Filling a Need … Finding Peace: A Story

Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) was a leader among tax collectors. He could afford great jewelry and fine clothes. His position allowed him to charge the people of Jericho more than they owed. Everyone knew he skimmed off the top. They feared this little man.

But this little man had a secret—he wanted more. He had a need. A nagging in his heart that rubies or fine spices couldn’t satisfy. When he heard that this man Jesus was coming to town, he knew he had to talk to him. See him.

Zacchaeus left his tax collecting table for the place where he thought he’d have his chance to see him.

Drat. He’d already passed. He needed to guess … which road would he take? To see Jesus he’d have to take a gamble and run ahead. Hopefully he’d guess right and get there before Jesus arrived. But where to go?

He had an idea. By the Sycamore tree. That’s where he’d wait. He’d have an opportunity to talk with him, for sure.

But when Zacchaeus got to the Sycamore tree, other people were waiting there for Jesus, too. Double drat. What could he do now? He wanted—needed—to see this Man of God for himself.

Zacchaeus looked back down the road and saw a crowd walking his way. Was Jesus surrounded by all those people? How could Zacchaeus make his way through so many people? He was so short … he’d be lost in the crowd for sure.

He looked around. There—the tree! He could climb the Sycamore tree and at least have a look at him … this man who heals. Zacchaeus wasn’t sure what he’d gain by just seeing him, but it had to be enough.

The crowd came closer and Zacchaeus could hear their voices. Begging for Jesus’ attention. All coming at him with requests. Needs. Everyone had a need.

He had a need.

Zacchaeus sighed. What’s the use? He had been fooling himself. He may be rich, but his wealth cost him more than he planned. He had treated people terribly. And now he was going to miss his chance to ask this Jesus for what he wanted most: peace. He needed peace. But it wasn’t to be.

The crowd milled then stopped under the branches of the Sycamore tree. Jesus hushed the crowd with his hands. They waited, anticipating divine wisdom from Jesus. Instead, He looked up.

“Good day, Zacchaeus.”

Zacchaeus caught his breath. “Um … good day to you, teacher.”

Jesus smiled. “Why are you in the tree?”

He felt foolish. “I wanted to see you. I’m so small.” He cleared his throat. “I really wanted to talk with you … I thought maybe you could help me. But you’re busy. Everyone wants to ask you for something.”

Jesus continued to smile as he held out his hand. “Zacchaeus. Come down. I’m coming to your house today. I’m going to stay with you. We can talk about your lack of peace then.”

Is this how it began? I put a bit of flesh to the story, but it could have happened that way.

How diligent are you chasing after Jesus? What are you willing to do to find peace?

God’s Splinters

We’ve all heard it before. “God never gives us anything we can’t handle.” [BTW, that’s totally bogus, but a topic for another email.] Or how about, “When God closes a door He opens a window.”

Sound bites that find their footing in truth, but sometimes come off a bit too churchie.

(Can I get an AMEN!)

But don’t turn your back on the gist of what’s being said. Bad things happen. Splinters. Continue reading

Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space … A Review

How did they do this?

Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space faces dark issues with truth … and levity. Yes, that’s right. Levity. Beth Duewel’s story of sitting in the dentist chair made me laugh out loud (yes, for sure). Because Rhonda and Beth offered this work with levity, I dropped all my barriers and was excited to let them in. I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Yet make no mistake. This isn’t just fun and games. Their anchor into Happy is their relationship with Christ. These women make Christianity look attractive. The message isn’t preachy, it’s offered with a smile and hug.

We’ve all at one time or another lost our Happy Space. This book helps us find it again … or find it anew.

It’s available at Bold Vision Books June 28th, but you can pre-order it now.

Learning to Bloom Again is Finally Here!

Finally! Learning to Bloom Again: Walking through Forgiveness After Divorce is available. Not only is it available, but for May 8th, it’s free.

Check it out, and see there are promises waiting for you.

Let me know what you think. I’d be tickled pink if you’d write a short review.

Never Lose Hope

If you’ve never heard Dr. Rick Rigsby, take a moment and listen to what he has to say. Goalcast’s recording of a speech he gave at the school where his father, a third-grade dropout, and worked as a cook …and it went viral.

His lesson is simple, yet powerful. Don’t let your circumstances define you. Don’t let labels that others put on you say who you are. If you fall down, take a moment, but get back up! What’s the problem with trying again? Keep learning. Keep loving. Keep moving forward.

I understand his philosophy. My own father dropped out of high school, yet I that he was one of the wisest men I ever knew.

Don’t want to track him down on Youtube? I’ve saved you a few steps.

 

Learning to Bloom Again: A Preview

Sometimes books need updating. That’s how it was for From Pain to Peace: The Journey of Forgiveness After Divorce. I pulled it off the shelf, added a new title, cover (Thanks, Amber Weigand-Buckley) and punched up the information. 
I’ll soon introduce Learning to Bloom Again; walking through forgiveness after divorce to y’all. A bit more tweaking, but it will be available in paperback and ebook format.
Here’s your first peek:

After writing From Pain to Peace in 2008, I thought I had all the tools needed to heal after divorce. I realized women who sought God’s direction and had learned from past mistakes—their own as well as those made by others—maintained healthy lives after divorce. Many caught the vision and experienced true healing.

Yet, there are still people hurting.

There’s no denying it: pain surrounds divorce. Life lessons remain. Marriages still end. But I stress throughout this book… relationships never end—they only change. Whether the person moves away, remarries, or even dies, though changed, the relationship remains. I learned early: “Do your best to get along with your soon-to-be ex-husband. As long as you breathe, he will always be in your life. One way or another.”

The word divorce has many definitions. In today’s society, it suggests being so upset with a spouse you no longer want them to be part of your life. However, the Greek term for divorce, Aphiemi [pronounced af-EE-ay-mee], means “to forgive” or “go and leave something behind.”

To forgive?

How ironic, the word we use today that conjures up negative feelings in most people was meant to leave a positive impression? That I divorce you can truly mean I forgive you? Anyone who has been affected by the heartbreak of divorce knows it is anything but positive. Forgiveness is often the last thing that comes to mind. Continue reading

Blessed with More Life

Happy Anniversary to me!

It was eight years ago today—April 11, 2011—when my life’s journey took a turn. This was the day when I had brain surgery to remove a ginormous tumor from the front-top quadrant of my brain.

That’s when God blessed me with more life.

Everything changed after that surgery. Days of running up and down steps with ease were gone forever. Forgetting how to say words became commonplace. Putting together jigsaw puzzles with my husband—now a thing of the past. A faint weakness on my right side still remains … reminding me … the outcome could have been different.

Because of that surgery, I know … without a doubt … each moment is a gift.

The doctors made it clear—they could not give me any guarantees that I’d survive the delicate and lengthy operation. They needed to cut my skull open and remove the tumor, then figure out if they could put me back together again.

Then there was the therapy: physical, occupational, and speech. I worked diligently for months trying to relearn the simplest of tasks: walking without assistance, standing and not losing my balance, learning to pick up coins one at a time, and repeating words and phrases after they were said to me.

But I celebrated because God was with me every step of the way.

And I’ve tried to never take life for granted again.

“ …‘you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14 NIV

Thump-thump.

Feel that? It’s your heart beating. It could stop at any time, but instead, it keeps on going. Not because of anything you’re doing, but because it’s God’s gift to you. With each beat, you’re blessed with more life.

Come, celebrate with me. I’ve had eight years of appreciating and trusting God’s gift of a day—one at a time.

How can we celebrate your blessings?.

Robin speaks to women’s groups on trusting God through adversity. As a writer, she’s a finalist for the 2019 Selah Writing Award. Soon she’s releasing the third edition of, “Learning to Bloom Again: walking through forgiveness after divorce” and is looking for a publisher for, “God’s Best During Your Worst,” a manual on how to deal with life’s darkness and yet see God’s loving and guiding hand. Watch for it!

Gearing Up to Write

I recently spent the weekend with friends who picked my brain about writing. How did you start? Where did you learn to write? Why do you say it the way you do? I smiled when I pulled up Cindy Ervin Huff’s latest blog, Twelve Fave Writing Craft Books from My Bookshelves.

She’s listed several of my favorites as well. If she’d ask, I’d also add Eva Marie Everson’s Common Mistakes Writers Make and  Stephen King’s On Writing. My copies are highlighted, coffee-stained, and much loved.

Thanks, Cindy, for the great list.

What are some of your favorite writing books?

A Writer in the Rough

I used to be bored with books and was a terrible reader. But then I experienced a well-written story, and it changed my world.
 
I fought the internal nudge for years to take a swing at writing. Who was I to strike out to be … an author? Nonsense!
 
But the nudge persisted.
 
After years of trying, failing–and failing miserably–I continued on. And I’m ever so thankful that I did.
 
Look at me … a Selah finalist. Selah’s a nationally recognized award offered to books and articles within Christian publishing that are considered excellent within their genre.
 
Oh friend, don’t ignore that nudge you’re getting. It may take time, but it will pay off.

A Book Review: The Art of Hard Conversations

Lori Roeleveld truly really hit a home run with The Art of Hard Conversations.

Statements like Truth is like tofu … it has its own nature and consistency, yet still takes on the flavor of the other elements with which it’s served. are peppered throughout Lori Roeleveld‘s latest book, “The Art of Hard Conversations.” In it, she shows us how to prepare for those hard conversations that need to be shared. She explains how to embrace the power of a question and how to approach possibly devastating situations with Christ-infused strength.

Chapter breakdowns are in-depth, easy to follow and incredibly respectful. You’ll learn how to gently pull a topic apart a to see all the intricate pieces so you can understand where your listener is coming from. No matter what your personality, the stories she shares will hit your heart.

And her use of scripture is spot-on! Get your highlighter ready. You’ll want to read and re-read this book.