When God Says Wait

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Spoiler Alert: My new book, Holy Doubt: Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle is available now on Amazon. If you or someone you know is struggling with God, this book will be a huge help along the sometimes dark and painful path through doubt. The digital version is only $0.99 until May 11th (find out more and snag a copy here).

Many of you started following this blog almost three years ago when I first began writing about some of my experiences with doubt and what I experienced as a missionary in India. I shared personal stories about the way God was working in my heart as I tried to process what I saw, felt, and heard during our four years in missions, and many of you shared your stories with me as well. I counted it an extreme privilege that my story connected with you in some small way, and I started to wonder if maybe God could use my story in other ways too.

So I kept blogging and started writing Holy Doubt with the intention of helping people like me who were struggling with doubt and shattered faith.

But the book was terrible.

There was a lot of “then this happened, and then this…,” and the manuscript turned into one long list of events. Ugh! Essentially, it was a poorly written memoir instead of the helpful guide for the dark journey through doubt and questions that I hoped it would be. It was about as interesting and useful as reading my grocery list. Not. Helpful.

So I rewrote it.

After that second rewrite, I submitted it to a national contest and Holy Doubtt was among the top 10 considered for a publishing deal with Tyndale Momentum. That time I thought, “This is it! This story is finally going to make its way out into the world.” But as the date for them to choose a winner got closer and closer, I didn’t feel excited. Instead, I hoped they wouldn’t pick me! Feeling terrified and overwhelmed by the thought of sharing the story with the world and the many ways I would feel exposed and vulnerable, I wished I’d never submitted it to the contest. I finally felt more confident in the manuscript, but I wasn’t ready to be an author.

As it turns out, I wasn’t ready and neither was the book!

So I rewrote it again.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that rejection was God’s way of saying “Wait!”

Somewhere in the middle of the third rewrite I realized God had replaced some of my pain with purpose, exchanged my mourning for joy, and hidden hope for me to find in the dark places. That’s when Holy Doubt finally became a story worth telling.

With each rewrite the meaning behind what I experienced sharpened and became clearer, until finally it became what I had hoped for all along—an easy-to-read guide for hurting people stumbling through the soul-crushing agony of doubt.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now. Maybe God is saying, “Wait!” and you just want to charge ahead, bulldozing every roadblock in your way. I know exactly how that feels.

But God has a beautiful story to tell with your life. It might not feel like it right now. But as someone who has sat where you are (and will likely be there again in the future), can I urge you to trust God’s timing? It made no sense to me back when I didn’t get that publishing deal, why God would ask me to wait, but years down the road, it makes perfect sense.

What is God wanting to rewrite in your life? Where is he wanting to replace sorrow with joy, despair for hope? While you contemplate your story, make sure to check out Holy Doubt on Amazon. I’m praying it will help you see the beauty in the story God is writing with your life.

The Long Pause

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Photo Credit: JobotDaRobot via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: JobotDaRobot via Compfight cc

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been absent from the blog for a bit–taking a long pause. Rebooting. Catching my breath. I’ve been reading and thinking, wondering and questioning. Mostly about the journey of life and how we can’t control or predict any of it. And how much, sometimes, I wish that weren’t true.

In the vein of adhering to the new tagline of my site, finding beauty in the brokenness of life, I have to be honest. I don’t have it all figured out (insert gasp of surprise here). Lately I’ve been searching for some beauty in my own situation, and realizing that sometimes honesty is the most beautiful thing I can give to you and to myself. When I entered my book into the Re:write writing contest I prayed that God’s ultimate purpose and plan would be done in the process. And I meant it. So I didn’t feel immediately disappointed when I didn’t win, because I trusted that it was God’s plan and he had other things in mind. But as I was coming down from the high of the writer’s conference, some questions and doubts began to nudge their way into the back of my mind, just like a rude line crasher that pushes her way into the line that you’ve been waiting in for 20 minutes while your kids beg you for every piece of candy in the bins by the checkout. Questions like What if I’m just not good enough? or Maybe I’m not ready, or What the heck do I do now? Seriously, what do I do now?

As I pondered these questions one thing became abundantly clear: this writing path is not going to be an easy one. And if I’m being completely transparent I want the easy path, the road with the least amount of roadblocks and hurdles. The one that gets me to my destination without my ever having to break a sweat. Where every door I come upon is swung wide in promise of grander things. The road where I don’t have to pick myself up from the floor most mornings and talk myself off the ledge of despair. What I’m learning is it’s always easier to trust God when it seems like everything is going my way. But this road, the difficult one, where I’m sweating it out like a P90X devotee, is the one where I’m learning even more about trust and I still believe that God has a plan, even if he hasn’t shared it with me yet.

Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward, and if you’re honest, a little (or a lot) disappointed that you have to take the difficult path. How is God building trust in your relationship with him through this? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Putting it in Words

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Re:write Contest

In case you haven’t heard yet (if you’re friends with my husband, Jonathan, on Facebook there’s no way you haven’t!) we had some exciting news a little over a week ago.  I’m on the list (#7)!

At the beginning of December I submitted a book proposal for a writing contest associated with the Re:write conference I’ll be attending in February.  The book is about my struggle with doubt as a missionary in India and the way it has reshaped my faith. And incredibly, I made it into the top 10.  They’ll announce the winner at the conference (February 27th, to be exact).  But I wanted to thank everyone who has prayed for and encouraged me along the way, and ask you to continue to pray that God would place the message of this book into the hands of those who need it–however he chooses to do it.

I feel a little like I did on Christmas when I was 7-years-old, holding my breath, hoping, as I ripped off the wrapping paper from the box that held the white fringed cowboy boots that I’d been asking for forever.  I remember walking around the house in an almost dream-like state, heels clicking on the tile floor.  I’m pretty sure my mom had to pry them off my feet that night when I went to bed.  I’ve had to pinch myself almost every day since the contest announcement and I still don’t think it’s sunk in.  It’s almost too much to comprehend. That God would allow a girl who’s believed most of her life that she didn’t have anything valuable to say, to write a book proposal that is being looked at by Tyndale publishing is humbling to say the least.  I guess we’ll see what God has in store.  But thanks for being on the journey with me!

The Myth of the Multitasker

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Photo Credit: Double--M via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Double–M via Compfight cc

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

It’s often stated, and always implied, that women are the ultimate multitaskers.  Ummm…I’m pretty sure I missed that memo!  There are plenty of women out there who can juggle it all, and do it with style and flair–but I’m not one of them.

In a perfect world, focusing on one thing at a time, and devoting my entire attention to it, is when I’m at my best.  Unfortunately, I don’t live in a perfect world!  And right now, my world has quite a few things going on, including my kids wrapping up the school year putting me on full-time mommy duty once again (it’s hard work trying to keep kids from climbing the walls on summer break!–all of you moms know exactly what I’m saying). 🙂

Along the lines of trying to create some space to do a few things that I really want to do while my summer fills up with the kids, I’m going to be taking a break from the blog for a while (don’t worry, I’ll be back! (cue the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).  🙂  I’m going to my first writer’s conference (woot! woot!) this fall, and I’d like to have a rough draft of the book I’m working on done, so I feel like I have a reason for being there!  Wish me luck and I’d take all the prayers I can get!  See you soon!