Thursday, January 17, 2019

Promises Yet to Be Kept

Some days I wonder if God will see me all the way through to publishing a novel. I’m sure He started me on this journey. He’s gifted me with joy in creating the story, joy in writing it down, joy in learning how to make my writing better and revising it as I learn. And yet…no promised reward.

The situation reminds me of a parallel in the lives of my little granddaughters.

The Christmas presents had all been opened. The debris of empty boxes, crumpled wrapping paper, and ribbons had been cleared away. The granddaughters had walked their baby dolls in the stroller, put together some puzzles, played catch with the giant ball, cooked dinner in their miniature kitchen, and scanned groceries into their cash register. Nona (me) was exhausted. The girls showed no signs of slowing down
“Nona, will you read this to us?”

The three-year-old slapped a book into my lap. Her two-year-old sister stood next to her with another selection of reading material.

I stared at a hundred puzzle pieces strewn across the carpet, the other toys scattered in various corners of the room.

“Okay. And after I read the stories, we’re going to clean up the puzzle pieces.”

By the end of both books, they seemed to have forgotten the agreement. “Play ‘Ashes Fall Down?’” the younger girl asked.

“When you clean up the puzzle pieces, we can play ‘Ashes Fall Down,’” I promised.

The girls stared at the daunting task before them. They knew their Nona kept her promises. After all, the promised Christmas presents showed up under the tree at just the right time. But my latest promise was conditional upon a given task, and they didn’t know where to begin.

I gave them a nudge. Picking up the empty bag that was supposed to hold the pieces, I directed them to pick up a few at a time and drop them in. They could do that. After several trips around the room, every puzzle piece arrived at its home in the bag.

Notice the order: 1) the girls made a request. 2) I answered with a promise conditional upon specific behaviors. 3) The girls completed their end of the bargain with a little assistance from me, BUT I did not do their work. 4) I kept my promise.

Doesn’t God do the same with us? We make a request. He answers with a promise, sometimes conditional, sometimes not. We have to follow through. He follows through.

As I make messes in my writing attempts, there are moments when I don’t know what to do to clean it up. I’m juggling so many tasks—writing, queries, proposals, conferences, writing courses, study materials—where do I start?

God gives me a nudge. He shows me the first step in the first task, and I think, “I can do that much.” And I do.

Once the girls accomplished their chore, we played  the promised “Ring Around the Rosy,” that age-old song-game that 21st century preschoolers still love to play. And once I accomplish the chores God has for me in writing, He will come through with His promise, too.

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft. She still visits the school and teaches creative writing workshops.

Where Linda can be found on the web:

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