Sunday, June 26, 2011
Anita Mellott homeschools and blogs at From the Mango Tree.
“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.”