Being a Water-Walker

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Not Coincidence November 7, 2007

Filed under: Coincidence,Family,Growth,Praise — judgedbyhim @ 7:31 pm

Have you ever looked back on something and realized it meant much more than you thought it did at the time? I had a moment like that this morning. When I woke up, my mom said, “Dakota has something exciting to tell you. He’s been going crazy waiting for you to get up.” I found my twelve-year-old brother and asked him what it was. He proceeded to read to me the letter I had helped him write last year to his favorite author, Brian Jacques, who writes a medieval fantasy series starring talking animals. The books are kind of like a more serious, complex Disney Robin Hood (you know, the talking animals swordfighting). I adored the books when I was Dakota’s age, and was more than willing to help him with this letter he wrote. In it, he suggested a plot line to Mr. Jacques, saying he thought it would make a good novel. I helped him with the plot, since I’m a writer, and he sent off the letter. I guessed nothing would ever come of it–it was just fan mail to this guy, right?

That’s why Dakota blew my socks off when he read me his letter and then held up Mr. Jacques’ newest book, Eulalia!. He said, “The plot’s completely different, but some of the scenes are the same, and he uses the same characters!” He proceeded to explain the parallels: there are at least six. Shocked, I watched his eyes dance and his feet dance around the kitchen as he poured out his joy at his discovery. He told me he had not found any acknowledgment of his contribution (I think he was kind of hoping the book was dedicated to him) and I saw him searching the pages, still hoping he would find something.

I took the book from him and he told me he had read the book, but skipped the prologue. Of course, I went straight there and found this paragraph: “Since I arrived at this mountain, I have set myself a pleasurable duty. From my own recollections, and information gathered from friends, both old and young, I recently put quill to parchment and began this Chronicle. Mayhaps when the story is finally told, my young daughter will enjoy reading it. I hope you will, too, my friend. Well, it starts like this…” This is written in voice of the character writing the “Chronicle”, but I found its message to be clear. I read it to Dakota and said, “Here’s your acknowledgment, buddy.” He went crazy!

I don’t know if Brian Jacques meant anything but what the character said in that paragraph. I don’t know if he meant to use Dakota’s ideas or not. It may be that it’s all one giant coincidence. There is one thing, however, that I know is not coincidence. God used this author to give my brother an experience he will remember as long as he lives. That little boy’s joy was contagious. Suddenly, he knows his ideas have worth, his opinion is important, and that his thoughts make a difference. What an effect that will have on his life! The boy who has the most fantastic ideas for stories but “can never get them to come out right on paper” has been shown that he has potential and merit. Wow!

I wish you could have seen the delight and thrill on his face, or the way he scampered around the house, copied the page with the paragraph above, and determined to purchase the book (as the other copy is the library’s). There is no doubt that this was no coincidence; it was orchestrated by God to give a young boy an experience that will be a molding influence on his life.



The Precious Gift of Tears July 26, 2007

Filed under: Praise — judgedbyhim @ 10:21 am

What do I do when language lacks the strength to express my praise and adoration? How could I possibly open my mouth and let words flow, knowing they will fall far short of my true feelings? Words do not hold the power to express the heart. For such a purpose, God has blessed us with tears.

Yesterday, I clutched the phone and wept joyfully as my mom told me that the adoption of my baby sister is almost secured. The most difficult element of the legal matters has been resolved quickly: parental rights have been terminated, which usually takes months and several delayed hearings. And and added blessing: rights were terminated on the condition that our family adopts her. She may be legally ours in as little as three months.

As Mom told me about the court hearing, tears stung my eyes and overflowed. I was surprised at myself as I struggled to speak through the lump in my throat and failed, too choked up to be coherent. I was amazed at the wonder of tears. I am not one who cries easily! Yet I realized as I cried that my heart was so full of praise it had no way to express itself but through tears.

I once heard the quote, “Tears are what happens when your heart overflows.” I think it was a child who said it. How true it is! Whether in pain, sorrow, or joy, the heart will overflow when it is full. And let me tell you, that overflow can make you very soggy! I poured out my heart in my journal after getting off the phone with Mom, but the true relief of the strain on my emotions was not the feeble scratching of pen on paper; it was the tears that came as fast as the words I wrote.

In the Bible, people often wept to release the overflow of their hearts. Many of these instances were grief or sorrow, such as David in Psalm 6, where he floods his bed with weeping and drenches his couch with tears because of his guilt before God. The most striking account of weeping in Scripture for me, however, is not a man weeping in sorrow, but rather, a man weeping with gladness and joy. Genesis 45 finds Joseph revealing himself to his brothers many years after they betrayed him into captivity. Verses 1-2 say, “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, ‘Have everyone leave my presence!’ So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.” Later, in verses 14-15, he continued to weep: “Then he threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them…”

My 14-year-old brother would call this a “sob-fest”. I would call it beautiful. The joyful overflow of a heart is a lovely thing. At that moment, Joseph sureveyed all that God had done through his sufferings, he regained precious fellowship, and he restored harmony in a broken family. His heart was so full of awe, praise, and adoration at God’s marvelous plan that he could not control himself. His heart overflowed with weeping.

I feel like Joseph now. I look back on the last two years with my baby sister, Sara, and I can finally see what God has been doing. There has been suffering, but now I can see why. I am given the strong hope of a forever bond with Sara, which is more precious than I can say. Unity and peace is brought to a tumultuous but blessed young life. All these things build up within me until they overflow. I weep and I praise God. All I can say is, “Praise you, Father. Thank you, Father.” But God does not mind. He knows a language deeper than spoken word. He knows the language of my heart. And in my heart, I am writing novels full of praise, adoration, and glory.

I praise God with my weeping!