Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing His Answer - Can You Hear Me Now?

The email came while I was at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference.  It was a simple request to meet, but for some inexplicable reason, my defenses went up.

I called a friend to see if she could shed some light on what it was about. Even as she tried to allay my fears, I found myself getting teary-eyed.  She apologized for upsetting me, but I assured her the problem was mine. I couldn't shake the totally unfounded feeling that my purpose for being at the conference was about to be negated.

Lies of the enemy.  

In the back of my mind I knew what they were, but those lies still tried to find a place where they could settle into my brain and fester.

The theme of the conference was "Write His Answer" based on Habakkuk 2:2.  It is my belief that I can write His answer to a lost world by sharing the impact my church is making on our community and to encourage others to use those ideas as a jumping off point so they too can leave the confines of the church walls and begin to change their communities.  After all, Galatians 6:9 instructs us "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)

To become better prepared to write that answer, I took two main courses of study this year.  A continuing session on writing magazine articles, and a blogging clinic.

The first two days at the conference, I dutifully jotted notes during the clinic. The teacher spoke at length about key words, alt attribute text, Google Analytics, widgets, rss feeds, and SEO.

All technical, clinical stuff.

But the day after the email and phone call, our instructor decided to switch gears for a moment.  She asked us to write down how we felt about our readers.  What we wanted them to feel as they read our words. Some people shared what they had written.

"Encouraged.  Taking away nuggets of truth.  Challenged. Loved."

Then she said "How do you think God feels about YOU?  Not what you know in your head, but what you feel in your heart."  She added "You don't need to share those words if you're not comfortable doing that."

No one raised their hand.  

She moved on.

Eventually, we took a break, and when we returned to our seats, she had a funny look on her face.

"I feel like God has given me a word for someone in here.  You have to understand, this is not something that normally happens to me, but I really feel I have to share it.  Someone in here is discouraged.  I don't know if it's because their blog isn't what they'd like it to be or it's something else. I don't know who it's for, but if you feel it's for you, you don't have to raise your hand or anything."

"God wants you to know He's proud of you.  He's pleased with you.  You're on the right track.  You're doing what He wants of you."

Now that could have been a word for anyone in the room.  Or everyone.  But I believe it was for me.


Because I looked down at the paper where I had jotted down how I thought God felt about me.  It said:

"He loves me, cares for me, He's proud of me and loves when I lean into Him in good times and bad.  He loves when I seek His face."

But I had crossed out "proud".  I thought it sounded...well...prideful.  I changed it to "is pleased with me" and even then, I wondered.  Could I assume such a thing?

But those were the very words she used.  He's proud of you.  He's pleased with you. 

In. That. Order.  

It was no coincidence.  God wanted me to know no matter how I tried to position it, He had me covered.  He takes both pride and pleasure in me. 

If any doubts remained that the word was for me, they were wiped away in my next class, the continuing session on article writing.

I shared about a garden my church planted with the sole purpose of donating the harvest to the food bank. When I was done,  two of my classmates came to me asking for my contact information.  One had already been trying to unsuccessfully to convince her pastor to break ground on a garden and was excited to provide him proof that the idea was viable...the other was encouraged to bring a proposal to her church.

The lies of the enemy were exposed for what they were.  Lies.  Nothing was being negated.  God affirmed I was on the right track with every interaction I had on the subject of community outreach.from that point forward  I could rest assured I was doing what He wanted of me.

I am so grateful that my teacher not only listened to what the Spirit had to say, but that she was obedient to relay it.

I had been listening to lies until the Truth broke through.

But I can hear Him now.  


The Truth wrote His answer on my heart so that I can write His answer to others.

How is God speaking to you today?  


  1. Toni, You were right about that moment. My thoughts at that moment were, "He is speaking to all of us, but He is speaking to one person in particular." I was touched by Megan's sincerity in speaking to us about what was on her heart. She encouraged me, and I am so glad you felt that encouragement, too. Thanks for writing about your experience here on your blog. I feel encouraged a second time around.

  2. Thanks for the confirmation Janice - it was truly a Spirit-filled moment. I think she encouraged us all and I'm glad you were again!

  3. Yes! So blessed to have been in the room for that moment. It had the stamp of God on it - so bunny trail from the purpose - which is what the Lord lovingly does for us. Gently pulling us off the trail for renewal and comfort before we're back on track. I was encouraged by the word - but knew there was someone else in the room who was over the moon with what was His word to all - but to that one in particular. And, they recognized His voice saying, "This one's for you, Toni . . ."

    Blessings friend. So proud of all you're doing in your community - creativity and a big heart and putting God's calling and skill set to the task. Glory!!!

    Send me your admin next week and we'll fix the visuals here - you're making an impact - be ye joyful in the calling in the confidence of His Holy Spirit!


    1. Thx Kathy. It was a very powerful moment...and a very special class. I love what you said about the bunny trail - so true!! I'll get you the info soon - thanks for your offer of help :) Blessings to you!

  4. So beautiful Toni! You probably hear Him more than you know huh? We all do. But those pesky life-robbing lies can be SO much louder at times! Bless you as you continue the path He has set you on. Susie

    1. Thank you Susie. It's true - He speaks in so many ways - through His word, nature, others - He WANTS to commune with us we just need to lean in and listen :) Love you!

  5. Tony,
    Wonderful wonderful wonderful that you went and stayed and gave Him your all trusting heart to speak to you. I just wrote a post today about something very similar I see sweeping across blogs... And it breaks my heart. He has a story to tell through you!

    1. Thank you so much Heather. I fully believe that the restoration spoken of in Joel 2:25 is the way He takes our stories and uses them to help and encourage others. In that way the years are not wasted but redeemed.

  6. Wow! Toni I'm so glad to be on this journey with you and to have been part of that special moment. God so cares about each of us even in what we think are the smallest moments. That small moment in the clinic was a huge God-sized moment letting you personally know He's all for you, girl! And you wrote about it beautifully! <3

    1. Susan - Thanks for the kudos on the post. It was so good spending time with you last week and getting to know you a little better. You have such an important message to get out to the world and I pray for huge blessings on your ministry. Yes, He cares in the smallest moments - it's in those whispers we find Him, right? Blessings to you!