Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time there was a girl who was exceedingly weary. She felt stuck and she didn’t know what to do. She had lived with chronic illness for so long that she didn’t know how to move on to a healthier life.
This girl loved Jesus with all her heart and yet she felt, in the most technical terms, “blah!” She had all the training and knew all the answers. She grew up in the church, she went to seminary, she had received an appointment as a missionary… before sickness put a halt to all of her magnificent plans.
What was such an overburdened girl to do? Through a series of fortunate events the girl ended up at Exchanged Life Ministries for a week of intensive counseling. She didn’t know what to expect. She was skeptical, yet hopeful.
During lunch the first day, the girl walked across the busy street to a beautiful park with a view of the mountains. She ate her lunch and took this photograph to remember this special place where God would work. She soaked in the beauty and prayed that God would indeed meet her in this place.
Her hope was not in vain. God met her there the second day and her counselor helped her understand what it meant to live in freedom. The girl felt the weight of the world lift off her shoulders when she realized she had been striving in vain because God has already done all the work. It is finished, complete – and so is she! The date was August 30, 2016.
She soaked up God’s Word the rest of the week and had new eyes to see. She understood words that had previously confused her. She was equipped to let go and allow Christ to live His life through her. She took lots of notes and journaled her revelations. The girl was giddy in her new-found freedom in Christ.
Because the girl is a writer, she naturally turned her experience into a short story. She fictionalized it a bit, but it’s her story. It’s deeply personal and a little scandelous. She submitted her story for publication; it was rejected. Not deterred, she entered it into an unpublished short story contest at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. To her surprise and delight, it won second place.
Time passed and the girl took the risk of submitting her story for publication again. Again, it was rejected. Because it was still unpublished, she submitted it to another contest. If she placed, her story would finally be published.
The girl’s story was in the hands of judges, yet again, so she waited, and waited, and got nervous butterflies, and waited some more. One day a magical email appeard in her inbox saying she was a finalist and her story would be published!
Yes, you’re smart and you’ve figured out that I am that girl. My story, One More Step, is a top ten finalist in the Southern Writers Annual Short Story Contest and is now published in their contest issue, Best Short Stories 2017. The magazine released this week, on Wednesday, August 30, 2017.
If my story had been accepted by either of the previous publications, it would not have won either contest. If it had not been rejected, it would not have been published on my First Freedom in Christ Birthday.
Friends, rejection is hard. I don’t always understand God’s timing. When I’m in the moment it feels painful and even unfair. But when God blesses you in His own perfect way, the joy is unspeakable.
If you’re struggling with waiting, hang in there. Trust God and His timing. He knows what is best for us and sometimes He withholds something we think we need so that He can give us something even better.
And that, my friends, is how I captured A Free Life. (Click to Tweet!)
Have you ever experienced rejection, only to receive something better? I’d love to hear about how God has honored your times of waiting. Drop me a note in the comments!
If you’d like to read my short story, head over to Southern Writers for all of the details.
Until Next Time,