When God Writes the Story
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11–NIV).
I recently participated in Write-To-Publish 2019 in Wheaton, Illinois, at beautiful Wheaton College.
I’d been to this conference only one other time, and it was then, in 2007, I shared an idea with a leading publisher from a well known publishing house. The idea was a story–birthed from a seed I believed God had planted.
The woman who met with me in a fifteen minute one-on-one session loved my idea, though there weren’t yet words on a page. She told me to send her the first chapter when my manuscript was complete and to include on the envelope in bold print “Write-To-Publish ’07.”
I returned from the conference excited–filled with lofty goals and even more ideas to put to paper. But I also came home unaware that, only a couple months later, we would lose the daughter we were in the process of adopting, that the small community hospital system where my husband Bill worked would close down unexpectedly, and that he–the day after celebrating his 40th birthday–would undergo a serious surgery that would reveal a disease that, as we soon discovered, only gave him a 50% chance for survival. This disease had also affected his kidneys, and he was soon on medications that had their own serious side effects.
I’m happy to say that, although we lost Kristie in August of 2007, Allie joined our family in 2012. The hospital reopened and is doing well, and Bill is–after all the medications and another minor surgery–alive and well. God is indeed good!
But indeed, God isn’t good because everything in life is always good. I know that not to be true. God is good simply (and profoundly) because He is God. He takes everything–the good, the bad and the ugly–and makes something beautiful when we allow Him, trusting Him enough to do what He does best:
And even better–He calls us to participate in His work in the world. Oh, what a privilege!
So this time, a dozen years since my last visit to Wheaton College, I carried with me not so much the seed of my dream but a sprout, because–skeletal and incomplete though it is–I’m over 50,000 words into my story. Furthermore, I’d prepared a one-page with the hope that I would have the opportunity to introduce my story by name to publishers.
The first morning of the conference, I prayerfully read the list of faculty to decide with whom I should meet. My eyes were drawn to Athena Dean Holtz–founder of and publisher with Redemption Press. Then I checked out its website and read its statement of faith:
At Redemption Press, we are committed to publishing books that glorify God and stay true to His Holy Word.
Thus, I signed up that morning for a one-on-one fifteen minute meeting with Athena. When my time came to sit down with her, I introduced myself and handed her my business card and one-page. We talked a bit about my story and its theme, and I shared a bit of my personal story–explaining why I’m passionate about the topic. She listened intently, expressing that she loved the idea and then encouraged me to meet the next day with Redemption Press’s managing editor, Dori Harrell–which I did. She, too, believed in my story.
I recently signed with Redemption Press–which means they’ll partner with me to see this story to fruition. I’ll receive content coaching in the fall with Dori, not to mention other forms of “coaching” all along the way. Like a birthing coach, professionals at RP will help me in my journey of labor and, finally, in delivery–when a book will be born. My book! I can hardly believe it!
I cannot fully comprehend what God is doing behind the scenes. But what I’ve come to know beyond doubt–He is doing something. And what He does is beautiful–birthed in His perfect time, in just the right season. And, in this case, with the right publishing house for the message He’s given me.
From its beginning–when the story was yet a seed in my heart–until its end–when its message will finally be released that it might bear good fruit–I fix my eyes on the One who’s the Author and Finisher of my faith (Heb. 12:2).
After all, it’s really Him who’s writing this story–has been writing it all along–and He’s able to do immeasurably more than I could ever imagine, according to His mighty power at work within me (Eph. 3:20).
For unto Him be all glory, today and forever.