To a Raging Anti-Feminist

Is International Women’s Day a good thing? I could think of many positive things about it, but I came across a blog that described it as “an estrogen fest of caustic female pride.” And this came from a young woman I have a lot of respect for. She went on to say that having a day to honor women dishonors men creates a double-standard. Sort of like, “Why isn’t there an International Men’s Day?” And she fretted that she would have to tell men, “We’re not all raging feminists.”

I’m not linking to it, because 95% of the time, what she writes is pure gold. I don’t want that to be the first impression anyone has of her. However, this time, she could not be more wrong. In her quest not to become a raging feminist, she has become a raging anti-feminist. There is nothing about International Women’s Day that should make anyone feel threatened. There are very good reasons for men to celebrate International Women’s Day. But if you are still asking, “Why isn’t there an International Men’s Day,” there is. It’s on November 19.

Here is my response to her and anyone else who feels threatened by women and/or feminism.


If you don’t mind, I’m going to try to speak the truth in love.

First, I don’t know what happened to you that made you think things like feminism and International Women’s Day are about bashing you, motherhood, men, and femininity. Whatever it is, I apologize on behalf of all of us. There are some man-haters and people who denigrated stay-at-home moms. And with the way some men behave, and some women who blame them for every ill of society because they worked outside the home, they probably have good reason. But real feminism is not about any of that. If it were, Jesus would not have been a feminist.

Jesus was a feminist.

I know that’s shocking to most people, but once you realize feminism is the radical notion that God created women equal to men in dignity and worth, it’s not hard to see (Luke 8:1-3; 10:38-42; John 4:1-26).

Perhaps the best example is that when women told the disciples they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, the (male) disciples didn’t believe them. When Jesus did appear to the disciples, one of the first things He did was upbraid them for not believing the women (Mark 16:14). Why wouldn’t they believe them? Maybe it was because at that time, the testimony of a woman was not considered valid evidence in a court of law. In this, Jesus was telling anyone who wanted to follow Him, “No more of that chauvinism in My church.” This is why Paul was able to say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, but all are one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28-29).

Have we learned that lesson yet?

In some ways yes, and in some ways no. We still haven’t reached Jesus’ goal of equality between men and women. It would help if every once in a while, we stopped to ask, What does equality look like in real life? How have we progressed toward it? How do we still fall short of the glory God calls us to? It seems to me International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity to do just that. Honoring women is not just good for “raging feminists.” It’s good for women period. And it’s even good for men. That’s why many men celebrated by posting tributes to the women who have inspired them, taught them, and helped make them the men they are today.

A Reckoning

And a word about #metoo and #timesup, because all of America needs to understand what’s happening there. The Bible tells us over and over again, when a society allows injustice to flourish, God will give the perpetrators time to repent. If they do not, then at some point God says, “Time’s up,” and the reckoning comes. The reckoning is happening now, and movements like #metoo and #timesup are just the beginning

To close, I will say this one more time. Real feminism is the radical notion that God created men and women equal in dignity and worth (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:2). In real feminism, there is room for the stay-at-home mom and the mother working outside the home. There is room for the mother of eight and one who never has and never will bear children. It’s good for anyone who believes women should be free to use the gifts God gave them, the same freedom that men take for granted. I pray one day you will see that, because we really are on the same side.

Faith Pitch, Feb. 28

Tomorrow, there is a Twitter event called Faith Pitch. It’s described as a

Twitter Pitch Party exclusively for faith-based fiction MS. Pitch agents & editors. Three 2018 dates: Feb. 28, June 28, Nov. 28! 8a-8pCST.

I’ve come up with two pitches to tweet for my MS of Through Fear of Death.

  1. One of Rome’s most popular gladiators is arrested, but his prison guard becomes his ally. Their unlikely friendship could be what saves Rome.
  2. One of Rome’s most popular gladiators wants his freedom. When he refuses to fight, he is arrested. But his prison guard becomes his ally. Their unlikely friendship could be what liberates Rome.

This is first a PSA for other Christian authors, if you have a manuscript you’ve wanted to pitch to agents and editors, you don’t want to miss this opportunity. Second, I would really appreciate feedback on how effective you think they are. Thanks for stopping by.

On Meeting Editors and Agents at Writers Conferences

Most writing conferences offer opportunities to meet with agents and/or editors one-on-one. Some people are confused about the purpose of meeting with an editor. Before you register for a writing conference, you need to be clear about this. And of course, meetings with agents and editors are for writers who want to be published through a traditional publisher. If you are self-publishing or indie-publishing, you don’t need to meet with agents and editors.

Logo for Carolina Christian Writers Conference 2018

But first, you need to understand there are two kinds of editors. Some operate like independent contractors. You can hire one to edit your manuscript. I’m still trying to decide if I want to do that, because it is an added expense, I’ve already done a good bit of self-editing, and I don’t know if it will really help me get accepted by an agent or publisher. But if I were self-publishing – which I’m still considering – I would definitely hire one of these editors, because I don’t have a traditional publisher to provide one for me. However, when conferences offer a chance to meet with agents or editors, these are not editors who edit your manuscript.

The other type of editor works for one publisher, and part of his/her job is to acquire new manuscripts for his/her employer, i.e., sometimes called an “acquisitions editor.” Ultimately, an editor is a gatekeeper to the publisher, but most of them will only accept manuscripts submitted by an agent. An agent has relationships with many publishers. He/she can submit your MS to editors who are looking for your type of book. Though the role of agent and editor is different, they are both at the conference because they are looking for new manuscripts and authors they believe are ready to publish now.

An agent is usually necessary to get your foot in the door with an editor. However, the one exception is at conferences, editors will hear pitches directly from authors. And if they like your pitch, they may ask you to submit a book proposal and sample or even a complete MS.

Logo for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

So in moving up the ladder to publication:

  1. An agent shops your MS to (acquisitions) editors.
  2. An editor presents your MS to representatives of his/her specific publisher.
  3. Publisher representatives accept your MS and offer a contract.

At that point, you will want your agent to negotiate your contract with the publisher, and the editor will be your liaison with the publisher.

Moral of the story: Agents and editors are both necessary to get published, so talk to any of the ones who are most likely to be interested in your manuscript.

Q: So this is not an editor who is offering to edit my manuscript?

A: Correct. There may be some of those editors as attendees, but the kind of editors conferences will make available to you are the ones that could potentially get you accepted by a publisher.

Q: If these editors will only accept manuscripts from agents, should I only talk to agents?

A: Normally, yes. But as I said, the one exception to this rule is at conferences. When editors offer one-on-one meetings at conferences, they are offering a rare chance to bypass the agent and pitch your MS directly to them. If they like your idea, they might ask you to submit something to them. Every editor is different in terms of what they want to receive initially, but most will ask for a book summary and/or outline, some sample pages, and a brief author bio. Only submit directly to an editor if they ask, and give them what they ask for specifically.

Q: If through the conference I can get an editor to accept my MS without an agent, why do I need to talk to agents?

A: Two big reasons:

  1. Your chances of being accepted by an editor are still much greater through an agent than on your own.
  2. Even if you do get an offer from a publisher because an editor was excited about you and your MS, you should still have an agent represent you in contract negotiations. If publishers can take advantage of you, they will – even Christian publishers. They’re not bad people, but this is a business to them. They want the most advantageous deal they can get. An agent knows the tricks they will try to pull and how to protect you from them.

Q: What if I do get a publishing offer, but I don’t have an agent?

A: Contact a few agents who represent your type of book and tell them you have a publishing offer and need an agent. My guess is your phone will ring off the hook.

Q: How do I know what agents and editors are interested in?

A: Find a recent copy of the Writer’s Market. For the editors listed in the conference, look at their publishers and see what they publish. That will tell you what the editor is looking for. You might be able to find a copy in your library. However, if you are serious about getting your MS published through a traditional publisher, it is worth buying. If you want to focus on agents, the Guide to Literary Agents can give you more detailed info.

Q: So at the conference, is it better to talk to an agent or editor?

A: It’s best to talk to whoever is most likely to take an interest in your manuscript. You will need both of them to successfully navigate the publishing process. If you get an editor first, you should have no problem finding an agent. If you get an agent first, his/her job is to get your foot in the door with an editor. Where you start your journey is not nearly as important as finding someone who really wants to help you get in.

Valentines Day Post

For Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d tell you how I met my new wife. Before I met her, I had given up on my dream of marrying the love of my life. So if, like me, you’ve reached a point of giving up and thinking it will never happen for you, I hope this will give you some hope.

image of me and Fran with wedding cake

Fran and I met at a meeting of American Christian Fiction Writers, which my mom told me about, so she gets credit for that. Fran and I were placed in the same critique group, and she had brought the first chapter of a suspense novel she was working on. She had a man watching some security footage of his cabin, thinking he would catch the thieves who stole his canoeing equipment, but instead witnessed a murder. And then through conversation, he found out his boss might have been involved. I was impressed. I told her she had already created fertile ground for suspense.

After the session, we talked a little. I asked if she would like to meet at a coffee shop next Saturday for a mutual critique session, and she agreed. Now you have to understand when I’m interested in a woman, I go into stealth mode. I don’t want her to know I’m attracted to her until the right moment. So for now, we were just talking about writing.

Our critique session went well, and our personalities seemed to click. But before I knew it, we were about to go home. I started to panic, because I had to tell her before she walked away. Time to get out of stealth mode. I said, “I was interested in your writing. But the real reason I asked meet with you is I noticed you’re not wearing a wedding ring.”

And she said, “I think I’m a little old for you.”

Oh no!

I blurted out, “I’m older than you think.”

People tend to think I look younger than I am. I always thought this would be an advantage in approaching women. But now, I had to totally get my head turned around, because I had to convince her I was actually old enough for her. I told her how old I really was, and she replied, “A southern lady doesn’t tell her age.”

I was not going to ask, in case you are wondering. But since the topic was in the open, I needed to reframe it so she could answer in lady-like fashion. I told her, “And a southern gentleman doesn’t ask. But since you know my age, maybe you could just tell me, am I within your range of possibility?”

She said yes, and that’s how it all began.

Creativity and God

This was a devotion I gave to the South Carolina chapter of ACFW.

 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring’ (Acts 17:28).

As a writer, this verse is special to me. It crystallized in my mind why I get joy from writing stories. I imagine characters and stories for them. These characters become real people in my mind, who have dreams and aspirations, who make decisions, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I love them because they are a part of me. They live and move and have their being inside me, in the same way that every person, along with this world we live in, lives and moves and has their being inside God. And since you are writers, I think it’s safe to assume you have had that same experience. There are entire worlds inside us that need us to give them expression in the world. And like God, words are the vehicle we have chosen to express it.

The Word was with God and the Word was God

It’s not much different from the creativity God exercised in making the heavens and the earth. God first imagined them, and then used words to bring it all forth into existence. This world we inhabit exists, we exist, because God is creative. And as humans made in God’s image, “his offspring,” God has given us the same creativity, and that is both thrilling and humbling.

Jesus writing in the sand

Creativity has always been important in communicating the Word of God to people who do not see its relevance for their lives. Think of the creativity Paul had to use as he spoke this verse. In the 17th chapter of Acts, he is speaking to a group of people in Athens. He wants to tell them that Jesus is the Messiah who was promised in the scriptures. But they are gentiles. The scriptures are Jewish. The Messiah is a Jewish hope. They worship many gods, but the God of the Bible is not one of them. To get them to listen, he first has to answer the ever-present unspoken questions, “So what? Why should I care?” How does he do that? He gets creative.

  1. He starts by talking about them – tactfully. “I see you are a very religious people,” he says. Even this statement is creative. If you read the whole chapter of Acts 17, you know what Paul really wants to say is, “I see you are a very idolatrous people.” Religious or idolatrous? Both words are honest, but one is much less negative. Creativity allows you to be tactful when it’s appropriate.
  2. He makes a connection with something they can see. He mentions an idol inscribed “to an unknown god,” and says, “That is the god I want to talk to you about.” With that, he has made a connection with their world. They know what he says now is relevant to them. But it’s still too soon to talk about scripture and messiahs.
  3. He continues with a theme that they are much more likely to respond to. He talks about one God who made all things and all people, Jews and gentiles. If he can convince them that the God of the Jews is their God as well, then they can see that the Messiah was sent for them and not just the Jews. Then they will listen to what he really wants to tell them.
  4. He even uses their own pop culture. In the verse we started with, he quotes two pagan poets. Notice in his whole speech, he does not quote one scripture. That seems counter-intuitive, considering that everything Paul said and did was rooted in scripture. Paul knows this audience doesn’t care about the scriptures. So he uses something from their own culture to point toward Jesus and the scriptures. If you can point and get them looking, you have a better chance of influencing them than if you quote sources that mean nothing to them.

There will be a time later for them to hear about Jesus as the Messiah. But for now, Paul is meeting them where they are, not where they should be. By the time he is finished, an audience has gathered around him. Some of them leave, but others say, “We would like to hear more about this.”

A lot of people say they don’t like Christian fiction because it’s too preachy. I have to admit I’m one of them. I think what people mean when they say that is it’s not creative. The characters are not fully developed, because the author did not get to know them. They are just props and mouthpieces for a sermon. If they aren’t real to you, they won’t be real to the reader. This makes me sad, because I think now more than ever, there is a gap between the Word of God and people’s understanding. Throughout the Bible, Paul, Jesus, the prophets, and the disciples used words and creativity to bridge that gap. As writers, words and creativity are our stock and trade, so we are in a unique position to bridge that gap.

Now I’m happy to say that in the last few years, I have found writers – some in this room, even – who are bucking that stereotype. They give the reader characters who talk and act like real people. They give them a compelling story with believable action that leads to a satisfying conclusion. They understand that in a story, the goal is to show your values, not tell them. They are learning the craft of storytelling and using it to maximize their God-given creativity. They use their stories to point, not to preach.

So let your characters live and move and be who they are. Tell their joys and sorrows, their tragedies and triumphs, or better yet, show don’t tell. If you do that, you are much more likely to make your readers say, “We would like to hear more about this.”

Let us pray.

Creator God, thank you for sharing your gifts of creativity and language with us. Help us to use it wisely, to tell good stories, to know the words you want us to share that will make our stories and characters come alive for our readers.

Further Reading

62 Bible Verses on Writing

Mark 4:40 – Where is your faith?

He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

I’m reading from the Revised Standard Version. This verse comes from the story of Jesus calming the storm on the sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41). With so many translations available now, some words might be different, but this is basically how most of them read this verse. Occasionally, though, you find someone who wants their translation to stand apart, like one that says, Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” (The Message).

As a writer, I look at that and say, “Wow, that’s powerful dialogue. It’s got some punch to it.” But as a follower of Jesus, I have to be honest, I don’t respond well to that kind of tone. It just reminds me of so many times when I was wracked with guilt for not having enough faith, which led to me thinking I was a coward, and of course, God does not bless cowards, which was why He wasn’t blessing me.


A couple of weeks ago, Fran and I went to a baby shower at a friend’s church. The preacher was very good. She preached from this text – Yes, she was a woman, and with an accent that sounded Australian. Not what you expect to find in the boondocks of Abbeville County. Anyway, the version she read from said it this way: “Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?”

I haven’t been able to find this translation. I guess I will have to go back to that church and see what they use as their pew Bibles. In her message, she pointed out that Jesus was not condemning or reprimanding the disciples. He was not berating them, saying, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” as that one translation put it. He did not even get angry at them for waking him up. Because if you remember, Jesus was in the bottom of the boat asleep, and they had to wake him up, saying, “Don’t you care if we perish?”

First, he calmed the storm, so they could hear him clearly. And then, the question was, “Where is your faith?” In other words, have you forgotten your faith? Have you forgotten who I am? And in the midst of the storm, it is so easy to forget.


I felt so good when I finally finished the manuscript for my novel. When I shopped it around to agents and editors, however, they weren’t exactly thrilled. And the most common and frustrating objection I kept hearing was they didn’t want multiple points of view. It’s too confusing.

Are you kidding me? I know there are bestsellers with multiple points of view. Some of my favorite authors use multiple points of view. How can you tell me multiple POV makes my novel unpublishable?

Those who use it are already bestsellers. And I’m not an established bestselling author.

I seriously considered reworking it to tell the story with two point of view characters. Maybe I could, but I don’t believe it would be as good a story if I did. And only one point of view character for the whole novel? Forget it.

Don’t you care if I perish?

So I turn to God like, “Why didn’t you tell me? How was I supposed to know they wouldn’t publish multiple points of view?”

I wrestle for weeks and months with what to do. Should I keep looking for that one publisher who’s willing to take a chance on me? Should I try to make a better query letter and book proposal? Or should I go through the daunting task of self-publishing it? Eventually, a conversation like this unfolded in my mind.

Do you believe God gave you this story? Yes.

Do you believe God would give you an unpublishable story? No. No. NO! God did not give me this story, knowing how long it would take, writing and rewriting every scene until I had it to where I thought it was good enough to publish, and had that confirmed from critique groups and friends and family, just to find out, “Sorry, the publishing industry has changed. No one is buying novels with multiple points of view anymore.” Agents and editors know a lot, but they don’t know everything.

So now what are you going to do? There must be a path to publication, and God knows what that is. I will seek, and I will find it.

Storms in the life of a creative

If you believe God has given you a gift of creativity, at some point you have to share that gift with the world. No matter how you decide to do that, there will be storms ahead. You may think you will never be as good as that writer you admire so much. You may get so many rejections that it will cause you to question every decision you’ve made in life. You may start a blog and after two years still have fewer followers than your shirt size, and then hear that Edie Melson’s blog has 900,000 followers and wonder what you’re doing wrong. You may hear God calling you to make this your career, and six months later you’re not even being paid enough to make rent or mortgage payments. And I could go on, but I don’t want you to lose sight of the hope offered in this story.

In these storms, do you hear Jesus saying, “Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?” To me, that is a gentle reminder that God did not send me out in this boat to drown in the storm halfway to the other side. It simply comes down to what everything in life seems to come down to: God saying, “Do you trust me?”

Now hear these words from Isaiah.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Is 43:2).

If you like this, please share it or leave a review.

2018 Writing Resolutions

Found this post in one of my FB author groups, BooksGoSocial Authors’ Group. It’s a closed group, but if you are an author, you might consider joining.

What are everyone’s writing goals for 2018? Mine is to finish and release my two WIPs: the sequel to IVL and my side project novella.

Here was my answer.

David Anderson This is not official yet, but here are some of my ideas.

  • Complete two unfinished nonfiction projects
  • Find a publisher for my novel, win at least two contests
  • Publish at least ten articles, become an Amazon bestseller in Biblical Fiction, Historical Fiction, and a yet-to-be-determined Nonfiction category
  • Make enough money writing to finally justify this career choice.

Looks like 2018 will be a busy year

To be continued…

Thanksgiving for a long awaited wedding

Fran and I have been married for a month now. I wanted to post this on Thanksgiving. Because I have so many people I need to thank, I couldn’t get it done in time. But our one-month anniversary seems as good as anytime to recognize those who made our wedding possible. I’m not using names except where I think they may want publicity.

  • My grandparents, unfortunately, never got to meet her. They left a house that was paid for, and I was able to live in it. This allowed me to stay relatively close, so we could continue to see each other on weekends.
  • My parents, who supported my plan to stay in South Carolina, so I could see if this new relationship would go anywhere.
  • The ACFW writing group: We met there, writing was a big part of how we bonded, and others in the group have been very supportive of our relationship all along.
  • All my relatives and friends who showed up (or wanted to): You met her at family reunions and weddings and made her feel welcome.
  • Her parents: They received me graciously and gave their blessing.
  • Her relatives: including several who live nearby. If they had not approved of me, I know she would have had a lot of misgivings about getting married.
  • My Sunday School class: I knew church would be important in our lives. They became her friends as quickly as they had become mine.
  • My sister: for moral support and giving one of the best messages I’ve ever heard on 1 Cor 13/ 1 John 4:16-21.
  • My pastor: for conducting the ceremony and being a calm in the midst of the storm leading up to it.
  • My brother-in-law: for being the best man, for accepting what was probably the mildest “bachelor party” ever, and being totally cool with it.
  • To the bride’s son and brother for being ushers. I know your acceptance of me was crucial to her. And two who deserve special recognition:
  • A Purple Heart to the maid-of-honor: Broke her arm the day before. Would she let that stop her from being there on her BFF’s big day? If you think that, you don’t know her. Let a doctor put a cast on so she would not even miss the rehearsal dinner that night.
  • The Unsung Hero award to the friend who came to stay with the maid-of-honor in the emergency room (thus releasing Fran to get to the rehearsal), drove the maid-of-honor to the rehearsal dinner, and stayed overnight and through the wedding to drive her home.
  • To the bride’s great-nephews and great-nieces for being ushers and bridesmaids, and her 3-year-old great-niece for being the cutest flower girl ever.
  • To my own niece for being a bridesmaid, and my nephew for being ringbearer.
  • To her brother and sister-in-law for getting the decorations started and helping us clear them away the morning after, and to all the friends and family who helped behind the scenes. I know you did a lot more than I will ever know.

And for all the compliments we got on the ceremony, the venue, the music, and the food, here is who we all have to thank.

  • Music during the ceremony: Robert Parrish, classical guitar student at Anderson University, and Sylvia, vocalist/guitarist and friend from church and choir.
  • Music during the reception: Scott Smathers of Black Tie Entertainment.
  • Catering: Kellye Rainey and Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill. The food tasted much more expensive than it actually was.
  • Venue: Shelby for making the entire space of the Bleckley Inn available from Friday to Sunday morning. It was the perfect package for ceremony, reception, and rooms to stay the night before and the night of, all in one.
  • The cake: a friend at Piedmont Tech who delivered a beautiful cake under less than ideal circumstances.
  • The dress: from David’s Bridal, and a friend who saved us a lot of money on alterations.
  • Men’s wardrobe: from Men’s Wearhouse.
  • Decorations: Event Rentals, Linda’s Florist, and items contributed by my bride and sister-in-law.

And most of all to my bride, who agreed to a big wedding and all the preparations and stress that came with it, when she would have been just as happy to get married in the courthouse and hold a reception at home sometime later.

And finally, I have to thank God. That may sound cliché, so I’ll explain why it’s not only right but necessary to say that. From the beginning, God said it is not good for man to be alone. When I was young and first started thinking about love, I had a hope of being married to a woman I could live happily with for the rest of my life, and who would be happy with me as well. I promised God I would be faithful to her always if He would bring her to me. When that didn’t happen, I grew frustrated and angry with God. I’ve always believed in being honest with God, so when I’m angry, I tell Him. God would comfort me, and I would be all right for a while. Eventually, I would get frustrated and angry again, God would comfort me again, and I would be all right for a while. This cycle kept repeating until I had had enough. I gave up completely.

“It will happen when you’re not expecting it,” people told me. How can I not expect it? Every time I met a woman I was attracted to and did not have a wedding ring, I wondered if she was the one. Should I talk to her? What do I say? If I don’t say anything to her, and she walks away, have I missed my chance? And when I did manage to say something, she wasn’t interested. “It is not good for man to be alone?” Apparently, God did not include me when He said that. I will be alone, but I will direct my energy into writing.

So when I went to a meeting of American Christian Fiction Writers in my town, I didn’t expect to meet someone. I was just going to learn about writing and network with other writers. But I happened to be placed in a critique session that included Fran. She shared the first chapter of a novel she was working on, and I found it and her intriguing. I don’t know how to talk to a beautiful woman, but I do know how to talk writing with another writer. I managed to convince her to meet me outside the group. When I finally got up the nerve to ask if she would go on a date with me, I could hardly believe it when she said yes. That was the beginning of the most beautiful relationship of my life.

And the funny thing is, we learned we had a number of connections through Abbeville before we ever met. She was born in Georgia, and her family moved to Abbeville when she was sixteen. My grandmother was born in Georgia, her family moved to Abbeville, and several of her brothers and sisters were born there. And as if that wasn’t enough, my sister met and married a man while living in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a brother named David who is married to a woman from Abbeville. How weird is that? What connection does Louisville have with Abbeville?

Our lives were connected in all these ways we never knew until we started seeing each other. And all the years I was angry at God, saying He let me down and had sentenced me to a life of being alone, God had begun connecting our lives together without our knowing it. And both of us can look back and see if we had met before we did, we would not have been ready for it. I thought I was ready long ago. But if you really want the right person to spend your life with, it’s not just about when you are ready personally. It is about when it’s the right time for the two of you to come together.

All of that was to say when I thank God, it is not because it’s what I’m supposed to say. It’s because I can see God was working all along to bring us together. It was not the way I would have done it. I wanted it to happen a lot faster. But just like when you plant an acorn because you want an oak tree, you don’t see the sprout growing beneath the ground. You can yell and scream and ask over and over again, where is the oak tree? You can give up and say the oak tree will never grow. You’ve waited and waited and waited, and nothing is happening. Oak trees are not God’s will for you, and you were a fool to believe they were. And all the while, the sprout keeps growing until one day it emerges. And it keeps growing, putting out branches and leaves, and eventually growing acorns that will grow into more oak trees. And then you realize from the moment you planted the acorn, that oak tree was already emerging.

I know everyone’s story is different. I don’t know any stories of soulmates finding each other that are quite like this. All I know is where she and I planted, God gave the increase. And that is why we are together now. As I said before, I believe in being honest with God. If I am honest in anger, I also need to be honest in praise and thanksgiving. I once thought I was a fool for believing I could have the kind of love my heart longed for. Now I know I was a fool for not believing. I can think of no words to express this whole experience with all its ups and downs except, Thank you.

And Evening and Morning Were the First Day… Or Was It the Fourth?

The Foothills Writers Guild has started something called the First Draft Society (FDS). It is strictly in-house. Members can submit short pieces to be distributed to everyone in the guild through email for a first reading and feedback. Most of these submissions come in response to challenges from the president. Of course, last month there was an Eclipse Challenge. There were at least half a dozen submissions before the eclipse. I started mine on the day and just submitted it. Since it took this long, you probably already guessed it’s not really a first draft. So sue me.

Still, I understand it’s pretty late for this topic. So if you can take one more commentary on Eclipse 8-21-17, I really appreciate you stopping by and reading this, my first FDS submission.


I bet when Bonnie Tyler recorded “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” she had no idea it would be the biggest hit of 1983. Even more so, I bet she had no idea that 34 years later, it would become number 1 again, and everyone would be talking about it. Or that a cruise ship would hire her to sing it as they sailed into the path of a Solar Eclipse. I didn’t make it to that cruise, but I was one of the lucky ones who only had to step into my back yard to see it. I didn’t really want to get caught up in Eclipse-mania, but when a wonder of the heavens is observable right where you live, you know you will never forgive yourself if you miss it.

imperfect image of solar eclipse of 2017
I tried to photograph the eclipse. But without the protective lenses, you don’t actually see the moon starting to block the sun. But you can see one star.

The sun is the very model of consistency and dependability. The earth keeps spinning on its axis, and the sun holds its position, so every part of the globe experiences daytime and nighttime. Sunrise and sunset happen at totally predictable times each and every day. You can literally set your calendar and watch by it. It shines on everyone on the face of the earth… except during a total eclipse.

The newspapers said Greenville (South Carolina) got 2 minutes, 10 seconds of totality, while Anderson got 2 minutes, 34 seconds. I couldn’t watch the event and start a timer, so I wasn’t able to track the timing. Thanks to the website, I found out the eclipse I watched started at 1:09:15 PM. I saw totality for 2 minutes, 35 seconds, starting at 2:37:57 PM. And “total” is important. The difference between 99% and 100% is never more striking than when you are watching an eclipse.

It amazes me how today, scientists can calculate exactly where the path of totality will travel, and based on your location, tell you exactly when the eclipse will begin, exactly when and for how long you will see totality, and exactly when it will end, down to the second. But what if you were living at a time before that kind of mathematical precision? What if you were a caveman, and you saw a total eclipse for the first time? You know it’s supposed to be day, and then all of a sudden it’s night. You look up, and it looks like the sun has been swallowed by the moon, which now has this fiery halo all around it. Day has turned to night. Nocturnal birds are waking up. Crickets and cicadas are chirping. What’s happening??? But after about two and a half minutes, the sun returns, and you’ve learned an important lesson. The sun can be hidden, but it is always where it should be in the sky.

The sun, moon, and stars, were created on the fourth day of Creation. I thought about this, because the only time you can see the sun, moon, and stars all together is during a total eclipse. Unfortunately, when it turned dark, the automatic streetlights in my neighborhood turned on. The ambient light hid all but a handful of stars. Still, it was enough to make me marvel that for the first time in my life, I could see all the heavenly bodies represented at once. It made me appreciate that fourth day of creation in a new way.

Fourth Day vs. First Day

Did you notice that in Genesis, light was created before the sun, moon, and stars? Light was created on the first day, but then God waited three more days to create the sun, moon and stars. I’m not arguing for a literal 6-day creation here, but I do believe the author of that particular passage did this deliberately. Whether the author was Moses (as tradition says) or the unknown author known as the Elohist (as scholars say), by separating the creation of light from the familiar lights in the sky, he wanted to tell us something much more profound than how old the heavens and earth are, or how many days did it all come together, and were they actually the 24-hour days we know, or were they 1000 years as the Psalmist said, “A thousand years are but a day in Thy sight”? Or were they billions of years, as evidence now indicates the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old? I find all this fascinating to study. But at the end of the day, I don’t know, and I don’t care.

What the author was trying to tell us is this. It is not the sun, moon, and stars that are the source of light. It is God, who made all of them. Most people at that time worshiped the sun, moon, and stars as gods. The account of creation says those bodies we see in the sky give light for only one reason. God said it, and it was so. And so they are not gods. They are natural phenomena that operate under the sovereignty of God. God is light and the source of all light. God’s light pre-existed and is independent of the light we see with our eyes.

But sometimes even that light may be blocked from our vision. Many saints of old said they experienced a few dark nights of the soul. Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that hide God’s light like the moon hides the sun during an eclipse. I’ve experienced a few times in life when God’s clear light of day suddenly turned to night, and they lasted a lot longer than the roughly two and a half minutes I experienced under a total eclipse. If Bonnie Tyler’s song was called “Total Eclipse of the Soul,” would you have known what she meant? I would.

Maybe you have experienced some of your own dark nights. Maybe you are going through one now. If so, one bit of good news I can offer is you are not alone. Name any Biblical hero (and in some cases, I use that term loosely), and I guarantee you the Bible includes accounts of their dark nights of the soul. God’s light was hidden, and it was as strange for them as that caveman I mentioned seeing day turn to night. All the caveman had to do was wait, and the sun would reappear again. God, however, does not move as predictably as the sun, moon, and stars. No one can give you a timetable for when your dark night will end, but it will end.

The moon appears to swallow and devour the sun, but really the sun is still there all along. In the same way, no matter how long God’s light remains hidden from you, it is always there. Neither life nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come can destroy it. They can only hide it for a time.

When the moon moves, as it always will, the light you see will most likely look different than before. Don’t worry. That is a good thing. Our dark nights of the soul remove our illusions and delusions we once held so dear, so that we can see the true light more clearly.