Last year, in late October and early November, this little writer was spoiled rotten with a sabbatical at the beach. Earlier that year, in the midst of burnout, I asked the Lord for a month at the beach alone to write, an extravagant request which I had no idea He would answer, and in such an extravagant way! But a dear friend had counseled, “You have not because you ask not,” and so I asked.
A couple I hardly knew from the church we helped start in Montpellier gave me the use of their studio at the beach town of La Grande Motte. I literally ‘hid out’ for that time, telling almost no one where I was. (Paul was ‘allowed’ to visit me twice from Lyon=). Sabbatical means different things to different people, but I knew what I needed: time alone with no travels and no visitors, to soak up the Lord’s goodness and to write.
As is the Lord’s nature, He did ‘above and beyond’ what I asked. Here’s a peek into how I spent that month at the beach (written in the present even though it took place a year ago):
The view from my little spot of paradise (yes, that’s the Mediterranean in the distance):
My day starts off (not necessarily EARLY) with time with my Lord. Essentials: the Word of God ; my Kindle which holds the Bible study I am doing, a fleece blanket and a cup of tea, of course!
I often light a candle during my devos to symbolize Christ’s presence with me.
Pens, pencils and Sharpies for this writer gal!
I carry 3 by 5 notecards with me on my many walks-they help me memorize Scripture and remind me of the spiritual disciplines I am practicing
After devotions, I start working on my WIP (work in progress)-my new novel. Essentials: Laptop, three ring binder (for notekeeping, chapter planning etc), granny glasses, cup of tea (not shown in photo), external hard drive to SAVE what I write.
I often interrupt my writing (after typing those precious required words) and take a long walk on the beach. Here I worship, pray, and plan new scenes for the novel.
In the evenings, after a good day of work, I am rewarded with a gorgeous sunset!
Spoiled Rotten, n’est-ce pas? And so incredibly thankful!
Now, a year later, as I reflect back on the Lord’s extravagant gift to me, I think it was given so that I could rest, be restored and be prepared for the next season-unknown to me, but perfectly known to my Lord. This past year has been one of sickness and grief, of death of a loved one and death of dreams, of coming before the Lord, often in tears, and saying, “Now what, Lord?”
And He has been faithful to show me the next ‘what’, one step at a time.
As I sit at my desk in my little ‘writing chalet’ (tool shed) here outside of Lyon, I am working once again on the same WIP (because I got majorly sidetracked this past year.)
But the Lord is not surprised by the twists and turns in my life, and His promises are true. He never fails or forsakes us; He doesn’t slumber; He keeps us in our goings out and our comings in, from this time forth and forevermore. I am so incredibly thankful that He is the Author of my story and that He writes each chapter in loving detail. He doesn’t leave out the hard parts, but He redeems them, again and again, for His glory.
May His peace surround you in the midst of whatever chapter of your extravagant story He’s writing today.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15