Disappointment swept over me like a tidal wave when I read the rejection letter. Waves of doubt crashed into my faith as I recalled the confirmation God had given me for this book I’ve been researching for five years— encouragement that lead me to believe in a certain outcome from some interested publishers.
Now what? If God isn’t calling me to be an author, then I probably need to get a job that brings in some income. I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for 16 years. My skill set is rusty and I’m not qualified for many of the jobs that pique any interest. How will I find a job that accommodates my husband’s rotating schedule and my busy life with four kids in traveling sports?
Anger followed sadness. Maybe I will just give it all up. Quit writing for good. But that didn’t last long. I enjoy writing. So I don’t want to quit.
Instead of quitting, there is only one thing left to do—surrender. Again. Because I keep doing it. I’ve done it all along throughout writing and revising my book proposal. But this feels like a big moment, and I feel God’s peace.
I’ve been reading this wonderful book by a fellow writing friend, Abby McDonald, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. She encountered a similar season in writing and contemplated quitting. But she knew she couldn’t.
“Our job is not to see the final result or ending. Our job is to do what God is asking us to do, and to be confident that he will do the rest. We believe the Guide who knows the way, and we shift our focus and questions toward truths we know instead of the numerous detours, rocks, and bumps along the path.”
“We must have faith that he knows the way even when we don’t see where we’re headed. We must trust that our Savior sees us even when we can’t see the outcome. A faith that only propels us forward when we receive a clear answer will not keep us in motion for long. We need faith in the unknown. Faith in the unseen. What if the struggle isn’t a signal to quit, but a sign to keep going?”
I’ve discovered freedom in surrender!
I decided to update my blog with the theme of my book—Courageous Faith. Check it out here! I’m enjoying the freedom I have to share some of what I’ve learned without saving it for a book to be published. I know God will make a way to publishing if that is his will. Until then I still plan on going to my favorite writer’s conference in April. I’ll take with me the advice Abby’s writing friend gave her—
“Go to the conference with a song in your heart, holding loosely to your dreams and tightly to his promises. Sounds like the two work against each other, but his promises go further than our dreams.”
I’m just going to keep stepping forward wherever he leads me.
I don’t know if that looks like God opening the door to writing opportunities or if he will lead me to a job outside of the home.
But what I do know is that I don’t have to worry about outcomes I have no control over. I can focus on what God has for me to do today.
In the chapter titled “The Power of Perspective,” Abby encourages us to remember God’s faithfulness in the past.
God has been so faithful to me in the past! After six years of infertility and zero positive pregnancy tests, God gave me assurance that the result would be positive before I took the test (that’s a long blog post I have yet to write). I was overjoyed when I saw those 2 lines. But the next day I ended up in the ER and was told I was bleeding internally and would lose the baby due to an ectopic pregnancy. I wondered why God would make my dreams come true only to destroy them in one day. I had surgery to remove the pregnancy and God did a miracle. The internal bleeding disappeared and the doctor couldn’t explain it. I was still pregnant. My daughter Madeline Faith Murray is now 16 years old.
When I look back on my life, I see the bigger picture. God has always been trustworthy, even when it seemed like nothing made sense.
No matter what is going on in your life, we can always shift our perspective to see God at work. And when we do, his presence fills us with hope.
If your life feels confusing right now and you’re tempted to distance yourself from God, Shift will help you change the way you look for God and give you peace right in the middle of your uncertain circumstances.