Blog

In Step With My Father

Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Regatta

I remember Daddy holding my hand as we entered the gates to the botanical gardens, Wrigley’s gum, Elephant Ear pastries, Matchbox cars, him carrying me when I was hurt and scraping every speck of black pepper off my food. And bumper cars. I hated them, but I never told him, because I liked to hear him laugh- and we were together. He was pale and shaky after riding the corkscrew roller coaster. We made kites with bamboo and tissue paper. They always crashed, but that was okay. I remember driving too fast in his little ultramarine Triumph Spitfire.

You gave her the tie dye set. You get her cleaned up!” said Grandma as she pushed us outside. A bucket of soapy water, a scrub brush and our stifled laughter under the mango tree. Pinned to the clothesline, my brightly colored creation flapped happily in the breeze. I loved that hat!

He gave me a piano, like Schroeder’s in the Peanuts comic strip. I  played it as loud as I could, because I thought it would make him visit sooner.

I pretended I didn’t know him when he took me to Disney World. Fearing someone might recognize us, I walked several feet ahead, or behind, because I thought his camera bag looked like a purse. Tears coursed down my cheeks when he wouldn’t let me run off for the day with the boy I met at the resort. All the boys were afraid of my daddy.

He was a businessman. He laughingly called me his “rapacious little capitalist” for running my underground fudge business at school. I made over $1000 dollars before they caught me. We were proud of the “F” I received for my class presentation on a controversial topic. I did a good job on it; I stood for what I believed. When I ran away, he followed me.

Daddy had his problems, but he loved his children and grandchildren. Sometimes he missed the mark. We all do, some more than others. But God will use imperfect fathers, imperfect people, to guide our lives sometimes, if we let Him.

Then, one day he was gone. Just. Like. That. No warning. I didn’t know that was our last “I love you.” I wasn’t ready. But God is the one who numbers our days; He said it was time. We have a finite amount of time to love, to know, to understand and reconcile with each other. He wasn’t a perfect father. None of them are, you know? Except for one.

God is the only perfect father. He is a father to the fatherless. Jesus went to great lengths to meet us where we are. He left his throne in Heaven, donned human flesh, and died to save us from our sin, and reconcile us to Himself. He loves us in spite of ourselves. But we have to accept Him.

“Daugh-tah, come here. Child of mine. I love you so much, yuh see.” my father would say in his accent. God calls me daughter too, he calls me to himself. He wants to call you son or daughter too. God wants to do life with us. And when people fall short of our expectations, and our needs aren’t met, God is always there for us. He is our sufficiency, the difference maker. He is enough.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.   ‭‭John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”   Romans‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father, daughter, son, is there a breach that needs mending? Will you start the journey to restoration? Just take one small step. May I suggest the first one be to pray; and the second, forgive? Maybe you won’t get where you’d like to on this side of eternity. Maybe you are only able to take those first two steps. That’s okay. Just start, and let God be God, the mender of hearts. Extend grace, like God does for us, even though we don’t deserve it. Step.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”   Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”   Matthew‬ ‭18:21-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

7 x 70 – Chris August

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.   ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Blessing – Jim Trick

Dads- your children, your wives, your country needs you. Will you step up to the plate?

“Here I am Father. Forgive me. Help me to step in Your footprints, and walk a little closer with You Jesus.”

Lead Me – Sanctus Real

Yeah, you are probably going to mess up sometimes, stumble and fall in the process. But God will pick you up. He’s like that.

Good Good Father – Chris Tomlin

©  2016  Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart    

 

Talent is a Seed

In his article, How Important Is Talent to You as a Writer?, twenty-one time New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B Jenkins, refers to himself as a journeyman, as opposed to a superstar talent in the field of writing. Wow. Okay, this means there’s hope for the rest of us aspiring writers. 

Tattoo_it_on_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_dreams_accomplishments_hard_work_Talent_is_a_Seed“Regardless where you start, your work ethic will determine your success.”   -Jerry Jenkins

Worthy pursuits cost something. They often require hard work and take long term investment to reap a good return.

“Who are you as a writer, and what are you willing to invest in your dream?” -Jerry Jenkins

I am a journeyman, the least of these. I love God and I love writing. So yes, I write for the love of God. I love people too. Except for when I can’t stand them. Just kidding; I love them anyway. Even when it’s hard—help-me-Jesus. 😉 God loves us all in spite of ourselves and calls us to care for one another accordingly.

I am a member of the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and of a local writer’s group. I have a summer reading list. Sometimes I forgo other activities so I can invest time to learn the craft and write.

Talent is a seed. A seed hidden in my pocket will not take root, mature or bear fruit. It must be planted in good soil and nourished.

My neighbor and I planted the same kind of trees simultaneously. He planted three foot trees; mine were seven feet tall. But in a few months, his surpassed mine in height and vigor. When I consulted my gardener friend, Robert, he smiled and said, “Buy the $2 plant, but put it in a $20 hole.”

I am the $2 plant, but I am rooted and established in the priceless soil of the Gospel. The most important investment I will ever make in my life and my dream, is to maintain a vibrant relationship with Jesus through prayer, reading the Bible and seeking His direction. I can’t give to others what I don’t have. I can’t water the seed God has given me or the lives of others  if I fail to first draw and drink from the well. I will not have the strength to carry sustenance to others if I don’t first nourish my soul. Only then will I bear fruit and have anything to offer. Whatever I do will flourish in direct proportion to how much I invest in my relationship with God. My writing will be an outflow. God will give the increase.

Sometimes I get discouraged with my writing. It seems like a mountain I will never be able to climb. I wish everything didn’t take so long:

  • Learning,
  • Editing,
  • Being heard in this noisy world, and building a following
  • Submitting my work, and someday actually being published
  • Jesus, I just want to make you smile, and touch other lives for You

But life is a marathon, not a sprint.

“Slow and steady wins the race.”  -The Hare and the Tortoise, Aesop’s Fables

I have a responsibility to tend  the seed God has given me. Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” I am blessed with an awesome gift. My job is to continually develop my skill, and life has a way of providing abundant opportunity and inspiration.

What seed of talent has God given you? 

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart

Shut Up, Satan! (Overcoming Writer’s Doubt & the Voices in My Head)

I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt, hosted by Bryan Hutchinson of Positive Writer.  To Visit Bryan’s blog and read more entries in this contest click here.

Oh, the angst over writing this essay, and how I have procrastinated. Yes, life is like a steamroller lately, but reasons aren’t excuses, right? For me, writer’s doubt is an everyday wrestling of the mind and soul.

“You’re out of your league. You don’t fit,” he said.

Well, that’s exactly where I need to put myself. If I am to get better and figure out where I’m going, I need to have someone ahead of me who knows the way. Sometimes if something doesn’t fit, it needs trimming, right? Which is why I joined The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and I follow his blog too. Yes, #JerryJenkinsIsMyMentor. I also fill my mind with the doctrine of other writers by following Positive Writer, Writer’s Digest, The Write Life and I’m a member of a local writer’s group. Jerry taught me, “Show, don’t tell.” So, here goes.

“You don’t have what it takes,” the accuser says.

Who God calls, He equips.

“Who is going to read your words? You will never get the attention, the amount of followers, you need to be published.”

For now, I will write for the one heart who is listening and needs to hear what I have to say. “God, give me a word in season for someone.”

“Who do you think you are? You are nobody. You are no Super Woman, Super Christian, mom or wife!”

You are right. But I am Jesus’ nobody, and He specializes in making nobodies into somebodies. What I am is super ordinary. I’m done with waiting for perfect. I am weak, but His strength is made perfect in weakness.

“There are others far greater than you who are qualified to speak.”

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.                           I Corinthians‬ ‭1:26‬ ‭NKJV‬‬  

So, I qualify. “God, breathe on my words; let them be like arrows, piercing hearts and infusing life and hope.”

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.   ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT  

“You don’t have the time. Look how far behind you are, all the other things you have to do. If you put your heart out there, and your children do foolish things, everyone will know what a failure you are. By testifying about Him, you are setting them up as targets. I will attack them.”

“Shut up Satan! I don’t write just to fill pages. I don’t write for myself. This is my legacy for my children. I write for them, to bring glory to God, and so others may know Him. I don’t negotiate with terrorists, and I am not responsible for others’ decisions. I am responsible to obey God and speak the truth.”

“This is hopeless, too hard. Just quit. You can’t attain such lofty goals.”

Jesus, give me a teachable spirit. Help me to hone the craft you have gifted me with. Excelsior! Ever higher! Ad astra per aspera. Through difficulties to the stars, to excellence. With God all things are possible.

“What if you run out of words to say? What if you have started something you can’t finish with this site of yours?”

I won’t pursue inspiration. I will pursue You, Jesus.

As the deer pants after the water brook, so my soul pants after You, oh God.   Psalm 42:1 NKJV    

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_looking_for_inspirarion“Give me words to praise You, Lord; speak to me, so I can speak to them. Jesus, I want to shake the world, show them Your love, and who You are. But I am so small. Here’s my five loaves and two fishes, Lord.”

So, how do I overcome writer’s doubt? I pray; I listen. I obey my calling, and write myself out of it.

 (Inhale. Exhale… Post.)

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart

Musings


Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_it_on_your_heart_MusingsEveryone’s into recycling, and that’s a good thing

But God wants to recycle you

You can give Him your mess

He wants to give you beauty for ashes

Make you a new creation

Everyone’s talking about saving the Earth

Jesus died and rose again to save humanity

To save us from our sin

To save us from ourselves

Many are into the environment

Some worship the creation instead of the creator

I know the one who made it-

The Creator

The all powerful, omnipotent God

Scooped up a handful of dust

Breathed into it, and made humanity

So we can know Him

The Bible says all creation praises The Lord and is a testament to Him

Man is the only one who is hard of hearing and blind to what is before him

Wake up! Open your eyes and see

Listen, He’s calling your name

He loves you

The Savior of the world wants to be your best friend

I know the one who rules the World

I know the one who flung the stars across the universe

The painter of the canvas of the sky

Every sunset is a call to lay ourselves, our burdens down

Every sunrise is an invitation of grace from The Creator of the universe

For a new beginning, another chance to see Him work His plan for our lives

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

 

 

 

Knock, Knock

Tattoo_it_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Red_Door_Knock_Knock_KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Who’s there?”

“Jesus”

“Jesus who?”

That’s a problem if you said, “Jesus who?” It’s no joke. Jesus wants you to know Him. He wants a personal relationship with you.

I let Him in in 1987. It’s been quite a ride. I’m glad He’s driving. Life can be tough, whether you are a Christian or not. We can go through the muck and mire of life with or without Him. I chose with Him. We can rest assured when we rest in Him.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.     ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”     ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Who’s there”

“It’s Jesus. Let me in?”

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”     ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

What an invitation! To dine with The King; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I get to walk with Him in between. Sometimes He carries me.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2-3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Who’s there?”

“Distraction, Fear, Doubt, Compromise, Selfishness, Willfulness, Love of Money, Greed, Lust, Pride, Anxiety, Anger, Unforgiveness…”

KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Who’s there?”

“Jesus.”

“Jesus? What are you doing out there? I already let you in.”

“You did. But I gradually got pushed out by all that other stuff you let in. Can I come in? I’d like to help you clean house.”

KNOCK, KNOCK…

(Let Him in)

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.     ‭‭I John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”     Mark‬ ‭8:36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.     ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.                    ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart

Reasons Aren’t Excuses

DSC_0895-001Reasons aren’t excuses. God is fully aware of all my circumstances, but He doesn’t believe in situational ethics. He wants me to keep my attitude and responses in alignment with His Word, regardless of who is right or wrong.

I hear Jesus say, “Do you want Me to defend you, or do you want to defend yourself?” He lets me choose. Why do I  struggle with this? Why do I rush in and react, instead of waiting on God?

I know The Lord  is my defender,  and if I keep my heart right and stay out of the way, He will fight for me. In His time, He will right the wrong and truth shall prevail.

“But Lord,” I say, “this is hard, I just can’t seem to do this. I keep tripping over myself.”

Life is hard. It is bigger than I. I can’t bear it on my own. I’m nothing on my own, but His Word says,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.     2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

Jesus knows me, with all my failings, and loves me anyway. He expects me to fall. That’s how I’ll learn to walk. When I call, He hears my cry. He picks me up and says, “Lean on me. Try again.”

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.     ‭Psalms 141:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.‭‭     Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NKJV

© 2016 Rachael M Colby | Tattoo It On Your Heart