Want to know a secret?
I’m working on a new book. After a nearly three-year hiatus, when I thought my writing ministry was a but a dot in my rearview, Papa God made it clear to me that the roast isn’t done yet. And you’re the first to know, dearest BBFFs (Blessed Blog Friends Forever)!
For the past four weeks, I’ve been dedicating my time and few remaining brain cells to creating a new devotional proposal, which is the first step in seeking a publisher who would dare take a chance on a new book by me. (In case you’re wondering, the previous publisher of my 40+ books to date decided to move on without me – which is not at all unusual in Publishing World.)
For your literary education, a book proposal is a pitch to a publisher, usually around 15-20 pages, which covers all aspects of who will (hopefully) buy your proposed book – IF they choose to publish it – when, where, and why (after all, book sales are the reason pubs can keep their doors open, so they are of utmost importance). Your proposal typically ends with 3-5 sample chapters (or devotional readings in this case), which were 3-5 more than I had already written.
Hence, I was scrambling to pull together 5 devos with 5 different scriptures and 5 different points illustrated by 5 different anecdotes (as you know if you’ve read any of my previous devos, I like to use personal stories in all my daily readings), closing with 5 different application prayers.
It may not sound like a lot, but it sure felt like a lot to rusty writer me.
So by the grace of God, I got four done. Whew. Then … disaster. I became totally stuck when facing the fifth. I knew the topic/point and even the title, but I couldn’t come up with an appropriate anecdote to illustrate, “God Is Working Behind the Scenes.” With all the grace notes I’ve received from Papa God, you’d think finding an everyday miracle I hadn’t yet used in a previous reading would be a piece of cheesecake. For some reason, I simply could not come up with a story of God’s faithfulness that fit the (small) word count and made the point adequately.
I prayed for an idea. I paced. I ate brownies. I prayed some more: “Lord, if you want me to write again, you’ve gotta give me something to write about!” I looked back through old blog posts I’d written. Then magazine articles. But nothing worked.
When I came back still empty after a long prayer walk, I felt like crying. I was so close to getting back in the saddle again, but maybe I wasn’t ready after all. I still believe wholeheartedly that if He wills it, He fulfills it. And I never want to push my way into something ahead of Papa God.
Then I felt it.
It was that Holy Spirit elbow jab to my ribcage that means the Almighty is trying to tell me something. But you know, I’m sorta dense. Sometimes it takes more than one jarring jab and a well placed knock upside the head as well.
With the first nudge, I felt a ridiculous urge to go into my bedroom. I ignored it. There’s nothing in there but a bed. How could that help?
A half-hour later, as I was randomly passing by my bedroom, I suddenly found myself standing in front of my bedside stand, just staring at it. There was that holy jab again. What in the world was that about?
I opened the drawer. Jab. It was full of junk, books, and old papers I hadn’t looked at or thought about for ages.
For Pete’s sake. Was I supposed to clean out a dresser during this crucial writing time? Papa God sure has a weird sense of humor.
I couldn’t figure it out. But I couldn’t walk away either. So I started pulling out old address books (remember those?) and piles of stuff from years of mindlessly tossing things in a drawer and forgetting about them.
One tiny ornate pink booklet with blue flowers caught my eye. Cute. What was it – another address book? Or maybe a wee diary? I had no memory of it whatsoever.
I opened the cover and just about dropped my teeth. My own handwriting boldly proclaimed across the top of the first page, “God’s Miracles in My Life.” And then at the bottom of that same page, “So I’ll NEVER doubt!” Contained inside were pages of grace notes (Papa God’s fingerprints in my life) beginning in April of 1990.
Good heavens. Over 30 years of miracles right there at my fingertips.
I laughed out loud. Really? Are you kidding me? Talk about a direct answer to prayer.
Then as I thumbed through story after story of God working in my life, I shed a few tears. Not just because I had hot proof that He’s been there all along, orchestrating miracles just out of sight, behind the scenes, but also because that little book in my hands is affirmation that He’s genuinely interested every detail of our lives. That He heard my pleas, saw my conundrum, and acted.
That He overtly worked behind the scenes just to prove, well, that He’s always working behind the scenes.
And that maybe He really does want me to start writing again.
The jury’s still out on that one. I did send my completed proposal to my agent a few days ago, who in turn sent it to a possibly interested publisher. But the wheels turn v-e-r-y slowing in Publishing World. So I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out if you’re interested (let me if you are).
In the meantime, we’d all love to hear your own evidence of Papa God working behind the scenes in your life. Ya never know – your story might be just the one He has in mind for my new devo!