Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Part 2 - What God is Teaching Me about Rejection, Writing and His Tender Love

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

When my son was three, he was given a bright orange car, low to the ground, powered by petals and steered with hand holds.

At the time, we lived in a cottage. Actually, when I use the term “cottage” I am using euphoric recall. It was a shack situated in the yard of our landlord. Noah’s room, and I’m not exaggerating, was the laundry nook. He slept where a dryer was once located.

But the joy of this home was the gigantic yard contacted to a long driveway. In the middle of the yard was a big tree with a solid trunk. Perfect for crashing.

That’s what Noah used it for. He’d get into his orange car and race down the driveway as fast as his little boy feet could pedal and then he’d turn into the grass, still charging ahead with full force, and crash into that tree.

I’d watch, holding my breath, sure he’d develop toddler whiplash or neck problems. John would just laugh at his fearlessness.

And the part that I recall the most fondly, ten years later, is what happened after the crash.

Every time.

Noah’s car and body would reverberate and in the next second his non-whiplashed neck would go back and he’d let out the loudest and most contagious laugh. Pure delight.
After his laugh, he’d yell, “Did you see that, Dad?”

“Atta boy!” John would call.

And Noah would drive back up the driveway to do it all again. Over and over.

Crash after crash.

God is teaching me through my fearless boy. Crashes happen, don’t they? Be it a lost job, a disappointment in a relationship or as I’ve recently experienced, a rejection.

And God has shown me that I need a “crash-course” on dealing with crashes.

1) I need to expect them. Life is difficult. Any journey has obstacles. Anything worth doing well requires hard work and yep, pain.

2) I need to practice my reactions to crashes. Instead of complete shock and bewilderment, accompanied by wailing and eating too much, I need to try breathing and putting things into perspective. In order to do that, TRUST IN GOD, is required. And out of trust comes joy. This will add to my relationship with Jesus, which is ultimately the most vital aspect of any journey.

Today I choose to employ my son’s kamikaze tactics in my writing attempts. I could continue to write with a delicate attitude, hoping what God has given me to say pleases everyone and makes me a ton of money or fame.

But no more.

Today I am a child again, racing ahead with the words God’s given me, typing as fast my 49-year-old fingers will allow. And when I crash, it’ll be with purpose and joy and I’ll let out a loud laugh.

“Did you see that, God?”

And He’ll yell, “Atta girl!”

You know, I’m one of those folks who choose a word for the year. This year my word is “adventure.” What adventure story doesn’t include some great crashes?

Wherever you might be in your adventure, race ahead with Him! And may the Lord bless our crashes!

(Tomorrow - Part 3 - Digging up the Roots of Greed)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What God is Teaching Me about Rejection, Writing and His Tender Love - Part I


Mount Hermon is a beautiful retreat center set in the Santa Cruz Mountains, six miles from Monterey Bay, California. In 2005, four years after I’d begun my journey into the writing world, my husband John gave me a gift. A plane trip and registration to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. If you want to check out their wonderful conference, go to

I knew very little about the writing business, although I’d been writing since I was a young girl. But over the course of a couple of years, I’d pecked out what I believed to be the next great novel, surely my ticket into personal friendships with Francine Rivers and Janette Oke and appointments at book signings for throngs of folks at Barnes and Noble. So I packed my bags and flew to what would become one of the highlights of my entire life.

Redwoods guarded our meetings and kept the rain to a drizzle as we writers traveled from seminar to seminar, pitch meeting to critique. I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I didn’t have. I discovered I knew very little about writing a book and I realized my great American novel could use a few more years of rewrites. Maybe a decade.

But I was happy. Deliriously. The old cliché of smiling from ear to ear was my constant experience. I met other writers who made me laugh and taught me. I met editors who gently explained I had no idea what I was talking about. I met agents who showed me that getting published was indeed a process, and not a one-time event.

Liz Curtis Higgs was our keynote speaker (as she is this year at Mount Hermon) and her words tickled me and challenged me. I cried and told the Lord I would write for Him and Him alone. As we sang in the glorious chapel, my heart beat wildly for the adventure to which God had called me.

One afternoon as I walked to a class, I heard the Lord clearly in my heart and mind. “Sweet Girl,” He said, “you are exactly where I want you to be.” More tears.

Toward the end of the conference I went to the restroom after a class and found a woman upset. Sobbing, her body was doubled over at the sink.

“Are you okay?” I asked, alarmed.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She brushed me off and continued wailing.

“Can I do anything for you?” I felt so bad for her. Surely, something horrible had happened.

She looked at me and wiped her nose. “I just got some bad news.”

Poor woman. I wondered who’d died.

“I got rejected.”

My heart went out to her. Relationships were so difficult. “I’m so sorry. How long had you been dating?”

She looked at me curiously. “Oh no, not a man. My novel.”

Later that day I vowed to never be that woman. I mean, what was her problem? This was FUN. Writing was pure joy and the writing business was a hoot! No need to take it so seriously. I couldn’t believe she sobbed over a rejection.

It’s now seven years later, and I have just allowed the Lord to put my heart back together again after a painful rejection. Funny thing is I forgot all about that woman until this weekend when, at a solo mountain retreat with God, He brought her back to mind.

I know what she felt. I understand now. But I sense God brought her to mind to not just remind me that rejection is a part of writing, but also to show me a “movie” of me.

“See that girl who is just happy and naïve and joy-filled? And see the woman next to her sobbing? The only difference in the two? Expectations.”

(More tomorrow on what God is showing me about expectations and crashing and His continual tender love.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Turning the Page

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

Not every story ends the way we want it to, but God is still good.

· 11 years ago, I began to dream about ending my teaching career to write and speak.
· 6 years ago, I quit teaching.
· 5 years ago, we moved to Denver and I began writing and speaking professionally.
· 3 ½ years ago, I landed a literary agent.

During the past 3 ½ years (with my agent) I submitted a nonfiction memoir that made it to 2 publishing boards (a cool accomplishment in the writing biz) but it was rejected by those 2 houses as well as 8 others. I wrote another nonfiction book on fear that went nowhere because I did not have credentials or platform. This past year, I finished my first full length novel.

A week ago Monday, I wrote a Joyvotion and a blog - a love letter from God. I planned on sending it out as I usually do on Wednesday and Thursday, but God said to me quite clearly, “Send it out now, today, for that one woman who needs it.”

I envisioned a woman who might be dreading Valentine’s Day be they alone or lonely in a marriage. I sent it out and promptly got 3 emails saying, “Thank you, but it’s not Wednesday.”


Then, I received an email from my agent telling me she couldn’t sell my novel and she’d decided to release me from our agent/writer relationship. Ouch. By the way, I respect her and have no hard feelings at all toward her.

But I did cry. In fact, I felt my heart break a little. My thoughts? Am I just not good enough, God? Should I just quit this? I have no idea what to do next.

I called my beloved. He comforted me and told me he believed in me. I mentioned I’d just sent out a Joyvotion. He said, “I know, I got it. But it’s not Wednesday.”

I smiled through my blubbering. “God told me to send it out this morning for that one woman who’d need it.”

John replied, “That was you, Robbie.”

I hung up and read the love letter again as if God wrote it just for me. And I sobbed like a little girl, as I crawled up into my Abba Daddy’s lap.

This weekend, I’m going to a cabin in the pines to hang out with God for 2 days. No phone, TV, or computer. Just me and Jesus. A wonderful date or a WAAWG (Weekend Almost Alone with God.) I can’t wait. Just like the love letter, He’ll speak to my heart and tell me what’s next.

I write this not to say poor me, but to encourage you that wherever you are in your story, God is good and He loves you. Period. Getting rejected by my agent felt horrible, like reading a sad ending full of tears and broken hearts.

But God will use it for great things. It might be a wonderful chapter ending that needed to be written just like it played out, so the next chapter can unfold exactly as God, the Author of all, wants.

If you have gotten bad news lately, take courage. He loves you with a fervent, unending love.

And your story, like mine, goes on.

Crawl into your Abba Daddy’s lap and He will help you turn the page.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Love Letter

“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…” Isaiah 43:4

Dear Child,

I love you.

I love you with an everlasting, never-ending, no-matter-what-happens love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

I love you even if you: yell at your kids, lie, cheat on your taxes, speed down the freeway, ignore me or put yourself down.

I love you no matter what. (Psalm 66:20)

I love you when: you are exhausted and feel sorry for yourself. You are exhausted and have a great attitude. You are grieving. You are laughing. You are sinning. (Psalm 86:5 and 86:13)

I love you if: there is no if.

You can know I love you because:

I sent Jesus to die for you so we could have a forever relationship. (John 3:16)
I say it in my Word. (Isaiah 43:4)
I pour my love into you through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)
I don’t let anything separate you and my love. (Romans 8: 35-39)
I am love. (1 John 4:8)

I love you!

This Valentine’s Week you may get roses or not, or a card or not, or a date or not. You may hate the day because you are lonely or because you don’t like the one you’re with. You may love every minute of this week because you are a romantic or because you are blissfully in love.

How you see this week is how you see it.

But what I care about is your heart that I adore. (Ezekiel 36:26)

I cherish you.

In fact, I delight in you! (Zephaniah 3:17) (Psalm 18: 19)

I love you!

Just wanted you to know.

The relentless pursuer of your heart,


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Stop Judging My Girl!

This picture doesn't really go with this post aceept "My Girl" is a reference to me and this is me.
But hey, I like this picture. Made me smileand so I'm putting it here. :0)

“For He made Him who knew no sin, to become sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Last week was in a word, horrible. I made mistakes left and right, got angry at a friend, got furious at Noah and looked at John as if I wanted to do him bodily harm. I didn’t meet a writing goal and failed as a leader. By Sunday, I was the president of the Robbie Iobst is a Bad Person Club.

Humans are naturally legalists. When Eve and then Adam sinned by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, humans began believing that we are qualified to judge. So we have these narratives going on in our minds of what it means to be “good.”

One of the narratives that I have grown up with is:

I am responsible for results. I work hard and then I get rewarded.

When I put this narrative in the context of living my life for God, it just doesn’t work. The true narrative according to the Word of God is:

I work hard to honor God because God is honored by faithfulness, not results.

But I, along with many of you, am results oriented. Nothing wrong with this per say, except that it makes us believe we have God-like power in many situations. Things go well, we are confident and competent. Things go wrong, we are failures.

According to Brennan Manning in his book Abba’s Child, we often believe that “God is the best version of us.” Since my feelings toward someone is usually based on how they feel about me, and since God is just a better version than me, then God feels about me based on my behavior that day. If I did well, God loves me. If I mess up and feel I am a failure, well, God agrees.

Do you follow this logic? It’s difficult because the kingdom of God is an upside-down version of our culture. God adores us. Period. We live in grace and if we’ve made a decision to make Jesus Lord of our lives, God sees us as hidden in Christ, in His Righteousness. Ergo, God may allow suffering and He may use circumstances to help us grow in Him, but God is not up there judging our every move. He is a God of love that seeks our best.

God is for me! But as a legalist, I judge myself constantly. I messed up here, so I am less than. I didn’t get the results I wanted so I am not a success.


Early in our marriage, I would often call myself Stupid. I would stumble or drop something and just offhandedly say, “Come on, Stupid.” After a long while of this, John stopped me one day and laid down the law. “Robbie, no one talks to my wife that way. Not even you.” I stopped it. Today I can almost hear my Father in heaven say, “Robbie, no one judges my girl that way. Not even you.”

Join me, look at yourself and see what God sees. A righteous (because of Christ,) loved, redeemed, cherished, blessed, chosen, forgiven child of God! Change your narrative from trying to control life to being faithful to God in whatever is in front of you.

I am resigning as president of the Robbie is a Bad Person Club and will not accept the nomination of my party for a second term. Instead, I’m renewing my membership in the God Adores Me League. There’s no judging allowed at those meetings. And the snacks are great.