Every Spiritual Blessing

You know those times when you make indefinite plans to do something when you have extra time (which never happens), and then you finally get around to doing whatever it is? And it’s amazing and you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner?

Yes. That happened today.

I’ve struggled with research for my novel because the internet is strangely quiet on the place and time I need information about. I subscribe to Ancestry.com, which is great for my personal family research, but there’s precious little available for the setting of my book. I bought several titles in the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing, and while they are interesting, they aren’t exactly comprehensive — and there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive source anywhere. My husband and I visited the railroad museum, but the large majority of the collection was dedicated to the Civil War era, which isn’t the time period that most interests me. I went to the library and exhausted the local history section with a two-hour session. I even approached a long-time resident about an interview, but the person had some scheduling conflicts at the time and I didn’t push it.

All in all, a tad frustrating.

I knew about one more resource I could try, a special room in the central branch of the county library that is dedicated to genealogy and local history. I planned to go… and then didn’t.

I can’t honestly say that I thought it would be more of the same. I suppose I didn’t give it much thought at all, other than it seemed daunting just to get there (and believe me, my heart raced a few times fighting the traffic to get there today). That’s no excuse, though — I did travel cross-country last week, after all. I should be able to make it one city over unscathed.

Anyway, whatever my reason for hesitating, it was foolish because the special room in the central library was it. I was there for about four hours, paging through ancient, crumbling newspapers, scribbling notes, taking pictures with my phone, and loving every minute. One of my old ideas, formed from scraps of earlier research, is taking on a new shape in a way I really like. I want to go back tomorrow, too, and pick up where I left off.

It’s foolish to leave available resources on the table.

Consider then the abundant resources and blessings the Lord makes available to His children. It’s a long passage and somewhat difficult reading — and I’m glad of it! When it comes to the list of God’s blessings, I’d prefer long and complex to short and simple, wouldn’t you? According to Ephesians 1:3-14: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

My favorite piece of the whole? “The riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” There’s no way I want to miss that, or any of what He offers.

3 Replies to “Every Spiritual Blessing”

  1. You wrote, “I’ve struggled with research for my novel because the internet is strangely quiet on the place and time I need information about.” When I was writing my novel, I would get stumped now and then for lack of research. For example, I was writing about a Confederate Ball. What did I know about re-enactors and Confederate Balls? Next to nothing. Then one day, I was walking through a home (I had a real-estate column then) and spotted a photo of a re-enactor and his wife dressed for a Confederate Ball! I spoke with the man–and to make a long story short–found out how to get tickets. The Ball was 2 weeks away. My husband and I got tickets, went to the Confederate Ball, and after that I was ready to write Chapter 17 of my novel. I can think of similar situations when I got stuck–for lack of info–in the book I was writing, and the Lord supplied the answer in most unusual ways. (I should write a book about that! — lol.) But seriously, He will help you find the answers you need to proceed.

    1. Definitely sounds like a God-thing! It’s been quite a while since I made that research trip. I’m still working on the book, but it’s funny to think back on the things I learned that day and how they’ve become integral parts of the story. Writing it has been more like a scavenger hunt than like following a road map. He hands me clues. “Proceed to next station and await instructions.” 😀

      1. “Proceed to next station and await instructions.” YES! YES! That’s how it was when I was writing “The Prince in the Tower.” When I began writing, all I had was the ending and a few characters in mind. The plot developed as I wrote the story. What an adventure!

        I’ll share another “God moment” with you. When I was writing Chapter 8 about a Mozart concert at the Kennedy Center, I got stuck during a scene in which my characters go outside on the terrace during intermission. I wondered what they would see when they looked over the balcony. I didn’t have a clue.

        I was still writing a real estate column for “The Connection,” a local paper in Northern VA. While walking through a house that was for sale, the realtor (who escorted me) started talking about the Kennedy Center out of the blue. I was only half listening when I realized that God had handed me another golden opportunity. I asked her what one sees when looking over the balcony on the terrace. She replied, “The Lincoln Memorial, Watergate, Key Bridge, and Teddy Roosevelt Island.” I went home and finished Chapter 8.

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