Monday, June 21, 2010

Handmade Medical Alert Give-Away

A Facebook friend, Melanie, is giving away one handmade piece of jewelry, taking entries for the next week, until noon on June 28th. The reason I wanted to spotlight her give-away here is because she includes beautiful medical alert bracelets in her creations! No one really wants to wear a sterile-looking alert bracelet, but Melanie has actually found a way to make them pretty. Drop by her blog and tell her Jenni sent you when you enter to win your own. (If you or a loved one does not need the medical alert style, Melanie offers many other lovely pieces as well!)

 Wondering why your journey through pain is important to me? Here's my story.

Wasting Time

Living with chronic illness often seems like life wasted. As my sweet friend Debbie friend just told me this past weekend, "I keep telling God I could do so much for Him if I was healthier."

In my inbox this morning was this great reminder from Holley Gerth contemplating Christ's life as a carpenter until formal ministry began at age 30, reminding me that God calls me to faithfulness in ever season. God has purpose in extended seasons of waiting and "being still" even if it feels like I should be "doing something" different. May His purpose be fulfilled in my life, be it in bed or where ever else He may call and equip me.

This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

- from The Book of Common Prayer

"For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
- Ephesians 2:10

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thorny Gifts

I've been thinking lately about unlikely gifts. Paul was given a thorn. I'm still trying to wrap my mind and heart around just what that means, but this article on Gifts, misunderstood, though written to challenge me to wisely give my heart to sharing with others, does get me thinking about God's choices for me...

If God is the Giver of "every good and perfect gift" (James 1:17) why does He allow thorns? In the above-linked blog, Seth Godin proposes, "The way I understand gifts is that the giver must make a sacrifice, create an uneven exchange, bring himself closer to the recipient, create change and do it all with the right spirit." If measured by sacrifice, there is no doubt that God is the greatest Giver, even when I don't always understand or appreciate the gifts He prepares for me.

I'm still thinking, sifting, sorting, praying. What are your thoughts on the gift of thorns?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thorn of Infertility

This praise/prayer request actually pertains to my first book. Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss has been nominated by RESOLVE, the oldest, and one of the largest, infertility support networks in the nation, as one of the top four "best" infertility books for 2010! I'm beyond thrilled by this nomination and am praying that if nothing else comes of it, at least many new readers will be exposed to the book and God will encourage some hurting hearts as a result. (But I can't say my feelings would be hurt if I won the "best" award either. ;) )

RESOLVE's selections are now open for public vote and I would so appreciate if if you would take a moment and visit to cast a vote for Hannah's Hope in the "best book" category. Thank you so very much!!! If you have a blog or a facebook/twitter type account and would be willing to pass this along to your friends as well, I would truly appreciate your assistance! Voting closes June 24.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Devotion from In Touch

A dear friend sent me a link to this devotion written for In Touch Ministries last month. It captures much of the heart of what I hope to accomplish with my Paul book:
Thorn in the Flesh: When God Doesn't Take Away the Pain by F. L. Stone
A couple of quotes that stood out to me:
The point was God’s answer to Paul’s plea for deliverance: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). This mysterious proclamation of hope speaks of pain in the strange way that’s confounded humanity from the ancient times of Job to the present: the idea that not only can the most inexplicable pain have value, but that the very presence of God can actually come to inhabit suffering and make it into something altogether different.

And further down in the article...
[God's epic response] was speaking to those of us who have done everything we possibly can to deal with chronic depression and yet continue to have no mental energy for anything, no matter how well things are going. Or those of us trapped inside our bodies or minds by some disability that keeps us from interacting the way we want to with the rest of the world. Or even those of us who have tried again and again but can’t get pregnant or stay pregnant when that’s the one thing we’ve always wanted—or those of us who just desperately long for our family to stay intact but know it isn’t within our control.

Prayer Team

I am currently building a prayer team to be my backbone of support as I continue moving forward with the writing of my book on the life of Paul as a support resource for living with chronic pain/illness. If you are passionate about these topics and committed to prayer, please send me an email at jsaake AT yahoo DOT com with PRAYER TEAM in the title, telling me your story or why you would like to be part of my prayer team in one or two paragraphs. I am being fairly selective in the handful of people I invite to join the blog where I am vulnerably sharing the ups and downs of my writing journey, so I may need some time to get to know you before I send you an invitation to my team. Thank you for considering partnering with me in prayer!

Hannah's Hope took me nearly 10 years to write, from first dreams and prayers and scribblings to completed manuscript. I'm sicker now and have more kids, but I also have the experience of one prior book, so only God knows the time line He will unfold with this new book. Since Hannah's Hope has been published for 5 years already, I guess you could say we are 5 years into this new book (though I only just put an outline to paper earlier this year) and currently it seems pretty realistic that I could well be another 5 years from submittable manuscript. I'm intentionally not yet seeking a publisher because I want the freedom to write at the pace God places things on my heart, not be scrambling to meet publisher deadlines.