By Kathleen Thomas Gaspar
When the email dropped into my iPhone a few weeks ago, I saw the heading of “Hamster” and immediately, instinctively knew.
After 18 years of weekly submissions (936, for you mathematically inclined), I was being pink-slipped by the Salida Mountain Mail.
Oh, it wasn’t without great contemplation on the editor’s part, but apparently the $27.50 I received for each weekly column – some of which took eight hours to compose – was a bit too steep for them to continue. Plus, Baxter Black was coming on board. You know, the economy and all.
For a full five minutes I was all huffy. And then I was… really, really calm. Peaceful. As in Philippians 4:6-7, which gives the Apostle Paul the Voice to remind us all, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
For years I had closed my columns with the heartfelt “Hallelujah!” and “Amen.” On April 3 I closed a chapter of my life with the very same encouragement. God isn’t going to let me trip, stumble and fall. God has given me eagle’s wings, and I hereby declare my ability to soar in His name!
I’ve taken a week off from meeting that deadline, and now I’m back in the saddle, renewed by the Living Waters. Oh, yes indeedy-do. I am emboldened by the release from editorial constraints that had me figuratively looking over my shoulder in apprehension for a long, long time. And more than once I found myself on the slippery slope of political correctness, that artificial censorship imposed by well-meaning individuals and institutions whose bottom line is, well, the bottom line.
Heaven – and I mean that – forbid I offend someone who doesn’t agree with me, right? But you know what? Heaven doesn’t forbid it at all. You don’t like what I write? Don’t read it.
The spirit of timidity has passed, and I am absolutely joyous that it has. This isn’t just a good thing; it’s a God thing. It’s a stepping-out thing.
I invite you to step out with me. We have work to do, and there’s no time like the present to get moving.
Ephesians 6, starting with verse 10, tells us how to dress for success in everything we do.
Paul told the church at Ephesus, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
In verses 19 and 20 Paul asks for something special. I ask for it as well. “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
So today starts the not just a new chapter but really a new book, with a whole lot of words just waiting to pour forth from my life.
God has my heart. Jesus has my back. Whom then shall I fear?
You know what comes next, don’t you?