Recently, it occurred to me that I haven’t really posted much about my book or the writing process. Mostly, because I’ve been using every free second to write the book! But also because God has been using this process of book writing to prune some very deep parts of my heart. This process has exposed weaknesses I didn’t know I had. It has exposed fears and insecurities and doubts. Doubts of my ability, doubts of my calling, and sadly, even doubts of God’s provision. Will He do it? Will He provide? Will He enable me to do what He has called me to do?
From the very beginning of this journey my mantra has been that it is God’s story. And if you had asked me if I really believed that statement I would have shouted (ok, I’m way too much of an introvert to shout at you, so I would have said politely) “absolutely!”
But the truth is, I had been holding onto this story, this book, this writing process by my fingernails. I had been trusting in things I could control like having a long time to write it, building up a nice steady word count, being comfortable with story-telling. I had been (without even realizing it) trusting in myself.
But as God is a God who lovingly corrects, exposes and prunes His children, He began to gently, one by one, pry my fingers off of my perceived control. How?
Well, this story I am writing encompasses many different lives and many different moments that were each touched in some way by a very special horse. Each story, worthy of sharing. But my job is to tell the story in the most succinct and interesting way possible. This has created some structural challenges. It has taken a team of people far more intelligent that myself to try and figure out the structure of this book and the perspective with which to tell it. I have had many stops and starts along the way. I have written and written, only to rewrite and rewrite, and then start the entire process over again. I need at least 60,000 words in my manuscript. I had a little party for myself a few weeks ago when I hit that mark!
And then I had a conference call with the most amazing team of talented writers and publishers. (I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adore these women God is allowing me to work with!) They had been reviewing my chapters and the structure and realized that it wasn’t quite working as it was. After much discussion and prayer, they suggested some changes to the outline. And they are so right! It was as if God illuminated my computer screen that day and said, “Yes! Now, THIS is my story!”
I was both elated and discouraged. I could see it! I could clearly see that this was the right way to go. But my heart sunk at the thought of losing so much time and so many words. I started to console myself with the fact that I could surely use much of what I had already written. I could cut and paste and add and tweak!
I felt the words in my soul.
What? No! Why? “Lord,” I whined like a toddler, “I’ve worked so hard. Why would You say that?”
Give it to Me and start over.
To say I was less than thrilled would be a serious understatement. The truth is, it took me four days of whining, moping, and wanting to put my fingers in my ears and sing “la-la-la!” before I agreed. But He was patient with me. And confirmed His calling in many hard-to-deny ways. Including having me teach the story of Abraham’s test of faith. In fact, I had to teach that same lesson twice in one week!
Give me your Isaac. Trust Me.
Lay down my manuscript? With less than two months to go before my deadline? Start over from scratch? Who does that Lord?!?!
You. Start over.
And so after much prayer and consideration, I have started over. I am laying my manuscript on the altar and trusting that God will provide His story. One word at a time.
“Why would He ask this of me?” I still wonder. Maybe it’s simply an act of faith. Maybe it’s a test of obedience. Or maybe it’s because each time I’ve written and rewritten I have learned more about writing and am now, finally, ready to tell the story He has given me; the way He wants me to. It’s probably a little bit of all those reasons, and many I’ll never understand. But it really doesn’t even matter. Because obedience feels good. Doing things God’s way is freeing.
For great freedom is found in surrendering to God’s will.
Every day I hold up empty hands and ask Him to fill them with His words. Every time I open my computer I look to the screen and trust that He will provide the words for that day.
Trusting God with your own “Isaac” is hard. It takes faith. Faith that you don’t think you have. But as you make even the tiniest effort to lay down that which you want to cling to; as you say “Lord, I don’t see how this is going to work, I don’t understand why You would even ask this, but I trust You;” as you whisper through your tears “I love You more; I will obey You and trust You no matter the cost,” then something incredible begins to happen! God begins to infuse His strength into you.
It is as if our surrender is the conduit through which His strength flows.
And so, I keep writing – now from a place of worship and trust. It is hard, but it is so worth it!!
Do you have an “Isaac” you are clinging to? Maybe yours is a habit. Maybe a child. A spouse. A title. How you thought your life was going to be. Maybe it’s financial in nature. Or a dream. A desire.
Our Isaac’s can take many different shapes, forms, and faces. But may I encourage you today to trust God with it, even when you want to hold on by your fingernails! He is trustworthy. He is for you. And His hands are far more capable of holding onto it than yours.
Lay it down and let Him fill you up!