleshly uncertainty. Even these words weren’t what “I had in mind.”
You are looking outward, and that above all you should not do now. Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you to write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you to write. This above all – ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write? Delve into yourself for a deep answer. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple “I must,” then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and testimony to it. Rilke, Letters to a Living Poet.
P.P.S. How do I not think of Jeremiah’s words?
When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout. So these messages from the Lord have made me a household joke. But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it! Jeremiah 20.8-9