It’s been a long time…
I’ve been pouring every second of my “writing time” into my novel. It’s completed! (finally!) Hallelujah. It’s been a year-long process writing this novel. It’s been a decade-long process just trying to complete a novel. I’ve dreamed of this day, and it’s finally here!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. At the age of 5, I wrote my first short story about a visit to the candy store. I always excelled in English and creative writing, but always suffered through the sciences and mathematics. My brain only worked with words. On paper. I’m admittedly a terrible public speaker, terrible debater, terrible at just simply getting my point across. But if you give me a blank piece of paper and a pen, I can explain everything to you. It’s how I process things. I can try to think through problems and get nowhere, but again give me a piece of paper and a pen, and suddenly, thoughts spill out that I didn’t even realize I was having. My brain flies, and my poor hand tries to keep up. Thankfully, she’s much quicker than my tongue.
So you might find it strange that it took me well over a decade to simply finish my first novel. I started writing a novel when I was 12. I didn’t like it, and so I never finished it. I started writing a much grander one at 14, and, of course, it didn’t work out. Again at 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, etc. I have countless half-finished manuscripts on my computer that aren’t finished. The characters are just lying there, waiting for their story to be finished, waiting for their destiny to be discovered. I would start a book, my mind would wander, my time schedule would explode, and next thing I knew, six month’s would pass, and I had lost all zeal for my hero and heroine.
So why now at the age of 24 did I finally finish a novel? Why? Well, there could be many conjectures. I’m older. I’m more mature. I’m more settled. I’m married. But, I actually don’t think any of those are the answer. Yes, sure, they played a part, but I was all of the above for a while before I got serious about my book. You might read this reason and scoff. But I’m telling the truth. The only reason I think I finished this book is because I broke my foot last November.
No, I’m not kidding. Not in the slightest.
I broke my foot while I was dancing like a maniac at a family member’s wedding. I was in shock. I had never broken anything. I was prideful because I was careful. I didn’t make the silly mistakes that people made when they broke something. And I broke my foot in front of my husband’s ENTIRE family.
Yes, I was that girl.
Yes, I was the only one who managed to break something at the wedding.
So in pain and in shame, I went back home to North Carolina. Not to mention the 15 hour drive, my sweet husband had to manage all own his own. He was a trooper and, as usual, my hero. He comforted me in my wincing all the way home.
Back at home, I visited the doctor, and sure enough, I broke my foot AND severely sprained my ankle. I went to the orthopedic specialist, and he gave me strict instructions not to put any weight on it for six weeks.
Six weeks? Six weeks! He had to be crazy. I’m always on my feet. I can’t sit still for very long. I get incredibly antsy.
At first, I did a lot of reading, a lot of praying, but soon I was beginning to go stir crazy. I had been in another “dry spell” of writing at the time. I hadn’t written much of anything in weeks. But while sitting there one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the mental boredom any longer. I found one of my old manuscripts, and I decided to start working on it. And I worked on it, and I worked on it, and I worked on it. I had little else I could do. By the time I could walk again, I had invested too much time in the manuscript not to finish it.
I couldn’t let it go. Not this time. Not this manuscript.
I had to finish it.
And here I am, ten months later, releasing my first novel. It took a little longer than expected. It isn’t even the manuscript I expected. But it’s here. It has arrived. I have finally finished one of my lifetime goals. I have completed and self-published a novel by the grace of God.
Did I want to break my foot? No. Did it happen? Yes. Did God work through it? I believe that yes, in fact, He did.
Not only was I forced to explore my gift, but I also got to spend several hours reading His word and praying. My prideful attitude was stripped of me. I was forced to slow down the roller-coaster my life had been the last several years. I had to stop, breathe, reflect, pray, and write.
Now could I have done all of this without breaking my foot? Sure? Would I have? I honestly don’t know. I hadn’t up until that moment. I had let everything in my life become an excuse, every event somehow superseded what I truly wanted to do.
Looking back, am I glad I broke my foot? Yes. You might be surprised I’m saying it, but I am. I’m thankful because God did so much work in my heart during that time.
No, I don’t enjoy the tenderness that’s still present, but I am thankful for the wakeup call it gave me. It reminded me what I really enjoyed doing. It made me reflect. It allowed me to finally finish what I’ve wanted to do for years.
I’m thankful God allowed it to happen. I’m thankful that something most of us would call a bad thing actually happened to me.
Romans 8:28 comes to my mind whenever I think about my foot: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)
Now, this verse doesn’t mean that if you love God, everything about your life is going to be great, easy-going, a cake walk.
NO! Christians are going to suffer…a lot. If Jesus Christ himself suffered on the cross, then who are we to think we are above suffering? Rather, this verse is saying that through all circumstances — good or bad; ideal or nasty; joyful or disheartening — God will work His good through your circumstances. God’s definition of good might be a little different from your definition. This doesn’t mean that if you love God, you will be blessed with every imaginable material possession. No, your salvation is good, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are good, His talents are good. Nothing can happen outside of His sovereign will.
Was I meant to write this book? That I can’t answer. He allowed it. I don’t know why He did, but He did. I know I bring glory to God through writing it. I created. I acknowledged God in the work. I know I could never have done it without Him. He gifted me with the ability to string the story together. He gifted me with the mind capacity to write it. All the glory is for Him. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this book. I don’t know if it’s going to be a smashing success or a complete flop. Either way, God will work good through every circumstance. And that good could be continuing work on my spirit. God isn’t done with me. He continues to mold my heart. He continues to humble me. He continues to ignite me with His truth. He continues to teach me what self-control looks like. I’m seeing God’s “good” woven through my life more and more as I get older. And I’m so thankful!! I’m thankful He used a seemingly bad situation to humble me. I’m glad He continues to teach me about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. Praise God for His continued work!
What situation is God working through in your life? What good or bad life circumstance are you going through right now? Are you trusting God? Are you keeping your eyes on Him? Are you actively loving God in both the good times and the bad?
Lean on Him, trust in Him, Love Him.
He knows what is best for your life. We will go through storms and valleys, but through it all God is always good.
My God is always Good.
My lovely bruised foot.