We are on our way to Alabama today. Whoo-Hoo! I’m so excited! Joshua’s tenth birthday is Wednesday and we’re going down to help celebrate and also to give Julie a hand in some of the little jobs that need to be done around the house that David would normally do. Well, I should rephrase that—Bob will be doing those jobs. I’m just going down to have fun! That’s a grandma’s job, after all!

When they found out David was being deployed Joshua had come to Julie with tears in his eyes asking, “Whose birthday is Daddy going to miss while he’s gone?” He knew, of course, but I suppose he needed to talk about it. When we heard about it, we made the decision right then that, if at all possible, we would go down there for his birthday, and hopefully make it a little easier for him.

I’ve been preparing for the trip all week. Oh, not packing. I got that done in a few hours last night. No, I’ve been typing my fingers to the bone all week, trying to finish a book I’ve been working on for months. It’s the sixth in the Noble Heart series, Valley of Valor, and it is a birthday gift. Uh, not for Joshua, though. It is for Benjamin whose birthday was in February. Um, it’s a little late… Joshua is getting a special little card (among other gifts) with a title and cover picture on it that says his book is coming—a little late. (It’s the next Noble Heart Mystery and will be called A Hero’s Heart. At least I have that much figured out!) I still have Sara’s book to finish (half-done, due last April) and then Melissa, Gabi, Katie and Hannah have birthdays one after another through the end of the year. Oh, yes—Matthew gets his first book for Christmas, as well. *Sigh*

Can I do it? I have to do it! I cannot bear to disappoint any of the kids. They love Grandma’s books and eagerly look forward to the next one. What I will do when the next little Naranjo comes along, and then if Julie and David’s adoption goes through and we have Grandchildren #10, #11 and #12—oh Lord, help!

Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love writing for the kids. I am not normally late like I have been this year. I have had several other large projects that took a lot of my time, but to be honest, I’ve struggled this year a bit in the two books I was working on, as well. Writer’s block? Probably. I’ve never really had a problem with it before, but I just wasn’t happy with how they were going and inspiration just would not come. Finally there was a breakthrough, though, and the words began to flow. It meant scrapping most of what I had already written in Benjamin’s book and going back all the way to the middle of the first chapter and basically starting over, but I was so glad I did for it all fell into place easily then. In the end, I was excited about how it turned out and praising the Lord for His inspiration and help.

And that is how I feel about what I write—that it is the Lord who gives me the inspiration and creativity to use what I write as a ministry for Him, whether it be the kids’ books, my blog, a special project at church or a simple note of encouragement. I can feel Him helping me find the right words, putting my thoughts together, giving me the message He wants me to bring. Oh, I know it is not “inspired” in the way the Word of God is miraculously and totally inspired, but I do not have a single doubt that it is He who gives me inspiration and the gifts to be able to write for Him. Never have I felt so sure that this is the ministry He has for me now.

I was reading in Exodus this week when a passage of Scripture jumped out at me. Exodus 35 is the story of how the Israelites followed God’s direction in putting together the tabernacle while they were in the wilderness. “And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the LORD…And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen…And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair…The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship…And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan…Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.” (Exodus 35:21-22, 25-26, 29-31, 34-35)

There were several things that made me take special notice of this passage. The first thing, obviously, was that the people gave their offerings freely and with willing hearts for the work of the Lord. They had been slaves in Egypt with nothing, but the Lord had instructed them to spoil their Egyptian neighbors of their gold and jewels and wealth as they left Egypt, and now they willingly gave back to Him the riches which God had provided.

The Lord also had prepared them for this work, giving them the knowledge, skills and wisdom to do the work. They worked with wise hearts, using the talents and skills that God had given them for His work. I loved the part where it said of Bezaleel that the Lord “hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship…And he hath put in his heart that he may teach…Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work…” They had willing hearts first of all, and then He made their hearts wise.

And then we see that they worked as one—united, willing and wise—and so fulfilled the work to which the Lord had called them.

God will always provide for His work. He asks us to have willing hearts and to give from what He has provided freely and cheerfully for His work. We can give willingly by faith because He will provide. He will prepare us for the work to which He has called us, also. God gives us the talents, knowledge, skills, ability and inspiration–the wise hearts—to do whatever it is He wants us to do. Then He wants us to work together with united hearts to accomplish His will and His work.
I was praising God before I read this passage for the help He had given me this week in finishing my book. To read a confirmation that it is the Spirit of God indeed who gives us wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to accomplish beautiful workmanship for Him when we are willing to be used by Him was a blessing to me.
Lord, thank You for providing and preparing for Your work. When you call me to do something for You, I can step out in faith knowing that You will accomplish it through me if I willingly and cheerfully trust you and use that which You have already provided. I know You have called me to write, for I feel the inspiration and wisdom and words You give me, and see the skills which only You could have provided. I cannot do it without You. Thank You for allowing me this ministry which brings me so much joy. May it always be a blessing to You, Lord, as I seek to do it for Your glory and to reach others for You. May I never fear to step out and do whatever You have called me to, may I always trust that You will provide and may I always give back to You of my possessions, my talents and my life willingly and cheerfully.

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