Those of you who visit with me on my Facebook page may know that I’ve been working on a book. A rather emotional book. One that was an absolute joy to write. It stirred things in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. It was an incredible experience… but as a mommy of 3 little ones and virtually no “office time”, it also had me setting my alarm at 4:50 every day. If I could get properly awake by 5:00, that would give me two hours of writing before the kids woke up and we began our day together. So needless to say, it was an experience both physical and emotional.
But as a writer–one who aches to tell stories… love stories–it was glorious.
And in a way, as I gently and tenderly set the story on the shelf… it was also bittersweet. Lean in and I’ll share with you…
It all came to a close just as Christmas was rolling around. It had me sitting down in a quiet corner, simply looking out and watching. Soaking in the joys of the season. Listening to new-found memories of loved ones, seeing all the pictures on Facebook. Curling up with my kids reading old, old books, and watching movies with my husband. There may have been fondue involved at some point.
All the work I had done prior, combined with all this taking in and resting…had me short on words. Quite short on words. Rather feeling like I just didn’t have any left. It was like my heart was sleeping. Resting. Savoring. And I didn’t know how to put it in action. I tried to revive it, truly I did. I knew I had blog posts to write and other things to get to, but there I was, still savoring the dim, quiet.
Weeks have since passed and here it is Monday morning and tomorrow, when you’ll be reading this, I’m determined to get a blog post up. I told the Lord that I just don’t know what to write about. I’ve tried a hundred times it seems and each one has been deleted. Yet if there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, especially when the words just can’t be found, it’s this: go to the truth. Find the truth and you’ll find the words. So there it is, the truth. My sleeping heart.
I tend to be a busy girl. If things are happening, I like to help them along. If nothings happening, I like to fill the space with what I can. But then there are those moments–perhaps you’ve had them too?–when you simply have to wait. You’re nestled between so many unknowns and you simply have to be still and be patient.
So you slink down. At first you worry, perhaps there’s even a bit of sorrow. This being settled in one spot is not what you’d been working toward, praying toward, pouring your heart out for. But here you are.
One of the greatest lessons God has me learning is to be okay with that. To be ok with simply waiting quietly. Trusting. Patience. Joy-regardless. The moment I stop thrashing around, the moment I simply look up from where I’m at and remember, remember, that He has it in His hands. This marvelous plan of His might not look like I would have done it, but oh, it’s so much better.
It’s here that I feel the lessons He’s planned for me. For me to let go and simply trust.
And then, there it is.
Some glimmer of light. It’s not much, but oh, I see it. A new opportunity. A new direction perhaps? A burst of hope, just out of reach, but drawing nearer. I look up at the Lord, a soft question of– May I? May I dream? Maybe even put a few words onto the page?
Always. He says, always.
I promise not to fidget too much there where I’m sitting, but I do pull out paper and pen and while feeling the warmth of that hope on the horizon, I put words onto that paper. They scribble out, a story of my heart. I don’t know all that it’ll become and I don’t know that it’ll become anything at all, and I never expected to write it, never thought the opportunity would come, but with that glimmer of something warm and feeling oh-so-right, I wonder if it’s not simply a gift from the Lord. His beautiful way of saying, thank you, child. For waiting and trusting.
All the while, as the story pours out, I know that somewhere along the road, I may end up folding this up, tucking it away as the season of trust and rest and quiet and uncertainty continues. But even through that, I’ll cherish this gift. This little spark. This opportunity to write…and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches….to story board…and wipe my little one’s tears…
Each season is a gift. Each one has it’s ups and downs and I want to continue to cherish each moment as they come. And to keep trusting that God has it all in His hands.
Let’s chat: When you are in a time of waiting and unknown, what keeps you going?
I had a similar experience this Christmas season. Those seasons are good for our hearts I think. And I am so excited to read your new story, I am sure it will be beautiful.
It really is good for our hearts, isn’t it, Lisa? So glad to “see” you and I hope you had a wonderful (and restful) Christmas.
Such sanctuary and hope in these words, my friend. Beautifully said, from a beautiful heart. <3
Thank you, Amanda. You are such a dear encouragement to me.
I can’t wait to read your new story!!! 🙂
Why thanks, Michaela! You are such a sweet heart!
You, my dear friend. You are what keeps me writing when the story seems off kilter, the plan crazy, and the hero and heroine at odds. Your faith in my stories keeps me at the keyboard. After my own quiet season.
Two weeks off, I hoped I’d feel more rejuvenated, but time to just keep making magic happen. Love your quotes. Can’t wait to read your new book. Well done, Joanne!
Oh, Ashley that means so much. It has been an HONOR to work on our books together, reading and sharing and sharpening our craft. I am so proud of you and can’t wait to see what God has in store for you!
This is exactly where I am right now! You have no idea how timely your words are for me. The only way I’ve been able to put it into words was just to say that my ink well had dried up. Ideas are fleeting. Every time I think I have something that might be something, it’s gone before I know it. And then another rejection comes and my heart cries out to God to please take this all away. To just let me stop! And then when I’m dry as a bone, as I am now, I beg him to give it back. But to give it back and make it worthwhile. To let me see what I’ve hoped for once again. And to use me in a mighty way to bless someone’s heart with my words–his words. Thank you, dear friend, for sharing this!
I am so happy to hear that! I think this is such a thing that we writers go through. It’s very very bittersweet, the ups and downs. I think of what you said about wanting God to take it away and then even give it back, OH how I’ve been there too! God, why do I have these desires?? It’s that faithfulness to just keep trusting that is often the greatest challenge. Thank you for visiting and hugs!
This is always a time of year I feel most down. Your books are wonderful. God will give you the words. Look forward to your new book. Your blog was wonderful it came from the heart.
Diana, I’m so glad the books have been an encouragement to you. It is a time of year that can have us blue. So much energy and so much going on, but also such change and business that it can wear on us. I hope you feel fresh encouragement in this new year!
Waiting is good and there are seasons when it’s necessary to do just that so you can be renewed. During the waiting, you are allowing new stories to come forth inside your heart so you can again pour them out to bless us, your readers. I so enjoy your gift and can’t wait to read your new book on the horizon.
Waiting truly is good. That’s one of the things that I keep having to hold on to. Thank you for your sweet encouragement and your kind words, Linda.
Hi Joanne, thanks for sharing from your heart. It is good to wait on the Lord to refill the well and give you the freedom to share that living water again. Your stories come from a deep place in your heart . . . I can see why you need to take breaks and wait on Him for times of refreshing. Waiting is not easy, but it’s good.
“…from a deep place in your heart.” Yes I agree, Carrie.
Joanne, may you be so blessed in this season of your life and your family. Glorious words He gives to share into our heart of hearts. Kathleen
Thank you, Kathleen!
Carrie, So honored to see your sweet comment here. Oh yes, waiting isn’t easy but it truly is good. It’s that time of refreshing where we can gain our strength for whats to come. Thank you for saying that my stories come from a deep place, that means a lot, especially coming from a talented writer like you!
I loved this–spoke right to me. I’ve been procrastinating on the writing front–so easy to do w/so many holiday goings-on and kiddos around all the time for snow days, etc. But I’ve been feeling that nudge from God that it’s time to keep moving, keep writing. Praying for you as you write and share such wonderful truths through your stories, Joanne!
Heather, Thinking of you and other friends who I know have been along this road or are still hanging out on it. Ah, the writing life. 😉 I’m so glad you’ve been feeling that nudge. You have such talent and I’m so excited to see what you come up with next. But I also know that ALL that work that went into bringing God’s Daughter to life was no small task.
Such beautiful words… I’m awestruck by your post today. Everyone’s going through something, and yet we don’t know until they share. I pray you hear God’s whispers in those quiet moments.
When I’m in a period of waiting, I lean on God’s promises and read His Word. Listening, hearing His voice is sometimes still a struggle, but I try to quiet my mind so that I may discern His whispers. Also, I listen to the advice of the people He’s placed in my life at the time. They’re there for a reason, and only God knows what that reason is.
Blessings! I’m excited about your newest book.
I just love seeing so many writelry faces here and knowing that we are often going through that same refining process of writing the stories we feel called to write then also trusting in God’s timing and His leading for what might happen to it. The life of faith is this writer’s life. 🙂 Cheering you on as you work on your own projects and thank you so much for the encouragement on my own!
Joanne you brought tears to my eyes. I can relate to those times of waiting, and waiting, hoping and dreaming. Thank you for opening up your heart with us. 🙂
Oh, Hannah, HUGS my precious friend! I have shed such tears lately so I’m so comforted to know we are in it together.
What keeps me going in the uncertain times of waiting is lots of prayer and the knowledge that God has always provided in some way. If He has in the past, I can trust that He will continue to take care of me. It’s not always easy; it’s sometimes scary, but I must keep on trusting.
Thank you for sharing of what keeps you going. That prayer time is invaluable and you are so right– just seeing of how God HAS provided, such abundance that can easily be overlooked when it’s not the one thing we’re hoping for. Thank you for that reminder. Hugs!
Praying and listening to encouraging music usually helps me. Also, writing my thoughts down. Waiting is hard! But you just have to do what you must, and soon you will get through it. (:
I love that you listen to that music. Me too! Have you heard this one? It’s one of my favs lately for encouragement. 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOkImV2cJDg
Oh, Joanne, I know where you’re at. I’ve felt the same this year. I’ve started so many blog posts, which ended up being erased, because I couldn’t put onto paper the thoughts and feelings of my heart. I took a long blog break too. This reminds me I need to come up with something for tomorrow… I know this waiting, wondering, wishing you speak of. God has been working on my heart in this process. We are called to be writers for more than one reason. We write God’s words to share hope with the world. But we also write because God desires to use it to mold and shape us into the women we are meant to be. And part of writing is waiting…
I know I said this before, but I just can’t not say it again– how much I think of my writing friends and the journey that this process is. It’s a wonderful one but also quite a faith-tester. Thank you for sharing of how God desires to mold us and shape us through this process. If it does nothing more than draw us closer to Him then it has done it’s job. Hugs!
You know , I use to get up at 5 am and do things, it was so peaceful not having anyone but maybe DH up too and we would have coffee and then I would cook , bake, read bible and set to my daily enjoyments or tasks. LOL before I started reading , reviewing and influencing for all you wonderful authors ! Its harder with little ones, I do know that but its a season and not one you want to miss. At 50 this May, I can only look back on my baby season and Daniel is going to be 6 on the 30th of this month. Time so flies by fast. Your books are excellent and such an encouragement to so many. Your heart is in the right place and I love your blog posts, always real, always thought provoking and I love that about you Sis. We are Sisters in Christ and Friends.
Faithful Acres Books
aka Julies next Character Linda Marie Finn in Surprized by Love !
I still cannot believe I won !
So sorry for the belated response! WordPress tried to spam a few comments here, but I’v saved them. 🙂 Isn’t it so nice, that time in the morning? It’s such a quiet time and so much get’s accomplished. Thank you for your encouragement and how exciting to be appearing in a Julie Lessman novel. Wahoo!
I relish in the morning hours…get more work done then for sure. I love your books, I love the new videos and God is going to use you in a way to minister to the hearts of women. Coming Home is a big thing ! Have you got a copy of Tricia Goyers new book Balanced ? If not email her and get one to read and review, so so good… you will love it.
Reserve your thoughts on MOI in Julies books for later this year lol Wait till you see what trouble she has me into…I get redeemed eventually, I think… I cannnot wait to read Surprized by Love end of the year…
Joanne, God will bless you as you follow him… You need Tricia’s book… There are so many ways we can serve Christ in simple things we do , as well as the harder areas of writing and life.
I want on your influencer list…have to read this next book and Put you on my new website and my blog.
Hugs and Much Love
Faithful Acres Books
Oh, I made a board just for you on my faithfulacresbk pinterest wall. Surprize
Oh, Joanne, your words always speak to my heart. Your words and your heart are beautiful and I thank you for sharing them so openly! Hugs to you!!
Why thank you, Britney. I’m always so honored to have you visit me. Hugs right back!
Each season is a gift. That’s so true. Not matter what it holds, God is there, speaking, or maybe waiting for US to stop speaking and just listen, wait. It’s interesting that as I signed books for the very first time this year, I often wrote in them “Grace and Peace in all your Seasons.” 2013 was a year like no other for me, with the highest highs (my debut novel released) and the lowest lows (my father’s passing just before Christmas), and the stress of not writing a new book for the first time in quite a few years, though I did make a good start on one, and pushed another forward a bit, and plotted out a third, and completely overhauled a fourth in the most intensive rewrite I’ve ever tackled. So, that’s something. But not what I’d expected of myself or the year, back in January. And still… Grace and Peace. In all MY Seasons. Amen.
Love this post, and your heart, Joanne.
What a year it has been for you. What a year. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father and it seems like you are just cherishing those memories and taking your own quiet steps as you press on. What a magical thing it is- the release of your debut novel and quite a novel it was!! Such a special book as I can already tell is Tamsen’s story which I’m just loving.
SUCH touching words from your heart! Just want to say that it’s not just writers that can have a sleeping heart – I think it is something that everyone goes through from time-to-time. The more effort we put into the things we do – the more is wrenched from our heart, and the easier it is to reach that point of emptiness.
Those are the times when we need to rest and wait on the Lord (as you have been doing)- we should be joyful, as the Lord will not only use those times to minister through us to others (as he is obviously doing with you, judging by the comments on this post) – which, will in turn, minister to us – but will reveal his wondrous plans for us! When we draw near to him, he draws near to us – sometimes it takes these quiet periods for him to have our undivided attention.
As others have commented – prayer, bible study, worship music, and guidance from spiritual mentors the Lord has placed in our path – all help us draw nearer to him, and be more attuned to hear his voice. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that his plans for us were established before we were born, and Isaiah 40:1 promises that those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
We need only to wait and listen – restoration will follow. He has his arms around you, Joanne! So happy for you, and the plans to be revealed – sending hugs of Christian love for you, my sister.
What an encouragement you are. I truly can’t even express. I’ve felt you bless not only myself but witness how you bless so many others. You’re a gem. Such incredibly true words– the more effort we put into things we do, the more is wrenched from our heart. Oh, how I feel that! It’s a both/and, isn’t it? Both incredible and also trying. I think it’s the trying and the struggle of things that make the beautiful all the more so. Hugs to you and thank you for sharing those verses and for your sweet encouragement, always!