Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Back to the beginning?


I’ve struggled with this post – struggled with my purpose, my pride, my willingness to be completely open. But this is all I have.

A few months ago I knew why I write; 
Because it is a ministry and God uses it.  My greatest joy is in seeing the ‘God moments’ when people are drawn to Him in any way. 

Dedication to my friend
Like the school acquaintance I dedicated my first book to. My protagonist was based on her. After reading the novel she went from being a skeptic to having the beginnings of faith in God and praying daily.

But my husband became unwell and last month was diagnosed with a rare brain disease. That same friend with her newfound faith rang me up, drunk, in tears.
‘How can you believe in God now?’ she demanded amidst a few other choice words. ‘You’ve given your whole life to Him and this is what He does to do. What kind of God is He, if He even exists?’

The rant continued as I tried to give calm, quiet answers. 
‘Don’t be angry with God on my behalf,’ was all I could beg her. ‘I have peace. Rob has peace. God helps us grow stronger through things like this.’

Visiting Rob in hospital in July
‘But Rob’s going to die!’

‘We all are. But if we know Jesus we live forever with Him. Rob’s looking forward to that.’

‘So you’re saying you don’t care if your husband dies and leaves you with those four kids who need their Dad?’

‘No, I’d be completely devastated. But I’ll have God and I have peace that it will all be okay.’

‘Well you’re stupid, Jen. I can’t understand it. It makes no sense. ‘

‘I know it doesn’t make sense in our human thinking. God’s peace isn’t something we can understand. It goes deeper than our understanding.’

She couldn’t get it. She swore at me, insulted me, and with words that cut me to the core, she turned her back on God. And my heart broke. 

What is the use? Have I failed?
The joy I had at the way God had worked and used my books was shattered. Wasn’t the message in them clear enough? - the message that God allows suffering for a reason and that He loves us unconditionally? Where had I gone wrong? Had God ever used my books at all, or would all my readers come to the same point of disbelief in a crisis?

More than human minds comprehend
Then once again God reminded me of the bigger picture. I thought I was writing so people could come to know and love God. What if it is so much more than that?

I thought of Jesus. The people of the day thought He was there to be an earthly king and rescue them in the way they understood their need to be rescued. But God’s plan was so much greater.

So much more than expected!
I have to stop looking at what God does through my human eyes and values. His ways are not my ways, nor His thoughts my thoughts. Just as my friend was thinking with human perspective, so often I do, too.

I thought I’d come so far, but I’ve gone back to the beginning. With my husband’s illness I can no longer continue my work as a primary school chaplain and don’t have the money to self-publish any more. I write because I’m feeling broken and writing to me is like breathing. I need a big, deep breath of fresh air. I need to pour it all out to God and once more let my writing be my relationship with Him, not my ministry FOR Him.

Hiding my mouth at 12
Psalm 62:8 (NIV)
‘Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.’

- For me, this is how it began. A broken, lost, misunderstood teenager who could never find the words when face to face with someone; who found God there, ready to listen as she wrote and poured her heart out to Him. 

And He is here again. Closer than ever before, sharing my heart, my hurts, my life. In the brokenness He is there. In the confusion, He makes sense. In my fear He brings me peace. When will I learn to walk this closely with Him in the times of joy and perceived achievement in ministry? Why does it take heartbreak to return me to my first love – to the shelter of His arms?

I write because He is alive!
I don’t know the answers, but I do know He loves me just as I am. He loves me enough to be there when I fail, when those I wanted to draw to Him turn their backs, when it hurts, … always, forever. I am His and I will continue to pour my heart out to Him, for He Is my refuge. I write because I breathe, and I breathe for Him, because He is alive and He loves me no matter what.
And my story, God’s story, isn’t finished yet. Maybe I haven’t gone back to the beginning … maybe I’m somewhere in the middle at the crisis point. All I know is that the end will be satisfying and greater than I can ever imagine.

This is my prayer for you and for me; In our short time on this earth, may every word that flows from our hearts and out our mouths or onto paper or screen, bring us closer to our Saviour Jesus and fill Him with joy.


Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day. She has a Diploma of Theology and has been a CALEB finalist 3 times.
For more information go to her website: www.jennyglazebrook.com

37 comments:

  1. Oh, Jenny, I'm so sorry you received such hurtful statements from your friend. Your words are so powerful because they come from your heart, experiencing pain, hurt and struggle at this very challenging time.

    Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing your heart with us.

    Be assured of my continued prayers for Rob, your kiddies and yourself.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for us, Ian! It's Rob's birthday today and I'm just so grateful God has allowed us to have him with us. It's a gift to the rest of us : )

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  2. Powerful writing Jen. I too have thinking about suffering as I walk beside a dear friend with cancer. It is pointless and dreadful in our thinking but Jesus suffering and death must have seemed that way as well. Yet it was the great master plan.
    My heart aches for you but I know you've not gone backwards, but into a valley. They always lead to the higher places when you stay with the guide. And you are holding him tight.
    Your friend will watch and see God in action like never before.
    Thanks for sharing such powerful writing.

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    1. Thanks Jo. I know you have seen and experienced a lot of suffering and I am encouraged and inspired by the way you keep your eyes on Jesus and continue to minister to others through it. And yes, I like the picture of the valley. I just need to keep my eyes up and fixed on Jesus and He will lead me back up the mountain. Love to you Jo, and may God be your comfort as you walk beside your friend with cancer.

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  3. My heart went out to you as I read your words, Jenny. Keep writing and continue your good work. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Big hugs and love to you, Jenny. Thank you for sharing so honestly. Your God-light is shining so bright, the world cannot fail to see. ❤️

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. Very keen to catch up in person! I've been enjoying your blog posts, too (though I'm very slack about commenting).

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  5. I love the way you are prepared to be so honest and open, Jenny--thank you. And I don't think for a moment your friend who phoned you will forget the wise and God-inspired answers you gave her. As others have said, I'm so sorry you are in this difficult, 'valley' place in your life at the moment. I am actually speaking from Psalm 23 this Sunday at a church service, so all you have written is to me like a modern day version of that psalm. I truly believe your writing will come around again one day, Jenny, deeper and better--I love your words 'All I know is that the end will be satisfying and greater than I can ever imagine.' Love and prayers for healing and for strength for you all.

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    1. Thanks Jo-Anne. I really do hope and pray my friend will come to a point of trusting God completely and surrendering her life to him. It seems impossible at the moment, but just last night I was reading the story of the rich young ruler - nothing is impossible with God! Have you got what you're going to be saying about Psalm 23 written out? I'd love to see your notes. May God bless and use the message He's given you to share!

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  6. Jenny, every word so beautifully portrayed and honestly spoken. I'm also so sorry for the valley experience you are currently going through and keeping you, Rob and the kids in my prayers. God is faithful and will sustain you all. Your courage and strength are inspiring. Bless you heaps!

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    2. Thank you for your prayers, Lesley. I have received so much encouragement at this time and feel so blessed to be part of this family of Australasian Christian Writers! Thanks for being part of that.

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  7. Thank you for those powerful words, Jenny. You are a writer at the core of your being and God is with you. I will keep you and Rob in my prayers. I wonder why God always gets the blame for suffering. He's not fully in charge here - yet. In the New Testament we are told that Satan is the Prince of this World. Even though Jesus has won the victory on the cross, Satan still controls a lot of territory. He knows he's beaten but he wants to cause as much sorrow as he can in the meantime. Jesus came to break into Satan's rule by replacing it with his kingdom rule.Jesus told the disciples - and tells us - to pray that his kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. When God's kingdom broke through in the presence of Jesus all kinds of healings occurred and people were set free. That's what gives me hope for healing now as well as in heaven. It may not always happen but I'm certain we're meant to pray for it. In the meantime how glorious it is to rest in the hope we have in Christ. God bless xx

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    1. Yes, Sue, I also wonder why God gets the blame for suffering, even from people who say they don't believe in him. And you've put that so beautifully. I wish I could have had those words to explain to my friend at the time - yet in her state she probably wouldn't have been able to take it in, anyway. We are praying for healing for Rob and choosing to put our trust and hope in Christ and yes, it is glorious. Thank you for your encouragement!

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  8. As for not being able to afford to publish... Have you thought of some form of crowdsourcing?

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  9. Heartbreaking. The question is one we've all asked at times. Where is God?

    The truth is, God is in it all with is. He's in the small mercies and kindnesses in the midst of suffering. He's the glimpse of light. He's the rising of the sun.

    He's even there in the midst of our hurt and anger.

    May your friend see that too.

    May you and your family receive mercy in the midst and comfort from Him who is the source of our strength.



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    1. Thank you Elaine. I am touched by your words. I love the way God does show us He's here - we have been overwhelmed by the way He has used people to provide, support and care for us. I have also heard his quiet voice of love and encouragement through His word and the words others share with us (such as yours). I believe I properly saw the wonder of the moon and stars for the first time in years the other night and was awed by our Creator once again. My hearts desire is that others will see this too, and not just the suffering and fear of the unknown. Yet I know I need to leave my friend in God's hands. He says He loves her more than I do, so I choose to believe that and trust Him even in the heartache.

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  10. Such an inspirational story and powerful testimony of your faith and God's love, Jenny. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure many of us, as your author friends and colleagues, will continue to pray for you and your family. There's no doubt that anyone who reads your words or knows you personally will see God's grace and power, and be touched deeply, even if they don't initially recognise it.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I appreciate your encouragement and prayers!

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    1. Sorry to hear about your friend, Dale. It truly does bring out the hard questions, doesn't it? May God also carry you and comfort you through this time.

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    2. Thanks for your honest and heartfelt post Jenny. People around us are struggling with some of the same questions about God and his love as your friend. at present we are very involved in the imminent death of a much loved friend. Prayers for you, your family and that friend.

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    3. Thanks Jenny. We can uphold each other in prayer.

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  12. Jenny, your strength and courage is a strong statement on the truth of Christ. I would love you to know how much you are covered in prayer.
    His ways are not our ways, and just going through them with his peace is allowing your friend to 'see' Christ at work.
    Maree

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    1. Thank you Maree for your words of encouragement. And yes, may our friends see the peace we have in Christ even when we have trouble finding the right words to explain it!

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  13. I don't know about much else, but God was in this piece you've posted here. Such open and honest words - such vulnerability - it reveals the depth of God in you. Love and prayers are with you, Rob and the kids during this time.

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    1. Thank you so much, Meredith. That means a lot. I don't know why I was so scared about posting it, but I was. I guess we like to come across as having it all together : )

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    2. Dear Jenny, I was about to make a comment very similar to Meredith's. God will certainly use this post in ways we can only be awed by! I personally have heard rave words about how wonderful your Y.A. books have blessed not only teenage readers but the mother, the grandmother - and most certainly myself also. It has helped me be more aware of "stuff" our grandchildren we love have to cope with. They are such powerful stories I know that "In HIS time" there will be more books from you published - perhaps by a publisher too!. Am still praying for you, Rob and the family.

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    3. Dear Mary, God has used you to encourage me greatly. Thank you. I know it's not all about me and what God chooses to do through me, as He can use anyone. I am also reminded that God doesn't always choose to reach the people I expect Him to, either. Yet there is great joy in knowing what we do is for a purpose - and His purposes are greater than mine!

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  14. I'll keep praying for you, Rob and the kids, Jenny, and also for that friend who is so disillusioned. Those hard questions are so hard, when you're going through them. We all love your writer's, mother's and wife's heart.

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    1. Thank you Paula. Your prayers are so much appreciated for us and for my friend. I long to see my friend in heaven, but know nothing I can do or say can convince her. Trying to leave her in God's hands.

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  15. Thanks Jenny for your post....I know God's got your friend, you are a wonderful 'book'for her to read, your honesty speaks volumes! hugs and prayers xx

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    1. Wow, Di, you've got me thinking. Reminds me of the Apostle Paul talking about us being living letters. Yes, our very lives and relationship with Christ are what draw others to Him.

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  16. Thanks for sharing Jenny - thinking of you.

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    1. Thanks Susan. Really looking forward to catching up with you in a couple of weeks!

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  17. Oh Jenny, thank you for sharing so openly from your heart. I had no idea this is what you were going through when we spoke recently. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time. You are a real blessing xxx

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