Today I am happy to have very special guest Kathleen Neely to my blog. Please enjoy, and I’ll be back next week.
When You Feel Like Job
Have you ever had that season in life when everything starts to fall apart at the same time? My season came when a foot injury interrupted my paid-in-full-non-refundable writers’ conference. That occurred immediately after losing a book contract when the publishing company folded.
I couldn’t sleep as I nursed my foot and my feelings. I decided I was done with writing, done with traveling, and done with doctors. It was my middle-of-the-night pity party. I felt like Job but showed no resemblance to him. He said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I wasn’t ready to voice that. Yet even in my self-absorbed rebellion, I knew the problem with that. So, I opened scripture to look for His promise of help in times of trouble. I know the verses from Isaiah where he promises that when we walk through the fire, he’ll be there, and when we pass through the waters, it won’t overwhelm us. But I wanted the whole chapter. I needed to read it in context. So I turned to Isaiah chapter 41. Now those of you who know scripture well are already saying — uh oh! Cut me a little slack. It was the middle of the night, and I was only two chapters off.
My mistake led me to chapter 41 and decided I’d read it. It’s a passage that you have to read slowly and think through. I did what any scholarly academic would do. I turned to the Amplified Bible and allowed someone else to do the thinking for me.
Here’s what God told me:
- My enemies will be defeated. But what enemies? I don’t feel like I have any. Some people love me, some like me, and some done care one way or the other. But I don’t think anyone hates me or wishes me harm. But I dug deeper. I do have an enemy. The prince of darkness wishes me harm. And yes, there is a Satan who battles in the spiritual realm.
- Small and weak as I am, He will make me a threshing board, with spikes that can crumble mountains into dust. I’m really glad that’s figurative language. But he was telling me that, as Paul told the Corinthians, God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. He would strengthen me for the battle. The battle against health issues, disappointments, and self-pity.
- He will make rivers flow among barren hills, turn deserts into pools of water, grow forests in unfertile land. I’m still not sure what He’ll do with my painful foot or my canceled contract. He has a grander plan than my limited mind can comprehend. It excites me to see what’s ahead.
I’m glad that I made a mistake when I meant to open Isaiah chapter 43. I’m praying now for what’s ahead, and for God’s grace to truly be my sufficiency. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Kathleen’s novel, The Street Singer, is available through Amazon at https://amzn.to/2txVn5l. Here’s a glimpse.
Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda reveals her journey by sharing a few items at a time, beginning as a sharecropper’s daughter in Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.
Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?
Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading. She is a retired elementary principal.
Among her writing accomplishments, Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.
Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.