Celebrate! Awareness of tough times and situations we would face in the coming year filled my mind while choosing “Celebrate” for my “one word” for 2016. Reflecting over the year, reality is how little I knew of some even tougher challenges than expected in the 365 days that were ahead. Yet God punctuated the difficult times with some amazing moments of celebration:
* Our youngest grandchild was baptized in January.
* My Compassion sponsored child in the Philippines won a singing competition. A huge celebration for her.
* The Cubs won the World Series (I celebrated that one for my grandmother, a lifelong exuberant Cubs fan, who never saw that happen).
* Completed lives of family and friends were celebrated — even in the pain of our earthly losses.
* The Essence of Courage is nearly a reality. (This fruit of a God given inspiration 12 years in the making is a book, prayerfully, just days from release.)
In case you missed it, the key word here is “fruit.” After much digging and plowing through the often fallow ground of 2016, and cultivating and preparing it to produce the book God laid on my heart so many years ago, I see the fruit bursting with flavor and ripe for the picking. In God’s perfect timing He introduced me to the right people back in the spring allowing the publication process to move forward. About the same time a very dear friend became ill. She lost her battle for life in this world, and went to be with Jesus while I wrote. Every tribute to her life recognized the fruit of the Spirit so evident in her life.
The Essence of Courage brings together spices and essential oils of Solomon’s locked garden (Song 4), tying them to the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5. Growth happens in our hearts when we cultivate the fruit. My friend did, and the book is dedicated to her memory. Just as she displayed the evidence of a fruit-filled, Spirit-filled life, my prayer is for the fruit that will be cultivated in the hearts of those whose lives God allows this book to touch. The writing journey awakened fresh fruit and fresh perspectives in my own life, too. By His grace, I’m looking expectantly toward the new fruit that God will bring into our lives through its release.
Celebrating what God accomplished in my life in 2016, and in anticipation of a fruit-filled 2017, my chosen word is FRUIT.
Despite several publishing and formatting challenges, we are anticipating a Kindle release of The Essence of Courage – Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Solomon’s Locked Garden and in Your Heart – in the next couple weeks, with the print version following closely behind. Thank you for joining us in prayer for the publishing process and those involved in making that happen.
Sponsoring a Compassion child(ren) is one of the most rewarding and fruit-filled ongoing experiences of my life. Compassion sponsorship is encouraged in The Essence of Courage and from this blog. Please consider sponsoring a child today. The fruit you see in your life and theirs will amaze you.