Saturday, July 16, 2011


Photo credit:  Billy Alexander
By: Nikki Studebaker Barcus

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Don't you just love that? What astounds me and makes my heart pitter-pat at this verse isn't just the fact that it is the beginning of the greatest book of all time, or that it is The Beginning, of well, everything. It is not that these words are centuries old and still carry the power of creation within them. Even the truth that these are God Almighty's very words is not what gets my blood pumping. Nope. What I just adore about this verse is the finality of it.

God didn't just start out creating one day only to let the partially-formed earth linger like my bathroom remodeling project. The Creator God didn't lose interest after the beasts of the field and then run off to another adventure as my kids are wont to do. No way. Within the span of ten words God starts and finishes the entire world--heavens and earth included. The whole creation account--the expanses, the fish, the fowl, the fauna, the man, the Garden--summed up in that amazing sentence. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

You see, I can't help but be excited about that verse because I'm a finisher. I enjoy starting things, but what really floats my boat is drawing a thick black mark on an item on my to-do list. (Want to know a secret? If I do something and it's not already on my list, sometimes I write it down just for the satisfaction of crossing it off. Gasp! I know!) So I like the tidy way Genesis records the beginning and the completion of God's most amazing week.

Since the kids rushed off the bus forty-three days ago (but who's counting), chanting that tune about "no more books or teacher's dirty looks" I seem to be in perpetual "start" mode. With the sun barely peeking over the horizon, I start a cup of coffee. Then it's off to break up a fight or enforce chore time. I've started several books that I'd like to read, but someone always needs something--a ride to a friends, more toilet paper, a captive audience. I start cleaning a room and before I can finish I'm called away for one reason or another. When I return, one of the kids has decided to use every VHS tape left to build a fort, another one is fully engaged in an art project in the middle of the floor, and the other decides now is the time for his twice-yearly nap. I've started blogs posts and writing projects inside my head a million times but in the six weeks since summer break started, I've written only twice--this post and the one last month. Now that can really bum a girl out, especially a girl who likes to finish things as much as I do.

As writers, we know the importance of beginnings--the lead, the hook. We spend days, weeks, months, or entire books pondering just the right words to capture our audience. I know that. But God reminded me today of some other things I've started this summer that count for more than any writing project I could ever dream up. I've been privileged to start (and end) nearly every day with my healthy, happy, head-strong kids. I've started conversations with friends that encouraged, bolstered, and renewed both of us for the long days ahead. I spent four days at conference with over 600 middle school students and watched misty-eyed as kids I've taught week after week in Sunday school stood up and declared the beginning of their walk with their Savior.

So, if this summer is all about beginnings, I choose to embrace it. If nothing gets finished, there's always September. Whew! Now I can mark this blog post off my agenda.

How about you? Are you a starter or a finisher? Are there any new beginnings in your summer? Do you have a finished project you'd like to share so we can celebrate with you? Are you writing as much as you planned? If so, congratulations! But if not, take a look around you at what you are investing in with your time. Maybe it's something even more grand.


  1. Good reminder, Nikki, that beginnings are as important as finishings. I, too, love to mark things off my to-do list and sometimes get discouraged by the trail of messes the adventures of kids and dogs leave behind. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Marvelous visual/photo! So perfect for your blog! :-)

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm feeling overwhelmed trying to write but I'm hanging in there.

    And I consider myself more of a starter. Sometimes I finish, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I start and one minute later wonder what I started.

    (Some people see the glass as half full, and others as half empty. I'm the kind that needs to take a closer look at the glass to know which it is.)


  4. Nikki,

    Your posts are always so encouraging. I needed this reminder, as I too am thrilled by black marks on to-do lists. I pray I'll embrace the beginnings this summer, such as my baby tasting mango for the first time.