Commitment

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

Do you have a service prayer that is all your own? This is mine, developed from a prayer used by my pastor in a worship service.​

“Father in heaven, I acknowledge that You know all things. I submit myself to You for service. Like Isaiah, I answer Your call. ‘Lord, here am I, send me.’

​I know You’ve shaped who I am today. You’ve given me this personality. You have blessed me with gifts, abilities, and passions. Every event in my life, whether large or small, happy or sad, has been filtered through Your hands. You have rejoiced at my victories and wept at my rebellion. You have never left my side, choosing instead, in Your infinite love and mercy, to enfold me in Your arms on every occasion.

I pray You would use me to reach a unique group of people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Father, please still my heart, calm my fears, and reduce my excuses. The time is short. The harvest is plentiful. Use me to enlarge Your kingdom.​

May my stories of the King blend with every other story written about the King, in order to bring a complete, accurate picture of You to the world. May I re-gift God’s Word in such a way as to draw all men unto You, causing me to fade into the background and Your great heart to be revealed.​

I quiet myself now to hear Your voice.​ In the matchless Name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ. Amen.”​

I encourage you to spend some time thinking about what God has called you to, and then to craft your own, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. And when it’s finished, make sure you write it, type it, paint it, or set it to music. Place it in a strategic location. Mine is taped to my laptop, so that it’s the first thing I see when I open it to begin my day of writing.

Deb Gorman

The Prayer Room

Image by Siggy Nowak from Pixabay

“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.” Jonah 2:1 (NKJV)

Prayer rooms come in all sizes and shapes. Some look like closets, or beautiful sanctuaries. They can look like a rocky mountain pathway, or smooth sand on an endless beach. Or how about the inside of a car as it rushes along a busy freeway-or is stuck in traffic, or maybe stalled alongside the road? And sometimes, prayer rooms are nowhere in particular, waiting for us just behind our eyelids.

Jonah’s, by any account, was one of the most unique prayer rooms ever devised by God. Jonah had spent days running from God and thought he’d escaped when he bought a ticket on a boat headed across the Mediterranean. Little did he know that somewhere in the ocean deeps swam a great fish, recruited by its Creator to become the place of prayer for Jonah.

After being swallowed by the beast, Jonah eventually realized there is nowhere in the universe where God isn’t…even on the inside of a mammoth sea creature.

My prayer rooms have been quite diverse over my fifty plus years of walking with Jesus. Of course, there’s my office at home, and every other room in our house. The fields and orchards which surround us give a good view of the distant hilltops. Praying outside is the best, I think. There’s something peaceful about praying on God-made dirt instead of a man-made floor. But there have been other prayer rooms God has given me.

Sitting beside my six-week old son in the pediatric hospital, as he battled spinal meningitis. God heard and answered some frantic prayers during that two weeks.

The emergency room of the local hospital where we were informed of my younger brother’s death after a car crash.

My parents’ family room as we listened to the grim news of my only sister’s suicide.

Mom’s room in the nursing home as my older brother and I watched her take her first breath in heaven.

The grass in my yard, where I buried my face and gave up my decades-long rebellion against the Lover of my soul.

Yes, prayer rooms come in many different forms. They aren’t just four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. The best are the ones God fashions with His fingers-the places He knows are best suited for us to discover His stupendous grace.

Those are the places where we can finally say, with Jonah, “I cried to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me!” Jonah 2:2 (NLT)

What prayer rooms has the Lover of your soul given you?

Deb Gorman

Blank White Page

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

As an author, I sometimes find myself staring at a blank page. Many of us count that as one of the most disturbing elements of the art. It’s akin to driving serenely down the highway, on your way to an exciting destination, then coming to an eight-way stop—like a danged wagon wheel—with eight different turn-offs to choose from. None of them are familiar. Which way to go? The map you have on the passenger seat does not show this place, the directions you carefully printed do not mention it.

Starting a new chapter of a story will sometimes halt me at that crazy intersection. Yes, just finished a chapter, humming along, point of view intact, characters are behaving nicely—well, not really because if they’re too nice, the story drags and no one will want to read it—and I ended the last chapter with a nice wow moment, then…screeching halt. Where to go now?

Should my character be killed off? Should she fall in love with the guy who just kidnapped her? Or should she be rescued by an alien aircraft just as the bad guy is throwing her in the trunk of his car?

Choices, choices. The blank white page of the next chapter taunts me. My fingers are poised over the keyboard waiting for instructions. What to do, what to do.

I just gave you a description of retirement.

I officially retired last March from the cancer center in my town, but kept my hand in by being available to work on call. I’d worked there for fifteen years—since 2005. My Jeep has worn a groove in the route from my house to the clinic, about ten miles away. Most days I used autopilot to get to work and back home again.

Yesterday was my last day. I told my boss I was done, that I wouldn’t be available anymore.

Empty white on the page of my life this morning.

I’ve been someone’s employee since I was fourteen—more than half a century. Ack! Now what?

Where’s the reset button? How can I install the update? Who should I hire as a mentor for the rest of my life?

In a way, I’ve already started the next chapter. I published my first three books between 2016 and 2018, and I’m working on two more. I intend to keep writing until my fingers wrap themselves around my throat and yell, “Stop!”

But there’s a curious, rather disconcerting question bumping around in my brain this morning. It wasn’t there yesterday as I auto-piloted myself to the clinic. It arrived this morning, when, staring into my first cuppa joe, I couldn’t find my purpose. I put my reading glasses on—still couldn’t find it.

Yes, I’m an author. I’m a wife. I’m a mom, grand-mom, and dog mom. Those are all important. But the act of being someone’s employee, of doing the best job I can for someone else, while enjoying the banter with co-workers, has been a core part of my identity for longer than my kids have been alive. I’m not sure how to fill that hole, what to write on that blank page.

I don’t want to rush into anything, to fill the page with unimportant stuff. No info dumps, please. No busy work just to appear…busy.

Rocking chair? There’ll never be a rocking chair for me. Maybe a souped up Camaro, but not a rocking chair, please God.

I want the next chapter to fill in the chinks of my life, to dovetail into a pleasing end, one that explains why I was here, why I was me and not someone else. Clear theme, no plot holes, no ends left dangling, and a positive arc for the main character…me.

The footprints I leave must be clear, and lead to the One who put me here.

I must figure out how to be me…in the next chapter. But today is just the first day. Millions have figured it out before me. My heartbeat tells me I will, too.

No Tomorrows

Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay

If you found out the day of your death is tomorrow, what would you do today?

It’s an old question. We’ve heard it before. We’ve even, I daresay, considered it seriously at times. When we read of a bomb killing dozens in another, less civilized, place. Or a killing spree happening in a church or a school. Or a twenty-car pileup on an icy road in Somewhere, USA.

That’s as far as I got when I started this piece on May 7, 2019. How the world has changed since then. BC—Before Covid-19.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are now iris-to-iris with this force majeure. Yeah, I had to look it up, too. It means an unexpected and disruptive event . We’re there. We open our newspapers or our computers and think, what next? Who’s died now? How many?

Over and over again, ad nauseum, we hear on our national news outlets the words Breaking News! We Live In Unprecedented Times. Stay Home, Save Lives.

Image by Syaibatul Hamdi from Pixabay

This is not going to be another tome on The Virus, I promise. Bloggers the world over have waxed eloquently about it—myself included—and I don’t feel the need to travel over the same hot bricks. And, IMHO, if you say “we live in unprecedented times” twice, it’s not unprecedented anymore.

But, back to the question.

What if? What if I knew without a doubt I’d turn the corner and leave the room tomorrow? Let’s gloss over the how-would-I-know part of the question and assume that I do know tomorrow’s the day and I won’t escape it. What would I do today?

Annie Lee, the unlikely heroine in my forthcoming new novel, No Tomorrows, grapples with that very question. And by the end of the novel, she knows. And so will you, the reader. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Would I call the kids? Have a party? (Of less than five, of course.) Would I take a drive to the mountains or the ocean? Would I sit down at my Dell Window to the World and write a blog?

I sit here and wonder. If I am to die on 7/24/2020, what should I spend my time doing today?

Take ten minutes or ten years, right now, to think about it. What is so important on your to-do list that it must be done before you die tomorrow. If you think about it, seriously think about it, it might just whittle that list down a bit. Just sayin’.

This is a short post. I may not have even twenty-four hours left to me. Because I’m a follower of Christ, there’s one thing I must do before tomorrow. Can you guess?

Yes. It’s to say to the world that death does not end life. It’s to say to the world that death to this life is Life in the next.

I leave you with this—one of the best Ben Franklin quotes ever—and he had a lot. Here it is: One today is worth two tomorrows.

Go out and live your today, today.

Deb Gorman

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