Categories
Encouragement General Inspiration for Writers

Collected

            The bear showed up again last night, and trash lay all over the driveway and front lawn. 

            Black bears start bulking up from midsummer through fall before they hibernate for the winter here in the Sierra Valley. It’s easier for them to forage through people’s dumpsters than through the forest that surrounds our mountain valley, so they wander from neighborhood to neighborhood looking for fridge castaways.

            Groaning, I began the gross and time-consuming task of collecting the litter. One more thing. It was one more thing on my cluttered to-do plate.

            After a four-day conference halfway across the country, I came home to a cluttered desk, writing deadlines, numerous Zoom meetings, and shopping and other prep for a four-day writing retreat I would host just a few days later.

            I felt as scattered as the trail of trash spread out in front of me. If I could only collect myself, I muttered as I picked up eggshell fragments and cans of Dinty Moore beef stew–my husband’s go-to meal when I’m gone.

            How would I get it all done? Why did I say yes to so many responsibilities? What was I possibly forgetting?

            Back inside a half hour later, I determined to clear my desk. After I filed away receipts, bills, and sticky note reminders, I saw what I had forgotten. My Bible sat there waiting for me to read that God collects scattered people (Jeremiah 28:25-26). He patiently allows me to blow away in the winds of struggle and hardship and even prideful too-much-to-do, so that I get to the place where I just cannot pull things together on my own. And then he gathers to himself those fragments of me that I have become, sets me securely in the place he has made for me, and gives me the security of his arms.

            And somehow he makes beauty out of a collection of litter.

Janet McHenry is an award-winning speaker and author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the best-selling PrayerWalk. A former high school English teacher, she and her husband Craig raised four children in the Sierra Valley, where he is a rancher. She would love to connect with you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Sandra Robbins

"Sandra

Sandra Robbins, former teacher and principal, is an award winning multi-published author of Christian fiction who lives with her husband in Tennessee. Angel of the Cove, her first book in the historical romance series Smoky Mountain Dreams, was named the 2013 winner in the Single Title Inspirational Category of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. This award is given by the Birmingham Southern Magic Chapter of Romance Writers of America for excellence in writing romance. Also in 2013 her Love Inspired Suspense books Shattered Identity and Fatal Disclosure were both awarded HOLT Medallions in different categories of the Virginia Romance Writers of America contest to honor outstanding literary talent. In addition her books Final Warning and The Columns of Cottonwood have been finalists in the ACFW Carol Awards, and her cozy mystery Pedigreed Bloodlines was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award given by the Kiss of Death Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

As a child, Sandra accepted Jesus as her Savior and has depended on Him to guide her throughout her life. It is her prayer that God will use the words He gives her to plant seeds of hope in the lives of her readers. Her greatest desire is that many will come to know the peace she draws for her life from Isaiah 40:31—But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Email Address: sandra@sandrarobbins.net
Website: http://sandrarobbins.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sandra.robbins.161