Pausing to Praise

This post is a bit more personal than what I typically publish here on the blog. But I just have to gush a bit today over the goodness of a personal God. From the “high” of speaking at an amazing women’s conference last weekend to the “low” of placing runner-up in a publishing contest that I had been so hopeful was God’s plan for vaulting my story across the walled fortress of the publishing world, it’s been quite a week!

As some of you know, I had the joy of speaking last weekend at the Overflowing Atlantic conference here in Halifax. Saturday morning I woke up to discover that Matthew 5:3-12 was scheduled in my Bible reading plan for that day. What? Really, God?! You’re probably wondering, What’s the big deal? Well, let me tell you! It was a big deal, because these very verses are the backbone of a manuscript I have been agonizing over for years. God has woven the steps of my journey around the Beatitudes; and being rather nervous to speak that day, this was an incredible nod from heaven and just the assurance I needed, to know the Lord was with me and was directing my steps.

As I was getting myself ready that morning, I kept thinking of a particular friend, a dear pastor’s wife, who was also attending Overflowing. I really wanted her to pray with me, but when I got there that morning she was busy at the registration table. The day got underway before I could speak with her. Then during the coffee break right before my session, who do you suppose came to tap me on the shoulder and ask if we could plan to eat lunch together? I grabbed her hands and asked if she would pray for me. Neither of us really knows many details of each other’s stories, but we have both been there for one another at pivotal points in our journeys. On her knees, right there next to my table, moments before I had to get up and speak, she prayed over me, and the two of us were reduced to tears. God is so good, and His timing is remarkable!

Much of what I shared that morning came directly from the pages of my manuscript. It was a message that’s been years in the making, one that has been worked out and lived out in my own life, and one that I trust made an impact.

Sunday morning ushered in a new week, as well as the final countdown to the results of a publishing competition I had entered months ago — the Braun Book Awards (a Canada wide contest for unpublished manuscripts run annually by Word Alive Press). May 30th was the day set for the results to be announced, but all that came through that day was a note saying that the judges were working really hard to come to a decision and to stay tuned for an update on the 31st. More waiting. More wondering. More waffling, not even sure exactly what I was hoping for. First place would mean a full publishing package, but was I really ready for that…to send my intimate words into the world?

Finally, supper time on the 31st the results were made public. Disappointment mingled with relief. I still didn’t know what my heart desired. In the days since, however, I’ve begun to realize that runner-up was the perfect spot for me at this juncture. This avenue was obviously not God’s path for my story to make its way out into the world. Yet, at the same time, it was a much needed step on that path. Landing anywhere on that list was the validation my heart needed that this manuscript has merit and its message matters.

Writing can be lonely business, filled with so much second guessing. I have never worked on a project of this magnitude before, and 54,000 words is a lot to hold in your hands and your head at once. It’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. At some point you start drowning in your own words and wonder if your effort is even worth it.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

Luke 1:45 NIV

That’s what I read when I woke up on the morning of the 31st. I didn’t know what I was hoping for, but I knew in whom I was believing. And I still do! I may not know the details of His promises…the when or how or where of His purpose. But I do believe He has a purpose for leading me this many steps on the journey.

So I’m taking a moment to pause right here on the path and praise Him for all His blessings — the blessings of the Beatitudes as well as the blessings for she who believes. He is faithful. He is good. I trust His heart and His perfect timing in every step that lies ahead.

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