While many authors rave about writing fast, I believe slow and steady wins the race. Sometimes, great things come from percolating. Our words, ideas, and inspiration need marinating. Yes, patience is a virtue.
It's kinda like the Israelites who had a pity party complaining about not having enough food. Moses encouraged them to stop having a hissy fit. He told them to be grateful for the manna, which God gave them daily.
In my own case, if I'm going to be real, I do remember in April 2016 when I was called to write this book. I had been desperate for the Lord's will. Not just for my future, but for my husband, mom, and dad's future.
I had been at a complete standstill; personally and professionally. My husband, Tony, searched for a new job after being laid off work. We were in the midst of a financial crisis. In the meanwhile, both my mom and dad battled brain diseases; cancer and Alzheimer's. Seriously, on the outside our circumstances looked bleak.
In a last-ditch effort, I decided to spend twenty-four hours in fasting and prayer. While I'm a big believer in prayer, I wasn't one for fasting. For starters, having hypoglycemia and an auto-immune condition, I had good cause to avoid it.
Perhaps, to those who don't know me or my health issues, it may seem like a lame excuse? For those who live with chronic pain or a vulnerable immune system, you understand that it doesn't take much to land you in bed for days, debilitated. Even from the tiniest changes in your diet or activities. Welcome to my world!
Determined for a breakthrough, I began my fasting and prayer. For me, it meant unplugging from social media. To carve out specific time to spend in the Word. To listen to soothing worship music. To pray throughout the morning, noon, and night. To only eat fruits, vegetables, and almonds. To hydrate with plenty of water. To enjoy the outdoors and sunshine. To journal. To be still. To press into my heavenly Father.
It also meant to pray, to plead, to cry out to Jesus in desperation. To ask Him to reveal Himself to me in a tangible way. To give me wisdom, clarity, and discernment. To meet me face to face. Softly, I prayed, "Lord, show me Your glory."
During my fasting and prayer, I sensed the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit come upon me. My anxiety melted away. Peace filled my weary soul. Repeatedly, the words sacred wandering came to my mind. I had no doubt, Christ gave me a new book idea, Sacred Wandering.
The next day, the most amazing thing happened. My husband received several calls from potential employers. We were both delighted! I knew it was no coincidence. Rather, it was made possible through my fasting and prayer.
Something else had happened following my fasting and prayer. It was unexpected, but I wasn't taken by surprise since I do have health concerns. When I awoke in the morning, I became very ill. After spending twenty-four hours fasting from regular solid food, I suffered nausea, dizziness, a migraine, and fatigue.
Although it was unpleasant, I don't regret my choice. Or regret that I was stuck in bed the next day. The sacrifice was well worth the pain. Ultimately, by the end of that week, my husband obtained full-time employment. Fasting and prayer moved mountains!
I wish that I could say I felt led to immediately write my book. Or that the words smoothly flowed. However, that wasn't the case. Not by a long shot.
Instead, I experienced nonstop writer's block. No matter how much effort I put into my book, I hit a dead end. In frustration, I struggled with ideas, sentences, and chapters. Mystified, I didn't know how to move forward.
For four months, I wrestled to follow God's call upon my life. While I couldn't explain it, I knew that I was stuck in a rut. Plagued with confusion, I placed my book onto the back burner.
In the summer, a new opportunity arose. It was beyond exciting for me! At the time, it appeared to be a dream come true. Following numerous interviews, I was offered a full-time position as a licensed makeup artist and esthetician. Based on my lengthy education and experience, the benefits and salary were outstanding.
Foolishly, I focused on earning excellent income. I got caught up in my glamorous title. And silently I told God, "I don't want to write another book. It doesn't offer dependable income."
During my first week of employment, I sustained a back injury. Not only was my low lumbar area hurting, but my Fibromyalgia was flaring. Isn't it funny how Christ can get our attention? When He loudly slams a door in our face? Of course, at the time there was nothing comical about it.
Talk about a humbling moment. When the tears slipped down my face. When I could barely climb out of bed. When every muscle in my body was on fire. When I became disabled and couldn't function.
In confusion, I questioned how I landed into a heap of a mess. Verbally, I beat myself up for making a wrong turn. I felt like a failure. And I had one heck of a pity party.
Venting. Screaming. Sobbing. Dripping snot from my nose. Yes, sometimes, us Christian gals can find ourselves in quite a pickle. When we come to the end of ourselves. When we realize the only thing left is grace. When God's waiting for us in the midst of our brokenness.
In September 2016, this is what I discovered...
When we come to the end of ourselves, we find Jesus. When we come to Him in our brokenness, His grace is enough. Despite our free will, wrong turns, poor choices, or going astray, Christ will never let us go.
He unrelentlessly pursues us. No matter how far we fall, He gently picks us up. It's during our most painful moments when He wraps us in His tender embrace. When He joins us on this sacred wandering to grow our faith in the dark.
It's a wilderness journey of tested faith. A dessert season of thirsting for more of Him. Long walks, hand in hand, when He showers you with His infinite love. When your heart overflows with gratitude. When you come to see your heavenly Maker with new eyes.
The sacred wandering cannot be rushed. There are valuable lessons to be learned. The purpose is to spiritually strengthen you. To teach you. To mold your character. To prune you. To release old habits. To let go of the people, places, and things preventing you from fulfilling God's perfect plan.
To trust that when you release the old, Christ will do something new. As you bravely trust in Him, He will make a way for you in the wilderness. Lean on God's promise that declares, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
At the end of September 2016, I boldly asked God to do a new thing for me. To confirm if the book, Sacred Wandering, was truly His divine will. Prayerfully, I asked Him to reveal three red cardinals at the exact same time to confirm that I'm meant to write this book.
Deep down, I thought it was a bit audacious of me. I wasn't sure if the Lord would come through. On the same token, I trusted if my prayer went unanswered that I'd graciously accept it. And if He would answer my prayer, I'd walk obediently to write this book.
Week after week, I'd search for cardinals. Strange enough, there wasn't one in sight. It was as if they vanished into thin air. Frustrated, I said, "I don't know what You're up to, Jesus, but I'm standing firm in my prayer."
Weeks turned into one month. God was silent. I wondered if my prayer was insane. Had I lost my mind? Was I testing the Lord's faithfulness? Never before had I said a prayer this big.
One morning, at the end of October, I was doing my gentle stretches on my bed. The window was directly across from me. As I lifted my leg high, I noticed a red cardinal fly into my backyard. Within seconds, another cardinal swooped into my range of vision. Immediately, I climbed out of my bed to head for my window.
To my surprise, a third red cardinal soared into the backyard. Astonished, I watched all three birds meandering outside. Suddenly, each cardinal flew into alignment next to one another. It was like God was showing off and saying, "One. Two. Three. See what I did for you!"
Blown away, I stood in awe. My heart raced with excitement! Never before had I ever seen three red cardinals at the same time. Best of all, Christ not only answered my audacious prayer, He confirmed that I'm meant to write this book, Sacred Wandering.
From that moment forward, I've plugged away to complete what the Lord has called for me to do. While the process from start to finish hasn't been as I'd hoped or planned, I trust each message is specifically for you. To give you hope. To motivate you to press on. To sustain you along your wilderness season. Lastly, to strengthen and grow your faith in the dark.
He Pursues Me...
He pursues me in the darkness.
He pursues me in the wilderness.
He pursues me when I'm lost and lonely.
He pursues me when I'm filled with doubts.
He pursues me when I am not devout.
He pursues me in my backbreaking battles in life.
He pursues me as I struggle with strife.
He pursues me when my heartbreak cuts like a knife.
He pursues me as I search for Him.
He pursues me despite my horrible sin.
He pursues me when I seek His Holy face.
He pursues me as He provides sovereign grace.
He pursues me with a sweet embrace.
He pursues me when I reach the end of my rope.
He pursues me with never-ending hope.
He pursues me in a puddle of tears.
He pursues me when I'm paralyzed by fears.
He pursues me when He reveals He's always near.
He pursues me in a sacred wandering where He tests my faith.
He pursues me as He keeps me safe.
He pursues me with signs and wonders.
He pursues me using vibrant red cardinals.
He pursues me relentlessly and He will never let me go.
He pursues me with His infinite love that gently overflows.
He pursues me as He woos me to follow His will.
He pursues me when He whispers, “Rest and be still.”