Do What He Tells You To Do
“Write.” I was sitting on my balcony, listening to the waves crash on the shore, feeling the wind whip my hair around my face, and breathing in salt from the ocean and my own tears, missing Mark. Had it really been a year and one month since he’d gone Home? I could not wrap my brain around it…couldn’t get my brain to do much of anything, actually. Foggy eyes from my tears. Foggy brain from the grief that sat on my chest and in my heart consistently. And now it had been a full year. It seemed like yesterday since we held hands and prayed together. Seemed like just a moment ago, he was telling me I would be okay and reminding me that Abba Father would never leave me. I sat resting in the wonderful life God had blessed me with as Mark’s wife, and then a sudden thought of what would come next interrupted me.
What should I do next? What was I supposed to do? As I pondered this thought, I was reminded of one of the many things Mark intentionally poured into me during the last week of his life. He said many things, good, encouraging, uplifting things, but somehow he was able to answer this future question as if he knew I would ask it. We were sitting at the table after Mark had gone over finances with me and what to do with this and that after he was gone. Then, after a few minutes of silence, he said, “Tina, you should write. You’re great at it; others need to hear your words.” I dismissed it in the midst of that intense, intimate moment of our last few days together. A year later, that idea came floating back to me at just the right time. It confirmed what Abba had been nudging me towards that whole year. So, I began.
Another year and a few months later, I am deciding on book cover designs for my very first book, a devotional on God’s goodness in our grief.
“Grace in Grief.”
And it still catches my breath that Abba has gotten me this far. In my book writing journey, which is still deep in the workings, but in my faith in Him on this journey of grief, as well.
Since I am a “do-er,” this assignment, so to speak, has been busy and hard as I learn this new industry of what it means to be an author. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking it would be like.
Maybe I imagined the type of author depicted in the movie, Romancing the Stone, where Joan Wilder shuts herself up in her downtown apartment for months, sitting in her bay window in her jammies and pouring her heart out on the pages. Only in her case, she was living vicariously through her own words. I, on the other hand, had just lived a decade of grief and hardship, the taste of sorrow still on my tongue, yet somehow lifted to a higher hope by His Sweet Spirit lavishing me with all the promises of God. And there was definitely a time to lock myself up in my home and get the words down on the screen, some days even in my jammies. But the comfort of the fiction in Joan’s story was not for me. In order to write this devotional, I had to live the grief. I had to taste the goodness of God in the midst of searing loss. It had to be my story, my experience, my life…walking in His strength, by His grace, for His good purpose.
I’m sure you see the difference, but a book on experiencing God’s presence and His promises could not be made up or even imagined. And so, I have written this book, out of obedience to Abba Father, for His glory, and to come alongside you, the reader. I can’t express what an honor it’s been to write this. I can’t tell you how many times I questioned (and still do some days) my authority to write on this topic. I’m keenly aware that it has been in His strength and with His wisdom that its content is being shaped and prepared for you. I find a similarity between the shaping of this book and the shaping of my own heart. Many edits will be performed as we finalize these pages. Many rewrites, redirects, and drafts. The finished product will, most likely, look nothing like the first draft. With this book and with my own life. But isn’t it all about the surrender? Surrendering my will, my dreams, my ways, my words, to the One who is Lord and Savior of everything and my own heart. It’s the story of all who walk with Him. He is Ruler. We are His treasure, to mold and shape and craft by His hand, in His image. It’s a wonderful reminder that my life is His. And His will be done with this book and with my whole life.
I can’t say when this devotional will be available to you, but I can say it will be completed. Not because I decided or because this “doer” does it, but because it is in God’s will for it to be accomplished. I am so honored to be used by Him.
The other part of being an author, unlike my friend, Joan Wilder, is that after this book is written, I have to sell it. I have to get it into the hands of those for whom it’s been written. Social media? Promoting it on podcasts, websites, and to whomever will listen? I barely know what that all means. I’ve heard it said that writing is the easy part. If that’s true, it makes sense why so few actually get their book written! But I have drawn from being not only Mark’s wife but a student to how he did business, and I have surrounded myself with an incredible team through Hope*books. They are so professional, seasoned, and available to guide me through this industry and this process of selling a book.
Here is where I truly ask for your prayers. I’m not a salesman. Yet, this message God has lived out through me demands I tell all who will listen. The legistics of selling a book and learning social media and building a platform for His message to get out is hard for me. I’m barely on social media myself. Yet the time to lock myself up in my cozy workplace is over. Now this introvert has to adjust to being out there socially. Please pray for me when you think about it. And thank you guys in advance!
Regardless of how hard it seems ahead, and how difficult it has been to go to the dark places of my grief, I am convinced that He who began this work in me will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). My sanctification process and what He calls me to do in this life. We don’t do His work alone. He does it through us.
What about you? What has God put on your heart to do for Him? I can assure you that whatever it is, He intends to do it with you. By His might, in His strength, for His glory. Will you trust Him to work in and through you to accomplish it? I can testify that you will be richer, stronger, and healthier in your surrender. And I will be praying for you as well. Let’s be obedient to the call He has given us. Let’s believe He will accomplish it through us. And let’s give Him all the glory!
In His Name!