Why Waiting Doesn’t Have to Hurt.

 

I didn’t know how much my heart felt like it was waiting until the tears threatened to blind me on Sunday.

My husband sent me out alone (splendid!) for hours of writing and prep at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking out the door for my solo afternoon, I grabbed my copy of Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways. I ate my lunch in my spacious booth and turned to the pages I’d dog-eared in January. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but I found it on the first page of chapter 9.

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The chapter title stood out from the page: WAIT.

“It is not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening.” – Christa Wells

That’s all I read, the quotes before the chapter, and already my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t even realize I was waiting. I glanced at the opposite page, the last paragraph of chapter 8 and read what I had underlined and starred earlier in the year.

“It is possible for us to uncover the art we were born to make and show up to release it into the world only to be met with silence, inability to make progress, and a seemingly impossible artless road ahead. The lack of movement isn’t because of fear or sin or lack of belief. Sometimes it’s simply God asking us to wait. – Emily P. Freeman

I shut my eyes and whispered a short prayer, “Why is it so hard to wait? Why does waiting hurt? Why can’t I trust you to make the seed grow?”

Six months ago I released my art into the world in the form of a book. I didn’t grow up dreaming of writing. I was much more interested in performing on stage. But the more time I spent speaking, the more the words filled my journals and soon my computer pages. The words came and so I wrote them out over three long years. . . loving and hating the process. . . wanting the wait to be over so people would stop asking how it was coming. I wanted the wait to be over because I didn’t know how to answer, I didn’t want to talk about it.

The professional talker didn’t want to talk about the art.

I was passionate about the topic, sure of the message, and yet, so ridiculously terrified to write and then release it to the world.

As the final steps of the publishing process came together, I was in the final months of my first pregnancy. The due date came and went and soon the waiting became frustrating.

NOPE. STILL NO BABY.

NOPE. STILL NO BOOK.

And then, within a period of six weeks – I could hold them both. Everything changed. And nothing changed.

While my roles and resume took a new direction, the person inside of me stayed pretty much me. Life was more full and complicated, but I still felt like  the twenty year-old version of me, so what am I DOING WITH A BABY?

I still wake up every morning and eat breakfast – granted it’s not always when I want to.

I still attempt to keep the house clean and organized. I meal plan, e-mail, shop, check the mail, and occasionally write. I also change diapers, wash tons of laundry, and try to keep up with the demands of an 8 month-old.

But writing a book has brought little to no visible change in my every-day existence. I’ll be honest: sometimes it’s really discouraging. I don’t think I was hoping for fame or notoriety. I didn’t need a post to go viral – but I still have that very human desire to know the art I’m making matters. What should surface as hope tends to overwhelm with fear. The fear pushes me to compare my book and platform with others. The fear demands I measure success in numbers and failure by a lack of response from every avenue I thought was a sure-fire win.

In those moments where I get caught in a whirlwind void of hope, when my waiting is full of fear, I throw my hands up and shout through tears, “It’s YOUR BOOK Lord. I trust You. . . but why in the world aren’t you doing what I think you should?”

“Fear says I’m going the wrong way. Doubt says I won’t find it at all. But hope? Hope says, Wait. It’s just a little farther. You are not alone and this is not just your idea.

My goal is a finished book – I call that my art. Yet there is a deeper work happening. I chase what I think is the art, but really that’s just the evidence. . . The real art is the invisible work happening in the depths of my soul as I uncover, sink, see, listen and wait.

The book is just the souvenir.” – Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

When I’m halfway through my third cup of coffee on my solo Sunday date, I slowly begin to look for the invisible work happening in the depths and the truth coming from those who love me in my worst moments.

David plays the purpose on repeat: If only ONE who needs these words reads them, it will have been worth it.
Carey writes to remind me that Jesus left the 99 for the 1.
My small group calls me to chase the Gospel rather than the idol.
My family members have all become book dealers. Who knew so many seniors in a retirement home would need a copy? Pretty sure my sister has copies in her trunk if you need one.
Friends who have bought, shared and encouraged.
And my Savior, who says the hope, the prize, is Him.

“As you stare at the stone of the hoped-for souvenir, remember the deeper work happening within you, where your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Emily P. Freeman

Waiting doesn’t have to hurt, because waiting is part of the prize. In the waiting I’m given a window into my heart and all that still needs redemption. Jesus reminds us in Luke 7 that “…he who has been forgiven little loves little.” I know God is using this season to show me the depth of my sin and the abundance of His love through the cross.

The feelings of disappointment are real and powerful, but, as Carey tells me, in the disappointment I am reminded of my appointment. My purpose to share Christ is unchanging. I must remind myself that in the small God sees BIG. The point isn’t for me to see results, it’s to offer my art, my life, and my waiting to Him and trust that He will change me in the process.

We WAIT in HOPE for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Following and learning,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Overwhelmed the Right Way

Friday Finds

Thanks for sticking with me through a crazy week. My new normal as a mom continues to keep me on my toes and forces me back down on my knees. I cannot do this job, much less my other jobs, on my own. I’ve recognized (through tears) multiple times how desperately I try to manage on my own, but really, I need help from every possible source.

But as I indicated yesterday, one of the surest ways to keep from feeling overwhelmed by a to-do list is to stand in awe, to be completely overwhelmed by a generous, loving, and powerful Father.

I felt that on Sunday morning as we sang song after song. I can’t even tell you what lyrics touched my tired heart, all I know is that the moment I released, threw my hands out and let the tears fall, I stood in awe. My list of reasons to be thankful kept flowing and suddenly I was overwhelmed by the nearness of our God. When the service ended someone remarked that I looked refreshed and renewed. I joked that 6 hours of straight sleep, coffee, and a shower will do wonders for you … but I knew in my heart that this renewal came from something bigger and deeper.

As I rocked my daughter to sleep yesterday afternoon, my tasks threatened to take all of my peace again. But out of the corner of my eye I spied this book on her shelf. I’m a HUGE fan of Max Lucado’s books for children. The Boy and the Ocean was a gift from my friend Carey and her family. I pulled it out again and let myself see the ocean, mountains, and stars through the eyes of a child … and in turn my voice cracked as I savored the overwhelming presence, love, and power of our God.

boy and ocean

Whether or not you have a child in your home or you are a kid at heart – you want this book. I typically gift The Jesus Storybook Bible for new babies, You Are Special for high school graduates, and Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing for everything else, but this book is heading onto my list. The illustrations are GORGEOUS and the refrain a perfect reminder,

“[God’s love is] always here. It’s always deep. It never ends. God’s love is special.”

There’s nothing complicated about The Boy and the Ocean. Plain and simple, God’s love is always here.

Happy Friday!

Following,

Ginger

The Story of a Story

About two and a half years ago I left my job working in youth ministry at a church to begin working full-time as a writer and speaker. It has been an exciting and crazy journey. I am so thankful for the countless MOPS groups, youth ministries, camps, and schools that have allowed me the opportunity to come and speak. In between speaking prep and connecting through this blog, I have been working on a manuscript. It has been a labor of love, although I certainly haven’t loved every minute of the process. I’ve confessed to you before- I don’t really see myself as a writer but I do believe I have a very specific message to convey.

I lived my entire high school journey in expectation of my senior prom. I had the dress, the heels, and the perfect hair but I didn’t have the date. At the last-minute, I recruited a friend to accompany me. He was to pick me up at the house, escort me to dinner, and drive me to the dance. He was supposed to bring me a corsage. Instead my date arrived to the dance after 10:30pm. (He had a good excuse!) He rushed in to find me standing at the bottom of the escalator that had already delivered my entire senior class to their “Night to Remember.” I had waited by myself for over an hour because I was convinced that I couldn’t enter the dance until I had my date and my corsage. (I did not have a good excuse!) I danced to only three songs that night and spent most of my prom thinking, “No one will ever want me.”

Since that time God has laid those words heavily upon my heart. If I truly am a daughter of the King, then I know the response to my own lament. Not only does Christ want me, but also He has given me an abundant and exciting life. His love provides the courage to live adventurously regardless of any dating status.

That’s the inspiration behind my book, Forget the Corsage.

 cover

Forget the Corsage is a reminder to stop waiting for life to happen to us, but instead to go and live life to the full right now. It can be tempting to buy into the lie that real living starts when we graduate, get the perfect body, find Mr. Right, and land our dream job. But the truth is that we are waiting for something that has already been given to us from God: life to the full.

Who is the target audience? You. I told my first readers that the book was geared toward young women, but then everyone told me that window was too narrow. Not only was the age gap to small, but so was the gender gap. Although I’m addressing women in the book, I think guys could find it interesting and helpful as well.

What kind of book is this? This book is in the form of a spiritual memoir. You will find it filed under “Non-Fiction Religion/Spirituality.” It is written in first person so that the experiences could be shared directly and straight from the heart. I wanted to connect with the reader in a very personal way. This is the story of a young woman who believed two lies:

(1.) That she was unwanted and undesired

(2.) That her life would only begin when she found “The One.”

This is also the story of a God who taught her fragile heart to trust that His good IS good.

Where can I find this book? The book is currently listed with Westbow Press, Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble. I’m hoping to get the book into some local bookstores near my home and to some of the places I speak most often. (Hello, Texas!) The book is available in hard back, soft cover, and ebook. It is currently available for order!

What’s next? I’m hopeful that I will develop a way for you to order the ebook straight from this website. I have a webpage for my book that is almost finished. (I was holding revealing all the details about the book until EVERYTHING was done, but when is EVERYTHING ever done?) The new site will keep anyone interested with information about book signings, speaking engagements, and any new developments with the book.

I’m honored and blessed by the response that this little book has received so far. Thank you for the love you’ve shown through texts, Facebook, Twitter, and personal e-mails. You’ve made my year!

 Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 4.07.43 PMScreen shot 2013-09-09 at 4.07.30 PM

Much of the next steps are going to be grassroots efforts and require a lot of work, but I’m excited for the coming months. If you are interested in being a part of this next phase, feel free to contact me through the CONTACT GINGER tab at the top of the page! In the meantime, spread the word, snag a copy of the book, leave a review of the book on one of the websites, and know that I’m looking for opportunities to speak to groups and share this message!

More to come …

Following,
Ginger

Life Starts Now

dear me

Dear Eighteen year-old me,

I’m looking down at my sleeping daughter as I write this letter to you. You won’t believe the journey that has led from 18 to being thirty-one. It has been an incredible ride. I have so many things that I want to tell you. I could talk for hours and hours with lessons learned and mistakes made… but I know the experience will only serve to grow you and teach you. So instead, I’ll summarize some main points that I hope you learn sooner than later. For starters:

1. Don’t get that perm in two years when you move overseas. Yes, England is damp and wet, but perming your hair won’t fix that. I repeat. It will be 2002. DO NOT GET A PERM.

2. When those guys say, “I don’t think we should date any more,” let yourself be sad. That’s fine. But then repeat these words to yourself: “Rejection is a good thing.” I know it sounds harsh, but relationships end in one of two ways: rejection or marriage. You didn’t want those to be marriage. Trust me.

3. You can spend years trying to “find” yourself, but if you identify yourself with an anchor other than your heavenly Father, you will end up in a road that leads to nowhere. Finding my identity in the Lord has been the most freeing and exciting discovery of my life.

4. Who you are is more important that what you want. Let me see if I can explain. I wanted to be in a romantic relationship but it felt like zero guys were interested. So I decided I needed to lose weight to fix that. Long story short, don’t sell out who you are for anything. Don’t let your story get hijacked by bad decisions.When I know the WHO I want to be it helps me choose my “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” Set your heart and mind on who you want to be … a woman of integrity, honor, compassion, and inspiration. Stay true to your identity in the Lord.

5. You can trust the Lord with the desires of your heart. I know it’s confusing when things don’t happen in your timing or within your parameters, but I want to remind you that God loves to give you GOOD gifts! He’s not waiting to throw your decisions in your face or spoil your plans. His good IS good.

6. Your heart is worth guarding and sharing. Ugh. That word “guard” has become such a touchy one. So here’s what I mean. Love yourself enough to protect your heart from unnecessary hurt. Don’t be careless with your time, your body, or your emotions. But don’t wall yourself up from experiencing real relationships either. We have to risk big to win big. Share, give, and receive love with your heart … just don’t settle for the cheap version.

7. Your mistakes don’t define you. I stand here and acknowldege a long list of life mess-ups. I could label myself easily, stand before you and declare:

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering food addict.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a liar.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m deceitful.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering bulimic.

All of those statements have been true of my life at one time or another, but I am also united with Christ. His past is my past and His future is my future! He calls me Beloved.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I struggle with food and body image, but I am IN CHRIST.

8. Get out of your comfort zone! Sure, it’s safe to sit by yourself, watch t.v. and spend all of your Saturdays at the library, but growth comes when you are willing to take on challenges. I know you like to hold your cards close and are afraid to share too much, but you have got to get past that fear. This life has too much waiting for you and I don’t think it will be found watching reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

9. God isn’t hiding. I know you want to hear from Him, but don’t make it complicated. He’s not holding out on you. His Word promises that if we seek Him we will find Him. Hayley Dimarco says, “You cannot seek anyone with all your heart in your spare time.” True that. Give Him your time and attention and then be patient. Sometimes He wants you to take a step even if you don’t know what the path ahead looks like. Be brave and keep seeking.

10. Life starts now. Oh, Ginger. This is the message I want you to get through your head and into your heart. Your life will not start when some guy to rides up on a white horse and invites you to be the heroine of his story. You ARE the heroine. Your heavenly Father has given you an amazing life to live, so why are you stuck waiting for someone else to confirm that truth? Life is not on hold until you find “the one.” Life does not start with a corsage, a diploma, a ring, a job, or even the perfect group of friends. Real life begins with Jesus.

Love,
This Ginger

– – – –

These are the truths I would tell my eighteen year-old self. Those main points (really, rethink the perm) are what I would share with any woman if we had the chance to sit down and share a cup of coffee and an hour of time together. So, of course, those are the points that shaped my first book. I can’t wait to share Forget the Corsage with you.

 forget the corsage

More to come…

Following,
Ginger

For the Readers, Listeners, Seekers, and Dreamers

Eleven years ago I was working as a summer camp counselor at Pine Cove, preparing to enter my senior year of college, and already starting to worry that I was nearing that portion of life when I would need to know what I was going to be when I “grew up.”

Camp afforded me many opportunities to pick up and learn new skills over the many summers I spent working with junior high students, but none were as valuable as discovering my love of communicating God’s Word with young people.

The idea that I could speak for a living sounded challenging and far-reaching, but not inconceivable. I knew it would take time and drive, and I wasn’t afraid of the work because it’s my joy and passion. But on that Friday night in 2003 my friend Chris put forth a new challenge.  We were sitting on the steps of the old dining hall when he said, “If you ever wrote a book I would read it.”

I was flattered but didn’t really think much about it. I always tested well enough in my English classes and enjoyed my playwriting class, but I did not consider myself a writer for even one second. Even now I acknowledge that I write the way that I speak- somewhat of a blessing and a curse. I thought about the challenge from Chris over the next few years and even wrote out a first chapter idea in 2006. At one point I boldly declared that I would write a manuscript by the time I was 25, but that time came and went.

Other friends have pushed me to think further about the idea and to stop resisting out of fear… because really, that’s what the problem was. I could list those fears out faster than you could ask me about them:

  1. I’m not a writer.
  2. Who would read it?
  3. What would I write about?
  4. I read reviews and blogs online and watch other people get SLAMMED – could I take that kind of criticism?
  5. On and on and on…

But then the more I thought and prayed the more I realized that I did have a story to tell and an audience to share with. The more speaking opportunities that came my way the more frequently I would have young women approach me and ask, “Do you have a book?”

I could recommend other books by countless gifted and talented authors on various subjects… but I couldn’t answer their question with my own.

In 2009 I began to get serious about the task at hand. I wanted to continue the conversation I was having with young women in auditoriums, sanctuaries, and classrooms. In the fall of that year I met the man who is now my husband. He has been my constant cheerleader in all of this: to write my book, to speak, to travel, to embrace the gifts that God has given me. So after we were married in October of 2010, we took a leap of faith. I stayed at home to speak, blog, and begin writing a manuscript.

Yesterday I submitted my final, final version of my book. It’s finished. No more drafts. No more changes. No more avoiding the question, “How’s your book coming?” Now comes the deep breaths and the prayers for courage as I await the printed copies from the publisher’s printer. Nothing like sharing your heart and guts with the world.

 corsage

I don’t have an official launch date to share yet, but “Forget the Corsage” will be available in e-book, soft cover, and hard cover sometime this fall.

So thank you for your patience as I took LONG breaks from blogging this summer. Between my new baby girl and this baby of a book, my time has been filled to the brim. I’ve had to say “NO” to a ton of things in order to say yes to these two precious dreams.

I wanted to share this news with you, because you have indeed become so dear to me. This is my labor of love for the readers, listeners, seekers, and dreamers. I can’t wait to share more details with you as the release draws nearer.

There are countless people to thank with a project of this magnitude, but that will come with time. For now, thank you all for making this little space on the internet so very special to me.

I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:16-19, MSG

Following with joy,

Ginger

Friday Finds: Grace for the Good Girl

I wandered through the halls a nervous wreck last Friday evening. I walked back and forth hoping to catch a friendly eye. This was my first big time conference and I was attending all alone, feeling smaller than ever.

I recognized the author of one of my favorite blogs in the hallway and stopped her. I’m usually terribly awkward when it comes to meeting anyone remotely famous. However, she was gracious as I gushed and grabbed her hand and fumbled over my words. She simply smiled and asked me a few questions about myself. Soon all of my pent-up nerves were leaving.

I went to the She Speaks conference with every intention to network, dream, improve my speaking skills and connect with a publisher.

But I did not meet with a book publisher last weekend even though I was on the top of the waiting list. I spent hours preparing my proposal last week. I furiously finished drafts and letters and chapters… and I never got the call.

But I wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything in the world. For two days I sat at the feet of Jesus and listened. He spoke to my worried, fearful, and busy heart: “Just stop.”

I wandered over to the resource table and surveyed the vast selection. Out of all the resources available on writing, speaking, and teaching I ended up selecting a book on Christian living, the book by the smiling blogger from the first night.

I purchased “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily Freeman and finished half of it on the flight home Sunday… tears flowing all the way. I read paragraphs aloud to my counselor on Monday, feeling as though I finally had words I hadn’t been able to express during a whole month of counseling.

“Somewhere along the way, I got the message that salvation is by faith alone but anything after that is faith plus my hard work and sweet disposition. I lived under a system I designed for myself and I labeled it The Gospel. As a good girl, every choice I made was dictated by a theology of self-sufficiency. Life was up to me, and I was prepared to get it right.”

Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl

I choked those words out through tears, but the kind of tears that mark the start of a very good thing.

Who knows? Perhaps the sole reason I attended She Speaks was to accidentally accost Emily in the hall and then be prompted by the Spirit to pick up her book. Regardless of His reasons, God is using her words to touch the heart of a tired good girl.

I should tell you that I haven’t finished it yet. But that’s how much faith I have in recommending it. I still have 70 pages to go and I’m declaring it to be one of the most influential books in my spiritual development. If you’re tired of trying to hold it together – I highly recommend this book.

Happy Friday!

Following in freedom,
Ginger

Friday Finds: A Game Changer

I’m seven chapters into this book and I can’t say enough good things about it.

This book is challenging the way I think about community as The Church.

This book is challenging the way I view the purpose of church.

This book is challenging my picture of what it means to be missional.

This book is so good and worth the read.  At least that’s what I think 7 chapters in.

 “Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.” -Total Church

“…we are failing to reach the working class with the gospel.  Evangelicalism has become a largely middle-class, professional phenomenon.  When we invite people to our dinners and our churches, we invite our friends, our relatives and our rich neighbors. We do not invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.  What is at stake is the grace of God.” -Total Church

What books would you recommend for someone looking to learn more about missional community and developing deeper relationships?

Following,
Ginger

 

Friday Finds: My favorite.

I’m sharing one of my most favorite things today.  (Watch out, Oprah.)

See… it’s in my bedside table and everything.

Reader, meet the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  I didn’t discover this book on my own, it’s been recommended by some of my dearest friends.  My husband bought it for me as an early birthday present and we’ve been reading it aloud every night since January.  That’s right, we’re old school like that.

It’s true, I have more than enough Bibles.  Why do I recommend this one?

1.  This is a Bible for all ages.  The language is simple enough for young hearts and plenty profound for even the oldest hearts.  The artwork is by Jago and is beautiful.  This is one of my favorites from the entire book.

2.  “Every story whispers His name.”  Yes it does.  Clear and concise, artful and poetic, the Jesus Storybook Bible points all of Scripture towards The Great Rescuer – Jesus.  My friend Becca said this about the JSB: “The best thing about this book is that it takes every story and shows you how it points to Jesus or God sending Jesus.  This book has helped me see how each story is a reminder of God’s never ending, relentless love for us in keeping His promise to send His Son.”

3.  This book has made me tear up on multiple occasions.  It has left me profoundly grateful for my Rescuer.

4.  This Bible makes an amazing gift!  We have ordered it for all of the new babies being born in our circle of friends.  I intend to buy it for a high school graduation gift.  Yep.  It’s that good.  My mom uses it for teaching at her school and Sunday School class.  My sister won a large print edition last month.  I just bought a Spanish version to take with us on our next trip to Mexico.

I love this little book.

 

For more information about the versions, author, or videos from the Jesus Storybook Bible check out: www.jesusstorybookbible.com

Happy Reading!

Following,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Rejection

 

Fact: We all experience rejection.  (Sometimes on a daily basis.)

It can be a tough road to navigate – especially in relationships.  So the last point I want to make about living drama free is that we need to learn to embrace rejection.  I learned this lesson a few years ago and a little book greatly aided me in that process.

I present to you, “The Art of Rejection” by Halyley DiMarco & Michael DiMarco.

The DiMarcos firmly and gently help the reader to navigate all of the feelings, emotions, and dilemmas that come along relationship rejection.

From the back cover:  Rejection Happens.  And it’s never fun.  But with the right perspective, you can turn it into something positive.  Learn how to view rejection as an art form instead of a painful experience that requires healing.  In The Art of Rejection you’ll find…

-Reasons why it’s okay to break up

-Do’s and Don’t of calling it quits

-What to do when rejection happens to you

This book didn’t just help me in dating relationships, I’ve referred to this book countless times when I feel rejected by friends, acquaintances, and even places of employment.  If you are struggling to move past a broken relationship, this might be a great little book for you.

I’ll close with one of my favorite paragraphs from the book:

“YES, you are good enough, but you aren’t for them. Those are two different issues.  YOUR goodness has nothing to do with them.  You are two different people with two different lives that happened to cross.  Just because this person has rejected you doesn’t mean you are defective or bad.” The Art of Rejection

On this Good Friday, may we remember that we serve a God who is all too familiar with feelings of rejection and hurt.  “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  Isaiah 53:3

Following,
Ginger