Showing posts with label #RWA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #RWA. Show all posts

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When God Says Stop

     I love writing.

All my life I’ve written something. When my girls were younger, I sold a few short stories. During their teens, I wrote one full length manuscript, submitted it to one publisher where it was promptly rejected, and then I put it aside for twenty years. In fact, it’s still in a drawer unsent.
Pretty blooms on sticky cacti

Life intervened with a demanding job, daughter’s weddings, and not enough hours in the day. The only thing I wrote for years was my prayer journal and one unfinished teen short story, and it drove me crazy. I would plan to write, but then not get home in time.

With the close of 2005, I retired from the job, the girls had moved away, and I decided to write full time. I joined a local writing group called Red River Romance Writers. It was a RWA chapter. Through them, I learned a lot and improved my writing. Through them, I learned about conferences and workshops.

I continue to belong to American
Christian Fiction Writers
From 2006 to 2009, I attended one or two conferences a year, many other workshops, took online classes, and submitted and faced rejection over and over. In 2009, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference in the beautiful North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. This group enlarged my vision and my places to submit. I came home ready to hit my new career at peak push.

I was nearing my sixty-fifth birthday and worried about the short time I had in life to get my work published. I worked long hours and prayed a lot. I fought bitterness at myself or the situation that caused me to waste my youth in not writing. An obsession to be published filled my mind. I gave it everything I had.

 

Then, God said, “stop.”

 

“Lord,” I prayed. “What should I stop? Should I stop going to conferences? Should I write only short stories? Are you saying I’ll never be published?”

 

The Lord told me, “Stop writing. Period. I don’t want you to write anything. I don’t want you to submit anything. I don’t want you to ever think about it. Nothing. Stop.”

 

I sat in what I call my prayer chair, limp as a delicate orchid that had been trampled. Giving up writing was like giving up my baby. Writing consumed my world. What would I do if I didn’t write? Who would I be?

 

But, I knew God had said, “Stop,” so I stopped.

 

For over three months, I wrote nothing, not even a journal. My quiet time with the Lord extended into longer periods of time. I read His Word more. Slowly, He revealed how obsessed I had become over being published. Strange how the devil blinds us to his sneaky ways. Though I was still a Christian, I had put publication on the throne of my life. It had become everything to me.

 

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                  Phil. 4:7

 

God’s peace entered my heart. I no longer missed the writing. No longer did my thoughts turn to publishers or conferences or advice I’d been given. God gave me rest. He sparked my mind with His Word. He carried me around like a queen. It was so exciting following Christ.

 

One day during prayer, God whispered, “Why don’t you work on that teen story some more?”

 

“What? Did I hear you right, Lord, you want me to write something?”

 

“Just a little. Finish that story.”

 

I did.

 

“Send it off,” God told me.

 

I did.

 

The editor wrote back that she liked the story, but why didn’t I try making it chapter one of a teen book? I could do that. I asked the Lord, and He agreed.

 

In this way, God led me back to writing, slowly, prayerfully, with concentration on Him first. He still gave me the desire of my heart, as He promises to do.

 

That teen book became my debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost. Since then, my publisher has released two other books, and I have three others in contract.

 

God is on the throne of my life. I’m a compulsive person that likes to be in control. I suffered a similar problem with food, but always I must put God first.

 

Examine your life today. Is the Lord in first place, or something else? God might say, “stop.”