Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrating All the Summer Days

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Summer, nothing better in life to celebrate than those long, warm days playing in the sun, catching up with friends, allowing time and space for God's Word to manifest itself in my heart. This season I've experienced a special sense of catching up and celebrating all the Lord has given me. I waited with breath held for the final meeting of the Aspiring Writers' Forum in mid-May. Once past, I let the long days wash over me, sleeping late, trying to heal some wounds, taking each moment one at a time. When we slow life down a bit, it allows time to reset our priorities. 
My co-leader Coleene VanTilburg and myself

Two clocks measure my time these days. I am committed to working with writers in the Aspiring Writers' Forum (AWF). From September through May, every Wednesday evening devoted to encouragement, discussing writing, reading and sharing what we have written. While in these meetings, time revs up seeming to disappear before we can complete all we want to do. This is the first summer in 4 years that I have taken a complete break from meeting with this group. By allowing time to recharge, I have renewed energy and enthusiasm to get back to work. And for the next few weeks my partner Coleene and I will be signing up those who want to embrace Christian writing through next May. So AWF will take up a major portion of my thought, time and energy starting again in September.

The second clock measuring my days revolves around a special women's ministry at our church called Coffee Break. One Monday evening each month we gather together to share coffee, tea and desserts, games and worship songs, and listen to one woman from our congregation share her story. I work with the speakers ahead of their speaking date, preparing them for the experience. I have never been involved in anything so satisfying in my life. I hear about miracles of faith from the past and witness growth in the speakers' lives as they prepare. When women accept this assignment to speak, they cannot anticipate how this single act of obedience can change their lives.

Signing up writers for Aspiring Writers' Forum

The next meeting will be in October and I have been working with the speaker since April so she can practice and polish her presentation. In so doing, we have developed techniques to help inexperienced speakers feel relatively confident when they tell their story to an audience ranging from 100-150 women. After 3 years and 21 speakers, we listen every month about how unique each woman's story is and what each one uses to cope with the challenges she encounters in her life. Many of my summer days are spent in reading and advice in writing these stories out.

A process has developed and most of us think this sounds far easier than the actual doing turns out to be. Today our pastor defined sanctification versus justification in the Christian life. The sermon spoke directly to my heart as I have witnessed the growth in my life and others who have spoken for this ministry. 

So I have celebrated this summer by immersing myself in "story," time well spent reading, writing, encouraging and recharging. Our lives bring different seasons during which we are afforded the opportunity to learn a lesson or two. My take away from this season is to listen carefully, both to those around you and to the Holy Spirit in your life.


  1. I hope you have also physically healed, or at least getting better. It's hard to keep going when you are in pain. My prayers are with you, my friend!

    1. Thanks so much Barb! I am feeling better and just make the most of what I have every day. I appreciate all the praying partners I have.

  2. God has providentially gathered us together for a unique and exciting ministry. I thank Him in advance for our 5th year! I can't help but think of this verse: Hebrews 10:24-25(NIV)
    "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." May the Lord be glorified!

    1. I remember those early discussions about whether to do this or not. I too thank Him for this 5th year and what a perfect scripture to launch this new season. I think the pictures tell it all...our smiles could not be much happier!