I had a dear friend once say to me “God’s going to do in you what He’s going to do in you and it isn’t going to look like what He is doing in someone else.” Yes, she is a wise soul, and a keeper of a friend.
At the time, I didn’t want to hear it. I was wrapped up in the stronghold of jealousy, wanting someone else’s ministry and career success. But the Holy Spirit got through to my heart and convicted me to repent of my sin.
It was in the letting go of someone else’s dream, that I actually began to embrace my own.
It meant giving up the idea of writing a book and growing a speaking ministry. It meant settling into the career of motherhood and looking for ways to nurture my littles more intentionally. It also meant dealing with the junk in my own heart. In submitting to God’s purposes for me in that season of life, I ultimately embraced a tremendous season of healing that led to radical transformation . . . and that turned out to be a necessity before building any ministry or pursuing any career.
The work had to be done on my heart before I could be used by God as a vessel for the work He wanted to do through me.
While it was indeed a painful time of letting go, it was also a rich time of Scripture study, prayer, and healing. Through it all, I never stopped writing and serving God right in the middle of wherever He placed me. From my vantage point, however, it felt like God wasn’t really at work or heading the desires of my heart. Yet in looking back, I can see of decade worth of His divine appointments and clearly orchestrated circumstances.
He was preparing me for the next thing. And when the next thing came, He was still working on the next thing.
In the middle of the “nos” and “not nows,” when it seems that God is nowhere to be found, He is actually in the middle of the “now here.”
So the journey from blogger to want-to-be-published writer turned into a year of actually laying it all down. Yep, a complete year of online silence and no writing at all. But that year wasn’t wasted while I waited on God. Actually, that was the year I homeschooled my oldest daughter for sixth grade, and now, six years later, she still feels that was the best year of her life and would go back to do it all over again with me. And, oh my friend, so would I.
At the end of that year, God birthed the vision for More to Be, and it quietly launched in September 2011. Next came an ebook and self-publishing endeavor. I still day-dreamed of traditional publishing, but didn’t feel the release to pursue it. Two years later, God brought the opportunity to me with an offer from an agent and book proposal idea.
I signed, we delivered, and what followed was a series of rejections. Really, Lord? Really?
I submitted a proposal, which my agent pitched to a dozen publishers. All rejected. And yet, that rejected proposal became the impetus for a Bible study series that has reached thousands of teen girls from the world. A year later, we pitched another proposal, and received offers from publisher, and a year later, Meet the New You debuted as my first traditionally published book. Would you believe me if I told you that nothing about the book launch process went as I hoped? Let’s just say that publishing isn’t as glamorous as it seems. God, however, is faithful to work His wonders, and I have evidence of that through precious emails and new connections that He is using Meet the New You and has answered my prayers for the purpose of this book in miraculous ways.
Almost immediately after release, I was gung-ho to keep on writing and threw myself back into the proposal writing process. Guess what? Not one, but two were rejected. Yep, sometimes that’s how it works, folks. But the Lord knew I needed rest and not more time spent writing. I persisted, however, crafting a third book proposal in three months, only to feel led by the Lord to put the kibosh on it the day before my agent was going to submit it. Again, it was God’s perfect timing, as the work on that proposal became the inspiration to expand my book on mentoring, which then became the foundation for a mentoring ministry I was asked to lead in my church. Amazing, right! It’s also opening doors to speaking, new coaching clients, connections around the world, and my second online course.
Friend, God knows what He’s doing even if we don’t know what He’s up to.
So I found myself, a year after the release of Meet the New You, in a place of dreaming and praying about the next book in me. I said to the Lord . . .
I’m not going to just write to write. You need to put a message in me to share. Honestly, Lord, I would just love to write a devotional and spend time in your Word, totally focused on you. But for now, I’m going to just say yes to the next thing you have for me, and I know that starts with stewarding what you’ve already given me with all my heart, soul, and mind.
And I left it at that.
Well, less than two months later, the Lord decided it was time to make good on my not-really-a-prayer-prayer. I received a call from my agent, telling me she heard of a need and suggested me to an acquisitions editor. She in turn checked out my writing and decided I was the girl for the job. A few emails, and my fair share of “God, I’m so overwhelmed” bucket-full-of-tears later, and I signed a contract with the absolutely amazing Harvest House Publishers to write a 90-day devotional. Guess what the title my editor came up with, before I ever talked with her?
Begin with Yes.
Oh friend, God does know the desires of our hearts. He simply works on His timetable, and for that, I’m actually very grateful.
His timing and ways are perfect . . . in the waiting and in the delivery.
These truths aren’t only for writers and dreamers. His faithfulness is part of who He is and how He works in every aspect of our lives. I pray that you’ll look at my story and no longer see the end result, but that God has been about the business of accomplishing His purposes even in the messy, rejected, discouraged, uncertain seasons of waiting and submission.
And most of all, I pray that you’ll turn your focus to the Lord, and invite Him to do in you what He’s going to do in you.
His plans for you, my friend, are indeed perfect.
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