Start to Finish – Here we go

 Well, by the help of the Lord, I did it.

I hit “Send”.

What sailed off just then was a book — the culmination of three years’ work and thirty years’ preparation — and all the things the publisher requests with manuscripts submitted for publication.

Now it’s in the hands of some dedicated editors who’ll decide if it’s a good fit for their publishing house.  I, for my part, have placed it in the hands of the Lord.

So what’s it all about?

In 1986, I was single, 26, living in a small apartment, working a state job. Though outwardly little was going on, God was using events in my life to bring me to a place of searching for Him, and allowing His search for my heart to come to fruition.

I’ve written about those events elsewhere, but the memory is still precious of how He cleared the slate of anything else that mattered in life and created a willingness to consider what I had overlooked in His Word for the bulk of my years.  I was warming to the idea of taking a chance on obeying it, because He was showing me it was the path to more of Him, and more of Him is what I had begun to realize I was so hungry for.

When by His mercy and grace my eyes were opened to the simplicity of the Gospel, I abandoned any past ideas of what was right or wrong in serving Him, and simply repented, was baptized in the name that is above every name — Jesus Christ — and was soon filled with the powerful gift of the Holy Ghost. Oh, what unspeakable joy began to flow!

There are many who experience this awesome power.  Some who seemingly come in from off the street and are moved by the preaching and the power of God to the point of responding.  God is faithful to do as He promised, and many are filled with the Holy Ghost.  Oh, that all who do so would be still serving Him years down the road!

In my own case, I was blessed to be in the company of women who were obedient to His call to “come alongside” and help me learn the ways of this new life.  I vividly recall being seated between two of them after a Tuesday night prayer meeting we’d had before going on visitation in the community.  It was as if the Lord impressed on my spirit the words, “Here are your examples.  Go to!”

It was clear He was showing me that there was work to be done for the Kingdom, and work to be done in my newly minted heart to become effective in doing it.  The lives and words of these women would help to guide me down the right path.

That time in my life, though actually rather brief on the larger scale of things, cemented concepts in my heart: of the necessity of faithfulness to the house of God, to daily prayer, to Bible study; the nature of submission to the leadership God places in our lives; the power of intercessory prayer and the beauty of holiness. Allowing these truths to be birthed in my heart, and guarding them through life’s ups and downs, has renewed the tender love of my Savior in my soul day by day.

A lot has changed in thirty years, not with God or how He relates to us, but in how we relate to one another.  Though the value of personal relationships in mentoring new Christians has not diminished, lifestyles have become busier. The rise of social media has brought the temptation to give its connections a larger share of our relationship time, threatening to overshadow in-person interactions to an increasing degree. Are young believers getting enough of the hands-on investment that made such a difference in my early days?

A stirring began to develop in my heart a few years back to document some of the wisdom shared with me early on, along with some acquired along the way, as another voice for those just becoming established in the faith to understand the depth of what God has blessed them with, and how to preserve it. In short, I believed the ideas of how we start walking with God affect how we finish, and I wanted to share what has worked for me.

Anyone who’s attempted to write or be published can tell you it’s certainly not a simple straight-line series of events. What I didn’t know five years ago, when I seriously began to pursue writing upon retirement from that state job, was how complex and even tedious the writing process can be (probably best I didn’t know all I know now at that time).

It’s been a long time since January of 2014, when the plans actually  came together on my radar to write Start to Finish. But since then the manuscript has come together, been revised, put out to beta readers, revised again, and by the help of the Lord, sent off to a publisher for consideration.

Mind you, submitting to a publisher in no way guarantees publication, but it does signify something has been written, worked, and reworked, to the point that one is ready to take a deep breath and say, “OK, here we go!”

What happens in the months it takes for the publisher’s consideration to be brought to a conclusion? You guessed it: more writing. Blog posts are always on the table of course, but the pencil (and eraser)  will continue be put to the next project: a collection of previous posts and new thoughts I hope you’ll enjoy. The working title is That’s What You Get. We’ll see how it goes.

What are your thoughts on strengthening believers? On writing? On pursuing your passion for what God has given you to do?

I’d love to hear from you!

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