Do you know Elaine W. Miller?
I first met her in the early 2000’s when she was a guest speaker at my local MOPS group. She encouraged us weary moms and I immediately ordered her book, Splashes of Serenity.
Years passed and with Facebook we connected again. I was beginning to take writing seriously, and she was an established author. She also had a family place in Speculator, NY, one of my favorite locations and where I based my Surrendering Time series. With that much in common, I’ve always looked forward to her social media posts.
Elaine is a cancer survivor and this year, COVID overcomer. As I read the updates, she was physically in a scary place. Isolation. Breathing machines. Bleak reports.
Yet with each post, Elaine praised God. With reduced breath, when she could, she prayed for every single person who entered her quarantined corners. There were healthcare workers who washed her feet, she had been in bed that long.
Through it all, she thought of Jesus. She thanked Him, praised Him, and called out to Him. No matter the measurements of her isolation room, I am positive that place was bustng at the seams with His presence.
As I checked on her status today, she’s home, and still praising God. When I started this draft it was Cyber Monday, so like me, she was letting the world know she had books to offer. Someone mentioned that her COVID experience will most likely give her a new book to write. If so, I can’t wait to read it. For now, she’s penned a beautiful Christmas letter you can read here.
I find when I’m in a hard place, the words come much easier. I can praise God, and I can call out to Him. I guess maybe the acoustics from a pit are better than from the mountain top. These last few months have been a valley excursion and although I’ve journaled a lot, there’s much I’m not ready to share publicly yet. As I write, I relate to David.
One day victorious from a giant battle, literally, the next, hiding in a cave.
Or Daniel. Enjoying life in his homeland, then off to exile with no guarantees.
Yet they are known for their faith and steadfast ways. When the going got tough, they went to their knees.
As Christmas knocks at the door and 2020 wraps up, I can’t promise 2021 is going to be an instant improvement, let alone any different. But one thing that won’t change is God’s Sovereignty. There isn’t one event, one second this year He’s shocked by. Any delay you see in prayer isn’t because He’s not on it. It’s because He knows best.
Elaine knows that.
So did David. And Daniel.
If you’re feeling like life is in the pits, try praise. It’s not natural, I get it. Listen to worship music. If all you can say is “Jesus,” that’s enough. Some of my most precious times with the Lord was when I couldn’t speak at all. I cried. Sobbed. Wept. And it was sacred.
I don’t know how long my personal valley journey will be. But God is faithful, and this is the most wonderful time of the year to praise the name of Jesus.
Just like Elaine is.
I hope you visit Elaine and check out her bookstore.
Have a very Merry Christmas! I am so very thankful for you.
This first appeared in the Julie Arduini December 2020 newsletter and has been updated.