This morning while I was lying in bed in the early pre-dawn I heard a bird singing out a beautiful melody. Normally, this would make my heart happy, but then I'd just turn over and try to catch a few more moments of rest. But not today. Today was extra special. Why? Because crazy as this may sound, this little birdie was lifting it's sweet praises in the midst of a thunderstorm. Amazing! God used two rather "ordinary" things to create an extraordinary experience for me—God showed me something awesome and real—a perfect picture of peace. Thunderclouds rolled in, lightning flashed across the dark gray sky, and rain teamed down the windowpane yet this bird was secure. In fact, it was more than secure, it was full of joy, willing and wanting to sing.
This sends Goosebumps up my spine as I think about it. It's a paradox and truly a God thing. Especially since this word, paradox, has been near and dear to my heart. In fact, I kid you not; this is the very title of the book that I wanted to share with you today. Yet, perhaps paradox is not a word you're familiar with, so let me explain. Paradox is flowers on snow, joy in the midst of trials, compassion for others as your own heart breaks. It's what many of us just celebrated, Easter-- Jesus laying down his life for me, someone sinful and undeserving. It's victory and life born out of death and suffering.
Through this experience, God reminded me that He delights in using those ordinary things to accomplish His marvelous purposes. And that's super news! If He can use Fishermen, tax collectors, birds, and thunderstorms, I know He can use me—a very average, ordinary person to do extraordinary things for Him. Perhaps you're feeling "ordinary" today. Take heart, it's through that very thing that God can show His creativity, His power, and even His love just like He did for me in the midst of this early mornings storm.
Wow! Thank you for sharing that with us, JoAnn. Yes, God is amazing, and even more amazing, is the fact that He would use us...US, to bring Him glory with the gifts He's given us.
So can we have a peek at Paradox. Pretty pleeeease...
Ric Walker, Holland Lodge’s grounds keeper, is Lilly’s only link to sanity. His steady presence and strong faith encourages her through this trying situation. However, that sanity is threatened as she realizes her feelings for him are changing into something more, something deeper.
Will Lilly learn that Paradox is more than a town’s name, but rather a divine place where God can reveal His power, bring healing, and love, just when she thinks all hope is gone?
It was only Tuesday evening... a few days on the job, but it already felt like a few years. The last thing she wanted to do was drive Sharon back to her condo in Jericho, but she had promised. Ric rapped twice on the office door before popping his head in. "Hey."
He came in and leaned up against the doorframe. "The truck's loaded up."
Lilly shut down the computer. "Great, thanks for helping Sharon get her stuff out there."
"No problem." Ric looked over his shoulder and then back to Lilly. "I don't have any plans for the evening. Would you like me to help you ladies get Sharon's stuff unloaded?"
Lilly shook her head and looked at him -- really looked at him for the first time since he came into her office. His broad shoulders filled the doorway. The sheer breadth made her wonder if he could easily carry any burden life handed to him, physical or emotional. Tempted though she might be to share some of her concerns, she couldn't afford to grow to depend on him -- or anyone for that matter. Granted, it was nice to spend time with Ric and get to know him more. She valued his friendship and looked forward to the times when she could be with him, but this was only a temporary situation. There was no way she would ever let herself forget it. If she did -- she might lose sight of her own dreams -- dreams that didn't include Paradox when all was said and done. "You don't need to worry about us, Ric. We'll manage."
"Are you sure? It's no problem and it might be nice to have some company on the way back."
Lilly sighed. "You're right. It would be, but honestly I'd rather take care of this myself."
Ric stood up and took a few steps into the room. With him came the smell of clean soap and shaving cream. "It can be a mighty lonely life if you never let anyone get close to you, you know."
Shoot, he saw right through the walls that she was trying to erect to protect herself. "There are people I'm close to."
"Oh yeah, who?"
A CONTEST TO HELP ME CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF PARADOX:
Win a gift box filled with goodies! (A paperback copy of Teacher's Plans, a gift certificate, a mug filled with a package of Green Mountain Coffee, pen and a Tee-shirt.)
How? Help me spread the word about Paradox by sharing the link to this post on your FB, Twitter, blog, etc. then e-mail where you posted it to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Blog Blitz" in the subject line. A winner will be drawn 5/26/11.
JoAnn Carter writes stories that will encourage your faith through inspirational fiction novels and novellas. She resides in Vermont with her wonderful husband and four children.
JoAnn is available for speaking engagements to book clubs, reader groups, library groups, women's ministries events, school events, and church retreats.
Find her here:
I hope you'll be able to pick up a copy of Paradox today @ http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-168/JoAnne-Carter-Paradox/Detail.bok
You can watch the trailer here ~ http://youtu.be/mnOQeNeQuUE