Sunday, March 05, 2006

Let Nothing Trouble Me

Late night.

I should be in bed, but I can't sleep. All day long I've thought about the things I've written here in the last few posts. I kicked those writing books out of my bed. I've written a chapter and most of a synopsis for a new series, and the people who mean the most to me in my work all seem to like it. My agent likes it. His name is Don Pape, and honestly, he's the best agent in the world. (He made me say that.) Ha! No, he didn't.

A really big publishing house has shown some interest in my work--a house that would mean I could probably give the state of Michigan their food stamp card back if I landed there. And there is all this pressure I feel to come up with something that will please them.

How do you please the big boys? How do you give them something that could change your life?

Did you ever wonder if God would really give you something--something you thought you needed? Wondered in a way that left room for the awful possibility that He wouldn't give it to you at all? And then you wondered if He really loves you--enough to give you something that maybe you don't need. You just want it?

Sometimes, I think I will always be broke. Will I always get food stamps, which always seem to run out before the month is out? Then we scramble to eat...beans and smoked turkey wings... beans without smoked turkey meat... we skip breakfast...we skip breakfast and lunch (thank God for free breakfast and lunch at the kids school)...we eat lots of ramen noodles. Broken down car in the drive way, shut off notices on this and that. Taking my husband to surgery on the city bus. Coming home from surgery on the city bus. Sometimes, it feels unrelenting. Knowing that I'm about fifty cents away from disaster, getting toys for Christmas at the Salvation Army charity. It wears me out just to think about it. And it's not even poor like third-world poor. It's good old American poor. But I still hate it. Still feel like I lack.

I get my medication at Target, and I go through the store, passing the children's clothing. I look at the little girl clothes and I think, I wonder if one day I can dress Nia and Z.Z. like that all the time? And then it feels so incredibly shallow. Then, I realize there are people, right in the store with me, who dress their kids like that all the time. I will never be one of them. Not me. Then I wonder if I even want to be.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor." But I don't always feel blessed. But the truth is, I am. Somehow, He always seems to stretch the beans, and we never truly have a hungry day. I may get a letter in the mail with a check for a hundred dollars. Or my homegirl decides to surprise me and pay for the groceries. When my spirits are lowest, and I'm feeling so not good about me, sometimes I find a new dress at Walmart for three dollars.

You know that footprints in the sand thing? Where it says, "Lord, I only saw one set of footprints?" I'm so dense sometimes I'd probably look at them and think, "Wow, I have really big feet." But God is good. He never leaves me alone, and He gently reminds me that those are His prints, and yes (don't groan) He carries me in those aching, throbbing times.

So, you read it right here. I'm giving my fear of my future to God. Those cares of this world things are especially meaningful to Him. I'm just going to write the best stories I can. That's all He asks of me. I can't please everybody. I can't write because the big boys are looking, or because I'm afraid I'll never be able to feed us without the state's help. I write for love. It's an offering to God, and if God gives back, as He did with my own generous publishing house, Praise His name. The big boys, like me, are in God's hands. He'll see to it that the books I write go where He wants them to. I don't want any more than that. Big publishing house, small publishing house, give me God's publishing house. At least, give me the one God wants for me.

I pray that I remember Teresa of Avila's poem, and know that God will not keep from me anything that is truly mine. I'm thankful for what is mine. I really am. Despite the problems I have, He's really generous to me. I want to let nothing trouble me.

Let nothing trouble you.

Let nothing scare you.

All is fleeting.

God alone is unchanging.


Everything obtains.

Who possesses God

Nothing wants.

God alone suffices.

Amen, Teresa of Avila.
Thank you Jesus, for being enough.



lisa said...

Hey, my friend. You are loved by the Samsons! Would you email me? I "lost" my email address book. Grr.

Kristine said...

I love you.
Gosh, you somehow manage to say things that ring so true in my life. My thought this morning was, " How long will I be broke?" While I know you are struggling to work it all out and to hear God in the midst of the circumstances, I feel a kinship with you that makes me remember you in my prayers and wonder how you are doing each day. So, know that you are in my thoughts and petitions each day.

Anonymous said...

It hurts me to read about your pain and struggles because as you know, I am a "fixer" and I can't fix this. I am truly glad that YOU haven't given up on the one who can fix anything though. Love you always - from the depths of my being. Your bestest friend.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

I agree, Don Pape rocks. :) And you're absolutely right: you can't write for the big boys; you write for God and trust that God will get what you write into the right hands, and if they're the hands of the big boys, then sweet, and if not, it's still sweet because it's where God wants you. (Please know that I'm writing this just as much for me as for you!!)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

My dear, friend, you are so loved. That makes you one of the richest people I know! I admit there are struggles in this life. But you don't have a testamony, until you've had a test!

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Claudia Mair, I love you so much. I thank God for the day I discovered your blog... and as a result got a great friend out of the deal.

And you know, big boys or no... you have it pretty sweet where you're at. God has it all under control. He loves you so much... I love to see how He works in your life.

Love you girl.

eileen said...

I see now why Heather talks about you all the time. What a kinship you and I share! But like you, not once have I gone without. God's hand is never short and He's never late. Just keep on keepin' on. And here's a new friend!

Deborah said...

All of these trials will be greatly used by God to bless others. They already are. Which, of course, does not make it easier.

Wishing you every blessing. Thanks so much for getting in touch today and reminding me to make this a regular stop.

I love your authenticity.


Angie Poole said...

{{{Claudia Mair}}}

hanni said...

Today is "Bless Biscotti Brain" day!

Greer said...

Today started out as a "Lord, how long? Today? Is today my day? If not, put me out of my misery. Give me the peace to settle that this is all it will ever be." Resigned that everyone will be more than I've allowed myself to be, I read your post for the first time. Thank you. Jesus IS more than enough.

Dee said...

Girl, thanks for the phonetag on Monday. It was so nice to hear your voice. God is blessing us both and fortunate for me, Selah loves Top Ramen. :)
Anyway...I'm reading you of course and praying for you.
Oh and one more thing... Tag you're it! I have a meme for you at my gospelfiction dot com site.

Eudoxia, a lover of the Lord said...

Hello, friend. Again, your passion shines through! Visit me at my

s-p said...

It was Theresa of Avila, who at the end of her life said to God "Why have you treated me thus?" God said, "Because you are my friend." And she replied, "It is no wonder you have so few." If we can like Job bless God and say, "Shall we accept blessings and not adversity from God....", and in the face of calamity tear our robe, shave our head, put on sackcloth and fall down and worship...then we have something. May God be your friend and may you be His.

wilsonian said...

The thing is, the big boys fell in love with your writing when you didn't know they were looking.

You're already doing it. Just keep on.

Paula said...

Wow. I needed to hear this . . .again. . .

One day at a time. That's what you've been telling me.

BTW, know what Jesus showed me this week? That when He and I write together it brings Him joy. I'm hanging onto that and writing book contract or no.

Love you.