I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pondering the Dog That Ate My Homework (and Other Themes)

It’s almost one a.m. I’m sitting in a dark house, huddled over my laptop, unable to sleep, thanks to the caffeine from my late-night Sobe indulgence and a Christmas brainstorming session that won’t take a break. Oh, and the little fact that between the aforementioned brainstorming session and an evening cleaning job, I forgot to prepare my blog post for today. Can I blame it on the dog, too?

Oh wait. I don’t have one.

So…here I am. Pondering what to ponder and wondering if I’ll be breaking some hidden Ponderer guideline if I don’t get this done in time. Will I get booted from the club? I was late to the party, anyway--not meeting my fellow Ponderers until the second My Book Therapy retreat. And what about my conference flubs? Last month at ACFW, I was too tired to hang out some nights. Didn’t express my feelings well on a somewhat controversial topic. Got a little defensive when I couldn’t even stutter out a practice pitch and everyone else had just come through Susie’s fantastic Pitch and Promote workshop.

So here I am, wondering if this is the last straw. Do they still want me? Maybe they’ll finally really take a look at all my failings and imperfections. And then they’ll figure it out—that I’m not meant to be a Ponderer.

That no matter how hard I try…I’m not good enough. I’ll never be worth it.

You ever feel like that? Maybe, maybe not. But I know others who have. Cole. Jake. Sari. Lizzy. All characters from my novels. Oh, their struggles are so different from mine, so much more serious. But in the end, it seems to all boil down to this…


We don’t deserve it. We can’t earn it. But Jesus is there, holding out His nail-scarred hands, wanting to give us this amazing gift. Unmerited favor. Unconditional love. There, for the taking.

Someone once told me that if a preacher frequently chooses the same topic to preach on, maybe he’s the one in need of the message. So tell me, is there a common theme that keeps popping up in your stories? Take a look and see if God is trying to remind you of something.

P. S. Thanks, Ponderers, for being gracious. And for indulging a little bit of melodrama. I tend to get that way after midnight. :-)

~ Jenness Walker


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  2. My dear Jenness~

    I think it is only fitting that I be the first one to comment on your blog. For a couple of reasons. First, I had the pleasure of being your roommate at that 2nd Ponderer retreat. Secondly, because I am almost always still working on my blog post at 2am...3am...4am... in the PACIFIC time zone!! And finally, because I totally adore you!!

    I can't tell you how many times I have pondered the same issues! Especially since I haven't been to any Ponderer events, I haven't written anything worthwhile lately, and my last blog entry only got two comments in the first couple of days it was up. It's so darn easy to focus on my shortcomings. So easy to believe the voice of the serpent telling me I don't quite measure up. Thank you for the reminder about GRACE. It's such a beautiful gift Jesus gives to us, we really should be giving it to each other.

    I loved coming online tonight (it's 2am on the west coast) and seeing your post because I was thinking about you earlier today. This morning I finally started reading Double Take! It's like I spent the day with you...first your book, now this post. It's good to hear your voice, my friend!

    (P.S. I deleted my first comment because it included an appalling run-on sentence. There is no grace for a sentence that contains the word 'because' THREE times!)

  3. One thing I wanted to add about finding your theme, if you have one. :-) Music! What are your favorites? Is there a song they play on the radio that moves you every time you hear it? For example...one of my all-time favorites is Pieces, by Red. And a song that I turn up and listen to every (million) time(s) the radio plays it is You Loved Me Anyway by Sidewalk Prophets. Common theme? Yup.

  4. Heidi, I'm sure grace could be found, even for run-ons...although TEE might have to pray a little harder to find it. hehehe

    It was a pleasure being your roommate. And the adoration is mutual. :-)

  5. Wow, 4 comments this early. As per Tee's blog today, you're filling the airwaves w/ gracious words/music. Wonderful. Yes, I'm realizing books I write have a recurring theme, too, and it's time to change the mix. Thankfully, because of God's healing grace, all Ponderers can. You go, girls!
    (I didn't hang out super late at ACFW either--need my beauty sleep, you know--and visited Starbucks lots.

  6. If we were given what we deserve, none of us would have the grace that comes from Christ's riches.

    Heidi, we love you for who you are, not for what you can give. Don't let satan get a foothold in that thinking.

    Jenness, we won't let you go without a fight. I don't you expressed yourself awkwardly at all.

    I do have a common theme popping up in my novels--trust. Sometimes it's hard to trust because letting go can mean pain and I don't like pain. But God knows what's best, even if it's painful. He offers wonderful lessons in life's situations.

  7. I think one of the best thing about the Ponderers is the grace we've found here. As one of the Ps who almost quit the group early on because of a huge misunderstanding ...

    And, yes, Jenness, there is a repeated theme in my stories: struggling to be yourself--your created in God's image self, not the who-you-think-you-should-be-self.
    Hhhhmmm ... yep, there's a personal application there.
    And, since I know TEE so well (we're close, close friends), she's not nearly so angsty about that editing stuff as y'all think she is ... unless it's necessary. Then the red pen wielding is becomes deadly ... but in a nice way.

  8. I came late to the party, too, Jenness, but am so glad everyone accepted me! I think writers as a group struggle with self esteem issues. lol We all tend to forget that God accepts us as we are--we don't have to get cleaned up to come to Him. Cleaning us up--that's what He does.
    Great post!

  9. Jenness! We love you. No way will you ever be booted. No matter how many Sobes you drink after midnight!!

    I think, like Lisa, a common theme in my stories so far seems to be trusting in God. And I wouldn't have even realized it if not for your post today. In my first book, the theme centers on letting go of our own plans and resting in God's. In my second, it's finding our identity in Christ. Both of those require a lesson in trust - trusting God with the future, trusting him for our self-worth/identity/etc.

    So, thanks for making me ponder you ever-loved Ponderer!

  10. Jenness, I needed to read this today! I've always struggled with the "when will they find out I'm really not good at this" thoughts that Satan loves to insert in my brain! Theme? Definitely. Fear. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of making the wrong choice. That theme has to turn into Trusting GOD.

    I hate that I have to keep reminding myself of God's love and grace, but there you are. I guess if we never felt that angst-ridden panic, we wouldn't know how to impose it upon our characters!

    From someone who felt like a failure at ACFW only to find out later she was badly anemic at the time, hang in there! God's got great things in store for all of us!

  11. Jenness, I think every one of us struggles with "being good enough" in others' eyes, at least sometimes. :) That is my life-long struggle. Like Regina said above, too often I hear that message that no one will really like me/think I've got any future in writing if they really knew me. God is teaching me to find my affirmation in Him, but I'm not consistent with running to him for that yet. :) Sorry, I'm rambling.

    One theme in my wip is trust, but some of the others listed above have threads in it too. :) You've given me some good things to ponder when I consider story themes and my real life themes/lessons. :)

  12. Jenness, I don't doubt that God uses even our own creativity to speak to our souls. He created both, so he can! However, I never really thought of that myself.
    Yes, I've learned from my writing, God's gift to me. Thank you for giving me words of wisdom to ponder on!

  13. Jenness, I don't doubt that God uses even our own creativity to speak to our souls. He created both, so he can! However, I never really thought of that myself.
    Yes, I've learned from my writing, God's gift to me. Thank you for giving me words of wisdom to ponder on!

  14. Jenness, My reoccurring theme is trust. I took a huge leap of faith in my personal life but I really think it helped to work through it first in my novel. BTW, I really appreciated your comments about a controversial topic. I'm sorry I didn't say so at the time.

  15. Oh. My. Sometimes I think you're peering into the hidden places in my heart. Am I good enough to keep writing? The question keeps coming back, but thankfully the answer keeps coming back, too. I don't write because of how good I am (or not!), but because He has called me to do it.