evidence or proof provided by
the existence or appearance of something
I last posted here in February, six months ago. Since then, my schedule has overflowed with writing assignments and deadlines, and blogging fell to the bottom of my to-do list. But it’s time, past time, for me to write this post giving credit to the One who makes all things possible.
A children’s picture book I wrote on assignment in 2015 had, a while ago, passed more than 300,000 copies sold and is consistently on Amazon’s best-seller list in several categories. A friend noticed and said to me recently, “Congratulations! I’m proud of you.” How I responded somewhat surprised me, but it was a testament to how my faith in the Lord has grown in the past almost forty years since I accepted Him into my heart as my Lord and Savior.
Everyone has a story. God has a plan for each of us. Without us being aware, He assembles His plan’s pieces perfectly and systematically. As I’ve grown in experience, and yes in age, I’m able to see more clearly now how the pieces of His plan for me have come together. This is my testimony:
In college I majored in education. I imagined myself teaching in the classroom. But then, one required class in the last semester of my senior year changed everything: “Introduction to Children’s Literature”. It turned me into a children’s book fanatic! I read all the best sellers present and past. I immersed myself in words that flowed in lyrical patterns taking children wherever their imaginations led. Teaching was no longer my goal. I set my sights then on grad school, library science/children’s literature, eyeing a future as a children’s librarian. I was writing then, too, (just for fun.) Writing was something I’d always enjoyed. As a teenager I explored writing’s many forms: poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction. My high school English teacher recognized my talent and encouraged me to pursue a career in journalism. But I had other plans. In college, I took elective writing classes (just for fun), and as I wrote God grew my passion to write even more. In grad school, I shared some writing samples with my faculty advisor and she said, “You should be writing for publication.” So, I wrote. My first official published piece was my master’s thesis, a study of social changes in the contemporary children’s literature, published by the university’s press.
I graduated with a master’s degree in library science/children’s literature and with a new goal—to be a children’s book writer.
God’s plan unfolded then, at record speed. He led me into a job working as an editor for a leading children’s book publisher. There I learned not only creative product development but also how books are marketed and sold. I even did press checks—going to where the books were printed and providing an editorial sign-off at the printing press. My job required me to write and edit, but apart from my job I felt the Lord encouraging me to write even more. Submitting manuscripts to other publishers was a conflict of interest, so I wrote just for the fun of writing. I enjoyed my job at the publishing house, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as it had been. I wanted and needed more. I remember being at work one day, sitting at my desk in my office during a lunch break. I’d set aside a manuscript I was editing to jot down a few haiku poems I’d had swirling in my thoughts and I silently prayed, “God, I really want to write exclusively for You.”
And then it happened.
A few weeks later, the company I worked for was acquired by a publisher who decided to move it to another state. We were all given termination notices. I lost my job. This was the new beginning God had planned for me, the start of a lifelong ministry of writing for Him. This year, I’m celebrating twenty-five years as a freelance writer of Christian literature. God most often leads me to nonfiction where He combines my writing talent with my teaching skills to teach others about Him. He uses my training in publishing as a help when working with editors. Because I understand the process from concept through print production, it saves my editors time and effort when I provide them with well-formatted manuscripts that are clean of errors and delivered on time.
When my friend said, “I’m proud of you for 300,000 copies sold,” my spontaneous reaction was, “No! Don’t be proud of me. Be happy that the Lord is using me to share His words with 300,000 kids . . . their moms, dads, siblings, grandparents . . . “
That’s what it’s all about for me. My faith has grown so strong in the decades since I accepted Jesus that it’s enough just to serve Him. He uses me for His purposes, and I’m grateful. I’m so blessed to share His Word with others and to lead them nearer to Him. I’m content being a humble servant. I appreciate the well-meaning praises for my work, but I don’t desire or even like accolades for anything God accomplishes. There’s a quiet, soul-filling, and perfect satisfaction that comes with the assurance God is working through me. When I sit down to write He leads me, often changing the direction I’ve planned for my words to take. The words come easily when He directs my thoughts. He is worthy of all the praise.
So, that’s my testimony, my evidence of God’s existence and proof that He has a plan for each of us.
If you feel yourself drifting somewhere other than where your own hopes and dreams lie, be willing to change. You were born with skills and talents that God wants to use for His glory. If you want to serve Him, ask Him to use you. Then, when you feel pulled in a specific direction keep moving forward. You can’t see yet where the Lord is leading you, but He knows where you’re going. Be patient, follow Him, and don’t give up.
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