Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Hard of Writing

" . . . writing a book didn't just happen. 
It wasn't like it was left under your pillow by a fairy, already written. 
No. It was hard. 
You had to erase."
 ~ Jan Karon

I've spent the last two years researching and reading books on cancer, learning from other cancer patients, listening to stories of those who won, some who lost before our conversation ended, and many still fighting the battle—when all I wanted to do was run far from this disease, spend my days    living, loving, laughing, playing, seizing each moment God gives me, and playing like a I-don't-have-a-care-in-the-world child. The hard of writing.

But God gave me a story and a desire to use my illness for His glory. The process is hard, but the blessings are easy and huge. Wonderful cancer warriors became my friends, my encouragers, my mentors, my blessings. As God always does, He uses the hard to mold us into His Image.

As a Christian author, I've met precious writers. Many have a story, because they lived a tragedy. A child died, is missing, or is in prison. A spouse left. An illness dominates their lives. Writing their journeys required them to go back to the hurting place, feel the devastation all over again, and write and rewrite and rewrite the agony. The hard of writing.

Why do we write when the writing is hard? We write so satan won't win the battle because Christ won the victory. We write for the glory of God. We write to heal our hurts. We write because God called us to tell our stories. to comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Christian authors are like angels—God's messengers to a hurting world. They desire, as I do, to give God the glory for their victories over the pain.

If the Lord leads, please pray for Christians to keep writing their God stories of hope, encouragement, and comfort. If Christians stop writing, what books will fill our bookstore shelves?

Today my next book is in the hands of an editor who is making my writing shine. Then, I'll have rewrites and more editing and (horror of horrors) cover design! A bad cover can destroy a well-written book. I am a writer, not an artist or a designer. The hard of writing.

So, while I wait for the next phase of the book publishing process, I seize each moment as a gift from God while I rest, read, live, laugh, love, and blow bubbles like a not-a-care-in-the-world child.



Have a splashes of serenity kind of a summer!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Grandmother's Love



We were always close. You can tell by the way we look at each other. A grandma/grandson bond formed at his birth and sealed with memories created over the years.

When he was two, he inspired me to write the following:

"Placed on the chair for a "time out" the weepy two year old wonders why he misbehaves as he whimpers, 'I be a good boy.' In his heart, he is persevering at being good while we are certain he is mastering being bad. All the while, his defiant heart is crying out, Don't stop loving me! Don't give up on me! Who can understand a two year old? God can." ~  Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms:

I never did stop loving him. I never gave up on him. Isn't that what grandmothers do? We grandma's have hearts to love unconditionally and forever. And we have faith. Faith to know and believe that

 "Love never stops being patient, 
never stops believing, 
never stops hoping, 
never gives up." 
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NIV)

A warrior from birth, Connor's passion for all of life —the good and the bad—kept this grandma's prayer life vibrant. Yet within him I saw the tenderest of hearts.

When he was ten he stayed with us for a week of grandparent/grandboy time. Our grass needed mowing. Cutting the grass is my job because I love to mow. With Connor settled inside playing, I set about my task. Before long, Connor appeared at my side saying, "This isn't right. I can't bear watching you mow. I'm going to mow the lawn for you." Two hours later he finished with a smile and a joy in his heart.

When his Pop Pop arrived at his house for a birthday party, 17 year old Connor was the first to see the car. He jumped up and ran outside to help Pop Pop (who has difficulty walking) out of the car and into the house. In Connor I see compassion and love.

Connor and I have loved taking walks together since he was a baby. I'd point out the lion statues on the road and his one-year-old voice would "ROAR!" And then there were the snakes. Oh, the time he   entered his Aunt Joanna's house carrying a black snake longer than he was tall. We gasped. Well, actually, we screamed. Connor was delighted with the snake, but quickly respected our wishes for the snake to return to the woods. Big or small, if there was a snake, Connor found it.



My heart rejoices remembering the best walk I ever took. My neck swollen with leukemia and my body weak, I wasn't walking far or long. Connor picked up on what I needed to boost my spirits and my health. "Hey Grandma, let's take a walk!" To everyone's delight and surprise, Connor and I walked four miles that day! My leukemia took a turn, in fact it walked right out of me. Today I walk daily, my neck is not swollen, and my blood counts are normal. Thanks, Connor, and thanks, God!



In a few weeks Connor's passion to be a Marine, serve his country, and rid the world of the bad guys will come true. He'll walk many roads, see snakes and lions along the way, and meet people in need of his tender heart. God has prepared him for such a task as this. He leaves with a piece of my heart and all of my love and a promise of  my daily prayers on his behalf.

Semper Fi! means "always faithful." 
As a Marine, Connor will be always faithful.
 Better yet, our God will be more faithful still. 
God's got your back, Connor. 
Afterall, Grandma is praying!

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
 plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

"being confident of this, 
that he who began a good work in you
 will carry it on to completion 
until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 (NIV).

 Semper Fi! my Marine grandson! I'm so proud and I love you. Looking forward to walking this adventure with you down the roads of life.

Pray for our military, please!

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Cancer is Conflict



My heart aches. 

Such conflict within me.

I awoke to "amazing, phenomenal, unbelievable" blood test results. Those adjectives are the doctors, not mine. Take a look. I rejoice and thank God there is no trace of leukemia in me, so says my blood. Each component is right dab in the middle of standard range. Even so, there is a battle going on in my body. Daily, leukemia rears its ugly head as targeted therapy goes after and kills the cancer cells. Tomorrow these two foes will rise to fight again. So far chemo is winning the conflict. Hallelujah!



So why is my broken heart conflicted?

This morning I also received the news that a dear friend, wife, mother, daughter, writer, and lover of Jesus didn't receive her hoped for test results. Her bone, lung, and brain cancer may soon take her to Heaven. My heart grieves for her sweet family. I know how she feels, as I received bad news a year ago.

Yet, here I am well,
and there she is suffering. 

My mind is in conflict. 

Why her, and not me? 

Why a young mother and not this old woman? 

Those are questions no one can answer. Except God. He has a plan and while we watch His plan unfold, I am praying with all that is within me for Deborah Kessler's health. A big part of me feels her possible death is unfair. I wish I could take her place. And then I remember, there is One Who already did. Because He lives Deborah and I will live forever. Jesus shed His blood and now our blood tests really don't matter. The conflict is over for those who believe in Christ.

Please join me and pray for a miracle.

 Pray for Deborah Kessler's complete healing in the Name of Jesus!



Deborah posted the following on facebook this morning: 
"First, I want to say, it’s all true: Jesus, the Bible, the peace that passes all understanding,... I’m telling you, I’m looking death squarely in the face and “I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed to Him...”
  I know God is in control. For whatever zillion reasons, He is allowing this for my good and His glory. I don’t like it, but in heaven, when I really know why, I will.
Please pray for the miracle. I am hemmed in between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, I can feel the heat of the fiery furnace, And I know that God is able to deliver me from the mouth of the lions.
But after that, please pray for my family. We are having a very difficult time.
It’s time to think of funerals and realities of death but also it’s time to think of living and spring and hope... it is very sad here. We need to laugh.
I am sorry for all of you, my sweet friends and family who are sad. I hate that you’re having to go through this, too. Know that God is helping me through my story... but this really is part of your story too. Let God comfort you and help you through your story that’s still unfolding. I’m praying for you. I’m trusting God. 💙😢💙🙏🏻💙😊💙

Deborah described her feelings on the day she learned of her cancer as "walking under a beam of sunshine that was filling my soul with indescribable peace. His umbrella over me is His steadfast love." She sketched this picture in her journal on that rainy day. Her drawing is the perfect example of what I experienced and what other cancer patients say, The day they learned they had cancer, they had total peace. Thank You God for Your Peace when we walk through the thunderstorms under the umbrella of Your love.   




"All His work is done in faithfulness . . . the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. 
Psalms 33:4-5

Today I planned to write my book's next chapter titled, "The Blessings of Cancer." Hard to write on this day, but I know Deborah would cheer me on with, Don't let satan win this battle. You write the blessings, for we both know the blessings abound for those who know Christ and suffer with cancer. Deborah, I dedicate this day of writing to you and pray your blessings abound as I pray for healing in Jesus Name.



Jesus is our only Splash of Serenity on days of conflict. There is No Other Name by which we are saved. Thank You Lord, the Blessed Controller of all things, including our health and our death, for the glory of God!


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mentoring is not a Suggestion. Mentoring is a Command!

Mentoring! Mentoring! Mentoring! I keep hearing the word "mentoring" at conferences, in conversations, in books, and speaking invitations.

Jayme Hull, author of Face to Face: Discovering How Mentoring Can Change Your Life  interviewed me recently on her podcast. Seehttp://www.jaymeleehull.com/podcast/ep-17-encouragement-marriages-elaine-w-miller/

Michelle Lazurek asked me to speak on mentoring at Coudersport Alliance Church's Spring banquet.

A month ago I commented on a blog and won Janet Thompson's book Mentoring for All Seasons.

All right God. You have my attention.

Janet Thompson's Mentoring for All Seasons opened my eyes to truth. Titus 2 doesn't encourage us to mentor younger women if we feel like it or we can fit mentoring into our busy days. 


Mentoring isn't a suggestion. 

Mentoring is a command! 


   "These older women must train the younger women 
to love their husbands and their children,
to live wisely and be pure. . . " 
Titus 2:4-5 (NLT)

Please notice the words "must train." Not perhaps train or find time to train or feel qualified to train but "must train."  


We must step up to this task and obey God's command to train the younger women. For if we don't, who will? Social media? Hollywood? satan? They will and they do. 



Let us not sit back trusting God for our Christian sisters and daughters 
while the world equips them with and encourages them towards ungodliness.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and text

Mentoring  for All Seasons  takes the fear out of mentoring as a complete easy-to-understand, fun-to-read mentoring handbook. Janet Thompson walks the reader through every season and possible circumstance of life, making mentoring easy with tips and testimonies, Biblical examples, questions to ask, and resources to use. Thank you Janet Thompson for an excellent resource as well as admonition to reach younger generations for Christ. 


Psst: Did you notice Titus 2 says, "train the younger women to love their husbands"? In Mentoring for All Seasons, Janet Thompson encourages us to sit down with young wives and mentor them in marriage. She recommends We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can as a book that would be fun and easy to  use to mentor wives and those who hope to be wives. Thanks Janet for the shout out. What a sweet surprise!





Splash some serenity on a younger woman and mentor them towards God! You'll feel some of those splashes too. Promise.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Elaine W. Miller Shares Her God Story, Her Marriage, Her Writing Life


What joy to share my God story, the salvation of my marriage, our call to ministry, my call to write, and the miracles God did along the way with my friend Jayme Hull. You can listen to our conversation on Jayme's Face to Face Mentoring Show at http://www.jaymeleehull.com/podcast/ep-17-encouragement-marriages-elaine-w-miller/

Jayme Hull is a dynamic speaker and passionate mentor who motivates audiences to invest in others through mentoring. The author of Face to Face: Discovering How Mentoring Can Change Your Life, Jayme and I met at Montrose Christian Writer's Conference and immediately connected as kindred spirits. She's fun and fabulous with huge energy and great love for her Lord Jesus Christ.


Learn more about Jayme on her website, www.jaymeleehull.com

May this interview pour splashes of serenity and floods of hope for your marriage this Valentine's Day!
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Monday, January 29, 2018

Where is God When Life Hurts?



Yesterday a cancer patient called me wailing, cursing God, and asking,

"Why is God letting this happen?"

Years ago my friend died from a gunshot.

"Where was God when a finger pulled the trigger?" I pleaded for answers from my Pastor.

"You tell me. Where was God?" the minister responded.

"God was there. All the time. He never left her." I answered my question.

Calmed by the truth of God's omnipresence, I felt better, safer, and blessed knowing

 God doesn't leave when life is hard.

We don't have answers to all the "where's" or "why's" of God's plan, but we own truth that on a painful journey 

God is with us.
  He has a plan to use our difficulties for His Glory. 
If we let Him.

How we live, our grouchies, our grumblings, our joys, and our praises are up to us through the power of the Holy Spirit and our will to trust, believe, and obey.

Yesterday my pastor preached on Joseph who wore the coat of many colors. Thrown into a cistern by his brothers, landing in a jail pit because of a false accusation, Joseph may have questioned God's presence and purpose. Instead,

Joseph focused on glorifying God 
because he knew God was with him. 

Genesis 39:21 tell us:

"But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison 
and showed him His faithful love."

What about you? Are you suffering? You are not alone, because God is with you.

Determine to be a Joseph. 
Put on your fanciest robe!
Live life, and shine! 
Trust God has a purpose and a plan for your pain.

From day one of my cancer journey, I resolved to glorify God wherever this trip takes me. And what an amazing road we have been on. Cancer opened highways to a vast audience I would never have met had those ugly cells not reared their heads.

Every person I meet is an opportunity to share God's love
 and His salvation message.
 I have people's ears because I know suffering 
and I understand their pain.  

Like Joseph, I believe:

" . . . It was God who sent me here . . . to preserve your lives." Genesis 45:5 (NIV). 

God sent me on the cancer path to give hope in Jesus Christ 

to audiences filled with questioning cancer patients, nurses, doctors, receptionists, lab techs, and many more. 

"So, it was God who sent me here, not you! . . ." Genesis 45:8 (NIV). 

If was God who puts me in an infusion center every six weeks.

Cancer didn't put me there. God did. 
To be used in a Cancer Center to shine for Christ.

 God placed me as speaker at a quilt retreat filled with women whose lives are unravelled by cancer. 

God placed me in the dentist's chair to share my journey with the hygienist.  

God placed me in the Walmart line to give hope to a bald, chemo-ridden mother of preschoolers 

Every day is an opportunity to share Jesus with a hurting world. 
Before cancer my eyes didn't see the hurting. 
Today I can't pass them by.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.
He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." 
Genesis 50:20 (NLT).

Cancer intended to harm me, 
but God intended cancer for good
 so He could use me to save the lives of many people.

Where is God when life hurts? 
He's right there with us. 
His plan is to use our suffering to save lives. 
Let Him use you. 

When we get our minds off our afflictions, 
focus on our Lord, 
and realize our pain has a purpose, 
 then life doesn't hurt so much any more.

May God pour splashes of serenity on your suffering as you keep your eyes and thoughts fixed on Jesus,

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What Really Matters in 2018 — The Condition of My Heart




A peek into my journal lets the secret out. My New Year's Resolutions were different this year. Perhaps it's getting older, perhaps living with cancer, but when I sat to  reflect and write my 2018 resolutions, I chuckled realized my hopes had changed. Gone were my annual lose weight, get organized, exercise goals. Instead, God placed the following in my heart:

My 2018 Resolutions:

To glorify God.

To surrender to Him and His will.

To Trust in the Lord.

To keep my eyes on Jesus.

To die to self and live for Christ.

To be a soldier for Christ.

To share my faith.

To encourage others in their faith.

To live each day to the full.

To not waste time in earthly pursuits.

To praise Him continually.

To pray without ceasing.

To keep the wonder of a child.

To cling to the cross.

To be joyful in affliction.

To shine in the dark.

To hunger and thirst for righteousness.

To love unconditionally.

To live.

 To feel the wind on my face and the grass between my toes.

To not rush through life, but enjoy the expanse of moments.

To smile and bring joy.

To notice children and listen to them.

To love deeply.

To be all Christ created me to be.

To rest in His Arms.

To have no expectations that this world will ever satisfy me.

To live for Christ alone.

At the end of life neither God nor I will care if I lost weight, exercised, or ever got my house in shape. What will matter is the condition of my heart. May our resolutions reflect what God wants us to be instead of what the world entices us to become.

"The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

May 2018 be filled with splashes of serenity as we live for Jesus!

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