Copied from my Facebook post on my church’s page:
I had an interesting day. It took me twice as long as it should have to detail the bike and take the seat off to install my new bags, so I was aggravated. Halfway through it my new neighbor came to ask if I had jumper cables and could I jump his dead truck. I did. He’s kind of a shy, sweet, southern boy, and even if he was a jerk I would’ve done it.
By the time I finally left the house it was too late to go the beach, so I rode to Ponce de Leon park on the Peace River and sat back on my seat to enjoy the afternoon rays and contemplate the next chapter in the book. A biker man came by on foot and remarked about the color of my bike. We spoke briefly, the usual bike talk, and he moves on. I leaned back and closed my eyes again.
He comes back by ten minutes later and says, “What are you thinking about?” I open my eyes and say, “My book.” “What’s your book about?” Now I have to sit up. At this point I’m thinking, ‘Does he really wanna know or is he just hitting on me?’ So I say, “God.” Cuz normally a guy would walk away for good at that point. He visibly stutters for a second, totally not expecting to hear that. He nods his head. “Hm. That’s always a good thing to write about.” Then he walks away.
I lie back down and hear his bike start a minute later, and, of course, he stops by my bike on his way past. “Just out of curiosity, why are you writing about God?” I say, “Because He changed my life.” He says, “How so?” I sit up again. Okay. He really does wanna know. He’s not just hitting on me. I say, “In every way possible, and then some.” He says, “I come from a very religious family. I have an uncle who’s a priest, and two aunts that are nuns, but nobody ever talks about God.” I say, “That’s the biggest problem with religion. Come to my church. We don’t talk about religion. We talk about the Bible, and our lives, and how the two can work together.” He says, “What church do you go to?” I say, ” New Day Christian Church, on Peachland Blvd in Port Charlotte, and I grab an invitation card from my little belt bag. He looks at it and nods his head. “Hm. Interesting. Good luck on the book.” And he rides away.
(I know this is long, but some of you, mostly my fellow Christian friends, and especially my church family, will understand why I thought it was such a cool day).
So I leave to meet my sisters for supper. I pull into the parking lot of the dive joint with the best wings in Port Charlotte and park. Two men are standing at the outside bar smoking their cigars. One of them compliments my bike. I thank him. He says, “It’s a Vulcan 800, right?” “Right” the guy:” ’96, ’97?” me:” ’96.” “Wanna know how I know that?” he says. Not really, but I get the feeling I’m going to hear it anyway. I look interested, not to be rude. “I’ve sold hundreds of them,” he says. “I used to run the shop in Punta Gorda.”
Aaah. The place that put my windshield on for free 🙂 “I had my windshield put on there,” I say. The other guy says, “I remember when you brought it in. We got the wrong mounting kit.” I nodded. He was right. Small town. Good memory. The other guy says, “Yup. I ran that store for four years, since I moved here from California.” I say, “You sound bitter about that.” He looks at me and nods a little. “Yeah, but I’m doing my own thing soon, so it’s all good.”
Then he wants to know if I’m married. I’m always reluctant to answer that question. I used to wear my old wedding ring just to avoid getting hit on. I should probably get it re-sized and start wearing it again. But I can’t lie, so I say no. He nods his head. “Friend with benefits?” he asks. Now I’m getting a little peeved. None of your business a@@#$%& is what I wanted to say, but he was a little buzzed so why bother. Instead I say, “Nope. I’m a God-girl. I don’t live that way anymore.” His eyebrows go up and he says, “Really?” I nod and shrug. He says, “I used to go to church, and do Bible study every week, do stuff for the homeless, and I haven’t done that since I moved here.”
So, I took out another invitation card and gave it to him. I told him about how we serve the homeless with our monthly shower ministry, and how it’s coming up this Sunday. So here’s the bottom line.
If it didn’t take me so long to get out of my driveway, I may have missed those opportunities to engage with those people. I just love how God works, that’s all.
So…should this be the first chapter of a book? One of my friends thought so.
God has been nudging me to write my whole life. When I was little, in third and fourth grade, I used to write short stories and turn them in for grading just because I loved to write. My fourth grade teacher told my mom I should pursue a writing career, so why am I not an accomplished author?
I did publish a short story in a TRUE CONFESSIONS magazine in 1989. Can you call yourself a published author in that case?
I started a blog because I wanted to share what I was learning when I started to really study the Bible. My career in dental hygiene entailed always sharing what I was learning with my patients, always teaching them something, depending on their needs. People need to know how to make things better! And I need to tell them! That’s how I’m wired, so that’s why I write. I just don’t write really well. I tend to be too wordy, and revise too much, and not move forward. But…
I need you to know why and how this bad girl became a God girl.
Because my life has changed, for the better, and I don’t feel like I gave up anything. I feel like I’ve added to myself, my peace, and my hope. It would be really great if my story could help others experience that kind of positive, life-giving change, no? And the thing that keeps people like me away is the fear of what we might lose or miss out on. It just isn’t that way.
If we live our lives just for ourselves, what good is that? It gets really old. I did it. I know.
Do you believe there is good in all people? Just like there is definitely evil in all? I do. Most of us keep the bad parts at bay most of the time. Some of us don’t. When we don’t, we fight to get our way, we hate, we hold grudges, we cause pain, we are greedy and selfish and self-absorbed. We’re humans.
When we learn to live and love the way God intended, life just changes for the better, for ourselves and everyone around us. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes.
“What do I have to lose to find out?” is what you’re asking yourself.
You lose what does not benefit you and trade that for all that does you good. So it does the same for your loved ones. It happens over time. Always a work in progress. Three steps forward, two steps back, repeat. For some it’s like being shot out of a cannon! For me, super stubborn and willful and rebellious, it took my whole life!
I’ve been staying away from blogging for a while now. I have a few drafts hanging around but never published them because I was interrupted last fall by a major hurricane and all of the fallout from it. Then the holidays, then a family crisis…and here we are. Springtime is approaching.
There really is no excuse for not pursuing what I know God wants me to do, though. Hurricanes, holidays, doubts about being able to finish, will people even read it,,, and any other whisper I choose to listen to, will all stop me dead in my tracks every time I set out to accomplish God’s purpose. I should be used to that by now and know how to overcome it. Always a work in progress here, kids.
Stephen King published a book entitled ON WRITING A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT. In it he says, “…write as fast as you can.” To just keep writing, at least ten pages per day. My mistake is not doing that. So, this time I’m going to. I will just keep writing and not re-reading and revising. A rough draft should take ninety days if you do that, he says.
I’m no Stephen King, and I don’t even like horror, but the man knows his stuff. Now to stay on task. I should join a writer’s group maybe. Accountability partners would be good for me.
So stay on the lookout for a book entitled FOR THE BAD GIRLS, THE HATERS, AND THE SECRETLY CURIOUS. Pretty sure that’s my title. I will attempt to use Kindle Direct Publishing unless anyone out there has a better suggestion.
To all you professional bloggers that are so encouraging and gracious, keep it up! We less professional wannabe’s appreciate you:)
PEACE IN CHRIST
4 thoughts on “Should This Be Chapter One?”
Well done! Keep it up!
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Wow–God is using you in glorious ways, LindaCat! You’ve inspired me to stay more alert for “divine appointments” and be ready to share my faith as you do. I love the way you identify yourself as a God-girl. My age prohibits me borrowing that (!); God-grandma wouldn’t have the same effect. Perhaps Jesus follower would suffice! / Yes, I think the world would benefit from your book, LindaCat!
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Lol. I’m no girl either, Nancy. Quite sure the age of 67 qualifies me as a grandma. Back when that day happened, in 2014, I was 58. But I never really grew up so I’m still a girl in my head. It’s all relative, right? The older we get, the older OLD is 🙂 Should you want to watch and listen to some very valuable information about how to TELL SOMEONE, go to Harvest.org and click on the RESOURCES tab. Pastor Greg Laurie has a course in their called TELL SOMEONE. It consists of 6 YouTube videos and some wonderful questions to ponder on how to evangelize. I will soon be leading a small group with that course…because I want to be better equipped to share my faith. I’ve been asking my Abba to give me at least another fifteen years to make up for all the years I didn’t. I have to look at it this way…all that mess I made in the prodigal years will make me a better evangelist, right? 😉 Thank you for your kind words. God bless xo
I will check out those videos, Linda–thank you for the recommendation. You will no doubt make a wonderful evangelist, as you share from experience the difference Christ makes in a person’s life!
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