Jodie
Well, folks, I've been struggling. Sometimes I think that the outward struggle to write is related to the inward struggle of faith. The weaker I feel in Christ, the harder it is to write. I have to cling to the fact that He is strong in my weakness. And feelings just don't matter when it comes to God.

Whenever I have those times when I feel like I'm in that valley where I just don't "feel" God at all, I tend to say that I'm "walking through Egypt." (I probably got that from Clyde Edgerton's book Walking Across Egypt.) The point is, it's like being in a desert and looking for water. When I am able to say that I'm "walking through Egypt," it helps me to hold onto the faith that I will eventually get to the other side and that God and I will connect again; that I'll get to the top of the mountain and have that sweet communion that I just can't seem to grasp when I'm in the midst of seasons like this.

Despite the fact that I'm in a dry desert, pretty much alone, Egypt can have some really awesome moments. There is, in fact, mail delivery in the middle of my Egyptian desert. God sends me postcards. They're not letters, because they don't take long to "read," but they are little bitty "hellos" that God sends to remind me that I am never, ever alone.

This morning, I was driving to Atlanta Bread Company (where you should have figured out by now that I typically like to write on Fridays) in the middle of a good ol' Georgia spring rainstorm. I was just about to change the radio station when "East to West" by Casting Crowns came on. That song has meant a whole lot to me at various times, but a new line grabbed me today and, when it did, the tears just smacked the backs of my eyelids. "I'm not holding on to you, but your'e holding on to me." Even now, sitting here in ABC, my eyes are welling up. There just aren't words for what that spoke to me, what it's speaking to me now. That even in Egypt, when I feel so spiritually weak that I can hardly hold my head up, when I've fought and fought to see the face of God and felt like He's just not there (even though my head knows He is, my heart could use a good shot of Him), that even though my grip may slip, He's never going to let me go. Never. Feelings don't matter; truth does. And the truth is that God loves me so much that He will never let me go. Such love. Such love for me. Wow. I needed that love.

I especially needed it when the next song came on. (I got a two-for-one deal today.) Chris Sligh's "Empty Me." (Never realized he was on "American Idol." Huh. Learn something new every day...) I've been struggling lately with what God wants and what I want and how to tell the difference. I forget, sometimes, to lay my writing at God's feet and to say tell Him to have His way with it. I forget to let Him do the writing. I get a great idea and want to run with it. I get too many ideas and don't know what to do with them. I get overwhelmed and frustrated and in a hurry and... and... and...

And then I hear Chris Sligh on the radio:

"Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you."

Yes! Oh, yes! Sometimes it just makes sense. When it comes to this novel, when it comes to anything I write, even this blog, Lord, empty me and fill me with you. Take away my poisonous pride and fill me up with You and what You want. Pour Your words out, Lord, because You know where they are going and You know what You want to do with them. So when I get overwhelmed and I get confused and it all feels like too much, then "Lord, empty me so I can be filled with you."

JB
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