To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
Today, my daughter and I were talking and I started telling her about some of the things she might be able to do in high school. She still has a few years to go, but I believe what triggered it was the fact that this year she will be in sixth grade and for the first time, she will have a locker. I was always terrified that I was going to somehow forget the combination to my locker and not be able to get my books when I needed them. To this day, I still dream that I am in school trying to get my books and that I’m late to class because I can’t get the stupid locker to open…and of course, in my dreams, I’m an adult and once I actually get to class, I realize that I don’t even have to be there. But I digress…the thing that was interesting about my conversation with my daughter was that I told her I used to be the editor-in-chief of our high school newspaper. I told her that I still had some copies of it if she wanted to see them. And she was very excited that she was going to get to see some work that I had done over twenty-five years ago. I hadn’t thought much lately about all the work I had put into those newspapers so many years ago, but when I brought them out to show her I was surprised to find that even then, my purpose on this earth had been evident. I just hadn’t been able to understand it then.
For years I had hung onto the memories of writing each column and formatting those pages. I had loved the work even then and it was obvious by looking at the content of those old papers that we (the newspaper staff) took our task very seriously; reporting the student news with enthusiasm and flair. What a wonderful group of people I had worked with! And even better, I’m still friends with several of them to this day. Those days were difficult for me and it was writing that newsletter that gave me hope and a sense of purpose when I had nothing else to hold onto. Due to some silly family conflicts, I had stopped attending church about a year before I started working on the newsletter, so I had no idea how to put my trust in God and to see His promises in all things.
At one point, I was sure that I wanted to be a journalist and I had hoped one day that I would be a famous writer. I’d had dreams of putting together best-sellers and being adored by thousands of fans…I guess my dreams were kind of small in scale. But to my credit, I had no real frame of reference for what fame entailed. Life intervened, though, and my dreams of becoming a writer were interrupted by the resounding opinions of friends and family who said that writing just wasn’t going to be a practical career choice for me. I put away my binder full of half-written stories and set my sights on the pursuit of a good, honest living.
It took many years before I realized that I had been running away from what was obviously a God-given purpose. He intended for me to be a writer. And so, after nearly fifteen years of not being creative, I pulled out the old binder and started re-writing one of my old stories. That story later became book one of my mystery series, The Rona Shively Stories. Writing the Rona books connected me to some of the most wonderful people and my life finally began to take shape. Now, in the midst of writing book number 8, I have my own small publishing company and I help other authors tell their stories as part of the mission of Books from Higher Ground. The writing and publishing also are set up to support the women’s empowerment ministry that was born out of the years of struggling to understand some very traumatic things I experienced along the way.
The point is that all of the things I’m doing now have been built on a foundation that was put in place as I grew into the purpose He had set for me when He formed me. As I was going through those things, I couldn’t see any reason for them. But years on the other side of those painful experiences, everything that I went through makes perfect sense. Or at least makes enough sense for me to help others who have been through similar experiences. And that is what it’s all about. When we are knee-deep in our own misery it is hard to see why any of it had to happen in the first place. But when we start looking at things with an eye toward how God never wastes any experience that we go through, our perspective can become extremely clear.
Pardon the pun, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are we. It takes many years of life to make us into the people that God has designed us to be. To truly reflect His glory, we have to make room within ourselves for that glory to dwell. And sometimes, that kind of renovation takes a very long time.
“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”
~Job 42:2 New King James Version (NKJV)~