Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dealing with life's interludes

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend. If you wish to be removed from this e-mail list, simply hit reply and write REMOVE in the subject line.

Scripture: Psalm 62:8 (NLT) (Written by David) O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Interlude.

Sometimes, I wonder, “How long is God's interlude for my life? An interlude is a musical direction for a song. It's a pause, or respite. Maybe a harp or lyre was played during worship in this time of the song played during worship during the time of King David. When God answers prayers with a “Not now,” it means an interlude is coming in our lives. I am in an interlude right now, waiting to see where God takes me professionally and in ministry.

This message rang true for me during the past four days when I attended a Christian Writers' Conference at Mount Hermon in the Santa Cruz Mountains 90 minutes from my home. It was my third writers' conference, which is where published authors and would-be writers such as myself pitch their wares in hopes of getting published. My first attempt was in 2005 when I was selling a Bible study for single parents. Out of that conference, I heard God's calling to write a daily devotional for single parents, which I tried selling in 2007. Those projects brought interest from editors but no contracts to publish.

So I kept writing, trusting that I was doing God's will and ministering to a few hundred single parents in varying stages of life in the process. Now, I have more than 800 devotionals written, and in the past few years, they have become more about general Christian living, instead of just focusing on the single-parent life. This weekend, I was also trying to sell the book project I'm working on entitled Feast With the King, whose premise is using good food to build relationships and witness to friends and neighbors.

While I was waiting to meet with an editor, I was thinking of a hook for the single-parent devotionals, because publishers felt was lacking with A Single Cup, the name I've given the book. Then it hit me: add 100 easy cooking recipes that are helpful to busy single parents. Viola! The next three editors and two agents I met with loved the idea and wanted proposals from me after the conference. All three told me to ditch the single-parent angle and focus on all adults to increase my number from 100 to 365 plus the 100 recipes. A little rewriting would be in order, though.

The whole conference was a wild success for me, as I have an estimated 20 proposals to write and send off from the 27 meetings I had. Each proposal takes about 10 hours of writing, so you can see the work ahead for me. Plus, I spent the first two days of the conference meeting with magazine editors looking for interesting stories from freelance writers such as me. They, too, loved my food ideas. Food is one of the big Internet hits around the world, but the Christian publishing world is practically devoid of anything. I spent 10 hours in a class learning how to market my writing online, which is even more work ahead for me.

Is my interlude over? I don't know. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. I need to prioritize the hundreds of hours of work ahead of me, and I'm not sure where to start. Maybe my answers can be found in the beginning of this Psalm, which starts, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.” Life's interludes are usually for a reason. Maybe the time wasn't right in 2005 or 2007 to publish my books. I don't even know if 2010 is the right time. That's where the trust comes in. God alone is “my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me” (vs. 7). I have to trust him.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for your blessing on my work this weekend. I pray that my writing be used for your goodwill. Lord, be with me in the coming months as I follow up on my projects. Amen

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