By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Never were truer words penned than these ancient words from the prophet Isaiah. And if you’re a writer with the call of God on your life, these words are especially true for you.
Case in point: A year ago I sensed God birthing an idea for a new devotional book. The concept grew, took shape, and swept me away like a swimmer in a rip tide. Although I know it’s proper procedure to write the proposal for a non-fiction book and then wait for a contract before writing the full manuscript, I just couldn’t help myself.
Ideas popped like bacon in a skillet. Every time I opened my Bible, God illuminated special verses and passages I couldn’t wait to write about. Even though I knew better, that I might be wasting my time because a publisher might never offer me a contract, I began to write.
And I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote. With joy, abandon, and discovery. My faith grew as I explored God’s word. My understanding increased. And my passion for my book never wavered. I knew God had given me the project, and I was determined to complete it.
One day, I was sure, it would be published.
Today, a year later, the manuscript is complete. I’ve written 66 uncommon devotions, one for every book of the Bible – even the one-chapter book of Obadiah. Imagine that.
Along the way, several publishers have expressed an interest in my project. One asked for a list of speaking engagements to bolster my less-than-rock-star platform. I had neglected this aspect of my ministry while I wrote the book, so I went to work, contacting groups and churches where I’ve spoken before to tell them about my latest presentations.
One of the groups extended a surprising invitation to share my “Three Keys to a Spirit-filled Christmas” program with their entire assembly. I say “surprising,” because this group is a secular organization. And the third key in my “Three Keys to a Spirit-filled Christmas” is – guess what? – an invitation to unlock your hearts to Christ. What an opportunity!
I don’t know if my devotional will ever be published, but God has already used it to open the door to share the gospel with 100 people, many who don’t know the Lord.
Years ago, when God set me on the writing path, he called me to share my faith with those who don’t know him and encourage those who do. I assumed I’d do this through my books.
What I didn’t realize is that a book doesn’t have to be published for God to use it. Click To Tweet From the very first word, he uses our writing to grow us, teach us, refine us, and train us. Through the process of writing, we learn patience and perseverance. We grow in wisdom, skill, and maturity. #amwriting #ChrisitanAuthors Click To TweetOur faith and trust expand as we pursue the calling God has given us by not quitting when the initial excitement wears off.
And as we pray, seek God’s face, and press on, he uses our book (or blog, or article, or poem) to open ministry doors that wouldn’t open otherwise.
Whether or not my book is published, I don’t regret spending the last year writing it. God has used the process in my life and the lives of others in more ways than I could ever have imagined. As long as I stay true to my calling, God will accomplish his purpose for my writing and grant me success. As Isaiah 55:8-9 says, I can’t begin to understand his ways, but I can trust his plan.
The longer I write, the more I realize that success may not come with a glossy cover and a Selah award. It may come instead when I hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I’ll take that success any day. How about you?
I invite you to join the conversation:
How have you seen God use the writing process to grow you and others in your faith journey? What “successes” have you already enjoyed that have nothing to do with a contract or publishing credit? Leave a comment below and share your story.
(Originally posted on The Write Conversation on October 26. Reprinted with permission from the author. All rights reserved (c) 2018.)
Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter(@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).