Jogging down the back roads behind my house with hay bales dotting the horizon, I felt the Lord ask me to write my story. Actually, I had already written it in the pages of my journal, but He was saying it’s time to compile it – all of it.
The words of this story frequently came like labor pains at midnight, hard and fast and impossible to sleep through.
Get up! The Lord would nudge me. Write it down!
I would fight against the prompting for two hours usually, and then finally accept the fact that words being birthed don’t care what time it is.
As I ran that summer morning, I couldn’t out run the voice of the Lord telling me that this story would one day be a published book.
The message was everywhere. Conversations with friends, songs on the radio, it was like God even commanded the birds to sing write your story Julie.
It actually wasn’t the writing part that scared me. I’ve been attached to my pen and journal since high school. My adrenaline raced with excitement about writing the book. The scary part for me came after that. Publishing.
As I ran I asked God, as politely as I could, if He knew what it took to be published in today’s world. My conversation went something like this:
Lord, I will write the story. But how do I publish it? Do you know you have to have things like platforms and hundreds of email subscribers? You have to be on radio shows and in the newspapers. I don’t have that, nor do I really want to do that. I don’t even like Facebook and don’t even have a Twitter or Instagram account.
Yes, Julie, I see and know all that. Are you willing to trust me?
Ugh, that question! The conversation went silent for a few minutes as I wrestled with my answer.
Yes Lord, I do trust you.
And that’s when I laid it all down. With the smell of freshly cut hay in my nostrils I decided to obey, write the book and trust Him with the rest.
So I wrote. And I wrote and I wrote, edited and edited, following the next step and the next step. The Lord parted the waters of life for me for six months and allowed me time and space to finish this project. On May 1, 2016 my self-published book went live for all the Amazon world to see.
And I thought I was done. I checked the box marked self-publish book and was ready to enjoy my summer and not think about writing and platform for awhile.
Then, towards the end of May, I heard about this writing contest put on by Faith Radio out of Minnesota. Contestants had to ask people to vote for their piece, and the top 10 voted on stories went to a panel of judges from Bethany House Publishing who would pick three winners. The winners were invited to a luncheon, tour of the radio station and an 15 minute interview with an editor from Bethany House.
But what got my attention was the theme they chose for the submission story: Redemption. I immediately thought of my adoption story!
I called my mom and told her I was thinking of entering it in the contest. She said, “You should! You could win!”
So I submitted it and asked everyone I knew to vote for my story. A week later it made it the top ten. And by the next week I heard on the radio that my piece had made the top three! And for the first time in front of my kids, I screamed in excitement!
What an honor to have a one on one meeting with editors from Bethany House Publishing! And then my thoughts turned to, Oh my goodness, what have I done? What will I say? Will I be able to form any sound with my mouth or will I be so awestruck I can’t speak?
Before I knew I won the contest I applied to be apart of Shannon Ethridge’s B.L.A.S.T mentorship program. Before you’re accepted into the program, you have an initial phone consultation with Shannon herself, just to make sure your goals line up with hers.
I told her all that was happening and about the meeting with Bethany House. She was so excited at all that was lining up, that she offered to help me put together my book proposal and give me feedback for that 15 minutes I have with them.
I couldn’t believe it! God’s provisions felt like manna from Heaven.
During my excitement, I thought back to that jog by the fields where I agreed to stop arguing with God and just trust Him. He does know what He’s doing. I didn’t know then my stepdad would adopt me, and I would write a story about it that would touch hearts and be featured in newspapers and even the Huffington Post. I didn’t know that would be my entry to a one on one interview with Bethany House. If I’d known, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep for weeks!
I didn’t sign a book deal with Bethany, but I did get some great feedback and an open door to come back when my following is bigger.
Sometimes, we have to feel around in the dark before God shows us where He plans to take us. Eventually He’ll turn the light on or open the door and we’ll see how He’s been leading us the whole time. But if we knew beforehand all we would do, I believe we would be paralyzed stiff.
So what scary adventure has the Lord laid on your heart? Will you trust Him with the details that seem impossible?