Monday, January 01, 2007

Snow Angels and New Year's Resolutions
Ahh, Christmas. The lights, the carefully decorated tree with stacks of presents underneath, the family gathering --(sound of tires screeching to a stop). Family. It's the people we love best and know best and the people who know us best, maybe that's why they challenge us like friends would never dare.
This year we had Christmas at my house, all seventeen of us crowded into three rooms of my downstairs. The dishwasher ran non-stop, the kids ran wildly between laughing, chatting adults. It was a great time. But at Christmas, with all of my family over, I stupidly brought up my book's "new title" Snow Angel. I said it with a tight smile, knowing and expecting the response I would get before I got it . . . a crinkled up face, raised eyebrows, or even, Snow Angel? said in that tone that made me grit my teeth and nod.
My family is pretty hard to impress. They like the blatant powerful. They keep asking me when I'll move beyond "romance novels" and write something great, something life-changing. I always argue that love stories are great, that the only truly life-changing book I've ever read is the Bible and I certainly can't top that. Sigh. I got published. Doesn't that count for something?? Lame title and all??
Later that night, before going to sleep, I was feeling pretty bad about the title and I vented to the Lord. “Lord, I’m going to call my editor as soon as this Christmas season is over and have him reassure me that we have the right title! I think we’ve made a terrible mistake. What do You want the title to be?” I'd asked this question so many times before and never heard anything back so I didn't really expect Him to answer this time. But He did. My eyes were closed and I saw snow. I saw it in its million . . . billion . . . uncountable snowflakes, each one carefully created, each one a masterful geometric shape, a miracle of mathematics. Did you know that snowflakes can come in many different shapes other than the ones we make from paper, or see in a Christmas display? They can be tubular, hexagonal prisms, six-armed stars; they can have tree-like branches, hollow columns or needles and even be furry, like ferns. There are the triangular, the rosettes, and, my favorite, twelve sided stars. But interestingly, snow from snow machines, man-made snow, looks only like frozen water droplets stuck together. Isn't God amazing?
After seeing the snow and the wonder of the snowflake, God reminded me that my prayer, my heart for this book has been that His Spirit will infuse the words, individualize them for each reader knowing their perspective, their life experience, their heart, so that each reader will get a glimpse of His love. He reminded me of the complexity of the snowflake, and how He individualized each droplet of freezing water. His creativity, His imagination has no bounds! Wow. I was overwhelmed and so . . . thankful. He is always there in our moments of doubt and need. And angels are just plain cool!

In all this I was reminded of something. That it mattered too much to me what my family thought of the title. That I only have to please Him. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6, NIV) The problem was never with my family, it was with me all along.

New Year's Resolution: Please God and everything else will fall into place.

Oh, a great site on snowflakes -

Happy New Year!

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