September 2022 Featured Article
Tapping her fingers lightly on her desk, she eyed a little devotional book. Picking it up, she thumbed through the pages and laid it open. Be still, she thought and closed her eyes while shifting in her seat. She clicked her pen for five agonizing minutes while drawing cleansing breaths. It wasn’t helping. ~ Melanie, Shattered Guilt
Relax. Chill out. Trust God. Sound familiar? I’m a calm, patient person, and I don’t get riled too easily. Even with many grandkids dropping in almost every day, I’m cool. But not so at night. I don’t sleep well. I never have. I have my sound nights, but not very often. And since I don’t require much sleep and can function well on just a few hours, I don’t sweat too much over it. But my husband reminded me that sweet sleep is a gift. “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24 is how he always ends our family prayers. Then he asked that question that a mature Christian hates to hear. What are you anxious over?
In other words, why can’t I sleep? Because my mind races, but now that I’m older, I’m not so anxious and don’t tend to worry, but I still plan, plot, and ponder everything! Family, writing, my books, finances. I’ve always told my kids, and I practice it myself when you can’t sleep, pray, sing and recite scripture. All silently if you’re apt to disturb someone else’s sleep. But then I thought, that’s not really being still, is it?
Last month, I decided to really practice being still. That scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 is one of my favorites. And what exactly does it mean? Be weak, let go, release. I realized that whatever my mind was concentrating on at night time, it was not doing these things. Thankfully when I felt that nudge to practice, I did. In the dark, quiet night, flat on my back, I raised my hands in surrender, letting my mind go. I’m so glad I practiced! As always, God’s timing was perfect because we’ve had a doozy of a month. It started all on the same day.
Our newborn granddaughter returned to the hospital and was admitted to the NICU with a critical condition, my brother-in-law had a stroke and landed in the ICU, and my son had a frozen shoulder the day before taking his family back to Japan. This all happened on the same day, within hours of each event. But praise God. We had just met for our family prayer gathering a few nights before. It’s something that’s difficult with thirty-five family members, but we did it with everyone present, and everyone including children prayed. So when the news came, all of us were even keel. Trusting God, praying for His will, and healing. Quiet, peaceful, waiting.
When evening hit, my night wasn’t entirely sound, but I wasn’t burdened with trying to plan for the future or to try and fix everything. I slept, knowing I could do that in the day time. Well, not fix anything, but plan, prepare, and trust.
Like Melanie’s walk of faith, in Shattered Guilt, our walk is a journey. Faith is a journey, and it’s so important that we trust God in blessings and trials, that we believe Jesus’ saving work, and that we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us for God’s glory.
I love my broken but persevering characters to experience and share this growth which always includes, at some point, being still and knowing that God is … well, God. Carol in Restored Grace (Book 2), Lacey in Shadowed Doubt (Book 3 releasing June 2023), Roxanne in Renewed Hope (Book 4 releasing June 2024), and the rest of the series to be written!
I hope you’re experiencing that peace that passes all understanding, especially when trials hit. But if not, try practicing, being weak, letting go, and surrendering. If you’re like me, you’ll have plenty of opportunities with those surrounding you in real life.
This is the last article for Because Fiction magazine, and I’ve learned so much sharing with you about blessings and hardships in life. I know God has called me to encourage readers through Christian Fiction, and I hope you’ll be inspired by the Bay Town Series of Books, as the ladies there also practice their faith in action.