Monday, June 2, 2008

Day One! Today's Theme: There's Still Ink in the Pen...

I woke up this morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and THAT DOG curled up on top of my feet. It was a happy, happy place. Then, like a flash, I remembered the impression I got last night when I asked, "Hey God, what do you think I should fast from for the next 40 days?" I saw a picture in my head of a spoon, lowering sugar into my beloved morning coffee. ACK! "You're joking, right?" I said (hoping the sugar image would be replaced by a picture of me doing sit ups--I'd be happy to fast from sit ups). Turns out, he wasn't. So as I type this, I'm drinking my first of 40 cups of sugarless morning coffee. Will it be worth it? I wondered. Then I remembered this amazing, wise quote from Laura Dave's novel, THE DIVORCE PARTY:

"In the end, belief isn't supposed to make sense, at least not all of the time. In that, it finds it's power. It gets to creep up on you and carry you forward."

It doesn't make sense that one less spoonful of sugar will bring me closer to my dreams in life (or to God, for that matter), and yet I believe that it will. I've seen it happen. It has crept up on me and carried me forward, into places better than I could have imagined. It's worth it.

This morning I also read the first part Ruth, a story in the Bible I talk about in my book (and no, it's no coincidence that my favorite book in the Bible is only four chapters long and includes the world's best happy ending). I thought it might be a good place for us to begin our Forty Days, for a couple of reasons. Here's a link to the first chapter--check it out here.
(It'll take 2-3 minutes to read). Then come back and I'll tell you what I love about it.

The main characters in this chapter--Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, are absolutely hopeless. They've lost everything, and nothing they do on their own is going to pull their lives into any semblance of better. I've been there. Granted, I wasn't starving. But there have been times when the landscape of my life was shockingly bleak, and there was no rational hope that it would ever improve: when I realized I'd spent six years pursuing a career I was no good at; when I ran away from my first marriage and went into hiding; when I'd lived here in Cambridge for an entire year and my only friend was a woman my then-boyfriend hit on while walking THAT DOG at a dog park. I think most of us have these times.

Ruth's story invites us to consider the irrational possibility that things can change. My favorite songwriter, Nichole Nordeman, captures today's theme perfectly when she writes:

"I believe in the rest of the story...I believe there's still ink in the pen...I have wasted my very last day, trying to change what happened way back when..."

There's still ink in the pen. Wherever you are in this 40 Days of Faith is not where you'll be at the end of it--that's the promise God offers us, the reason we hope when the rational thing to do is give up.

You can download this song, called Someday, here. It's the kickoff song for our playlist, and hope we'll carry for the next few weeks together.

As we chat with God today about what we're praying for (as I'm doing with each sip of bitter coffee), let's ask him about this ink thing. Feel free to make a few suggestions for what you'd like to see in your next chapters. He may have to move some things around, but who knows? Maybe he's been waiting for us to give him some editorial freedom?


K.T. Hernandez said...

Good morning all,
I just found out an uncle of mine has a cancer that is usually terminal. They are going to try some new treatments on him, so for forty days I'm adding Uncle Pete to my prayer list. May miracles happen.

Kwana said...

Hi Trish. Thanks for Ruth. I love that story. Man you are making me rethink my sacrifice. I've already had my morning coffee with sugar knowing full well that a true sacrifice would be to give sugar up. Ok. I'm going to try it and pray that the lord will be kind on my birthday this month and forgive my chocolate cake which I'm already dreaming about!

This morning while fuming over having to bring my son's forgotten clarinet to school I was behind a slow moving car whose license plate said: '4 MIRACLE'. Nice!

Oh and I linked you on my blog today.


Julie said...

Hi Trish,

I love the book of Ruth as well. I am giving up diet soda. If it will bring me closer to God and closer to my heart's desire then it is totally worth it!

This is my comment to let you know "I'm in!!"

pve design said...

Kwana sent me to you to send a shout out and to wish you 40 days of sugar-free faith. I am beginning a fast, not for 40 days, but a cleanse to start my summer of health! Each day, I awake and give thanks for my faith, family and friends who naturally sweeten my life. Good luck!

Liza said...

I'm giving up all coffee for the month. I have 3 trips this month, as well as work, so it will be huge not to have any coffee, either hot or iced.

I love the story of Ruth. It is one of my favorites in the Bible. Great song choice for the first in the playlist.

Sarakastic said...

I've never thought about the story of Ruth like that, to me it's always been about people who were looking to get married which is fine, but now I see it as applicable to a lot more situations.

Patti said...

i'm giving up negativity. 40 days of not saying derogatory things about my stuff, or someone else's stuff...whatever that stuff may be.

i love sarcastic humor. i may cave. i mean...I WILL NOT CAVE!

Natasha said...

Oh My Gosh! Can I just say "I am so PSYCHED you created this blog" because its like such an answer to my prayers. Ok, story goes like so. Last friday, sitting around Mundane job doing Mundane things, wishing and praying for better, wondering why I have been invited to another girl friends wedding (10th so far but who is counting?) hoping not to run into any exs that are married or even dating (yeah, i should look into forgiveness). Praying that this is the yr my stud will be dropped from the heavens into New Jersey nonetheless. So i go to Borders & ideally look for the great stud in the Religion section (good spot i thought), well there was a stud....with his wife and son, darn. In shame I picked the closest bk & it was yours...I thot God was totally making light of my situation so I humored Him & bought the book. Lets just say, I have about 20 pages left and cant wait to read it over!

Looked you up online for events & came across this page which to my utter amazement starts today (why this is such a big deal, is because while "binging" during lunch today reflecting on my depressive life)I figured something had to give & what better way than this blog! I get to give God my total devotion by fasting from something I hold dear (food is jumping right at me)and let Him know that even though I think He is a little slow on the stud delivery, I am willing to wait for His best. So without much of a twist for an ending, I am praying God makes me a better person and hurries up Mr Stud from NJ...or somewhere else (I am non partial).

I am exicited about the next 40 days!

Aimee said...

What a great first post! I knew the story of Ruth but had never read it word by word, thanks for the opportunity to do that. Sending prayers and great expectations to all you 40 dayers!

Suzanne said...

I love the story of Ruth, and I love your fresh take on the story. I can't wait to read more of your insights as we go forward.

When I started reading your book I didn't think it would apply to me, afterall I'm 40+ and still single, but at this point have pretty much given up on ever being married. But I was drawn into how honest you were in your portrayal of what you went through. It wasn't smarmy, it was something I could really relate to.

What meant the most in your book, for me, was your search for a relationship with God, specifically Jesus. I realized that while I pray to God everyday, I don't really have a close relationship with His Son. For some reason I can't yet explain, Jesus has always seemed remote to me.

Thanks to Kwana's great idea from yesterday, I wrote a post about your book and this blog on my blog, and my own search for God.

I haven't figured out my fast yet, I have an idea.

I'm also going to begin writing about this 40 day journey tonight in the journal I've chosen for this journey. I can't wait to see where I am at the end of 40 days, I can't wait to see how my prayers are answered.

Thank you again for this blog.


goodgyrrl said...

Hallelujah!!! I know what it's like to be stripped of practically everything and have nothing but your faith to sustain you. My sacrifice is excessive spending (e.g. restaurant meals, movies, morning coffee run, buying lunch instead of cooking at home, etc.). It is my prayer that I receive the financial blessing that I need in order to grow my business. I figured this type of sacrifice would be a great start!

This morning as I gave my car a much needed bath, I entered the code for the wash and $4.75 in quarters popped out! I thank God for the increase...even in small doses!! I have started a special jar to put the money that I save!

Elizabeth said...

OK, Came by way of Suzanne (she gets the credit) I will be back, DAILY. My fast...I will not eat when I am NOT hungry (sheesh, that's a tough one)And I'll Ditch Coffee. God is much more important than coffee.

I Love, Love Love RUTH. (always wanted to use for a baby girl...then I could tell her that I was "Ruth-less" before she was born. I think her name and it's meaning have so much to teach us.
We are so rarely that kind and caring with those that we should be, including ourselves.

I'm so glad that I checked in on Suzanne's blog today! I can't wait to read your book.
Pax Christi, EJT

Larramie said...

I'm giving up staying here on the computer waaay too late. It's a major sacrifice that will likely bring very positive changes.

As for Ruth...I'm sorry, Trish, but from my POV she merely gave in. *sigh*

Hmm, will my role be that of Devil's advocate here? It's truly not my intent.

the teacher said...

Well...what a first day of prayer; part of mine has been answered. I prayed that I will be able to tell if my ex is the right one for me. Today, we decided that it is not going to work. It is hard, but is the right thing. I thank God that I finally found this out.

So, now we are up to prayer number be able to find that wonderful, holy man that is meant for me. I am very thankful to God for giving me the strength and understanding that while being alone may hurt, it leads me closer to the man I am meant to be with and down the path God wants me to be.

Trish, thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to grow and giving us courage that we are not truly alone through our struggles.

p.s. i am giving up chocolate. so far, so good...

Katie-Kate said...

I'm giving up watching CNBC durning my quite time with God in the morning. I shouldn't be trying to keep my eye on the stock market while I'm reading the Bible anyway. What was I thinking?

Accidental Admin. said...

I know what i am giving up, and for me this is really hard: 1. my morning muffin and 2. grilled cheese sandwiches. Both of these things have become not so much "comfort foods" as "clutches" and evidence that I am getting too comfortable and too lazy (mainly to make my breakfast and eat properly in the morning and make my lunch for work). I may slip. I may not.

Yesterday, on the bus ride home from NJ, I thought about my Dream List. I am still so overwhelmingly full of doubt on this God thing, but I am past the "there is no God" stance that I had been at (somewhat firmly) for so long. I don't know if I can buy into the Jesus thing--or the trinitarian God thing--so much, but I think that stuff will sort itself out. Right now I need to focus on the plain, basic God stuff.

But my list. My 'dream list' even though I feel like a fake, a fraud, a floozy because of my overwhelming doubt and uncertainty and because I don't want to base any solidity in my heart on this God thing based on what happens, or how much, or how quickly. But there are things that I want and yearn for and crave so deeply that I can't deny it. Some are immediate wants and others are years down the road. My absolute top ones:

1. certainty and peace over the God thing, 2. to find myself wildly in love with a man who is beyond what my wildest imagination can conjure, 3. to quickly find, once in Missouri, a good, reliable, inexpensive car that is comfortable and that , i feel safe and joyful driving, 4. to flourish with the publication of my poetry in journals and, before i finish my PhD, a book, 5. to find consistency in an exercise regimen that can not be swayed by my worry, anxiety, or depression, 6. to have a much more consistent and even handle on my depression and anxiety issues, 7. for my financial issues to be resolved by the time i finish my PhD program, 8. to always choose to act in the face of all of my fears and worry when i am confronted with boundless love, trust, and honor coming from the people around me.

OK that's a mouthful.
I'm exhausted!
Time for quiet time and such.

Nic said...

I'm in. I want to do this. I'm nervous, and truthfully a bit skeptical, but... I'm in. I'm going to be fasting from cheese which is going to be very difficult for me. I'm going to be praying for a loving relationship with a good, honest man. I'm hesitant to say a husband because ack, I don't know that I'm ready for that yet.

Stephanie said...

I just did my devotional on Ruth so this is very timely. I am fasting the internet (to an extent, obviously I have to read your blog :) But no other blogs or gossip sites or other sites I spend countless hours wasting my time on.) This is going to be really difficult for me. I feel like I'm going to need prayer for that! HA!

heiress said...

It's funny because yesterday as soon as I read that I needed to ask God to reveal to me what I should give up, I logged onto my myspace page and that was my answer. I believe that God wanted me to give this up during this time so that my focus is totally and completely on him.

I love the story of Ruth, I think her dedication to her mother-in-law is not something that you see this day and age. Her obedience and faithfulness caused her to walk right into her blessing. I am truly excited about this journey because I believe it is exactly what I needed and I can't wait to see what God has in store for not only myself, but for us all.

ForstRose said...

Well I've figured out what I need to "fast" from and hopefully in the process it will become a consistent pattern in terms of time management. Now of course this will probably take just as much prayer as the dreams I'd like to have happen or more.

My plan is with God's help to set aside 2hours or less a day when I read, prioritize and answer emails as well as wander around online reading blogs, email links and blogs, websites, online articles etc...

This will mean turning off the computer after I complete my alloted time and making lists of what needs attention the next session if I don't get to it all at once. AHHA and timers to remind me time's up.

OK this is a scary proposition but probably been needed far too long in order to give more time to more important things.


abstractjenn said...

I cannot tell you how timely this blog is. Thank you.