Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Perspective on God's Reality


It has been a hard week with the news of two deaths from brain cancer (Kristy Dykes and someone I knew in high school) as well as still not having any major change in my nephew's condition. I've been feeling really physically run down with stress from many areas, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits, but I'm glad to be alive and want to use my life to serve God and leave a legacy.

The 3 people above have left a mark on this world through life, as well as through illness.

As we've read Kristy's blog, starting especially in November, we have been touched by a powerful passion for life and God. Even when the news was grave, we were drawn daily to hear the Dyke family's own words of comfort and hope.

I was Kristy's first fiction editor, but I truly believe her fiction publications would never have reached such a wide audience with such poignancy -- even if she had reached a goal of a million books in print -- like her blog has been able to reach in a few short months. If she had written the story of a woman who knew she was going to die, the fiction story wouldn't have moved us as her real life experience has.

We can't understand how life is cut short in its prime, but is amazing how we can find hope through suffering and rejoice for those we know are now resting safely in Jesus' arms.

So, as I contemplated what to write today, I thought about ICRS events, marketing ideas, book signings, and such, but none of all that hype is worth anything if we don't reach an audience and touch them in such a way as to point them to a life-changing relationship with Jesus.

If we sell a million books that entertain today but are completely forgotten tomorrow, then our efforts were in vain and meaningless in the end. So we have to keep things in perspective, forgetting about sales numbers, marketing spins, getting our name on every blog, and so forth. We have to keep ourselves focused on the only thing that has any meaning and purpose in this life -- Jesus.

People who are anchored in Jesus, putting him first, are those who we can say have had the most impact on who we are today as Christians. Most often their circle of influence was small, but their impact was great as the lives they have touched have in turn affected an even wider circle of people.

The Message from Luke 10 -- Steep Yourself in God-Reality

22-24 He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.

25-28 "Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

29-32 "What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.

33-34 "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.

How can worrying about sales numbers, fretting over royalty figures, and getting anxious about what reviewers are saying (or not saying) about our work add one day to our lives? Let's us all learn from Kristy how to be content with where we are and what God is doing in our lives today. Let tomorrow -- and all those pesky publishing details -- take care of itself.

The preacher will now return to being an editor.

12 comments:

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Becky,
Thanks for these wise words. Kristy lived her life well, and she has taught me so much, especially since last November. It was a joy to partner with her on two books. We had hoped to do more. I will always be grateful for her friendship and all she has taught me in writing and in life. Thanks for honoring her today in your blog.It certainly puts everything in perspective.
Blessings,
Carrie

Rhonda said...

Well said Becky. Kristy touched so many people during her time on earth. She once told me I was a "classy lady". I've never seen myself as classy, klutsy maybe, but never classy. She touched me in a way that I will never forget not with just those words but other conversations we shared as well. God is good and I'm sure He is enjoying having a real classy lady with Him in heaven. Rhonda

Janet Lee Barton said...

Becky,
I was thinking how hard it would have to be to post a normal blog today-- after having to post that Kristy had passed away, yesterday.

Thank you for finding a way to do it that centers our minds on what is truly important, just as Kristy's blog has done for all these months.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, too. And will be praying for your nephew.
JanetB

Debby Mayne said...

Kristy had an impact on everyone who knew her--especially in these last months of her life. She was an amazing woman.

This is definitely a time to reflect and see where we are with the Lord. I'm thankful to be surrounded by believers who don't hesitate to remind me what's really important. And it happens. Often.

Patti Jo said...

Wonderful message, Becky. Thank you for this timely reminder to all of us. Blessings,
Patti Jo Moore
P.S. I'm continuing to pray for your nephew...I'm sure that situation has been very hard for you.

Anonymous said...

Your post came at exactly the right time, Becky, and with the very message I know I needed to hear. Bless you for your obedience to write it.

Kristy's smiling, right now, and likely bending the ear of Jesus to tell him all about the dear friends who miss her so. How like Kristy to be concerned for us, don't you think?

I'll miss her perpetual greeting from sunny Florida and will never look upon the color of "Kristy teal" without thinking of her.

Nor will I ever read those words from the Message in the same way.

You're a blessing and a balm to a hurting heart tonight, Becky. Again, thank you.

Kathleen Y'Barbo

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Becky,

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. So many things that we fret over in life mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. I keep trying to remind myself of it each day, but the busy part of life continually distracts me. And I admit to struggling with it.

Last October my father-in-law had triple by-pass heart surgery and lung cancer surgery at the same time. On the same day that I learned of Kristy's passing, I received a call that he might have an aneurysm in his heart. (not sure if I spelled that right) It seems like so much is happening right now. One of the harder issues is how much to tell my almost 11 year old daughter. She already knows and I can tell she's really worried. There are some things I just can hide from her like I could when she was 5 and 6.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

That was supposed to be can't hide from her...

Beth Loughner said...

What a beautiful post, Becky. Reading through Kristy's blog was so uplifting and faith-filled...even if I did cry. Did anyone see the video taken a few days ago where she was singing a gospel song with those visiting her bedside? Talk about living for Jesus!

Although I didn't know her personally, her strong faith is such an encouragement. That kind of faith comes from living side by side with Jesus every day for a long time.

Like you Becky, I have a friend who is struggling with cancer and will step into Heaven within the next few days. The daughter asked me last week if I thought it was easier for the family if a loved one was to go suddenly or to linger. Honestly, I'm glad God makes the decision. Having lost a mother suddenly when she was a little older than I am now, or to take the recent journey with my father who suffered so much in the end that it drove me to my knees, is difficult either way. But God knows. As with Kristy, God had a plan that will meet His plans and goals to bring others to Him.

I pray that her life and books reach others for what she knew was the ultimate goal of her life...living for Jesus.

I'll be praying for your nephew and friend.

Beth

Mary Connealy said...

I remember attending the funeral of a friend who died in a car accident. She had three young children, one badly disabled and I tried so hard to figure out why.
What is God's plan? Why would he take someone who is so badly needed by so many?

That funeral was huge, she was a school teacher besides a mom and wife. And I thought when someone dies young, or before their 'turn' it touches so many lives. It forces people to think of eternal things.

That alone can be the purpose, to soften hearts, make the vulnerable to God.

Becky said...

Thanks for continued prayers for Aaron. He got a trache (sp?) installed and a feeding peg in the stomach yesterday. Today there have been some good signs of movement, even yawning.

Also, today my mom went into the hospital for observation. Doc needs to observe her symptoms that have her feeling very run down as of late. Not how I wanted to spend my weekend, but we pray this helps her.

Jennifer Johnson said...

Oh Becky, what a wonderful post. I didn't know Kristy that well, but I have been so saddened and humbled by her death. I know she rejoices in heaven, and I know her family hurts here. They miss her. I've been thinking so much about everything that your post lists. Even in the shower the other day, I was admitting that no one will remember Jennifer Johnson by name decades from now...but maybe, as a wife, as a mom, as a writer, as a teacher, as a friend, I will touch someone else, who will touch someone else, and so on.

The man, his name was Romy, who told our family about Christ has no idea what an impact his simple sharing has had. Because of his willingness to share, my parents are saved by grace, I am, and so are my children. I pray that legacy continues until Christ returns.

This business of life is ALL about Him, every aspect of it. Thank you so much for the post. I'm thankful to write for a company whose editors yearn to live God's Word and God's way.

Jennifer