January 21st is a regular day for most people, but for me, today is a day to celebrate!
Red Chair Moments turns 4 today!
Today, I will eat cake. Today I can point back to the history of God’s faithfulness over the past four years.
What day do you celebrate? Perhaps it is the day you heard “Cancer Free” or the day you said “I do.” Maybe its the anniversary of being drug free? Or the day you chose to make your marriage work? Everyone has a day to celebrate the faithfulness of God. What’s your day?
The History of Red Chair Moments
My first article, “Just Ask” debuted on January 21, 2012.
Red Chair Moments began as a humble response to share stories of God’s grace more frequently than my annual Christmas letter. What I didn’t know then, is that God would use Red Chair Moments to speak to thousands of hearts overseas and in my own backyard.
I am not qualified to write. I possess degrees in Biology and Pharmacy not English. As a pharmacist I am more comfortable discussing the colons inside our bodies than the grammatical use of a colon. My calling to write thus proves three things:
- God has a sense of humor.
- God will equip those who he calls.
- Kissing Ireland’s Blarney Stone in 2001 has lasting effects. (Legend states, if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be given the gift of gab.)
In 2013, I sensed God stirring for something different with Red Chair Moments. For over a year, I prayed God’s will to be revealed. I wanted to use Red Chair Moments to raise money for Serving His Children, a non-profit organization that provides nourishment to children in Jinga, Uganda, but I didn’t know how.
In 2014, I met Brenda Gay Shumaker, a local writer, founder of Designs for Living and owner of Shepherd’s Gate Retreat. Little did I know meeting Brenda was part of God’s divine plan. Brenda offered to mentor me in my writing journey.
In 2015, Brenda invited friend and editor, Vie Herlocker of Cornerstone –Ink, to teach a weekend writing retreat at Shepherd’s Gate. In March, I allowed advertising on the website; however I never had peace about this decision. Two weeks later, I revoked the advertisements and prayed, “Lord, if you want to raise extra money for Serving His Children, you’ll have to find another way.” I took my meager $0.65 profit and wrote the smallest check to Serving His Children. Prior to handing over the check, I prayed “Lord, five loaves and two fish.”
Walk by Faith Not by Sight
With Brenda and Vie’s prompting, I leapt by faith to the five-day Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, NC. There I was invited to submit articles for consideration to magazine, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. In November of 2015, Clubhouse purchased a craft article! Six months after I prayed for God to find another way to raise money, I presented Serving His Children with a check for $75.00!
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10, ESV)
Little is much when God is in it!
Over the years, my kids have taught me ‘new math’, but nothing compares to God’s math! In God’s math class, he doesn’t subtract or add, HE MULTIPLIES! My $0.65 faith check in March multiplied over 1000 times to a $75.00 faith check 6 months later. I am excited to announce Clubhouse purchased another article for the 2016 magazine. Like the little boy who shared his lunch, I too have little to offer. Also like the boy, I have firsthand knowledge of God’s enormous response to simple offerings.
What’s your day?
Everyone has a day to celebrate the faithfulness of God. What’s your day?
To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
Let’s eat cake!
“When God enters the equation, His output always exceeds your input.”
-Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker
Over the years, my kids have taught me ‘new math,’ but nothing compares to God’s math! In God’s math class, he doesn’t subtract or add, HE MULTIPLIES!
My favorite illustration of God’s math was when Jesus fed five thousand people (not including women and children) with a little boy’s lunch.
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish,but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9, NIV)
Like the little boy who shared his lunch, I too have little to offer. Also like the boy, I have firsthand knowledge of God’s enormous response to simple offerings.
I prayed, “Lord, five loaves and two fish.”
“Breaking the cycle of malnutrition, ONE LIFE at a time.”
In March of 2015, I allowed advertising on the Red Chair Moments website. My mission was to use the site to raise money for Serving His Children, a non-profit organization that provides nourishment to children in Jinga, Uganda. However I never had peace about this decision to sell ads.
Two weeks later I revoked the advertisements. I prayed, “Lord, if you want to raise extra money for Serving His Children, you’ll have to find another way.” I took my meager $0.65 profit and wrote the smallest check to Serving His Children. Prior to handing over the check, I prayed “Lord, five loaves and two fish.”
Walk by Faith Not by Sight
With prompting from my writing mentors, I took a faith leap and attended the five-day Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, NC. There, I was invited to submit articles for consideration to Focus on the Family’s Children’s magazine, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. In November of 2015, Clubhouse purchased a craft article! Six months after I prayed for God to find another way to raise money, I presented Serving His Children with a check for $75.00!
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10, ESV)
My $0.65 faith check in March multiplied over 1000 times to a $75.00 faith check six months later.
Little is much when God is in it!
I am excited to announce Clubhouse purchased another article for the 2016 magazine. Like the little boy who shared his lunch, I too have little to offer. Also like the boy, I have firsthand knowledge of God’s enormous response to simple offerings.
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9, NIV)
Do you have a story of a time God multiplied your faith and obedience? Please share below!
To God be the glory!
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com
|My turn to turn off the birthday plate.
Today is my fortieth birthday. For some crazy reason, I devised a plan to try forty new things this year. I borrowed the idea from our pastor who spoke about the importance of stepping outside our comfort zone. “You should never stop taking first steps” was the phrase I scribbled in my journal on that monumental Sunday.
I shared a few things from my list already in the article Forty New Things. Today I will expound on that initial list. This experiment has been more than merely adding items to list. It has been a project of self-exploration, discipline, and determination. Trying forty new things has been both thrilling and terrifying.
I’ve learned rejection sometimes follows risk, but so does great reward.
Accepting the title as writer was the first new thing I had to overcome. I have a desire to pen words to a page and hopefully encourage someone else along the way. Coming to terms who I really am (a wife, mom, obnoxious sports mom at times, friend, pharmacist, encourager, and writer) was absolutely freeing. No games, no drama, no masks, just me. And at forty years old, I like me.
I’ve made several uncomfortable steps outside my comfort zone this year. I attended a writer’s weekend retreat, ordered Red Chair Moments business cards, joined the American Christian Writers origination, and the local Roanoke Valley chapter. In May, I scarified a week of vacation to attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina. While at the conference I pitched ideas to publishers, editors, and agents. I applied for writing and blog contests and lost. I submitted multiple articles for publication and was turned down.
God’s ways are not our own (Isaiah 55:8). I’ve learned not to misinterpret a hearing the word no for when what God really is saying is not now. Using those same writing samples, which were initially turned down, I was extended an invitation to write for Inspire A Fire and Focus on the Family’s children’s magazine, Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. In addition, I had several devotions chosen for the 2016 publication of Penned from the Heart, a 366 day devotional book.
Rejection stings and so does a dog bite. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced both this summer. A few weeks ago, I was attacked by a German shepherd. I see this dog often on my morning run and I don’t know why he chose to take a bite from my right hip. It hurt and so did the tetanus shot that followed. But a random dog bite won’t keep me from running, nor will a rejection letter keep me from writing.
|My Circle of Seven
|Since January, God has placed amazing people in my life as a result of stepping outside my comfort zone. My friend Brenda Shumaker author of Decorating Your Heart and Home, holds the keys to opportunity. She introduced me to Editor, Vie Herlocker who encouraged me to attend the BRMCWC. I prayed for God to send me at least one friend at the conference and He sent me seven. (You can read all about that answer to prayer in the article Circle of Seven.) I met writer and Editor Cindy Sproles, author of Mercy’s Rain. I will never forget the sound of her sweet Appalachian drawl when she spoke the words I longed to hear, “Why, yes you can write.” I also met my favorite author Susan May Warren and captured her autograph. Last month I had to opportunity to meet Rwandan genocide survivor, Amen Mirbaraka. She has a powerful testimony of God’s deliverance from blood and evil to blessings.
On a lighter side, I bought my first diesel car this year and I am thrilled about 52 mpg on the highway. I am also proud to announce I have progressed from the Twinkle Twinkle melodies to playing Bach. My progress on the violin is slow but I enjoy the challenge. While I’m on the subject of the violin, Rachel participated in her first off Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. This was my first time watching this amazing play. The students and musicians at RVCS rocked the show. Speaking of musicians, Chris and I experienced Harry Connick Jr. in concert. What can I say? He and his musicians are incredibly gifted and I look forward to attending another concert.
My list is still growing. I hope you have been encouraged to step out of your safe and comfortable world and try something new. Yes sometimes rejection follows risk, but so does great reward.
Gotta go. I think I hear birthday cake calling my name.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Robed in white, I secured my personal belongings in a dark mahogany locker and waited my turn. The dimmed lights and soft music suggested a spa atmosphere instead of a medical facility. This would be one of my forty new experiences.
All of a sudden I felt grown up. When did that happen? I was about to experience a rite of passage for all women. Lisa, the technician called my name. Cinching my robe tighter, I shuffled into her dark lair.
Often, I use humor when facing awkward situations. I exclaimed with apprehensive excitement, “Congratulations Lisa, you made my list! I’ve decided to try forty new things this year and you, my dear are part of it!” Curious, Lisa asked about my list.
Over the next several minutes I went on to explain that I’ve decided to try forty new things this year! Forty new things, because I will turn forty-years-old this year.
I shared with Lisa, earlier this year our pastor, offered this challenge: “You should never stop taking first steps.” A few days later I heard Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, utter these words: “You cannot fulfill God’s calling in your life from your comfort zone.” Like flies on sticky tape, those two statements clung to my mind.
Leaning forward Lisa asked, “How many things do you have on your list?” “Around twenty five,” I replied “maybe a few more, not bad considering it’s only June right?”
I shared how embracing the title as a writer was my first new step for 2015.
“April, I’m so glad I met you. What else is on your list?” Sensing I needed to lighten the mood (mine not hers) I spoke of our recent cruise to the Bahamas, our first cruise with the kids. We snorkeled in the Caribbean and swam at the Atlantis. During mealtime my kids suggested I order the strangest item on the menu touting “Mom, remember new things.” So I ate fried alligator, which you guessed it, tasted like chicken.
Forgetting the reason I was in this medical office, I laughed about celebrating my friend’s fiftieth birthday over dinner at Cedars of Lebanon and participating in my first Paint-Nite. This was a double hitter of first new experiences. Lisa asked for my contact information and I gladly offered her my card. It was time to get down to the reason I was there.
This will be the first of several posts chronically my new forty new things. I hope you return to learn what else God has up his holy sleeve!
“For we live by faith not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)
Trying something new requires the initial hesitate step outside our comfort zone. God is teaching me to step out in faith and let Him take care of the outcomes.
What new steps do you feel nudged to take? Let’s talk, reply below.
Connect with me email firstname.lastname@example.org
|A Red Chair Moment at
My head was pounding, no doubt due to the haze of yellow pollen that enveloped Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I walked to class early to reserve a seat. Steve Laube’s class filled up quickly, everyone vying to listen to this legendary literary agent. If I hurried, I would have time to return to my room, grab a Coke Zero™ and swallow a handful of ibuprofen, and allergy medication.
As I approached my building I saw my friend Sandra, sitting at an outdoor table. She didn’t see me walk up and I pondered whether to stop and say hello before or after grabbing headache medicine. I felt a nudge to stop now rather than later. “Honey, are you okay?” Her tearful eyes answered my question.
An hour earlier, author Susan May Warren gave the keynote address. She spoke of her experiences as a missionary in Russia. She captivated the audience, by her true story of God’s protection and provision, while being held hostage and robbed. Susan spoke about starting over with nothing when her family returned to the United States eight years later. In a shaky voice, Sandra explained she had a similar experience as a missionary in Eastern Europe. Susan’s speech stirred up emotions Sandra had suppressed. Until Susan May Warren’s speech, Sandra didn’t know of anyone else who would understand.
|Susan May Warren’s autograph for
my library book
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
As Sandra spoke, the silver charm of her necklace reflected the early morning sunlight. Inscribed on the simple charm was Psalm 139:14. I knelt down and prayed for her. We hugged and I wiped my own misty eyes, wishing I had worn waterproof mascara.
There was no time for me to return to my room for headache medicine. While checking my make up in the lobby restroom and I realized my pounding headache was gone! Outside I skipped towards Sandra (yes I skipped). I was excited to explain how God removed my headache!
Did God give me a holy headache so that I would come across her path? Was my headache a test of selfless obedience? During my week at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I signed up for several faculty appointments. However, my headache and discussion with my Sandra was divinely appointed.
What about you? Have you experienced a divine appointment? Please share in the reply below.