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Author Archives: Robin Patchen

About Robin Patchen

Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, is available now. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

Seeking Truth in Modern America

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Such a lofty title for my blog this week, but it seems apropos as Americans try to discern truth from fiction in these final days before the election.

“What is truth?” That question has been asked throughout the ages, always with different answers, answers that reflect the speaker’s own beliefs. In recent years, many Americans would reply to that question with the stock response: “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” I find that answer ironic, considering that it is worded as an absolute truth. Therefore, it cannot be true.

Alas, I pointed that out once to a young ideologue and received a blank stare for my efforts. Some people prefer not to be confused by pesky logic.

The most famous person to utter the words “What is truth?” was Pilate when he questioned Jesus the morning of his crucifixion. It started when Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king.

John 18:37-38 reads:

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Right after Pilate asked this question, he walked away, not waiting long enough to allow Jesus Christ, Truth Himself, to answer. Imagine if Pilate had  been “of the truth,” as Jesus described, and had cared enough about the truth to seek it out that day. The outcome—Christ on the cross—would have remained the same, of course. But perhaps for Pilate, the outcome of his life would have been vastly different.

We Americans behave in a similar manner. We say we want to know the truth, but we don’t seek it out. Instead, we settle for pretty lies that confirm what we believe. Like Pilate, we walk away before we receive insight and understanding.

It’s so evident in this election season. We have media outlets skewing facts in order to get their candidate elected. We have citizens making up news stories and passing them off as truth in order to cause one candidate to look bad, so the other will be elected.

It’s not as if we can blame one side or the other for this behavior. I have a friend who consistently shares stories on social media about one of the candidates. Unfortunately, often those stores aren’t true or have been spun so fast, the truth has leached out like dirt in the spin cycle. But what we’re left with doesn’t smell fresh. Instead, it reeks of deception. This is happening on both sides of the political spectrum.

Lies are everywhere. That’s no surprise. Jesus called the god of this world the Father of Lies, so we shouldn’t be shocked when we see him at work.

What shocks me is how little Americans seem to care. We should be outraged by:

  • Lying candidates
  • Lying newsreaders
  • Lying journalists
  • Lying businessmen
  • Lying non-profit leaders
  • Lying pollsters
  • Lying friends and family members
  • Lying everybody

Instead, what do we do? We shrug. We justify it when our own side lies, while we cry foul when the other side does it. We keep watching the dishonest personalities on TV. We keep reading the skewed news stories. We take in the lies, swallow them over and over, until we’re bloated and sick with them.

We’ve become a nation that feeds on lies. The Father of Lies would stop to celebrate if he weren’t so busy. Tweet this.

It all feels so out of control, doesn’t it? But we still have the Truth on our side. His name is Jesus, and he is waiting to help us.

Isaiah 30:18 reads, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.”

The Lord wants to rescue us from this foolishness. Join me in praying that now and beyond the elections, Americans would once again become a people who seek truth. Tweet this.

Otherwise, these lies will destroy us all.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at her author website and at her freelance editing website.

 

 

 

 

 

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I May Be Wrong

6262122778_997339a086_bI may be wrong.

This won’t come as a shock to you, but I’ve been wrong before. Many times. I’ll be wrong again.

When it comes to the upcoming election, I may be wrong about which of the presidential candidates is the better choice. I’m not crazy about either of them. In fact, I’m pretty annoyed these are my choices. But I know what I believe, and I know which candidate claims to believe like I do about most things, and I think that candidate would be a better choice than the other.

But I may be wrong.

This doesn’t make me stupid; it makes me human.

Here’s a shocker: You may be wrong, too.

We can never know the future. Even our own pasts are murky. We only know parts of our own minds—our subconscious minds would shock us with their secrets. Our experiences are limited. Our focus is dim.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

We aren’t meant to know everything. Instead, we’re meant to trust that our infallible, all-knowing God is working for our good. It may not make sense to us, but He warned us about that, too.

“’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” – Isaiah 55:8-9

In a wonderful article, “My Prediction for the Presidential Election,” Max Lucado reminds us that no matter who wins the election, God is still sovereign.

I may be wrong about my choice, but I’m not wrong about what my response as a Christian should be. No matter what happens between now and November 8, no matter who wins the election, my job is to pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 reads: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Tweet this: No matter who wins in November, I commit to pray for our leaders. 

I’m going to vote, and then, no matter who wins, I’m going to pray. Will you join me?

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story. Connect with Robin at her website.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Writing

 

When Friends Spew Hatred: Love in the Political Season

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Innocently scrolling through Facebook the other night, I came across an article posted by a friend that intrigued me. The author of the article claimed to be able to discern characteristics of the supporters of one of the candidates based solely on the fact that they were planning to vote for that candidate. I clicked open the article, assuming I’d see statistics and demographics.

I was sorely mistaken.

The article made huge sweeping (and cruel) assumptions about all that candidate’s voters based on nothing but stereotypes. It would have been hilarious if it hadn’t been so insulting. The article’s sole purpose was to shame half the voters in America.

You’re guessing which candidate it was, aren’t you? But does it really matter? If you’re planning to vote for Clinton, does that make you a lying America-hating murderer? If you’re planning to vote for Trump, does that make you a money-grubbing, mean-spirited xenophobe? Are the voters really guilty of all the worst things the candidates been accused of?

Let’s face it: Not even the candidates can be guilty of everything they’ve been accused of. This campaign cycle is nothing but a battle of the barbs, where soundbites have become headlines as if they’re actually news.

Where does that leave voters? Many of us feel we’ve been given two lousy options. So we’ve considered the candidates, maybe even prayed about our decision, and made a choice.

I commend everybody who’s planning to vote, even if you don’t enthusiastically support your candidate. Voting is our civic duty, and letting everyone else make the crucial decision about who leads our nation the next four years doesn’t seem like a wise move. All the people who’ve decided to, as some have said, “hold my nose and vote for [insert candidate here],” have now become targets of people like the one whose article I read the other night.

What bothered me most about the article, even more than the ridiculous claims it made, was the fact that a friend had posted it. Have we really come to that as a nation? Have we become people who hurl hate at our friends because they’re supporting a rival candidate? Whatever happens on November 8th, on November 9th, I fear the ground will be littered with the tattered remains of former friendships, ripped apart by the vitriolic language spewed for months on end.

Tweet this: On 11/9, will the ground be littered with friendships ripped apart by the vitriolic language of the campaign?

At the end of this election cycle, God will still be sovereign, and it is He who chooses our leaders (see Romans 13:1). Yes, we Americans will vote–as well we should–but the final choice is God’s. Is this election really worth losing friends over? It is worth losing business associates? Is it worth all this hate?

In John 13:35, Jesus tells his followers, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Our job is not to win arguments. Our job is not to shame or insult our enemies. Our job is to love even those who disagree with us. It’s getting harder and harder to respond with love during this heated campaign season, but I will keep trying to respond with love or, at least, silence. If all believers choose love, imagine the impact we can have on the nation. Imagine how we can stand out in the crowd of haters.

Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind.

 

*Image by Philip James de Loutherbourg

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen is an award winning multi-published author, but only because she can’t pursue her other dream.

If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world–twice. She longs to meet everybody and see everything and spread the good news of Christ. Alas, time is short and money is scarce, and her husband and three teenagers don’t want to traipse all around the world with her, so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.

Connect with Robin at robinpatchen.com

 

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A Different Kind of Poverty

clarence-quote

Clarence’s quote from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

At the food bank where I volunteer, I met a woman whose entire future hinges on her coming up with about $400 in six weeks. Tears filled her eyes as she explained the situation to me. She’s an addict, and she’d been arrested. The judge had given her the opportunity to prove herself sober by taking a drug test each week. He’d ordered her to complete a course. If she did those things, he’d dismiss the felony charges, and she’d walk away with a clean record.

She’d stayed sober, but the drug tests are $50 each. She took the course, but to get the certificate, she has to pay $75. And her lawyer won’t give her any advice, because she has no money to pay him.

Her whole life was on the line for the sake of about $400.

I asked her if she had any family who could help. Nope. She’d burned all her bridges with her family, and they wouldn’t help her any longer.

I inquired about friends, but apparently the people she was closest to were other addicts, and they didn’t have the money to help her and, since she’d quit using, she’d cut off ties with them.

“I know it’s my own fault,” she said more than once. “I brought it on myself. This is what I deserve.”

What she deserves? The thought of getting what I deserve gives me chills. I don’t want justice when it comes to my own sins. I long for mercy and grace.

I have a God who offers both, and I shared that truth with her and prayed for her. I wish I could have done more, but aside from the strict never-give-money-or-rides-to-clients policy at the food bank, if I gave money to everybody who needed it, I’d be a client myself.

So after I gave her some phone numbers to organizations where she could seek help and counsel, we prayed together, she got a few grocery sacks of food, then we sent her on her way.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that woman’s poverty. It wasn’t just her extreme financial need—that’s one kind of poverty, to be sure. What bothered me more was her poverty of spirit. It was her poverty of hope. It was her poverty of relationships.

Tweet this: Poverty comes in many forms: of hope, of spirit, of friends. Even those without money can offer love.

I thank God for the scripture, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:30). She was a woman who understood her own poverty, and I continue to pray that the Lord will reach out to her in her need.

I walked out of the food bank that day thinking of all the people I could call upon if I were in need. I have a family who loves me. I have friends who love me. I have a church that loves me. If I needed $400 and told a few people, I’d have it by noon. Not because I’m something special, but because the Lord has blessed me with wonderful and generous people in my life. And I don’t deserve them. In fact, I deserve no more than that poor woman at the food bank does, but the Lord has shown me mercy and grace despite my egregious sins, and a lot of that has come in the form of the wonderful people he’s put in my life.

So I thank God today for my family and friends. And I hope I always remember that not everybody in the world is as blessed as I am. I pray I’ll be on the lookout for people suffering from poverty—of money, of hope, of relationships, and I hope to have the courage and selflessness to reach out to them when I meet them.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the 2016 Bookstores Without Borders Lyra Award in the Women’s Fiction category. Its prequel, Chasing Amanda, is currently offered for free at all major retailers. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

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Considering your Role in an Epic Tale

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-4-19-28-pmIt’s possible I’m consumed with story.

I make up and write stories for a living. When I’m not writing, I edit other people’s stories. In my free time, I watch stories on TV and at the movies, and I read stories before I close my eyes every night.

All these stories have gotten me thinking—real life is a series of stories, and each story is connected to all the others. And it’s all part of one big story.

An epic tale.

This tale had its beginnings long before you and I drew breath. In fact, it began before those famous words in Genesis, “In the beginning.” It began in the heavens when an angel named Lucifer decided he would be equal with God, and God disagreed.

And there was a war.

And it still rages today.

You and I were born into a world at war, and our stories are episodes within this larger tale. We are living short (relatively speaking) stories that illustrate the great forces that battle all around us.

The tale we’re in makes stories like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia look like picture books.

And each of us is a character. Writers only create characters who matter to the stories they create. The Author created each of us because we matter in His epic tale.

An amazing thought, isn’t it?

William Shakespeare must have considered this himself when he penned these words in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”

I’ve asked myself lately, what part do I play in God’s epic tale? And if I’m meant to play a part, am I doing it right? Or am I missing the epic in the pursuit of my own short-story interests?

What part do you play in God’s epic tale?

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the 2016 Bookstores Without Borders Lyra Award in the Women’s Fiction category. Its prequel, Chasing Amanda, is currently offered for free at all major retailers. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Living for God, Robin Patchen, Writing

 

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Finding Peace in Anxiety

Finding Peace in Anxiety

I’m not a worrier. Generally, when I have something that worries me, I present it to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes, it’s a two-second “take care of that” kind of prayer, while other times, it’s a hit-my-knees, face on the floor prayer. But after the prayers, I’m usually good at putting aside worries. Not that I haven’t had my moments of deep, debilitating fear—I am a mother of three teenagers. I visit fear and worry. I just don’t tend to live there.

So this niggling anxiety I’ve felt for the last few weeks has been an unwelcome and surprising twist in my otherwise peaceful existence. The problem is, there isn’t one big issue I can blame for this anxiety. In fact, most of the time, I’m not sure what I’m anxious about.

So the other day, I did an inventory of what’s contributing to my anxiety. Here’s the list I came up with for things that have happened or will happen in August:

  • My oldest moved back to Oklahoma, moved into a new apartment, and got a new job—which he doesn’t like.
  • He’s praying (and totally pumped) about going on a mission trip—to Africa—and wants to leave in January.
  • My younger kids started school—a junior and a freshman.
  • One of my teens was in two minor car accidents in four days.
  • An old and serious behavior problem resurfaced in one of my children.
  • I had a major and unexpected shift in my writing career.
  • I’m preparing for a national conference, where I hope to meet with editors to pitch a book I’m passionate about. (The day you read this, I’ll be on my way.)
  • I’m driving three friends to Nashville for the conference, so I have to make sure my car is ready for the trip. (As I write, I’m waiting for Hibdon to complete the oil change and installation of the new tires.)
  • My oldest friend’s mother is suffering from cancer and has been sent home. She’s under hospice care while her family gathers to say goodbye.
  • My closest friend’s mother had heart surgery.
  • Another friend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • A close family member is struggling with serious pain, and her doctors can’t seem to find a solution.
  • My editing jobs have fizzled this month (God-ordained, I’m sure. When would I have had time to edit?)
  • I’m starting a small group at my church, which is supposed to begin the day after I return from Nashville.
  • My husband and mother have decided to come to the conference in Nashville, so I’ve had to arrange hotels and gala tickets for them and helpers and rides for the younger two while we’re gone.
  • And oh, by the way, my book is a finalist in the Carols in Nashville, so there’s this teeny weeny chance I might have to walk up in front of (what will feel like) a thousand people and give a speech—in three inch heels.

Phew. Now wonder I’m feeling anxious.

As you can see, it’s not like I’m battling a great white shark, it’s like I’m trying to fend off attacks from a hundred red-bellied piranha. And let me tell you, their teeth are sharp.

So what do I do?

For me, the first step was to identify the sources of my anxiety. I didn’t realize how much had happened and would happen in August until I wrote the list above.

Next, I went through the list to separate the things I have little or no control over (like my son’s new job) from the things I do have control over (like preparing for the conference).

The things I have no control over went on my prayer list. What else can I do but pray? And that’s exactly what Scripture tells us to do in Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

The things I do have control over I transferred to a to-do list. And now, rather than worry, I go through the list daily and check-off what I can. And I keep my focus on God, remembering Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

I’ll be honest—I still feel anxious sometimes. But at least I know why, and when a wave of anxiety comes, I can stop, determine the reason for it, and lift it up to the Lord. In the end, the best, most productive thing I can do is pray.

How do you deal with anxiety?

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, was recently named a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the 2016 Bookstores Without Borders Lyra Award in the Women’s Fiction category. Its prequel, Chasing Amanda, is currently offered for free at all major retailers. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Writing

 

The Perfect Response to Facebook Haters

The Perfect Response to Facebook Haters

You know the type. You post something you think is fairly innocuous, and suddenly you get people slinging hateful comments like cow patties. As you read the shocking words, you heart drops, your hands tremble, and your whole body vibrates with anger. Words bubble up from a simmering cauldron you thought you’d taken off the fire years before, and the next thing you know, you’re typing furiously.

You attack. He spars. You’re in a full-blown fight with some Facebook friend you’ve never even met.

And then the dust settles, and you think…what did I just do?

I was in a situation just like this two week ago. I’m still embarrassed by what I said. Not that it wasn’t true. It just wasn’t necessary. Or God-honoring. Or kind.

The next morning, the Lord reminded me of James 1:19. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

I failed, but perusing Facebook lately, I see that I’m not alone. As our nation becomes more divided and as the political race heats up, people are choosing sides and attacking their opponents as if they were armed with clubs and spears instead of black dots on a white screen.

We’re fighting this battle like it’s ours to win or lose—which is contrary to what the Lord teaches in 2 Chronicles 20:15b: “The battle is not yours but God’s.”

We’re fighting this battle as if people are the enemy when Ephesians 6:12 clearly tells us our battle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

What truly breaks my heart is when I see Christians engaged in battle against other believers. I’m reminded of a speaker I heard nearly twenty years ago addressing the church. “We have an enemy, folks, and it is not us.”

Believers are not the enemy, even when they disagree with you. Even if you’re absolutely certain they’re wrong and you’re right—and aren’t we all? Truth is, we’re all wrong about lots of things. We are human, after all, and our understanding is limited.

Nonbelievers are not our enemy either. How can those who have never met the Truth know any better? God expects us to love the lost, not attack them.

So what’s the solution when you feel attacked on social media?

  • Don’t fire off an answer immediately, but pause, let the wave of anger pass, and be thoughtful about what you want to say—if anything.
  • If you feel the words someone typed on your page might offend others, delete the comment.
  • Pray for wisdom, and pray for the person who offended you. Wait for the Lord to speak before you say or do anything.
  • If you’re in the wrong, apologize.
  • If you feel you must address something that someone else said, do so privately, as we’re instructed in Matthew 18:15.
  • Have no expectation that the other person will agree with you or repent. If he does, rejoice and be reconciled. If he doesn’t, forgive and, if necessary, step away.

We believers must be very careful during these volatile times to behave in a Christ-like manner. I know how it feels to do this wrong. I’m thankful for God’s grace when I mess up, and it reminds me how important it is to extend that grace to others when they do.

 

Have you been tempted to get involved in arguments on social media? If so, how did it go? What do you do when you see something you disagree with on social media?

*All scriptures pasted from Bible Gateway.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, was recently named a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and won the 2016 Bookstores Without Borders Lyra Award in the Women’s Fiction category. Its prequel, Chasing Amanda, is currently offered for free at all major retailers. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

 

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