Monday, January 7, 2013

The Tarnished Gift


On Flickr by EllYouKayEee
The silver tray peeked out from under a pile of unused house decorations. When I cleared it all away, I frowned as the once shiny gift did not hold my reflection, but a rusty dull tarnish. Was it ruined? Had I neglected it too long and now it was no longer the treasure I received for my wedding long ago?
Panic fluttered in my chest as I wondered if the silver tray would ever match up to the shining beauty in my memory—(and I also feared what my mother would think if she'd seen how much I neglected the gift!)

Have you tucked your writing gift away, and allowed time to eat its way through your confidence, your dream? And when you dare to face that gift again, does the panic rise, the fear that, perhaps you've lost it, you've allowed time to suffocate the beauty in your ability?

I have.

In the name of taking a break, I tucked my gift away. And now, as I venture to blow the dust off my writing skills, that same panic I felt when I saw my neglected tray, niggled in my heart. Had I abandoned the gift God gave me—forever? Sure, I'd enjoyed the progress of six years of writing, the baby steps I'd taken toward publishing, and now, with a new year upon us, has my gift deteriorated to rust?

What if I can't write well anymore?

What if the break wasn't a time of rest but a destructive neglect of my ability?

But as I remember God's whispers to me long ago, I have you right where I want you, and that This path IS where I wants you, I can trust in the God who gave me the gift in the first place.


On Flickr by MyLifeThroughPhotography
A little silver polish and some elbow grease was needed to make my tray shine again. This writer just needed to refocus, using Scripture and prayer to work off the rust. God's word tells us:

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to devote ourselves to the good deeds for which God has designed us." Ephesians 2:10 NEB

I am currently taking the study, Everything Is Possible with God by Rick Warren,  which is perfect to get me back on track with polishing my gift. Warren talks about God's hand in fulfilling our dreams. Warren makes four points using Scripture that also spurred on questions of my own:

  1. DON'T FEAR: “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 TEV

If I am certain that my writing really is God's gift to me,
 than why would I think He would take it away and abandon me?

  1. DON'T FRET: “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act...Don't fret and worry—it only leads to harm.” Psalm 37:7-8

If I rush into writing again, without God equipping me, 
then what good will come out of it?

  1. DON'T FAINT: “Always pray and never lose heart.” Luke 18:1 PH

    “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31KJV

Have I prayed about God's direction to polish my gift? 
To write the stories He wants me to write? To use His words, not my own?

     4.  DON'T FORGET:  “I will bless the LORD and not forget the glorious things he does for   
            me.”  Psalm 103:2 LB

          “The LORD is not being slow in carrying out his promises...rather, he is being patient with 
           you.”  2Peter 3:9 NJB

How many things has the LORD done for me on this writing journey?
Why would he forsake me now?

With care and quiet diligence, I rub the polishing cream over the soiled surface of the tray, and as I smear away the neglect, the gift returns a glimmer of hope, and then a bright shine of promise that it is still a piece to be treasured.

On Flickr by Kotomicreations
Do you know that your God has given you your gift for keeps? That no matter how much you lay it aside, or tuck it away, if you seek His will, He will bless you anew with the treasure He crafted only for you?

What will you do now? Walk away without hope in the shine, or begin to polish for a bright treasure ahead? 

Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.


Jessica R. Patch said...

I loved the encouragement you posted today. I'm so thankful that God doesn't give up on us and that His calling is irrevocable! :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Angie. Thanks for sharing your story and these encouraging words. Such wisdom within them!

I took a break for a few weeks and I'm looking forward to getting back to my story. :) Happy writing!

PS--Am I really out of it? When did you ladies put up all the fun pictures in the slide show? It was fun to watch and see all your beautiful faces!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Aw, Ang, love this!! I love that no matter what, we can't screw up God's plan and the gifts He gave us.

Angie Dicken said...

I always think in my head...God's not an indian giver. :) Now, if I turn from Him...that's a different story!
Glad to encourage you today.

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Jeanne!
Our amazing Pepper just got the filmstrip going! I love it:)

Angie Dicken said...

It's a relief, isn't it Lindsay? His plan's going to prevail, no matter how hesitant, distracted we are in the process.

Melanie N. Brasher said...


this is simply beautiful.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

I love this, so eloquent and such a great example of how we may need repolishing, but God made us to shine despite all our junk and neglect. Needed this!! Gave me the boost I needed to get writing today. :)

Ruth Douthitt said...

Very nice encouragement. I set aside my artwork for the last four years to pursue writing. I miss it. I love writing, but I do miss painting and drawing.

But I do agree with you that the Lord has His reasons and His timing is perfect.

This time is for me to write.

Ashley Clark said...

Ang, what a beautifully written metaphor that really hits home for all of us! Those verses were so appropriate and encouraging. Well-said! :)

Marci Smith said...

I absolutely love this. It is so beautifully written and, more importantly, it speaks of God's love for us. There are days I feel tarnished. Nothing I do or say seems right. I love the reminder that God cleanses me, makes me clean, and can and will use me.

Pepper said...

Fabulous post, Angie!
This really spoke to my heart, particularly since my "Word" for this year is "Confidence".

It's so easy to allow worry to dim the brilliance of God's gift in our hearts. Wow! Beautiful reminder!

Beth K. Vogt said...

Such an encouraging post -- and a reminder that yes, there are seasons in our lives, but the gifting remains ... and God never changes.

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, this is awesome, I really needed the Scriptures you shared today!! LOVE, LOVE, your thoughts and the verses!! Can't wait to see what God will do in and through you this year.

Stacey said...

Beautiful! I loved what you had to say and could relate to it very deeply. I was mentally debating something similar today while thinking about my wip. Thank you for sharing such encouraging scriptures. God Bless!

Angie Dicken said...

Hey Ladies! Thanks so much for stopping by! Sorry I took so long to respond. Have had sick kiddos and a busy couple of days! Glad that you found encouragement in this! Happy writing!

Angie Dicken said...

Oh Ruth! I have considered picking up drawing again (13 years later!). I have an image in my mind that inspires me nearly as much as writing! Don't you love how God uses the arts to Glorify?!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Ash! Love your encouragement too!

Angie Dicken said...

Marci, thanks for stopping by, and sharing your own experience. Well put!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Mel!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Amy! Glad you were encouraged.

Angie Dicken said...

Confidence is something I struggle with too! God's word is such a great source of the very thing!!! Love you, Pepper!

Angie Dicken said...

You are so right, Beth! God never changes. AMEN! :)

Angie Dicken said...

Julia, God has great things in store for you!!!! I know it!

Angie Dicken said...

Glad that this post was timely for you, Stacey! God bless you, too!!