Sunday, April 20, 2014

A short message for Easter

I wasn't planning on posting a message today, but this has been on my mind.

Jesus' disciples are very interesting to me for a few reasons. First, they were Jesus' closest companions. Second, they were around Him all the time, so you would think they knew more about His teachings than anyone. Finally, scripture tells us they still messed up all the time. They were very human, just like you or me. They made mistakes, got scared, and felt hopeless even after everything He had already told them.

On the day we call Good Friday, the day was anything but good for the disciples. Their entire world was shattered. From their point of view--on that day--their lives were completely in shambles. Their teacher, leader, and mentor died. The King had passed, and yes, he would rise on Sunday, but that event had not happened yet. For the disciples, the authorities were coming after them, people despised them, and the one person they needed the most was not with them. For those days between Jesus' passing and resurrection, the disciples were just a bunch of scared, hopeless, and completely defeated individuals. They were trapped in the most desperate situation imaginable, with no foreseeable way out.

Then, their Lord rose again. Life was beautiful and hopeful once again. They would go out and preach the gospel to the world. Their lives, arguably, had more meaning than they could have ever believed was possible in their previous lives. This is why we celebrate Easter. Death, sin, and the devil himself have been defeated. Our lives are made new, glorious, and complete through Jesus Christ. This is also the reason the day of our Lord and Savior's death is called Good.

Now to the message: Jesus has risen, yet I think a lot of us forget that He is risen. Many of us--myself included--get so caught up in our own junk, we live our lives more like the disciples did during those dark days when their Savior was sitting in a grave. We live in fear, despair, and hopelessness, unable to see any foreseeable way out of our dire situations. Our minds go to a dark place for so long that we forget everything else. Everything we have learned, everything we have been told, everything we know to be the truth is forgotten. In those moments, hope is not gone, but hope is so far off of our radar that we can't see it an inch in front of our faces.

Darkness is no more. Fear is no more. Death and sin have been defeated. My prayer is that we all find our way out of the darkness and set our sights on the hope set before us. We know Jesus is risen. The disciples had to wait. We know Jesus saves, so there is always reason to have hope. In our weakness, He makes us strong. Do not lose sight of the things that are truly important in life. There will always be struggles, but you can overcome.

Believe me, I know. I spent a giant chunk of my life living in darkness, hating the world, and hating my life. Today, I am in a completely different place. Life is amazing; I believe all of our lives are. I pray you never get so lost in hopelessness that you don't get a chance to see the miracles just ahead. I pray you know your life has been made new. Today is another opportunity to start fresh. Above all, I pray you have complete peace, love, and joy in your life from this day forward. Be blessed, my friends, now and always, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Discovering new motivation to write

Let me just start off by saying: I love to write. My love of writing has led me to publish two books, with a third on the way. Recently, I needed to take a break from drafting book three. My break ended up being a bit longer than I intended, so I've been very slow to get back to writing. I still love to write; I just find my thoughts and ideas aren't flowing to the page as smoothly as before. Thus, I am in need of motivation.

With my first two books, my best thoughts always came from time spent at the beach. Catching a few waves helped me get the creative juices flowing. Since my second son was born, I can count the number of times I have been to the beach on one hand. This wasn't a problem until I fell into a lull in the middle of drafting book three. So, I have been taking some time to discover some new motivators.

I'm really enjoying this experience. It has been interesting to talk with other writers to find out what helps them stay creative and motivated. I have found that writing something other than what I normally write has been a great help. I spent some time on Wattpad working on poetry, which is definitely not what I normally write (I'll post one of my poems below). Through some of the poems, I have been able to place myself back into my characters shoes and see the world from their perspective. The process has been incredibly insightful.

I have also found that not putting too much emphasis on promoting my other two books has helped me stay in writer mode as well. Promoting is great, and obviously necessary, but I realize now that I need to find some balance between writing and promoting. It's just not good to get so caught up in promoting that you forget to keep writing.

The last thing I have been trying to do is keep enjoying life. I don't know how it is for you, but writing isolates me from the world around me. When I am writing, that is all I am doing. Everything else falls away. It's good to get away from the computer and live life, spend time with family and friends, and leave some of that stress behind. Sad that I needed to be reminded to live, but glad I learned that lesson now instead of later.

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant about this for a little bit. I'd love to hear how you keep yourself motivated to keep writing. Please leave a comment below. Keep writing, my friends. Have a wonderful week!

As promised, here is one of the poems I wrote to get back in the swing of things:

Darkness Within

Deep within the recesses of my mind,
the darkness no longer tries to hide.

Like venom, the memories run through my veins.
Driving my mind insane,
filling my soul with pain,
leaving me desperately looking for someone but myself to blame,
destroying every cell of hope in my body,
until only a shell remains.

Why can't I think of better days...

Do normal people replay every hurt in their head,
while roaming through life like the walking dead?
Why, why, why do I?
Why can't I be like them instead?

Instead of this hollow shell, a reminder of what could've been.
A monument to pain, the type hidden deep within.

Hidden from the prying eyes of a society that looks away, anyway.
Yet, finds entertainment in other people's pain.