Single Mom’s and Summertime….Guest Blogger Columba Lisa Smith

Today I have asked my writer friend Columba Lisa Smith to guest blog while I take a break from writing!  I met Columba at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference two years ago and love her writing style.  She writes about being a single mom and her faith in Jesus.  Enjoy her post, and check out her blog SingleMomFaith.com.

Summer in the Fast Lane

It happens every summer.

My three teens and I stagger to the end of an intense homeschool year. I hope to catch up on a few projects, visit with friends, perhaps review some college information with the kids.

Also, paint a few rooms, remove all fire hazards from the yard, organize my files, finish my novel and my single mom book, start a freelance business, resolve my past, secure my future, write my will, and maybe even date again.

And boys, would you
PLEASE CLEAN YOUR BATHROOM!!!

I don’t like being out of control. As a single mom, I feel pressured to handle everything. And launching my teens into adulthood is an emotional roller coaster, whooshing me daily from the heights of gratitude and glowing pride to the depths of anxious self-doubt.

Stress, anyone?

Recently, God handed me my summer survival kit: I was invited to a Beth Moore Bible study on Proverbs. My daughter babysits while I fellowship with other moms and soak up Beth’s deep, profound teaching via our weekly DVD lesson. It’s an oasis. I’m super thankful; and my daughter can pay for her violin lessons. Bonus!

Last week, we learned about the heart. Some inner pain is so unique that no one else will ever quite grasp it. Even those who have experienced trials similar to our own can’t understand exactly what we’re experiencing, because everyone processes differently. This can be terrifying.

Sometimes, a mom will tell me that her husband travels a lot, “so I’m a single mom, too!” I want to scream, “No! You’re not! You have no idea what single moms go through!” But even other single moms can’t relate exactly to my experiences. We all live unique variations on the theme, and interpret life uniquely.

Beth shared a reassuring Biblical truth from Saint Augustine:
God is closer to me than I am to myself. He is deeper in me than I am in me, and higher than my highest.

Therefore:
-I don’t have to fear the strange heart pain that I can’t explain to another living soul. God is deeper still. He holds my broken depths.
-It’s OK if I can’t handle my life. God has got this. He’s in it with me.
-I have the luxury of falling apart at His feet. He holds me together.
-I’m God’s business and God’s idea. He is more about me than I am about myself. Everything that concerns me concerns Him more.

God wants to be so close to me that we’re one. Jesus prayed we would all experience this unity: “Righteous Father…I have made you known to them… that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:25-26 NIV).

As I rest in this comforting truth, I automatically produce lasting fruit, without striving. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 NASB).

It’s the only way to get anything done that really matters.
Raising teens alone is a weighty job. I can’t carry it. This summer, I’m experiencing God’s strong support and fellowship, helping me do what I never could without Him.

Have you ever felt out of your depth? How did God help you through that?

Columba Lisa Smith became a single mom in 2000, when her sons were two and four years old, and her daughter was an infant. She blogs at SingleMomFaith.com, sharing stories of God’s faithfulness that provide Biblical encouragement to single moms. She is also working on her first book, Faith and Single Mom Dilemmas, inviting single moms to a journey of rest in God’s steadfast love.

To see Miriam’s Scripture paintings and Christian greeting cards, click on my art above or giftsofhisglory.com

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My Book is Completed, and so I wait….

Celebrate with me the completion of my book: Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God. After two and one-half years of hard work, tears, laughter and editing…and rewrites…and editing…and rewrites, I have completed my manuscript. Now the fun part starts…waiting.

Waiting to hear from the Lord how I am to publish it. Waiting to hear back from the agent I just mailed my manuscript to, to see if he wants to represent me and if my book is marketable to the Christian Booksellers Association (CBS) Is it too dark a subject? Do I have more than one book within my book?  Is it well-written enough? All these questions form in my mind, knowing it will take 6-8 weeks to hear back. If I hear back.

I am blessed with a wonderful mentor, Kay Marshall Strom, a well-known Christian author of fiction and non-fiction, who has guided me and critiqued my book along the way. At this year’s Mt. Hermon Writers Conference, she gave me the thumbs up on my book, as did another writer friend, Joseph Bentz. With this encouragement, I sent my manuscript with sample devotions and greeting cards I had written, off to the agent I met my first conference. He kindly gave me permission to send my book proposal to him when I was done. So I did that this week.

And now, I am taking a rest. The Lord whispered to my heart yesterday to take a break from my art and writing ministry and enjoy the summer. After all, it is His book, and He will publish it when He is ready, whether by a traditional publishing house or self published by me.

Same with the art. I am seeking to license my art and recently got back my first rejection letter from a well known art publishing company.  Tears and disappointment filled my heart. They said they had an artist already with my style.  With my style? Really?  Is that possible someone else paints the same prophetic paintings I do?  I think it was a form letter, and it just wasn’t the right fit. I saved it in my rejection letter file.  Yes, I have one of those. Every writer/artist does. Just to wallpaper the bathroom with when we do finally get published.

So you ask, what will I do with my summer? First read. I have a stack of my favorite John Grisham novels to devour.  Then I will read some of my author friend’s books. Next go to the Pleasanton County Fair, which I go to each year, as they have incredible art. Then I will paint a picture of something different, not just my Scripture art. Go to a Giants game, by train, with my bestie Anne. Buy wine and cheese and listen to the Friday night concerts in the park nearby my home. Write fun and whimsical blog posts that don’t have anything to do with my creative talents! Go on bike rides all over the Bay Area.

And hopefully, go to Paris, and write my final chapter, my afterword. It has been my dream to sit in a Parisian cafe and write. To see all the beautiful art and architecture of the city for writers and artists (and lover’s too!)  Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? So I wait…

What are you doing this summer? Any great ideas for me?  Thank you for supporting my blog and I hope you will enjoy my blog posts this summer….as I wait 🙂