I’ve been reading through old journals this morning, tracing my steps with God over the past several years. Thank God for journals, because I never would have remembered the details of where I’ve been in my spiritual journey and how God met me in each place, revealing my heart to me and His heart towards me.
I was sharing with Lysa how perfectly timed her P31 devotionwas yesterday about running toward our dreams, using the parallel of running and writing a book. It really spoke to me because I avoid both of them for one reason – running and writing are hard and cause pain that I’d rather avoid!
I started to write a book a six years ago (May 2002). It was based on a parenting concept I’d implemented with my kids called “Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child.” I presented a proposal for the book in June 2002 to Moody Publishing and Focus on the Family. Soon after, I received a letter from Moody declining my proposal. I hadn’t felt a connection with them so I wasn’t completely disappointed, but it opened a wound in my heart where the fear of rejection had been festering. It was as though the enemy stepped off the page of that letter, pointed his finger in my face and shouted, “You will never be good enough. You may be on God’s team, but He will never choose you to do something this important. You’ll always be a bench warmer.”
Those thoughts caught me off guard and made me weep! I hadn’t even been rejected by the publisher I wanted, but I had gone ahead and done the job for them. As I sat on the floor crying, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that these thoughts weren’t just from the enemy, they reflected deep beliefs in my heart, and also revealed a false image of my God.
Then God whispered to my heart, “Renee, you are as valuable to me as Mother Teresa. You are as important as Billy Graham. I don’t look at the things that man measures as worth. I look at your heart and I see a woman of great value who I love deeply.”
That day started me on a healing path. I wanted to know and believe this was really what God saw and what He felt about me. I needed His love, His perspective, His value of to be my enough, so that no matter what happened – HE defined me. Over the next few months I pursued the love of God with reckless abandon. I read the book of John again and again. I read the Sacred Romance – and through it God took my breath away! Over many months, He revealed so much about my brokenness and opened wounds so that His healing could come over me like never before. This was all part of the process Lysa talks about.
A month or two later, I got a “letter of decline” from Focus. But amazingly I wasn’t wounded. Sure I was disappointed but strangely, I was also glad. I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want any other love or dream to whisk me away. I didn’t want my heart to be that vulnerable to man’s approval and God didn’t either. This letter was God protection and God’s perfect timing for His dream for my life. If He wanted me to write a book, He’d make it happen.
In the meantime, I kept loving on Him and letting Him love on me. God continued to increase my passion for the message and for other parents, because it had changed my life and the whole landscape of our family’s life. He opened doors for the message I hoped to wrap in a book cover by giving me opportunities here and there to share it at MOPs groups, Bibles Studies at my church, parenting seminars and church services. Today as I look back, I see God’s process and preparation through assignments that were a better fit for me and His message, in that season of my heart’s journey.
The next summer, I was asked to volunteer as the coordinator for character development at my son’s charter school. I was hesitant because I knew it would take time away from my dream of writing. But I sensed God calling me. In the end, I got to share portions of the message each month with over 200 kids, parents and staff at our character assemblies. The message grew and so did I. Later that year I was invited to give a keynote to the teachers and administration based on this Christ-centered character development concept.
Six years later, I am sensing God calling me to write a book. I know many of you want to know how you know when God is calling you to write. Well, I can’t wait to tell you! God did something amazing next in this story, that I’ll share tomorrow (since this is getting so long). Also, I have a give-away you don’t want to miss on Monday!
But before you go, I’d love to hear what God is doing to draw you closer to Him as you pursue His dreams for you? Have you traced your steps with Him lately?