I have registered for the She Speaks Conference through Proverbs 31 Ministries.  At the time of doing so, I actually believed God wanted me to write.  He made a way for me to reduce my hours at work, validating He was giving back the time to write that was lost two years ago when I began working full-time.  So, I knew there would be no problem raising support.

This P31 conference is terribly expensive.  So expensive, that signing up for a conference I can’t possibly afford coupled with the reduction of hours and pay at work, flies in the face of all logical reasoning.  It is so costly in fact, that for the same amount of money I could practically self-publish my own book!!

For several years I have longed to combine the stories God has given me into a book.  Backed with gentle nudging and encouragement from friends and family who offered to actually consider reading it, I looked into it.  After weighing my options; literal book in one hand, conference and chance to propose book to publisher with no guarantees in the other, (although on paper weren’t really options because I couldn’t afford either one) I noticed God providing an open door; the option to “raise my own scholarship funds” on the conference website.

DING!  DING!  DING!

There was my answer!  I could raise the money I needed to pay for the conference!!  Granted, chances were slim that I would get a publishing contract out of it, but I was sure I would receive valuable tools to help me be a better writer and give me answers on how to begin this whole process.

Plus… it would be another great story to write; how God would provide for this conference!  So I registered, prepared my financial support letters, sent them out, and sat back to watch God work.

{Cue: crickets}

Nothing happened.

God stopped.

A week went by…

Although I hardly noticed.  I worked on past stories that hadn’t been completed since I began working two years ago.  Working to get these stories finished up continued to fuel my passion and I was still feeling quite confident and excited about my decision.

Another week went by…

With hardly a blink, I was busy starting a blog, made connections with other She Speaks Conference attendees and P31 workers, and had been encouraged and even more excited about my decision to register.

Another week went by…

I began to notice I had heard nothing regarding financial support and began to deal with a bit of doubt, but had felt reassured and confident that God would provide.

Another week went by…

Now I encountered doubt and fear so strong that I started to question my decision.  Why am I doing this?  Have I made a mistake?  Perhaps this isn’t God’s plan for me…  Is this God closing the door?  He’s right!  Who would want to read my stories; I don’t have anything to say after all…

I prayed fervently for God to provide…

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”   Psalm 50:10

“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”   Jeremiah 32:17

This amount of money is nothing to an Almighty God, the Artist of infinite design, Orchestrator of all things, the One who upon exhaling, breathed things into existence…

God responded with:

“Nicole, the doctors at Dental Health Associates have decided that you are no longer able to work part-time in your position.  Sorry, but we have hired your replacement.”

I got punched in the gut.

I’m not sleeping well, my stomach is in knots.  I pray for something, anything, to assure me I’ve made the right choice.  I pray literally for God to send me a sign…TODAY.  I check and re-check email.  I run out to the mailbox in hopes of a letter.  I go on the conference website, I read articles looking…no, begging… for God to affirm this choice and reveal His plan for me.  I try to write…

Nothing.

“But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it…’”   Matthew 12:39

This morning I couldn’t sleep and decided to get up, defeated and not sure even what to say anymore in prayer.  I asked God to take this desire for writing away from me.  This clearly is not His will, or He would have made it clear.

I decided to open the book “for the Write Reason” and wonder why I do.  Each time I read it I get more discouraged.  These are stories about SUCCESSFUL writers.  How God allowed THEIR dreams to come true.  How He gave THEM something important to say.  How everything just worked out and fell right into THEIR laps.

Then I read these words:

“…a book contract was all I could think about.  And I didn’t just think about it, I meditated on it, focused on it.  In truth, I couldn’t think of much else.  Every day when I walked out to the mailbox I would wonder if this might be the day.  And day after day I was disappointed.  My deep disappointment surprised me and served as a wake-up call…  I realized that my getting published was not up to the editors, it was up to God… if He wanted me published, He would get me published.  …in the end it was still His message, not mine.  

“… apart from me you can do nothing.”   John 15:5b

Do your circumstances seem impossible?  Does what He has called you to do seem overwhelming?  Do you think that He has forgotten you?”    ~ Rachel Carman

I had my focus wrong.  God had been giving me a sign; I was just too focused on myself to notice!!  God reminded me of what He told me when I first felt His call to do more with my writing…

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from another place… And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”   Esther 4:14

He has given me words to say, and has even given me time to write!  And He gently reminds me…

“that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”   1 Corinthians 2:5

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”   2 Corinthians 12:9

Apart from Him I can do nothing!!  It’s not about me…it’s about Him and where He has placed me right now.  He is in control and will fulfill my desires as long as I seek HIM first… NOT the other way around.

As I finish my time with Him, my phone beeps indicating I have a message.  I finish up (gosh…look at how calm I am.  I didn’t even rush to the phone!  Ok, so I waited to finish my sentence…)  and see that God in His wonderful sovereignty and loving way, sent a devotion from P31 ministries entitled:

“When Waiting is Hard”  by Wendy Pope

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”   Psalm 27:14

Praise you Lord for understanding my doubt.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.   Proverbs 3:5-8

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