Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Looking Back

Yesterday, in a thoughtful end-of-the-year mood, I peeked at some old journal entry.

Have you ever sensed God nudging you a new direction, but couldn't quite make sense of it? Weren't sure if it was leading from God? Felt restless and eager to begin, but didn't know where to start? Well, this is what I found in my journal from early 2001. At that point, there were still nearly two years of wrestling ahead before I would begin writing my first novel.

"For several years, I’ve felt God nudging me to write. I want to be quickly obedient to God’s leading. But throughout my life I’ve found myself often confused about whether a prompting was actually from God, or pressure from others, or strange compulsions from my own mind.
Not that this excuses my lack of movement in this area.

When I was earnestly seeking God for a new direction...after time of healing and recovering from working for many years in dance ministry... all I heard was “write.” I guess I could have begun to write more regular journal entries.... or even gathered thoughts into articles to submit to magazines as I have in the past.

But as I thought about writing, I couldn’t see a picture of “how” and “when” and “which”...
Did God plan that I would write for Christian magazines, or was I meant to write a book? Fiction, non fiction?

So, paralyzed with very little information, I did nothing.

Well, that’s not quite true. I volunteered in various areas of ministry at my church and many of those areas were heavy, full of struggle and frustration... and little sense of fulfillment."

The entry went on to describe my floundering experiments with trying to discern what God was stirring me to write, while trying to find ways to serve in the meantime. What comforts me is seeing that back then in my cloud of confusion, God already knew. He already saw late 2002 where I would meet a wonderful group of Christian writers and where He would finally reveal a specific direction and throw open the starter gates and let me run. God also saw 2007, where the whisper-soft call to "write" that made no sense to me in 2001 would further unfold with the release of three new novels.

(I'll send the full "Highlights of 2007" list to my Book Buddies - so if you don't get my free Book Buddy ezine - you can read more if you sign up for it at my website.)

Remembering how lost and confused I felt during the years before I began writing, (and honestly, most of the time during the past five years of the writing life, too!) and then seeing what God was able to unfold, makes me want to wrap my arms around everyone who feels confused, yearning, and uncertain today.

Trust Him. He knows the end from the beginning.

I enter a New Year once again feeling befuddled, uncertain, and horribly inadequate. But that's okay. I'm just a servant in His vineyard, and all I need to do is show up each morning and serve in the corner of the field He sends me to. Whether He sends me to plant, or prune, or harvest, or compost--I pray I can obey with a heart of love. And I pray that for you, too.

In 2008, may God steer us (even when we feel we're only going in circles) and may He unfold plans of grace and blessings (even when nothing makes sense) and may He quicken joyful obedience in our hearts (even when we don't see results in our efforts).

Happy New Year!
Sharon Hinck


therosepatch said...

Thank you for that, Sharon *hugs* I feel very ... directionless right now.

Sharon Hinck said...

Oh, Connie,
take heart.
I know it's a hard place to be...
but I've definitely seen that:

1. God does amazing things in our lives in the "inbetween" times when we feel like we're just floundering

2. Eventually, we come out of the fog and look back and some things make sense after all

3. He loves you SO MUCH that if that is the only direction you have for today, that is enough. Love Him. Love others empowered by His grace. Do the next step...

and watch and see what He does. :-)

Huge hugs (and a chocolate bar for good measure!)

Shane Deal said...

Thanks for posting that, I needed to hear that. Some things took place in 2007 that I do not think I shall look on with fondness.


Cheryl Klarich said...

Oh wow, I can so relate..
Thank you for the testimony of God's faithfulness.
Great picture too!!

therosepatch said...

Thanks, Sharon. I appreciate those words of encouragement. *big hugs* Chocolate!! :D

I'm feeling a direction to writing, and am hoping that God opens the right doors for that. In the area of working with horses ... I have no clue what He has planned.

And I agree with Charyl, that's a GREAT picture :)

Roheryn said...

That's good to hear!

I don't know what direction I'm being pulled in.
For years, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, when all of my friends would confidently say that they wanted to be a ballerina, or a surgeon, or some such...
As my college search began, I settled on going for an English major.
Much to my mom's... let's say uneasyness, something prompted me to change it to an Equine major.
I can't explain it... but as much as others tell me I'll be able to do more with an English degree... I'm set on getting an Equine one...

therosepatch said...

I wish I could get an Equine one...but the closest school for that stuff is Sweet Briar College. It's an all girl's secular school that's boat loads more expensive than Liberty is...

Unknown said...

Amen to that. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm facing 2008 with anticipation of all God will do!

WayneThomasBatson said...

2007 was a strange year. In one sense, God blessed my shoes off. All three DW paperbacks released and Isle of Swords...all the wonderful fans and authors met on Tour, all the press, all the travel. But at the same time, there were a few serious losses in my family. And I found myself wrestling continually with God. He is faithful, I know. He is good, I know. And...He knows better than I do. And yet, still...I wrestle.

Never alone.

Sharon Hinck said...

For those who were encouraged by this post, I'm so glad. Keep taking heart and trusting that in a few years when you look back, you'll see the signs of how God guided you.

Wayne, I SO relate to your comment. I'm very grateful for many things about this year, but it's been difficult in ways I never expected and my faith was stretched more than it ever has been before.

How wonderful that God loves us enough to let us question and wrestle, and that He is gentle with our times of doubt, and compassionate toward our pain.

Blessings in 2008, my friend!

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...


I've had plenty of doubts about what I'm to do, and still do! I KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that I've done what God wanted me to do . . . but I still doubt, mostly because of financial fears and things not taking off financially. I KNOW that I should not be doing this for money, and should not worry about it . . . but that's awfully hard some days.

HOWEVER, God has showed me beyond any possible shadow of a doubt, that He is faithful. I guess He's still trying to teach me a lesson in that area! :-)

I've looked back on journal entries, too, and have found reassurance and encouragement. It's neat to hear of someone else doing the same thing.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and God bless you in all of your endeavors in 2008.