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.
Who possesses God
God alone suffices.
Amen, Teresa of Avila.
Thank you Jesus, for being enough.