This has been a roller coaster week for me. I’ve felt amazing hope that I have God’s next step for me in the form of the She Speaks Conference I am attending in North Carolina this summer. It was an answer to the prayer, “What next?” that has been ringing in my soul for a while now. It seemed the breath of fresh air in the musty chambers of a heart that’s been walking through grief.
Then the coaster headed down as one of my sons virtually collapsed under the weight of grief and school problems and faith issues and just the weight of the world. He’s such a good kid. My heart broke that he was struggling. But I know this is part of the journey of grief. It is affecting each of my kids differently as it is me. So we dealt with what we could deal with and I went to bat with him at school. I encountered fantastic support there. Things started to look up.
Then came another day of God’s magnificent provision. In one day I was given two financial gifts. One friend had been negotiating a used car for my son to drive with someone in her Bible study. When she told the lady my situation, the negotiation stopped. She wanted to give me the car for free. Jaime, the friend who had been searching for the car, wept. And then she called me. As a fantastic bonus, the man who has be the mechanic for this car offered to help teach Jarod how to do any repairs that should arise. Amazing.
In that same day I had the privilege of hanging out with a new friend. I shared with her more about my conference and why I was so excited that this was God opening a door for me to pursue my dreams of writing and speaking professionally. She was excited for me. She said she felt certain God was going to us me, use my story to glorify Him and to encourage and bless others. Later I received a text from her telling me she was so sure that God was behind this that she and her husband had decided to pay for my plane ticket.
The roller coaster went on.
So as the weekend arrived, I felt a little weary from all these ups and downs. It had been a long week. I decided to do more research online to help me prepare the proposals for my writing ideas for the conference. I get to meet, one-on-one, with a publisher and I need to be professional and have my stuff ready to sell. So I headed to Google to try and figure out how I would package the two books I’ve got almost finished and the two I have ideas for.
Google can be very discouraging. Google tells me it is going to be pretty impossible to get a publisher to buy my book. It tells me that the style of two of my books are what every writer tries first and pretty much unless I’m a survivor of a tsunami followed by alien abduction or the Queen of Quite a Lot, no one is going to pay me for it. It tells me that I’d better try my talent at a few other styles or just make a nice, self-published couple of books to give my grandkids someday and move along so the better writers can be seen. Ok, so that last one may be a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s close.
I spent the day trying to go back to the drawing board. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Starting fresh can lead to new angles, new ideas, and sometimes new ways of telling stories so the audience is captivated. But when I was feeling like I’d failed before I’d even started, back to the drawing board was not any of those amazing things. It was defeating. It was exhausting. It was unproductive. After a while I realized I was writing stuff so boring I was getting sleepy.
And then I glanced at Facebook tonight. What I found was a post by Lysa TerKeurst, founder of the very conference I’m so excited to be attending. Here’s what she posted:
Over the years, I've come to a realization - I can rest in the assurance that if something is meant to be, it isn’t up to me. It’s up to God. I give what I can give. And then wait for Him to give what only He can give. So, if He makes it happen without all my chaotic self-effort, then I will know it is His best. And if it doesn’t happen, I will praise Him for saving me from myself.
And just like that the roller coaster leveled out. It’s not up to me to figure it all out from here. It’s up to me to do my best with what God has given me and take the next step in the direction He provides. The rest is up to Him. And His plans are always good ones.
So I’m headed to bed. I’m exhausted and we all lose an hour of sleep tonight. I’m going to take to heart the words from Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down and sleep in peace for you, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” God is faithful to care for me. He will direct my paths when I let him. It’s up to me to do my best and follow His leading. He will take care of the details.
I think I’ll try to exit this coaster now.