Sagging Middles

Once upon a time...Fairy tales often begin with once upon a time, but the tale doesn’t stop there. It can’t. A story ends well if we find the answer to one question…

And then what happened?

Without that question, we have no plot. And there must be a plot. The plot drives the story forward. Right?

But here’s where our story differs from the fiction we read and write. Our stories have sagging middles. And I don’t mean I-quit-doing-my-sit-ups sagging middles. The sagging I refer to is the endless waiting, circuitous wandering middle.

It’s during these middles we, as doers, feel helpless because the forward movement has stopped. There is no action. Or is there?

We fail to comprehend this new plot twist because we’re not the author of our stories. The Master storyteller holds the pen, and He knows the exact pace needed to accomplish the character arc He desires.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4 KJV

Truth: Sometimes we need a sagging middle to move us forward.

The Lord alone knows how to structure our story to bring us to a delightful ending.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV

He has made the needed provisions for our salvation, and He’s making the necessary revision in our lives. Hence, the sagging middle. Hang in there. We can and will finish strong if we yield to His hand.

Another fact to rejoice over is our Lord never suffers from writer’s block! He has known the end of our stories from the beginning.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

As writers we understand, only the Author who knows the ending can finish the story. And He alone will finish the story. May we all allow Him to write His story upon our hearts.

Who’s writing your story?

Click to Tweet: Sometimes we need a sagging middle to move us forward.

 

Together, We Can Make A Difference

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 KJV)

I sat in the booth across from my daughter and unwrapped my sandwich. After taking a bite of the Turkey Italiano sub, I sat back and waited for her to taste her own. Her face was pale and her lips were colorless.

I knew she was upset after hearing about a recent abusive situation. I also knew if I didn’t get her talking, she would worry about it for days and refuse to eat.

“Why are you so angry?” I raised my hand before she could remind me of what I already knew. “I understand you’re upset about the situation, but I want you to think about it a minute. Set your emotions aside. Now, tell me, why are you angry?”

Moments passed while she processed. (Let me tell you, this kid can process for days! J)

Finally, she leaned over the table and whispered. “Because I can’t do anything about it. I feel helpless, and that makes me angry.”

I was proud that she had gotten to the root of her emotions. I smiled at her. In the past, I too would have been unable to eat. But now, I understand the reason for my anger, and I know what to do about it.

“Oh yes, there is something you can do about it. We do it every month. We support IJM and the fight against abuse. We pray. And we can definitely write about it. Want a story? We can write stories of abused characters finding their freedom if that’s what you want. You’re not helpless.  Talk about it. Educate others about it. Use that anger to make a difference. Don’t just fume, take action.”

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“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name…modern slavery.” President Barack Obama, September 25, 2012

The following definition, profit, and issue quotes are taken from humanrightsfirst.org. You can download your own copy here.

Human Trafficking Defined

Under U.S. law, trafficking in persons is defined as “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age,” or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, using force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

Breakdown of Profits

Human trafficking earns profits of roughly 150 billion a year for traffickers, according to the ILO report from 2014. The following is a breakdown of profits, by sector:

  • $99 billion from commercial sexual exploitation
  • $34 billion in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
  • $9 billion in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
  • $8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households that employ domestic workers under conditions of forced labor.

Global Issue

(Think we have nothing to worry about? Think again.)

  • Asia-Pacific15.4 million
  • Africa 5.7 million
  • Europe and Central Asia 2.2 million
  • North and South America 1.2 million
  • Arab states account for 1 percent of all victims.

Taking Action

  • Pray
  • Get involved with state and local government to make a difference
  • Donate to nonprofit organizations fighting for the rights of humans everywhere
  • Be aware of what’s going on in your neighborhoods, towns, schools, and churches

When searching for a nonprofit organization, I wanted someone I could trust, someone who was making a difference, and someone who practiced financial transparency. I chose International Justice Mission.

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“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2018 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1, 2018. I call upon industry associations, law enforcement, private businesses, faith-based and other organizations of civil society, schools, families, and all Americans to recognize our vital roles in ending all forms of modern slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities aimed at ending and preventing all forms of human trafficking.”

Together we can make a difference.


TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalIn honor of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I’m offering a printed copy of Treasures of Hope, Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. Leave a comment to have your name entered in the drawing.

Release Day!

Good morning, dear reader! I hope your Christmas holiday was filled with laughter. I was blessed to have all my children with me. Something a mom looks forward to during the holidays.

Now, we’re nearing the end of this year and I have one more surprise.

Today is release day! That means you can purchase an ebook or paperback of my memoir from Amazon. Or if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

Here’s the blurb.

When long-buried memories of abuse resurface, Gail faces a choice: continue ignoring the implications of her nightmares and remain a captive of fear and shame, or dare to remove the painful chains binding her present to her past. Unearthing the sorrows of her past would not be easy and distressing questions would arise along the way to challenge her faith.

Why would a God of both love and justice allow this abuse?
Why does He expect me to forgive my abuser?
If He let this happen, does He truly love me at all?

In her memoir, Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past, Gail Johnson shares the truths she uncovered while studying earlier daughters of both harm and hope. As she became better acquainted with women of the Bible like Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Rahab, Tamar, and Esther, their stories spoke truth into her own, mining the jewels of Identity and Purpose, Intimacy, Incomparability, Courage, Peace, and Victory. With each new discovery, Gail traded a length of chain for a balm of gold . . . and unearthed treasures that would sever the past’s stranglehold on her life, allowing her to live joyously in the present and anticipate the future with emboldened hope.

Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past is my story but also it is HIStory. It is a story of hope and triumph. I pray you enjoy reading about my journey to freedom.

Before you go, thank you for your encouragement during this process. And thank you in advance for purchasing my story. ❤