I am in the very fortunate position of having just signed a contract to write the book I’ve had on my heart for quite a few years now. It has been a long journey, though, as it was during 2014 that God first whispered to me: ‘Tell your story. Write it down.’
I began to tentatively write, then approached a publisher I had edited for – and had a great response. I then had … a two-and-a-half year wait! I wrote a little about that last January.
Last autumn I started approaching publishers again. There was a lot of encouragement but so often I heard the words ‘not quite right for our list’. Then, not long before Christmas, I received an offer. I was so excited – but wanted to be sure that I was moving in the right direction. Because God had spoken to me clearly again at a conference in November, saying that I no longer had to strive to get my book noticed – that He was going to champion it now.
Soon after the first offer, an unexpected one came from the original publisher, who I hadn’t even considered approaching again. But the staff had changed, and, when a wonderful ACW friend and colleague mentioned my book idea, they asked to read what I had so far. With a positive response I was left amazed, excited – and wondered how to choose between two offers!
Why am I sharing this? Because of what I’ve learned about waiting well – or not so well! It was at this point that the waiting became excruciating. I may have endured two and a half years previously, but there were still five weeks between the initial offers and finally seeing a contract in my hands. God used that time to expose some huge vulnerabilities in me.
I had moments when I railed at God and found it difficult to accept that He was teaching me something through the waiting. It had been so long already – I just wanted to be able to celebrate and crack on with the writing! But God began revealing things to me, such as how difficult I found it to trust in what I knew He had clearly said to me when the circumstances weren’t matching up.
On one occasion, when I wanted to chase again, everything I read seemed to be telling me not to. On that day, the verse in my devotional was Exodus 14:14, ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ The next day, an online devotional included: ‘Initiate nothing. Watch what I can do.’
I also felt God stir me to do some study on resting and being still in Him, but all the while I felt churned up inside. I began to question my ability, the publishers’ interest, whether I had heard God right… I certainly felt the truth of the verse: ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’ (Proverbs 13:12). I pressed on with the writing, but found it so hard to concentrate.
I took to pouring out my feelings in my journal – and found writing my own psalms really helped. I would tell God how frustrated I was, but then declare my trust in Him and turn to worship. I would ask Him to teach me how to rest in His peace, to learn that His acceptance is the most important.
I was shocked at how bad I was at waiting, having done it for so long! With the end goal in sight I seemed to want to run quicker than God wanted to take me, and it was painful. I’m in no doubt that facing up to my own frustrations and inadequacies, as well as doubts, was part of the process. I do appreciate God was making me more self-aware – although I wish I had made the discovery quicker! ;)
Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict and Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes, and her next co-written book, Insight Into Burnout, is available for pre-order now. Her next book, Taking off the mask: learning to live authentically, is due for publication in November 2017 by Authentic Media. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.