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Sunday, June 26, 2011

What’s It All About?

Anita Mellott homeschools and blogs at From the Mango Tree.

To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22b

“Write to encourage others.” I sensed a gentle “whisper” in my heart five years ago.

“What encouraging words do I have?” I argued. “Besides I’m spent after editing others’ words all day.”

The whisper continued through my job loss of 13 years as a writer/editor with Habitat for Humanity International and the angst of a high-risk pregnancy. When, against all medical odds, I held our baby in my arms, I knew I couldn’t ignore that soft voice any more.

As I wrote an article here, a devotional there, things began to fall into place in a way only God could orchestrate: an established author mentored me and introduced me to the American Christian Fiction Writers. I joined a critique group, where I was encouraged write a proposal for an idea that had been on my heart for a while--a devotional book for homeschooling parents. Twenty-seven rejections later, I signed a contract with Judson Press. About 10 days ago, School is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotions for Parents released—a testimony to God’s ability to bring to fruition an idea He had sparked.
As wonderful as it is to hold a copy of the book in my hands, I’m holding on even tighter to the following truths I’ve learned so far on this journey:

* It’s all about obedience. Sometimes God leads us to traverse paths that may seem strange—writing in a genre that isn’t considered “current,” or pursuing an idea that seems like it won’t work. Questions and doubts may fill our hearts when we sense the call. As we step out to obey Him, at times with trembling feet, our obedience can come at a price. We may be called to write through the valleys, or to keep writing without any signs of a contract. But it’s precisely in those moments of vulnerability--when our writing is a sacrifice--that He shows Himself strongest. The words of David during these times, bring comfort, “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).

* It’s all about His timing. Publication is in His hands. When the time was right, He opened doors I never thought were possible. He has also shut doors that can not be pried open. “In His time, He makes all things beautiful” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

* The results are in His hands. When I’m honest with myself, I admit I want to write a bestseller, to impact many for Jesus. Yet, in the quiet of His presence, He reminds me that He alone knows the end. I’m merely His vessel. I can only write when He fills me. Colossians 3: 23 reminds me, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” I am to do what I can to the best of my ability—studying and honing the craft of writing, and helping with marketing. The results are in His hands—whether it touches hundreds or a few--His economics are not mine. When I take the focus off myself and my desires and motivations, I can rest in what He desires to accomplish.

“Lord, please be the ink as I desire to be your willing pen.”


  1. Thank you for this post, Anita. You've encouraged me today and reminded me why I must keep on keeping on. There have been books I've longed to write, and books I know God has called me to write. Sometimes those are the same. Sometimes they are different. You're right--obedience is key. How wonderful to know He has gone before us and that we don't travel this path alone. God bless you!

  2. This is a deep and beautiful devotional. "I can only write when He fills me" you said, and that's the same way it has always been for me. This is the way that we know it is His work and not ours. God bless, Anita.

  3. Good, solid, true reflections, Anita! Our Redeemer is faithful and true. I've had "back-burner" projects for years, waiting eagerly for the right time... but my adult daughter's needs seem to be the priority now, as she continues to deal with the effects of brain trauma. I'll be so happy, though, when God says, "It's time!" Blessings on your continuing journey. Edie

  4. I just want blogwalking>> ..
    Your blog is very nice> ..

    and if you intend to visit the clay behind my blog is ok !!!!!

  5. Cathy, Pat, Nicole, and Edie: thank you. I pray I keep remembering that He's in control, and I need to trust Him:). Edie:I understand needing to put projects aside to care for family, and my prayers are with you.

  6. Good one, Anita. Thanks.


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