A recent thread on the ACFW e-loop is titled: God Knows What He Is Doing. I've read a couple of the responses and totally agree that God knows what He wants and has in store for each of us, and attending or not attending the upcoming ACFW conference isn't going to change His plans. He is the maker of miracles after all.
But just reading the subject line and forgetting the context to which it is really about, I must say that I bear a heavy heart in response to God Knows What He Is Doing. I can't help thinking that I'm hindering His work as of late, rather than helping Him. And I do believe that in all that God blesses us with, He often requires something from us too. The end gift is not all He intends to bestow on each of us, but a greater learning/understanding is also part of the package, and I have no doubt that my ever-faithful Father is more than patient in waiting for me to get that learning/understanding right before He'll generously bestow the end gift upon me. Am I alone in this thought process?
Say, since most of you reading this blog are writers, the end gift is publication which God intends to bestow on at least a few of us (here's the hopeful me surmising here), then what? Are we set? Is it ALL in God's hands? Is the onus on Him to get the gears in motion so that publication shall be achieved?
Surely, as any mother or father knows, this is a tremendous TEACHING moment. The prize of publication cannot be just handed over without being earned in some way. God so wants to pass this gift over, but alas, he must wait until we are ready for it. The driving instructor/tester doesn't hand over the prize driver's license just because the time has come, the end of the driving test has arrived, does he? No, he must first see that the student driver is ready for the responsibility of every life that might come in contact with him/her on the roads he/she chooses to travel from this day forward. The student driver needs to earn the tester's trust before he/she is deemed ready. And the tester will withhold the license for not only the safety of the student driver, but for everyone else, if need be.
As it is with writing, I assume. And I can't help but feel as though I've been failing my Lord's testing as of late in the writing category of life at least. Failure isn't a word I like to think about, or associate with me, but lately it's one that's been haunting my thought process.
In preparing my book proposal package for the conference, I happened to read over the recent query letter I sent out to my dream publisher in August and realized I'd failed big time. I had stated in that query that I would be pitching my newest book, The Unlikely One, the book that is a finalist in the Genesis contemporary category this year, at the conference. Well, guess what? It isn't ready. As I type this post I'm about 13,000 words away from finishing my first draft and definitely a few revision rounds and many edits away from being ready to submit this novel to anyone in the publishing industry.
So, I've not only failed to keep my end of the bargain to this publisher who may or may not like my writing anyway, but that's not the point, I've failed to make the most of this upcoming conference even before it even gets here. Yes, I have another completed manuscript to pitch, but I really wanted to take advantage of being a finalist with this ms and pitch it. Show how I could indeed get a second manuscript primed and ready for pitching in a reasonable amount of time. But instead, family, and summer activities with them, consumed my time and here I sit, manuscript unfinished.
It is possible to finish the first draft before conference, even with it being only one week away, but that isn't enough, and I'm kicking myself for it. Lost opportunity rings like a jingle in my ears, taunting me and flashing $$$$$$$$, yes, dollar signs in my vision. My family has invested a lot into this conference and now I feel like I not only failed myself, but them as well. So what do I do?
What any God fearing woman would. Right. I look for what I've done right, and what I have left to still gain from this conference experience, and move forward from there. I write the best book proposal I can for the novel I do have finished. I prepare to pitch it for God's glory. God has presented me with a chance to pitch my first novel, one that incidentally is very near and dear to me still, even after six years of labour pains with it, and I will do my absolute best to not disappoint Him in that area too. I may not have the two novels to pitch that I so wanted, and God may be disappointed with me in that, but I know He'd want me to at least take advantage of this opportunity and pitch this one.
I will gather all that I need for the early bird session on the book that I haven't quite finished with the intention of having the amazing Donald Maass and all his wonderful teaching help me plan my revisions so that I can make it as close to a breakout novel as is possible for me.
And I'll do my utmost to shine His Little Light through every action, word, and deed that transpires through me during the time I have at the ACFW conference. I will accept God's wonderful grace and blessings in attending this conference and make the most of it so that He can keep on teaching me and helping me move forward toward that ultimate gift that He may or may not be patiently waiting to present to me...when I'm ready. I will do all this because He is the reason I write in the first, middle and last place. God inspired this journey in me, and even though I may hinder His process along the way, He is ever faithful and would want me to push onward for His purpose. I'm so glad He is eons more patient and forgiving than me!
Surrendering to Him,