Shortly before my husband lost his job in 2008, I asked the Lord to tell me His will for my life. Because I gave up my teaching career 24 years earlier to be a stay-at-home mom, my teaching skills were as obsolete as dinosaurs. With my children at college, I yearned for a career—but one ordained by the Lord. When God told me to “Write. You have a story to tell,” I could never have imagined that the story He wanted me to write was one that had yet to unfold.
My husband’s job loss actually set my writing career in motion. After obeying God and selling our house, we moved halfway across Pennsylvania to stay with my aunt while my husband searched for a job. Knowing no one except Auntie and my husband, I had plenty of time on my hands—time to write.
A story came to me soon after we moved into Auntie’s house, and I wrote almost daily for the 18 months we lived with her. The story was about searching for faith when all appeared lost, and as I wrote, the characters encountered unimaginable twists and turns filled with fear and trials. My own days of seeking God’s presence in the midst of hopelessness drove the story. As my faith deepened, so did the faith of my characters.
The story turned into a novel. Although it will never be published or win an award, it served several purposes during our months of adversity. Through the pages, I sought God and eventually found Him. As the plot unfolded, I learned that God never wastes our pain; what I was learning through the refining fires of unemployment was reflected in the characters’ lives and allowed them to become believable people. As my characters learned to trust in the Lord no matter what frightening events stood in their paths, I learned that I could trust God to get me through—not out of—the absolute worst times of my life. Writing this novel taught me how to weave my faith and experiences into stories that could touch the hearts of readers.
In retrospect, God used this first novel to help prepare me to be a professional writer. Just when I thought I had no employable skills, God provided a new career using the trials of my life and my deepening faith as the foundation for stories He wants me to tell.
What unexpected twists and turns have taken place in your life? Can you see how the Lord orchestrated all of the events of your life—both good and bad—to place you where you currently are?
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Deuteronomy 5:32 (NIV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter ©2013