When the road stretches longer than expected and delays and detours abound, we dare not deter from the right path. The high road, though often rough hewn, long, lonely, and costly, is worthy of staying the course. In the long run, the cost of abandoning our call is higher than the pursuit of it. Shortcuts out of God’s will shortchange us and all those our life impacts. Look at the turmoil caused by Sarah and Abraham’s attempt to help and hurry God’s promise by Abraham bearing a child with Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. King Saul lost his destiny because he stepped out of his role and assumed the duty set aside for the high priest when he failed to wait for Samuel and instead made the burnt offering before battle.
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,” Samuel told Saul. Sometimes obedience means a season of waiting and work in preparation for the journey. It takes time to train a skilled soldier, it takes time to forge and temper a weapon. Sometimes it’s the lessons learned on an arduous journey that prepare us for our destination.
“It’s good for you to be out of your comfort zone,” my son-in-law Spencer texted me.
“Remind me again,” I said, “what is a comfort zone?”
“Trust me, nothing you want any part of!” he said.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
God also incorporates people into our life to inspire, lead, and guide us.
“You are going to enter that article in the Selah competition, right?” Patricia Tiffany Morris said.
It takes time to form a writer and to craft a well-told story too. But then there comes a time to release one’s work.
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV)
At some point, you must decide whether you’re making your work better or just making it different. — 21 time NYT bestselling author and writing coach, Jerry B. Jenkins
“Mom, sometimes a thing has become what it was meant to be! Submit it.” my son Andrew said.
And I did.
Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, located in Black Mountain, NC, is more like church than school, like a grand family reunion, with top-notch education from industry pros to boot.
I’m changing Cherrilynn’s name to Cheery-lynn as she’s always encouraging others, and wow, is she chipper in the morning!
Blessed by the many new friendships formed and the connections made in relation to the research for my book on the integration of Oak Ridge, TN at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. My new friend, award-winning writer Maureeen Miller calls these “Godnections.”
About that article I almost called and quit on because I didn’t think I could write it—the one I laid my head on the table and wept to God for half-an-hour over—my first newspaper article in print—which made the front page. The one that came about as a result of the one year delayed trip I took to Oak Ridge in 2021:
My article, The Integration of Oak Ridge, featured in the Oak Ridger newspaper under city historian Mr. Ray Smith’s Historically Speaking column, won the 1st Place 2022 Selah Award in the Articles in Print category at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.
(This series in the Oak Ridger newspaper is a prelude to my book on the integration of Oak Ridge, TN. — Prayers, please.)
I penned the first words to my children’s picture book, Tropical Dreams, over 20 years ago (before I knew I was a writer.) In 2021, I presented it to a certain publisher for the second time. It took months of praying and pondering to figure out how to implement their suggestion. Days before the BRMCWC contest deadline, my friend and fellow writer, J.D. Wininger, counseled me to rework the entire manuscript. (The preferred industry standard for rhyming children’s picture books is for couplets to contain the same syllable count.)
Are you kidding me, J.D.?! Do you know how many times I’ve reworked this? — But I did it.
Tropical Dreams won 1st Place in the 2022 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundations Awards for Children’s Picture Books. — And I pitched it to the publisher for the third time and they’re taking it before the publishing board. Another publisher also expressed interest. (Praise God, I’ve moved to a new waiting room!)
(Thanks for pushing me, J.D. Blessed to be on this writing journey with you.)
My nonfiction personal essay entitled That Day chronicles heart-rending and faith stretching waits of ten years and 36 years. But they were worth it.
At my husband’s urging I first wrote That Day in 2015. I’ve lost count on the rewrites and there were rejections too. BUT:
Special Announcement Below and Opportunity at End!
My essay, That Day, which won the 2nd Place Foundations Award at #BRMCWC is included in the newly released compilation book, Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders. *PROCEEDS FROM THIS BOOK, Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders GO TO Samaritan's Purse for the #UkrainianCrisis RELIEF EFFORT. This is what I do with pain. Yield it to God, let Him redeem it for restoration, use it for His glory and to bring help and healing to others. And it happens to be through the Billy Graham Evangelical Asociation ministry which played a part in my salvation. What an honor. Amen.
ABOUT THE BOOK, Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders: Scientists and soldiers, doctors, ministers, teachers, and writers spanning the globe from Guatemala to the Congo and Caribbean, and even outer space each share two of their #definingmoments. From battlefields and boardrooms, classrooms, hospitals and quiet places and more, these stories inspire faith, hope and action, and demonstrate God's grace and miraculous intervention. Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders makes a wonderful gift while contributing to this urgent need.
Grateful to master artist, author, and minister, Dr. Bill Nichols and Phyllis Nichols, author and musician for including me in this project. ❤
Grateful for the friendship and input of Dr. Katherine Hutchinson Hayes and for her late night companionship the last miles of the writer’s run to submit before deadline. — Well done on your many awards, Katherine! Write on.
Post Conference Adventures
Circumstances delayed our departure from the conference grounds by a day.
Ribbons of mist rose to meet heavy gray skies. Towering mountains encompassed and leaned into the winding rain soaked highway. A breathless and beautiful three hours later we rolled into Oak Ridge, TN.
Judy Cohan stood waiting at the hotel. She’s in her 80s but runs circles around me with her energy and kindness. She whisked me away for the interview with her friend that took six months to line up because of the virus’ impact. — What a privilege to finally speak to this sweet and spirited 102-year-old lady and her son about their memories of my father-in-law and integration of Oak Ridge in the 60s.
Judy deposited me in the designated parking lot with the brilliant and engaging city Historian Mr. Ray Smith just in time to join his caravan tour of Oak Ridge, aka the Secret City. I’m blessed to know this gentle hero. Mr. Smith introduced me and my book-in-progress to all, which led to an interview with a gentleman, a student at Robertsville Jr. High when it was integrated in 1955.
That evening, acclaimed storyteller Sheila Arnold performed her compelling original composition, The Secret City’s Secret City: Scarboro, at the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival held in Oak Ridge’s historic Grove Theater. The U.S. government created the city of Oak Ridge in 1942 as part of the Manhattan Project during WWII. In accordance with the oppressive prevailing Jim Crow segregation laws of the time, they designated a neighborhood (Scarboro) for the Black citizens of Oak Ridge. Sheila recounted stories of the Scarboro 85 who first integrated public schools in the Southeast as students of Oak Ridge High School and Robertsville Jr. High in September 1955.
What a privilege to reconnect and meet some of my prior and upcoming interviewees and Ms. Sheila face-to-face for the first time after the show. How wonderful to talk with Judy until way past the restaurant’s closing. (Thank you for your gracious hospitality, Outback Steakhouse.)
A cup of joe and the conversation with John Job at Bud’s Farmhouse Coffee softened morning’s too-soon intrusion. When I grow up, I want to write like John Job. The Oak Ridger newspaper is lucky to have him as a regular contributor. No matter the subject, it’s worth the read to see how he masterfully strings words together and draws you across the page in a well-choreographed dance. (And remember, we’re not done talking, John!)
This time I desired to delay, but circumstances compelled us to press on. I longed to linger, to walk the warm earth of their neighborhoods, to knock on doors, sit on porch steps, to feel their heartbeat and hear the whisper of their stories.
I left my heart in Oak Ridge.
We planned to spend a couple days in Sevierville and visit Dr. Spicer and his daughter Lynn. Best friends and civil rights activists, Dr. Spicer and my father-in-law co-ministered at Chapel on the Hill in Oak Ridge in the 60s and worked to aid integration. But rising reports of friends falling sick to whom we were exposed poured in that morning, so we settled instead on a brief stop. — We stood on Dr. Spicer’s outdoor patio while he stayed a safe distance inside his screened porch. I swooshed my poetry journal across the patio table at which Lynn sat, announced all the happenings of the week, and flung the Flatwater Tales t-shirt I bought Dr. Spicer to him through the open screen door. Good thing God equipped me with my prior word of the year: Adapt. Grateful for the time shared with these treasured friends.
A LITTLE FUN:
Yeah, I still say I Hate Commitment or (is it Failure I Fear), but Welcome to My Dysfunction while I seek GPS—God’s Positioning System. You see, sometimes it's okay to be Broken because I know the Mender and He is Risen (and that’s worth repeating.) I’ll share my Walking Notes hopefully one day soon, but there’s delay between submission and publication, as with Tropical Dreams. Until then, it’s Onward to Protesting Prejudice, Pursuing Peace as I continue my series of interviews with police officers and articles for Mr. Ray Smith’s newspaper column while I research and write my book on The Integration of Oak Ridge. BUT—you don’t have to wait for That Day because you can read it and the marvelous entries by 27 others in the newly released Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders and in so doing support the #UkraineRelief effort. (*Links above in this box take you to the entitled piece, each of which is an award winner. Please note, the versions on my website may differ a bit as I edited the entries to match contest guidelines.)
SCROLL TO ENTER DRAWING FOR FREE BOOK BELOW!
*Despite the poor internet connection and tech woes, I pray you’ll be blessed and find application to your call in the message beind what I share in the following video: Honored to share about the 2022 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference on PJNET.tv with Coach Mark Prasek.
Humbled and grateful for God’s call to write, to co-labor, co-create, with the Creator.
I rejoice and praise God when the reward of harvest comes to fruition after a season of delay and toil. Then get back to the work at hand:
To glorify God, encourage believers, and reach the lost.
To connect culture’s questions with Christianity’s answers.
To inspire faith and motivate.
To uplift those who serve in tough places.
To be a bridge for reconciliation, a voice for truth with love.
The battle is fierce.
The work is daunting.
But the cause is worthy.
“The work looms large, Lord. Oh, how I need You, Jesus.”
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV)
ENTER DRAWING FOR A BOOK GIVEAWAY! *Limited time offer. Giveaway only valid for those living in the continental USA. Entry Instructions: 1. PURCHASE Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders (*and in so doing provide aid to those impacted by the #UkrainianCrisis via Samaritan's Purse.) 2. Email me a copy of your receipt for proof and I will enter your name in the drawing for a FREE signed copy from me of The Courage to Write: 62 Devotions to Encourage Your Writing Journey 3. Sign up for my newsletter HERE and let me know you did in the comment section below to receive a second entry in the drawing. *PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THE BOOK, Defining Moments: Memorable and Inspiring Stories from Outstanding Leaders, GO TO SAMARITAN'S PURSE TO AID THOSE AFFECTED BY THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS.
Blessed to be a contributor to The Courage to Write: 62 Devotions to Encourage Your Writing Journey, a collaboration of the Renew – spiritual retreat for writers & speakers community. Grateful to co-directors Lucinda Secrest McDowell and Rachel Britton for this opportunity.
Blessed to attend Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference 2022 immersed in the best of fellowship, teaching, and God saturated worship with my fellow writers Thank you to our gracious hosts Edie Mahoney Melson, Edwina Perkins Eva Marie Everson, the inimitable Linda Goldfarb, and to all the faculty who generously poured their wisdom and knowledge into us. Thank you Russell and Kristi - RKPraise Ministries for leading us in song and praise to our Creator. To the Ridgecrest Conference Center staff, thank you for your warm welcome and hard work. — God bless you all as you pursue your call.
- Failure is Not a Four-letter WordDefeated! Dejected! Those words seemed to sum up my life. I started out strong in my late teens by committing my life to Jesus. Oh, but then how my life became marked by failure. I felt so much older than my numerical age.
- Delay & Divine DirectionWhen the road stretches longer than expected and delays and detours abound, we dare not deter from the right path. The high road, though often rough hewn, long, lonely, and costly, is worthy of staying the course. In the long run, the cost of abandoning our call is higher than the pursuit of it. Shortcuts … Continue reading “Delay & Divine Direction”
- Celebrating and Upholding American FreedomWhat fun to introduce you to my young friend and writer, 12-year-old Isaac Barros. Isaac is the son of our beloved family friend, Larry Barros, who went home to be with Jesus in 2014. Larry was a children’s church leader, curriculum writer, and an amazing preacher. I plan to introduce you to Larry’s words sometime … Continue reading “Celebrating and Upholding American Freedom”
- #Writers on a #RoadTrip“What happens when an introvert and extrovert take a 3000 mile road trip? Will they complete their mission or kill each other trying?” “LOL! I’m sure you thought of killing me a few times, Cherrilynn. Rightfully so.” “No. Just letting you out to walk. — We did really well together.” “I noticed a pause there, … Continue reading “#Writers on a #RoadTrip”
- Life Lessons from the Perspective of a Writer’s JourneyI’m not able to pull off perfect, so I decided I’d be real instead. No matter our call, when we shake off the shackles of perfectionism, and with God’s help pursue excellence for His glory and the edification of others, we find ourselves on a much more peaceful and productive path. (Working on it, or … Continue reading “Life Lessons from the Perspective of a Writer’s Journey”
- “‘Til I Drop Dead” (A Nurse’s Manifesto)“Just home from an extra shift extension because of so many nursing staff testing positive,” she said. “I have written to you about what it means to be a happy and fulfilled long term care nurse in case you are interested. Call it my manifesto to new and enduring nurses. Hope you like it, Rachael.” … Continue reading ““‘Til I Drop Dead” (A Nurse’s Manifesto)”
- Piece of My HeartHi, my name is “Ridiculous” and sometimes it’s “Crazy,” and I am a P.O.T. (Parent of Teen). My support group is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and other mothers. My only escape is prayer. So I prayed, “God, give me children lest I die!” and He gave us children. Then, sometimes I want to die. … Continue reading “Piece of My Heart”
Looking for answers in these turbulent times? Wondering what in the world is going on? I pulled these scriptures together last year for my post Peace in Pandemic and Pandemonium. Their truth cries ever louder. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MY FREE COMPILATION OF BIBLE VERSES TO ENCOURAGE AND EQUIP (INCLUDES SCRIPTURES ON THE LAST DAYS).
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 24 hour Prayer Line: (888) 388-2683
PJNET Live with Coach Mark Prasek hosts interviews with Christian writers, speakers, ministers, and politicians Monday – Thursdays at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Friday’s at 10 p.m. ET. His mission is“to provide a platform for everyday Christians to share their walk with Christ,” and he’s always looking for new voices. Click here to watch live on PJNET.tv!
Join us for #HealthyFaithChat on Twitter! — Bible based Q&A formatted chats to encourage, equip, evangelize. Blessed to be part of the team since 2016 and lead once a month. View upcoming topics and full schedule on our website HERE.
© 2022 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On your Heart