Throughout the months before and after my book proposal being reviewed and declined, God kept bringing these verses to my attention repeatedly through sermons, books and songs. One was Isaiah 43, especially the following verses:
1b,“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name – you are mine.
When you pass through the waters
(or anything that threatens you),
I will be with you…
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you…
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Also, Isaiah 42:6-9
“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”
It became a season of God reminding me of who HE was and His preeminence in my life. He showed me that I had given my heart over to people’s opinions. I had given glory to another. It was time to tear down some idols – my performance, unrealistic expectations of perfection, others’ approval, and counterfeit value attached to my accomplishments. Each time God took an idol down, I’d ask Him to put Himself in that place where He belonged.
I also asked Him to give me a hunger and thirst for Him that nothing and no one could satisfy – and He did. His Word was like fresh water to my soul. I couldn’t get enough of it, or enough of Him. My time with Jesus went back to being like it was when I first became a Christian 13 years before that. We were back to the honeymoon phase and I was loving it!
Then God did something crazy. In Spring 2003, God had Focus on the Family call and ask me to re-submit my proposal. Just when I’d gotten to a place of contentment, peace and not even thinking about writing a book, they called!
I was excited but prayerfully reserved. I submitted the proposal with additional chapters and ideas. It went to publishing committee, they showed more interest and asked for revisions. And while I waited for them to come back with a decision, I sensed God telling me to lay it down – to walk away.
It was the strangest thing. One day I was driving down the road and it was as though God flashed neon yellow lights in front of me spelling W-A-I-T.
I kept praying about it. I talked to JJ. Then through two different people God brought a verse to me from the old testament about a time when a leader had sent a servant to find water (I can’t find in my journal now who it was or where it is in the Bible). When the servant found water and brought it back, the leader “poured it out as a drink offering to the Lord.”
When he got what he wanted he poured it out as an offering to God.
As crazy as it seemed, I knew God was asking me to trust Him and to wait. And as hard as it was, I wanted to be please Him more than anyone else.
I remember calling my acquisitions editor at Focus, and saying “I know this sounds crazy but I feel like God is telling me to wait. It doesn’t make sense now, but I know there’s no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will, and that is where I want to be.” He agreed graciously and we promised to stay in touch.
In the months that followed, Focus on the Family decided to make drastic cuts in their publishing department and reduced their efforts on book projects significantly. Who knows what would’ve come of my book? God does.
Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child eventually became a character chart and CD that we self-published. As of today close to 2000 copies have made it into the homes of families across the world.
It’s been 5 years since I poured out my dream as a drink offering, and Jesus has poured out Living Water into me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. I’ll share more on Monday about what’s been going on for the past five years. I’ll also share something God spoke to my heart the day after my decision, and what’s seems to be the next step in this crazy journey of mine.
I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you want to share, I’d love to know if there has ever been a time you had to lay down a dream? Is there a verse that has helped you know what God wanted you to do?