BioPicBlues Greetings from Jan!

Today I’m busy packing and making preparations for the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference where I’ll be teaching a Head Start Mentoring Clinic and running the manuscript retrieval process for editors, critiquers, and writers. One of my other delightful tasks for the week will be to give a workshop for the writers about midway through our time there.

We will stop to take a few deep breaths. We’ll step away from the busyness of the conference into God’s waiting arms to catch a glimpse of his hand in all our circumstances. In that place with him, we’ll reflect, refocus, and rechage. As our spirits quiet, we will open our hearts to listen for the specific and intentional ways he is calling us to step into “the next” of the conference with more energy and confidence, with God going before us.

I’m convinced we need many of these moments in our lives as writers to care for ourselves–emotionally, physically, and spiritually–so that we might be fully available to do all God calls us to as writers and speakers.

For this post, I’d like to share one of those difficult, yet recharging moments I’ve enjoyed in God’s arms, reposted from my coaching site, Courageous Moves.

From Thorns to Fragrance

The time in my life had been extremely difficult, and my body was physically and severely responding to the stress. A friend stopped by my house to share a gift of encouragement. With it came this quote:

Note this bit of gorse bush. The whole year round the thorn has been hardening and sharpening. Spring comes. The thorn does not drop off and it does not soften. There it is, as uncompromising as ever; but halfway up appear two brown furry balls, mere specks at first, that break at last–straight out of last year’s thorn–into a blaze of fragrant golden glory!

–Lilias Trotter

My friend offered these words with a single hyacinth bulb and a container for growing it. She wrote, “This is not a bit of gorse bush, yet is a bit of spring fragrance for the winter. Wishing you a joy-filled day.”

Her words offered hope that my difficult season would one day bring about a blaze of fragrant glory. Sometimes laying in my bed at night, all I could utter were single-word prayers, but they were filled with meaning. After receiving the gift and quote, I pictured the thorns of my life transforming into an unmatched fragrance of life and fullness.

Fullness. Did you know that when Jesus said, ”I have come that you might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV), that the word “life” was not the Greek word bios but zoe? We’re invited out of daily mere existence to a life lived with passion and vitality.

Imagine taking the energetic zoe life God calls you to into the way you live and work, into your relationships and conversations, into how you take care of yourself, into all your choices, goals, and dreams.

That’s living. That’s thorns to a blaze of fragrant glory.

What is one area of your life you’d like to live more energetically and passionately? What will you do differently? When will you begin?


Jan writes nonfiction from her home in the foothills of the California Sierras. She is currently working on more material for the teen/ya audience and for those who deeply care about them. She also enjoys life coaching and mentoring writers. Visit her site at