I’m afraid of heights.
Not roller coasters or airplanes, but heights that appear to offer no protection.
Like those jungle courses at parks, or ziplines.
Or in this case, a rock.
Morro rock rests in California, rising hundreds of feet above the mountains.
Daddy remembered climbing it as a child, so during our recent trip to CA, he wanted to do it again.
First word of advice: NEVER look up pictures of the situation you’re fearing. It seldom helps to assure you.
Second word of advice: Meltdowns are allowed, but they really don’t help.
After these pictures embedded themselves in my mind, NOTHING could change my decision to stay as far away from the rock as I could.
Yet, the entire time at the conference, the battle raged. You’re going to let FEAR overcome you? You’re not going to even try?
I’m a writer, so during these times, I write.
(Excerpts from my journal during the conference:)
The 20th of June, 2018
As I write this, I’m sitting in a white gazebo, brightly colored flowers bordering the circle.
A beautiful water fountain rests just a few feet away and the sound is soothing.
I’m at Biola University, getting ready for a writer’s conference.
I don’t know anyone yet. The unknown is all around me. But somehow, I’m not afraid. Cautious? Uncertain? Yes. But not fearful.
Why? Because I know that God is with me.
Would He not be with me when I climb the rock?
So why the terror?
I like to think that common sense has a little to do with it. The rock isn’t exactly the safest place on the planet.
Two days ago, I declared I wasn’t going.
So why the debate now? Why not just go with my original plan?
Because I don’t let anything control me. (note that I said “thing” not person!)
I don’t let feelings control me. I don’t let food control me. I don’t let electronics or social media or books (okay, that one’s debatable) or entertainment rule my life.
And I certainly don’t let fear control me.
So why not just climb the rock?
Because this is the beast. For once, the object of my fear is bigger then me.
I don’t know my decision yet, but I know what I need to do.
If only the right way was the easy way, but then again, that wouldn’t be life.
The 22nd of June, 2018
I’m sitting here, waiting for an appointment with a faculty member. I still haven’t decided upon climbing the rock.
Though, I did make a deal with Daddy. I told him that if he drank Boba tea, that I’d climb the rock. But, only because I’m pretty sure I’m safe in that regard, ha!
Is it ever okay to give in to fear? Is it ever okay to say “no”?
The 25th of June, 2018
I climbed the mountain.
It’s amazing how God places different people in your life at just the right time. But even more amazing is how He orchestrates that in His perfect plan.
The last day of the conference, I constantly heard words like “courage” and “facing your fears.”Although they might have been geared towards writing, they might as well have spelled out my entire battle. They spoke directly to me.
I remembered scriptures like Psalm 118:6, Isaiah 12:2, and 2 Timothy 1:7.
But it wasn’t until the evening before the last day that I finally started to make up my mind.
It was through the words of the inscriptions (on some pretty amazing books, I should add!) that gave me the courage to say “yes.”
“Follow your adventure! Never fear jumping into the unknown to discover where God is leading you.”
“…. Aleigha, I hope, like Sarah, you find your courage.”
I’m not usually one to read those Facebook post anniversary things. But for some reason I did.
It was a quote I had shared a year ago to that day.
“Most people are waiting for the mountains to be removed, when what they really need is the courage to climb them."
Did I need anymore convincing after that? Um, nope.
Was I still scared? Yes, a bit. But I kept my eyes on the path, I didn’t look down. And, I made myself NOT think about how high up we were.
If I had let fear rule my decision, I would have missed out on the brilliant beauty of those mountains. But because I faced my fear, I was rewarded with a sight that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Are you fearing something in life? Is it suffocating you, like it was me? Let it go. God's bigger than that. Fear doesn’t define you, and it certainly doesn’t have to rule you.
If I can face my fear, you can face yours.
Have you faced a certain fear recently? Even something small? Let me know about it in the comments so we can celebrate together!
And until next week, friends, keep letting your lights shine.
Today's post is by my talented friend, Emily Stevens.
I'm pretty excited about it! I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.
OH MY GOODNESS. What is that thing behind you?
It is so dark and tall! And it’s touching you! I think it’s trying to get you! Shh… stay perfectly still, and maybe it will go away. It only moves when you move. It seems like it’s copying you.
Oh. Oh wait. My bad. That’s just your shadow, isn’t it?
Sorry. You would think, being a candle, that I’d get used to everything around me casting a shadow. I’ve never quite gotten used to it, though. It’s harder than you think, having everyone who comes near you be followed by a big black monster. It can be scary. I don’t want to get eaten by a monster! But the closer everyone gets to me, the bigger and darker their shadow becomes!
Sometimes, I wish that people could just walk up to me, and I wouldn’t have to see the shadow they cast. Wouldn’t have to see the darkness behind them.
Oh, I recognize that look on your face! “You’re a candle,” you say, “so how can you be afraid of a shadow? Shadows disappear as soon as you touch them.”
You’re right. I am a candle. And I suppose that I do make the room lighter, the darkness around me less deep.
But what I don’t think you understand is that sometimes, being a candle makes everything scarier. It means that there’s a bigger contrast between me and the shadows that people cast. The closer people get to me, the darker and sharper their shadows seem in comparison. Maybe it’s foolish, but sometimes the shadows seem so real, that I could almost believe that they could reach out and snuff me out.
Hasn’t that ever happened to you? Haven’t you ever had somebody who looks good and bright from far away, but when they come close to your light, you see that they have a big dark stain following them? Haven’t you ever worried that, if you shine too bright, the shadows around you will become so dark and so real that you might be snuffed out?
True confessions: certain people make me sputter. They are usually people who I like and who I look up to. I really want them to like me, too. I’m always a little afraid that, if they come near me and see their own shadow because of me, they’ll walk away and never come back.
So I flicker. When those certain people come near me, I hold back my light. I stop taking as much fuel from the wax, and I dim my glow until I am barely burning at all.
Don’t you do it, too? Because you’re a light, too, you know. The Bible says in Matthew 6:14-15: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
You and I are both lights. The Bible says we are supposed to shine all the time and never be hidden under a basket. Of course, the Bible doesn’t exactly say anything about dimming your light, though, does it?
Sometimes I wonder if God knows anything about how scary the shadows can be. He seems more like a floodlight than a humble candle. Surely He’s not afraid of anything!
Except... He was afraid, one time, wasn’t He? In the Garden of Gethsemane. He was afraid to die on the cross (Mark 14:35).
And... when He did die, didn’t the sun go out for a while? (Mark 15:33)
People must have lit candles to see by, then. And in that moment, when the sun went dark and Jesus died, when the candles were lit, their light must have thrown shadows onto the wall. The biggest, darkest shadows in the history of the world.
How scared Jesus must have been! As He died, all his friends and the people he liked ran away from Him (Mark 14:50). Even his Father, who He loved and looked up to more than anything, had to turn His face away (Mark 15:34).
Jesus must have wanted to make His light flicker, then. He must have wanted to not be so bright so that his friends would like Him and accept Him.
But Jesus is called the Light of the World who has the Light of Life (John 8:12). And if the Light of the World and of Life had flickered and gone out, how could any of us be saved? Sure, shining as bright as He could meant that Jesus’s friends walked away from Him, and terrible things happened to Him, and He had to face the darkness head-on.
But He did it for us. Shouldn’t we be willing to do it for Him?
Hmm, that’s funny. The more I think about Him, the brighter my light gets. Your shadow is still there, and it’s still kinda scary. But if I don’t look at your shadow, I can see that the whole rest of the room is getting brighter, and it’s not really so bad anymore.
Shining bright in spite of the shadows can be a pretty good thing, I guess.
Maybe you should try it, too.
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What is this helpful Patriot doing? Why, he's delivering copies of A Marvelous Redeemer, of course! And what important information is he spreading?
THE E-BOOK IS FINALLY HERE!!!!
For those of you who enjoy reading on a Kindle or tablet better than a paperback, this is your chance to read AMR!
She knew the decision would change her life. But she didn't know she'd have to fight to survive.
When Amira put her faith in Christ, she knew life wouldn’t be easy. But hiding her conversion from her Muslim family soon becomes the least of her worries. Forced to leave the only home she’s ever known, she travels to the island of Gabeburough, trying her best to make a fresh start.
Two escaped convicts and a treasure map.
A leafy paradise that becomes her home.
Amira begins to wonder, where is her Redeemer when she needs Him the most?
Caleb Haddington is prince of Carpathia. Life should be perfect, but he can’t get a certain dark-haired girl out of his mind. Amira was his best friend when he lived in France, but her letters to him have suddenly stopped. Her last letter is filled with terror that her faith will soon be discovered.
Only a single hope keeps him alive; when the time is right, he’s going after her. He’ll bring her back and prove to the kingdom that he’s a man.
But the journey proves to be more perilous than he’d ever imagined. Ridicule, comfortless days and the threat of a hurricane are just the start of his problems.
Lying becomes easy for Caleb until his own life crumbles before him.
Brought to his knees under the pressure of his actions, he comes to realize the sweetness of his Savior.
Forgiveness, grace, and mercy are granted fully to those who ask.
Caleb and Amira soon discover that they don’t just serve a gracious Savior, but a wonderful, magnificent, marvelous Redeemer.
Get your ebook copy today!
I thought it was about time I gave you all an update on my writing life!
This week I'll tell you about some exciting happenings from the last few weeks, as well as adventure waiting around the corner! =)
1. I was published on TheReb again
If you haven't had a chance to read my latest article "What To Do When You’re Weary: Truth For the Worn Out Teen," you can read it here!
2. We pulled off a surprise 30th anniversary party for our parents
We planned this for months and it was such a blast! Complete with fried chicken and a "guest appearance" from my mother's parents, this is an event we won't be forgetting for a long time!
3. I'm officially a Writing Teacher!!!!
By far, the most exciting part of the last month was becoming a writing teacher and launching an online writing teacher program alongside some AMAZING writers and authors! I'm so blessed to be working with these talented people, and even more blessed to have such talented students.
Our beta launch is going well and we hope to have a website up someday and reach many more writers!
1. I'll be in CA next week!
I'm the Registration Coordinator for the Southern California Christian Writer's Conference (otherwise known as "SoCal"). My father and I will be flying out next week to attend this exciting event! If you live in CA, stop by and say "hello!"
And if you can, make a day out of it and attend the conference one of the days. Walk-ins are welcome! ;)
2. A Marvelous Redeemer is "almost" an ebook!
I was hoping to release the ebook for A Marvelous Redeemer today, but I ran into a slight problem. BUT, I should have it ready really soon!
What are your highlights from this month? Do you have any "exciting happenings" coming up?
Have you ever been to a writers conference?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until next week, Keep Letting Your Light Shine! <3
For the last year, I’ve blogged on a variety of topics that the Lord has placed on my heart.
But now, the Lord has placed something else on my heart.
I want to hear from YOU.
Would you take a minute to let me know two topics that you’d like to see me cover in the next few weeks? If you would do this, it would mean SO much to me!
You can tell me about them here.
It can be anything, really! Something you struggle with, something about society that bothers you. Even fun posts about my favorite things to do in the Summer! This is YOUR chance to ask and be heard (and answered!)
If you would take a moment to share two things with me, I would forever be grateful!
Until next week, keep letting your lights shine!