To Trust Again
For a year I prayed, “God heal her. Take the cancer away.” It’s sounds real noble to say, “He did when He took her to heaven,” but the truth is that’s not what I was asking for. I wanted it to be here, on this Earth, for His glory, and our gain. Instead, I lost. I lost one of the people who understood me the most. I lost the iron that sharpened my iron. I lost my partner in teaching. I lost my best friend. Even though I prayed I wouldn’t for a year.
The phrase Tammy used to always say to me that has haunted me for months?
“Oh Kelly, God always answers your prayers. You know He does.”
When our bank account was in the double digits and pay day was weeks away, He provided. When I needed a job that would allow me to keep homeschooling, He brought one. When our vans were totaled (two within three years), He provided better ones. When I had brain trauma, when my daughter ended up with a tendon sheath infection, when my husband had a heart attack, God answered my prayers for healing.
But this one, the one that mattered so much, He didn’t answer the way I wanted. And that has left me crushed. Broken. Scared.
Not mad. I know God is sovereign and His will is perfect. I don’t get it, but I know it’s true. I know of His deep love that sent His Son to the cross to die for me, so I can’t not love Him. But I’m left with no prayers for myself because I feel let down. Maybe, in a sense, I feel betrayed.
So, I haven’t prayed for myself. I’ve prayed for others, but the only words I mutter in regards to my own life are how much pain I’m in and how I love God. Both are so true. But I can’t ask Him for important things. Which has shook my world. After years of believing God for everything, I wonder if I can believe Him for anything.
A week after Tammy’s death I was off to attend Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference. It’s the event I look forward to all year. I love the fellowship, the teaching, the entire experience, but dread built in my heart that night before I left because I told myself I’d pitch my next book to a publisher or agent. Not that I’m unhappy self-publishing. I truly love it; however, years ago I promised myself I would pitch every book I wrote, just in case God wanted to open a door for my writing to have a wider reach. Yet here I was, struggling with my grief and feeling so broken. I can’t write a query letter when I’m in my right mind, so I knew that wasn’t happening. I printed out my one-sheet bio and the first three chapters of The Deceived and decided that would have to be enough.
My first morning at Mount Hermon I was polishing the presentation I was giving later on in the day when I struck up a conversation with a fellow faculty member. I knew Sandy’s company, Celebrate Lit, had a promotion division. We talked Facebook algorithms and social media outreach. I got excited about her Blog Tours as a possibility for my next release, so I asked her for more information.
“When is your book coming out?” Sandy asked.
“Well, that’s the thing,” I sighed. “I know I’m supposed to pitch it at this conference, but I really don’t want to. Is that so bad?”
She smiled. “Not at all. Why don’t you practice your pitch on me?”
“No,” I laughed. Then the other part of Sandy’s business came to my mind. “You’re a publisher too, aren’t you?”
Another smile. “Yes, I am. Pitch your book to me.”
I shook my head. “You don’t understand. I can’t write a query letter to save my life. And I suck at writing a synopsis.”
“I’m not asking for a query letter,” she laughed. “Kelly, just tell me about your book.”
For years I’ve thought if I could just tell someone in the publishing industry about my story and have them read my first three chapters, I’d get picked up. After hearing about The Deceived, Sandy asked for the first three chapters—and loved them. She requested the manuscript to send to her readers.
And the waiting begins.
It’s been two weeks since she sent it off, so I reached out with an email earlier this week. She responded that all her readers had several books, so it might be a while. I told God I don’t care one way or another. I told Him to just do what He was going to do. His response?
Ask me for it.
Six months ago I wouldn’t have hesitated. But today? Like I said earlier, I’m praying big things for others. I’m believing God for all kinds of situations for my family and friends. Yet I realized today, I don’t want to believe Him for the important stuff in my own life. I can’t handle the disappointment again. I don’t want my dreams crushed another time. I’m tired of feeling broken, so I don’t ask. I just leave it up to God to do what He’s going to do. The problem is, I know that’s not how we’re meant to live.
God told the Israelites He had good plans for them through the prophet Jeremiah. But He told them to pray. Why? Because when we look for Him wholeheartedly, we’ll find Him.
He didn’t send these words to a happy group of Israelites. He sent them to a country in bondage. A people who were hurt. Crushed. Broken.
Maybe like you.
Let’s be honest. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes you do everything right and it feels like all you get in return is pain. Sometimes you pray fervently for a year, believing God can do a miracle, and your loved one still dies from cancer. And although you know she is in a better place and you thank God the struggle is over for the one you love, your struggle is just beginning. Your nightmare has come true. When that is the place you’re living in, it’s hard to trust again.
So, here I am. God keeps whispering to my heart these timeless words from Jeremiah 29:12-13—”In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
He will listen. We will find Him.
Even in the brokenness. Especially in the pain.
I hit my rock bottom with my depression over a decade ago. Jeremiah 29:11-13 were the verses He spoke to my heart when I struggled with believing the entire Bible was true. Because if it was true, there was a deeper purpose for my life beyond the pain. And since that night, I’ve strived to be what He wants me to be. I stopped watching TV and playing mindless games so I would have time to write. I let go of my shame and started sharing my depression to bring others into a place of healing. I stepped out in faith six times to publish my novels. I started a mother-daughter ministry and funded retreats trusting Him to provide. I’ve been so faithful to do what He has called me to. Now He calls me to an even harder task.
To trust again.
To pray for publication. To plan the next It’s a Girl Thing. To finish the series I’m writing. To begin my next Bible study.
All of these things are impossible without Him. I know that. All of them are the desires of my heart. Yet the words won’t come because the pain is real. And fear tells me that I can’t handle more pain. Fear says rejection will destroy me. It reminds me we don’t have extra money to pay for an event if it fails. Fear tells me the books I’m writing are too hard for others to read because I know it’s been too hard to live. And fear shouts that I’m not qualified to teach God’s word.
What will you choose, my friend? Regardless of what you’ve been through, I pray that you will decide with me that it’s time to trust again.
Father, forgive me for not trusting You. I know You are sovereign and I know You are good. I ask, God, that You open this door to publish my next series. Not for me, God, but for Your glory. So You can reach more people with Your message of hope. So You can bring others back to You. I love You, God, and I thank You for the gifts You have given me. Help me to continue to use them for Your glory regardless of what trials come my way. God, I place all my trust in You. I know Your plans are good. Thank You for the future and hope I have in You. In Jesus’ name,