Dawn Tolbert

Writer
Faith Reflections

A Morning Heart Song

I’ve started a new practice of writing morning pages–three notebook pages handwritten in stream-of-consciousness style.

The “instructions” literally said there is no way to do the pages the wrong way. But I found myself wondering as my ancient nemesis whispered doubts:

Are these pages too small? Does that mean I need to write on the back? Do other people write on the back?

I wanted rules, a list to check off that I’d done the thing properly.

But here, on these pages, the test is not about right or wrong but about being faithful to practice and honoring the commitment to my art.

Even writing those words make me blush: my art.

It seems such a foreign concept. I often think of myself as less than. Not as talented as some, not as smart. Not as kind as others or as bold or as servant-minded.

But what if I am what I was created to be? What if my fears and extra fluff and failures are just what someone needs me to share?

I believe God created me for a unique purpose and that He has ordered and ordained my steps. How do I live in light of that belief? How do I trade ashes for beauty? Fear for strength?

The answer seems simple: surrender.

But the living is difficult when I allow His still, small voice to be crowded out by the TV or the workplace or social media.

It becomes so easy to be distracted. To see this shiny thing and compare myself to it, to judge myself wanting. It’s tempting to label someone else’s path as charmed when I’ve no real idea of the challenges they’ve faced, the hard work they’ve put in, or the fear they may face.

God is revealing to me how much I grapple with fear. It’s a common theme in my writing because it’s been a battle for me. Some days it is still a battle. The enemy loves to remind me of everything that could go wrong.

For example, I’m on vacation this week but Larry is working. I decided to start my days sitting on the deck in the sunshine and opening my heart and mind to the Lord.

Of course, the enemy wanted to thwart that.

So, day 1 came and as Larry was leaving, I worried that I’d be locked out of the house. I could almost hear the whispered warning that I’d have to spend the whole day in the broiling sun.

Now, I knew Larry wasn’t going to lock me out. And it only just occurred to me as I wrote this that I could have brought my keys with me and erased the problem entirely.

I didn’t spend more than a fleeting moment worrying about being locked out (although I did tell Larry not to lock the door) but this is an example of how unease and disquiet can flit in and upset our hearts and our minds if we allow it.

Satan would love to convince us that the safest way to head off disaster is to not act, to hide and cower, to wait. Wait for someone to grant us permission to proceed. He wants us to forget that the Someone who matters has already called us and given us a purpose. We need to only trust Him and obey.

I have been blessed to be asked to help lead the study for our women’s retreat this fall. Satan’s been working overtime to convince me someone made a mistake in asking me.

Who are you to think you have something to say? They must not know you well.

The psalmist and king David once asked in prayer “What is man that you are mindful of him?”

His question helps answer mine. God is mindful of us–of me.

Who am I?

I am a woman created in the image of the Almighty God, the King of the Universe and the Author–yes He’s a writer, too–of all our days.

His creativity lives in me, and His Spirit is available to guide me. He gives me purpose, and He calls me by name.

He offers the same to you.

Who am I?

I’m a daughter–a dearly loved child not only of earthly parents but of the Heavenly Father who knew me before the foundation of the world and loves me more than I can imagine.

He loves you, too.

Who am I?

I am a debtor, one whose immeasurable sin debt was canceled by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His blood was freely given to pay for my sins including my willful disobedience.

I stand clothed in the righteousness of Christ not because I am deserving but because He is merciful and full of grace.

Romans 5:8 says “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

He died for me. And He died for you.

Who am I?

I’m a servant of the Most High God. I’ve been bought with a price. All my days are His. All my strength, money, time, talents, and self are for His purpose.

This beautiful morning I am sitting in the light of the sun. It filters through a nearby pine tree, casting shade and light, coolness and warmth. Creation testifies about the Creator as the birdsong reverberates in the trees and a gentle breeze makes leaves and flowers dance. I feel the touch of the Creator’s hand in this new day, and I pause to thank Him.

Will you join me?

Thank you, Lord, for your goodness and grace, for the love You so freely give us. I yield this day to You. I incline my ear to the heart song You are singing to my soul. May I move in Your love and grace and mercy and fulfill the purpose You have for me. May I share Your light with others. And in it all, my prayer is To God be the Glory! Amen.

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