Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your discoveries with us. Leave a comment. Jennifer is offering the gift of a print copy of Her Small-Town Refuge to one reader.
When people ask about my writing journey, I suspect most want to hear about my steps to publication. Like, when I first realized I wanted to write or how I met my first publisher. But while those steps, at the time, felt monumental, looking back, I realize God did His greatest work within me.
Book covers will fade, pages may one day fall out, but the soul lovingly crafted by our Savior’s hands will last forever.
When I first realized my call to write was indeed a call, I went from awed and insecure to prideful and expectant. Initially, acutely aware of my newbie status, I joined every Christian writers’ organization I could find. I took classes, went to conferences, worked with critique partners, finished novels, submitted queries, deleted rejections, went to more conferences and worked with more critique partners …
After a few years of this, I was sure I was ready for that coveted book contract. I was quite frustrated with God for withholding this, in fact. I began to look around at all my friends and colleagues, some who’d been writing for a lot less time than I had, who were receiving three-book deals.
Insidious lies began to steal my peace and joy. Lies like: God’s holding out on you. God’s blessing her and not you. You’re wasting your time.
Then, in the middle of a stressful (aka frightening) season I reacted. After receiving a harsh email I should’ve ignored, I typed and sent an angry response.
I immediately felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction and apologized, but it was too late. The individual forwarded my email to at least seven others, an act I learned about when one of those recipients contacted me to “school me” on proper Christian behavior. I was mortified by the exposure but even more so by the ugliness the interchange revealed within me.
Later that night, as I was lying in bed, I received another email, this one offering an exciting ministry opportunity. One I probably would’ve jumped on, had the invitation come a few days prior. But in that moment, all I could think was, “I’m not ready.”
I knew God had a lot of work to do within me before I could faithfully carry a platform for Him. And so, I closed my eyes and prayed, “Lord, do whatever necessary. Purge me of my pride, selfishness, and defensive tendencies, and fill me with Your love.”
The years that followed were tough. I lost a dear friend to brain cancer, and developed, in a deeper way than I had before, a focus on eternal things.
I became sick, for a while so sick I had no interest in writing and never thought I would again. Through that experience, God taught me to find strength in Him.
A year later, partially due to the stress my illness placed on our family, my daughter battled a scary depression and acquired her first of three bouts of shingles. Oh, how I wrestled with mama guilt! But I also learned to trust in grace, in the God who promised to turn all things, my failings and the wounds they caused my daughter included, to good. For my good, yes, but for hers as well.
That was also the year I discovered what it meant to pray
I don’t believe God caused any of my hardships. I’m certain, however, that He used every moment to grow and mold me, because that’s how faithful He is.
My pain wasn’t wasted, nor was the gift He planted within me.
Years and oh-so-many tears later, I received “the call;” My first publishing contract. And I knew I wasn’t any more ready to carry a platform for Christ than I had been when I first gave Him my yes. Only now, I was aware of weakness and how desperately I needed Jesus, every moment, every typed word, every email, and every contract signed.
I’ll probably never feel “ready” for any of the opportunities God has allowed or will yet provide. But that just means I’ll turn to Him, listen for His guidance, and lean hard on His strength, all the more. And when I blow it? Because I know I will. I’ll find a quiet place to sit with Him, repent, yield to His transforming work within me, then I’ll celebrate His grace and begin again.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. As the founder of Wholly Love Ministriesshe and her team help their local, national, and global community experience increased spiritual and emotional freedom through an ever-deepening relationship with Christ. She cohosts, with Grace Fox, the Your Daily Bible Verse podcast and also cohosts, with her Wholly Loved Ministry team, the Faith Over Fear podcast. She also maintains devotional blogs found JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her through her website to book her for your next women’s event.
Her Small-Town Refuge
secure the future she’s been wishing for,
she must earn her boss’s trust.
Escaping to the Texas Hill Country with her daughter for a vet tech internship is Stephanie Thornton’s chance at a safer life. But when medicine goes missing from Caden Stoughton’s struggling vet clinic, all evidence points to Stephanie. With the new life she’s been searching for hanging in the balance, Stephanie must convince Caden to trust her with his business…and his heart.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Jennifer-Slattery-ebook/dp/B09C2D79TY