What a year 2018 has been. After a tumultuous 2017; two heart operations, cataract surgeries, and lots of time to focus on writing (thank you Lord), I eagerly awaited the New Year. Praying often about my calling to become a Christian writer, I had no idea what I was asking for.
I attended my first Christian writer’s conference in November 2017. Publishers and editors requested book proposal submissions for the manuscripts I pitched. I began this year with high expectations. I kept busy polishing my nonfiction book proposal, re-working a devotionals book idea I’d received guidance on, and applying lots of new writing tips. Before I knew it, mid-year arrived. Looking back, I saw lots of perceived progress. With little to show for it. A few submissions made to national and on-line magazines, a contest entry made, and a book proposal submitted.
Within weeks, it seemed the “well dried up.” No more writing, no new contests, no news from publishers, editors, or anyone else. I wasn’t even receiving rejections. Unable to understand, all I knew to do was pray. Father, I don’t know why you’re pausing me, but I trust you to let me know when your timing is right. Move me forward when you want and not when I think things should happen. That’s when the call arrived. “Come home quick if you want to see dad. Things aren’t good” my brother said.
Two months earlier, our dad fainted and broke his wrist. Six months earlier, he moved from the family home into an Independent Living facility. They provided help, served meals, and required much less activity. Now, it seemed, our dad was nearing the end of his journey. He had survived twenty years of heart procedures, complications, and a wide assortment of maladies and an equal number of medicines. Now, I was told he might only survive another month.
Closing out some consulting work, finishing up repairs around the ranch and postponing others, I got to Florida as soon as I could. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I knew this trip was my “final goodbye.” I called my sister to explain that with my wife’s health and dad’s wishes for no memorial, I didn’t see returning when dad died. I would opt to grieve at home with my wife rather than with my siblings.
On the second morning there, God revealed His plan for my life. I was not there to say goodbye to my dad. Instead, God had other plans. My job was to bring my dad back to Texas to live with my wife and me on our little ranch. At that moment, my fledgling writing career, my consulting work, the ranch I love, and many other things took a back seat. God changed my focus to helping my dad find the dignity, love, peace, and support he needed to live out his days.
Within a week my dad and I lived in the same home once again. Unlike over forty years earlier, we have a very different arrangement. My wife, dad, and I are learning to live in a multi-generational household. I won’t attempt to tell you it’s been easy. I assure you it’s been more of a blessing than anyone could have imagined.
In learning to care for an aging parent, God is teaching me more patience, self-control, grace, and mercy than I ever thought I could attain. Finding a semblance of balance in our new living arrangement, God—as He often does—released the floodgates of blessings in my life. My consulting business has picked up. I’ve had numerous articles published. My writing has found renewed interest with others; and I’ve been overwhelmed with new ideas for books, devotionals, and articles. My obedience to God’s guidance brought breakthroughs in every part of my life. All it took was two simple words, “Yes Father.” Click To Tweet
My prayer is that you also find your way onto God’s pre-ordained path for your life. When we walk in His will, it makes our journey so much sweeter. Faith is the reason for a Christian’s hope. We may not know what tomorrow holds for us, but we know in whose hands we are being held.
10 thoughts on “A Year of Breakthroughs”
Thank you for this post, Jim. I see a lot of my life’s happenings in it. My dad’s death and the following necessities have consumed my time and overshadowed any writing I’d hoped to do on my Missionary Kids book. But – with patience, that I find so hard to have sometimes – this too will pass, and I can return to writing. THANK YOU for this encouragement about their being light and blessing at the “end of the tunnel.” 🙂
Thanks Ms. Jackie. As I am learning in life, more than just my “writing life”, waiting on God always results in something better. Prayers for continued patience, faith, and hope my friend.
Hi, Jim! I’ve heard portions of this through our emails and in devotions you wrote, but the power of this story never diminishes. Having cared for my mom in her final months, my heart goes out to you. Caring for an ailing parent takes sacrifice. But my heart also rejoices for the many blessings that outweigh the physical and emotional output. I’m also celebrating God’s rewards for your obedience…revealing new steps on your writing journey! You alluded to something in your post, but I want to emphasize it. As writers, when we look ahead to where we want to be but are not, it’s overwhelming and depressing. Instead, we need to look behind and see how far we’ve come. Where was I last year on my writing journey? How is the place I’m in now different? A look in the review mirror can be encouraging. Although we may not feel like we’re moving forward, we are, but we can’t see that if we don’t look back. We just may not be moving as quickly as we’d like…partly because snail speed is the pace of the publishing industry. 🙂 That gives new meaning to patience and long suffering. 🙂
Amen Ms. Karen. While I don’t dwell on my past, including past accomplishments, it is always good to look back and see how very far we’ve come. I never imagined myself becoming a Christian author. Now, I can’t imagine not being one. Thank you so much for your always sage counsel and encouragement my friend. God’s blessings…
What a wonderful story, and so well told. Thank you for sharing it, J.D.! May the Father give you strength to walk this path in faith!
Thank you for the kind words Ms. Sarah. Feel very blessed this year. It’s been so much fun seeing my name on a byline and finding new writing friends like you. God’s blessings ma’am.
Wow—what a story! God has really blessed you. I’m so glad for what you’re doing for your dad. He has me on pause right now. We’ll see what He does with it!
Ms. Heather. Am learning that pauses are actually “prep time” ma’am. I will be praying that whatever He has in store for you, He moves you closer to Him and it brings Him even greater glory. God’s blessings ma’am.
Thank you for your faithful commitment to your dad. I knew your heart when we first talked in July and i completely understood. even though many did not.
Thank you for your sweet comments Ms. Lisa. Having my dad live with Diane and I has been such a blessing. God’s blessings ma’am.