Monday, September 29, 2008

Beautiful Dependency

“Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous . . . “ Joshua 1:5-6 (NAS)

Right. I’ve had to be the strong one all my life.

Only be strong and very courageous . . ." Joshua 1:7 (NAS)

I don't want to be strong anymore.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be
dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NAS)

Stop telling me to be strong. Don't you get what I've been through?

The above comments were the honest responses of a young woman. During the reading of the story in Joshua, chapter 1, years of deep pain, abandonment, and lonely survival focused her hearing on the words "be strong." They were hard words to take in. She was weary.

In the weariness, God's other words were missed.

"I will be with you."

"I will not fail you or forsake you."

"Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

When we've been hurt by others we thought we could depend on, it’s hard to trust again. The heart shuts tight its doors and bars love’s attempts. The resistance sweeps wide. God’s love, so real and healing, is even suspect. Dependence on him is shrouded not only by weariness but also wariness.

Dependence. It's often shunned in our culture. We're not supposed to need anyone. When we hold tight to that and convince ourselves we have to be strong on our own, we only increase our loneliness and pain. But we are created for a beautiful dependence on Him who longs to be our strength.

I read the following in the current issue of Discipleship Journal:

"Dependence doesn't mean that I am less than something, but rather that I am made for something. That space in my soul that I have so desperately tried to eliminate is a God-shaped vacuum . . . We must believe that dependency doesn't diminish our dignity; it is our dignity."

Discipleship Journal, September/October, 2008, Declaration of Dependence, by Roger Edwards

The young woman I spoke of above is beginning to see that she doesn't have to be strong on her own, and that it isn't a weakness to embrace dependency on God. She's opening her heart and learning to trust his love for her. She's smiling and laughing more often, believing in a different future for herself.

It's beautiful to watch the petals of her life, once closed tight, unfold.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


I've been reading a bible study with my mother for the past three weeks on intimacy and worship. This book is exactly what I need to be reading right now. Most of us think of songs and church when we think about worship, but worship is really our response to who God is and what He has done. That means, that worship can take place at any time and in any place.

One thing that hinders my ability to really worship is all the detractions and mental clutter in my life. My life seems so hectic now especially having a 4 month old baby. Finding "quiet time" is really hard these days. Often times, I sit down to pray, worship God, only to end up thinking of the grocery list, my work "to do" list and how to decorate my house. I get about one minute of worship in before my mental clutter takes over. Does that ever happen to you?

This book, Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow, suggests going through the ABC's of worship when you pray. Jesus taught us to begin and end our prayers with worship. I've started doing this in the past week and it has really helped me to focus my attention of God and really worship Him for who He is and what He has done before I get around to asking for my needs and wants. Start with A and work through Z and think of words or phrases that speak of God. You can find excellent descriptions of God in the book of Psalms.

B - Beautiful
C - Captivated by love

I've had a hard time with Q, X and Z so if you think of any, let me know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This was Yesterday

I didn't have Internet connection until tonight.  So I am late. But I do want you to know what I am doing. Here's what I wrote on the road: 

I’m in a car traveling on Interstate 76, headed for the northeast corner of Colorado. Then we will travel across Nebraska., then north to Minneapolis, MN. At this point in time  around, five hundred Christian writers are converging on the twin cities for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. This is truly a wonderful bunch of people, and this is why: these people love Jesus. I’ve been to a secular writing conference and the feeling is nothing like what it is like to walk into a setting where the love of the Lord is first.

Here are some of the differences:

Secular: cussing, both profanities and vulgarities

ACFW: duh? Of course not.

Secular: liquor served in the halls in portable bars.

ACFW: duh? No

Secular: backstabbing and secrecy

ACFW: people don’t bad mouth each other and if someone finds out that a certain editor is looking for a particular genre, there is no guarding the information to keep others from taking advantage of the opportunity.

Secular: me, me, me

ACFW: all for one and one for all. Could there be the 500 Musketeers?

Secular: career advancement is the premier consideration

ACFW: fellowship is high on the list of priorities.

Now, the truth is all of these writers want contracts. They want to learn more about honing their skills as writers. They want to network and make contacts that further their careers.

But at the center of all this activity is the desire to glorify GOD. And boy, does it make a difference!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hidden Things

For years, I've read the same books to start my day. One of them, by Oswald Chambers, had a pretty cool message for me this week. I'm paraphrasing. He says envy, jealousy, and strife are attitudes/emotions that can sneak up inside us and cause trouble. He says allowing them to hang out in our hearts can cause shame.

Of the three--envy, jealousy, and strife--one catches me over and over. STRIFE.

Another day this week, he writes about "... this simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3. Chambers shares that even the smallest thought not under the control of the Holy Spirit can cause spiritual confusion.

A life of simplicity sounds pretty good to me.

If I begin to guard my heart against envy, jealousy, and especially strife would life become simpler?

I'm thinking so.

Day One. September 17, 2008. Guarding my heart and mind against strife.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

self-injury, sexual compromise, Internet obsessions

The subject line is a short list of pain and traps that teens and young adults I know have been caught in. Jackie's, Suzy's, Colin's . . . and others who have shared their stories for the Live Free series.

I feel strongly about doing all we can to invest in our teens (as friends, as children, as youth in our ministries) to let them know that we care.

Teens, young adults, parents, mentors, youth pastors, I'd love to have you join me this Wednesday for an 'author chat' where we can discuss these issues and the true stories of those who have found hope and freedom.

Author Chat with Jan Kern at
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008
11 a.m. - Noon PST / 1 - 2 p.m. CST / 2 - 3 p.m. EST (LIVE)

For more information visit

How to participate in the chat:

Go to: Author's at Abunga

You can visit the site prior to the chat and submit questions ahead of time (today), even if you won't be able to participate on the day of the chat. And of course you can submit questions, if you'd like, during the chat on Wednesday, September 10th.

On the day of the chat, go to the link above and click on "Chat with Jan Kern." Join in the discussion!

Afterwards (give Abunga some time to compile), you can download a pdf file of the discussion at Abunga's site. Check out their archive section.

Hope to have you join me on Wednesday! What you have to say about these issues matter!


Note: Eyes Online: Eyes On Life: A Journey Out of Online Addictions (Live Free) is now released. Read an excerpt at

More about the story behind the story of that book in my next Girls, God, Good Life post!

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Dear God Letter

I’m supposed to write a letter this week and don’t know where to start. It’s an assignment for the Beth Moore Bible study that I just started. The point of the letter is to tell Jesus what I want. Apparently I’m supposed to just lay it out there. No holding back. It can go on for pages if that’s what it takes.

“God, this is what I want. This is what I feel like I need.”

How do you start a letter like that? Obviously God know what I want and what I need. But how do I put it into words that don’t make me sound like a whiney baby?
The more I think about what I want the more selfish I feel, the more I fear asking for something that seems very important to me only to not receive, the more I wonder if getting what I want could possibly make things worse.

The longer I consider what I need the harder it sets in that I don’t know what I need right now. There is a lot of drama in my life at the moment. Maybe what I think I need is actually a want.
In some ways my mind is too crammed full of thoughts and concerns and disappointments to sort any of it out. Maybe I can start there, with “Jesus, I don’t know what I want. How can I recognize my wants and needs when my brain is ready to explode?” Maybe that will get things flowing.

As impossible as this assignments seems today I’m glad that I have it. It’s a great reminder that I have a Heavenly Father who wants me to talk to Him, to be honest, to lay it out there even if He already knows. So I’ll just trust that the words will come and that it just might turn into a great record of how He eventually answered.

At least I’m not being graded on this.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

not our plans

This is my son Thomas. He was recruited to play football this year--his first year to play. He's a BASEBALL player. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled about him playing. I blogged about it several weeks ago. I don't really get football. It doesn't look like fun to me--knocking each other down, playing in the rain and cold, and getting beaten up.

I got a call from the coach during practice August 6th. "Mrs. Garmon. Thomas has broken his leg. It's bad. We're taking him by ambulance to the hospital."

I drove to the school praying, "Help him, Jesus." I got there before they left. The ambulance driver and coaches told me to stay calm. They said they didn't want Thomas upset. So I prayed, "Help me, Jesus."

It was Thomas's 17th birthday. So, I walked up to him on the stretcher, blinked back tears and said, "Happy Birthday."

"Thanks, Mom. Don't look at it. Tell Dad I'm fine."

Talk about ripping out your heart. I rode in the ambulance with him. He'll be in a long cast for six weeks, then one to his knee for four weeks, and then a boot for four weeks. Out for the season.

I'm posting this to say sometimes we don't understand. Sometimes we just say, "Help us, Jesus. Thank you. We love you, God."

Thoughts on when things don't go as we'd planned?


Monday, September 01, 2008

We're going to have our own TV Show - sort of.

I just learned that the Motiv8 tour in October is going to have a sort of TV show following our progress and interacting with Internet viewers. Do you remember the Motiv8 project? I know I've talked about it before. 8 Christian Fantasy Authors from 8 different publishing houses will be visiting 8 West Coast cities in 8 days. Goal: to motiv8 young readers to choose positive fiction.
(BTW, you can't click here and go to the site. I didn't know how to do that. But you can go to my site and click the same picture there and that will take you to .)
I hope you will be praying for us. Pray for me to be healthy, and of course, the others too, but I feel like I may be the slow man in the relay race, as I am the oldest and tiredest.

Anyway, this is how Christopher Hopper explains this TV thingie:

"Right now I have it set to run all the Video Journals from last year interspersed with the new promo video. When we're actually on the tour, we will broadcast live, field questions from viewers through IM, and update it with that day's Video Journal. I think this will go a long way in getting people interested who don't live on the West Coast. I'm certain God invented the internet just for Christians to advance the Kingdom. How cool...You can also check out the channel here: ."