Some say it takes me extra moments of application to understand new concepts. I confess I’m painfully slow at learning something new. My preference in most things is to wade into the pool of information rather than jumping straight into the new venture or concept. I test the waters, watch how others do it, and slowly immerse myself in whatever new task I try to learn. Then usually ask someone with much more skill to help me complete said task.
Unless it is food. I’m all in with anything new. I’m a full spoonful taste-tester kind of girl. But I digress.
Change isn’t easy for most people, but my stress level increases in the same magnitude that my confidence level decreases. Being overwhelmed doesn’t spur me to buckle down and do more; it paralyzes me. I cannot make a simple decision until someone, usually one of my friends, talks sense into me.
So, it was surprising when I went from being the Founder and Director of a thriving English as a Second Language program to an Author. It’s not like I have a degree in English. Good grief, I nearly failed college English. While many of my author friends kept journals as teens and wrote short stories they read to their dolls or pets, I struggled to sit long enough to listen as my mom read a picture book to me.
Yet somehow, I knew this was my next step when Covid hit, and it was necessary to close my ESL ministry. I make no claims of hearing God’s voice, but I have experienced His presence. This was one of those times.
You’ll note that when discerning God’s best, He always sets the stage.
In early 2019 I was a beta reader for a well-established author. This is an unpaid position I did not take lightly. Often before a book goes to an editor, a beta reader provides feedback and constructive criticism so the author can make final tweaks before sending it to an editor (which they pay for).
I got this wild hair that I could write a book. So, I did…and realized it was far more challenging than anticipated. I shared my efforts with my sisters on a family vacation, and they loved the story. But they loved me more and helped me see that it was not ready and needed much work.
Since I’d proven to myself that I could write something decent, even if not publishable, I put the unfinished manuscript on a cyber shelf and closed the door. There wasn’t time to learn the craft of writing because my focus was on my full-time volunteer job with students wanting to learn English. Besides, I could never be an author.
Until life changed drastically in March 2020, and I faced the “what now?” question.
I hadn’t thought about that book until I electronically signed my letter of resignation to the church. What could be next for me? The platform I’d used to share Jesus Christ was no longer in play. That scared me. I knew I needed to be an ambassador for the Lord. But how?
I didn’t hear God’s voice, but I did experience His presence.
Right there on my desktop was the file for Desire of my Heart.* I knew how much work rewriting it would take, or at least thought I did. (Insert laughter here) I also recognized if I turned my back on what God had set in place, it would be disobedience. And if you know anything about me, you know that is not a part of my vocabulary.
It no longer mattered how formidable the water appeared. I jumped in with clothes and shoes on and swam like crazy until I’d read dozens of craft books, listened to more podcasts, watched more YouTube videos than I had in my entire life combined, and made connections with authors who agreed to support me with their knowledge.
And I prayed. When fear was up, my knees got dirty. As my self-confidence dipped to a new low, my gaze lifted upward. I fought a constant battle of not moving forward, yet God reminded me why I was writing. It wasn’t to get my name on a cover, make lots of money, or be the next Francine Rivers. I was writing to proclaim His name and do it well.
I put my all into the debut novel. I learned ways to tell readers what I felt God would have me write—purposeful words that would bring the reader into the awareness of who God is to them and how He interacts with them.
I was all in. Whether my book only sold a few copies to my friends and family or hit the best-seller list didn’t matter because I was obedient to my new calling.
And peace settled over me. That’s the essence of God’s voice. Not the booming thunder or crashing waves type of intensity many experience, but the calm that should not be. I knew I was in the center of God’s will for my life and was excited about this new direction.
Have you been there? Are you there now? Trying to figure out what’s next, yearning to know God’s best, straining to hear His voice? Often, I have a clearer understanding when I see life played out in someone else’s story. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy Christian fiction. I can walk beside the character and feel the intensity of their situation while seeing God meet them in small ways they have yet to recognize.
If you need one of those stories, I recommend Love Like No Other by Tabitha Bouldin.* It’s the next book in the Suamalie Island series.
Colin struggles to accept the goals he had for his life are no longer possible. He needs to find a new direction. Alicia’s never felt worthy and grew up in foster homes, always being told that if she did better and were more amenable, she’d find her place. This grumpy versus sunshine romance will send them both scrambling when Colin confronts Alicia’s need to please while she reminds Colin that not every bad day is a reason to run for the hills.
To say Thank You for taking the time to hear my heart, please enter a drawing for a $5 Amazon gift card and an eBook of Love Like No Other. Increase your chances of winning by visiting each author’s blog post and entering their drawing.
Most importantly, I’d genuinely appreciate hearing your God story. Please leave a comment below. You may encourage another reader with your words.
*Please note this is an affiliate link. As always, it costs you nothing extra, and it all goes to my chocolate fund.