Can I Tell You A Story?

I found this post on my old blog. With the release of The Heavens Are Telling just weeks away, I felt compelled to share what started this journey in the first place.

**Originally Posted July 2013**

I’ve been writing most of my life.

I have never been a confident writer, but have always loved the craft. I have dozens of miscellaneous chapters and stories scattered throughout notebooks and files that I’ve kept through the years.

One thing has remained constant: if I am not in a place of surrender and humility before the Lord, the words do not come, the writing does not flow. The desire is there, but it’s a longing, an ache that I cannot fulfill unless I am walking with Him.

He, and only He, deserves any glory that might come my way from this craft He has blessed me with.

This part of my life is sacred and special to me. Something I can claim that He has given to me to praise Him with. That is my greatest desire in putting pen to paper: to glorify the Lord.

My relationship with Him and with words have danced around one another and last November I could feel a great swell in my spirit–a push, a need to be more serious about my writing. To pursue it with purpose.

But how? I thought of the many stories I had started and stopped. Considered how to rework this angle or that one. Nothing was coming together, but the fragments of something big surrounded me. I simply could not piece it all together; it was just out of my reach.

One Sunday, I went to church early to listen to two women that had gone on a mission trip to Thailand talk about their time there. I had been up late the night before tossing over the writing thoughts I was having. The call to write was so heavy that I literally could not sleep.

But what to write?

As the women told of the work they did on the mission trip, and as I watched their pictures from Thailand flash on the overhead screen, I felt a strong chill course through me as I heard a Voice that I know well, whisper over me.

“This. This is what you will say.” And an entire outline washed over me. I could barely stand still and after the talk I immediately walked up to one of the women and told her I would write a book about the organization they had gone to Thailand with.

She smiled politely.

Looking back, I see how crazy it sounded. How crazy it sounds now. I met up with my family for the church service, but could hardly sit still. I pulled out my sermon notes and scribbled the outline: names, plot lines, etc. Mr’s parents were visiting that weekend and I told his prayer-warrior mother all about what the Lord had told me. To her credit she immediately agreed to pray for me. She didn’t doubt for one minute that what I said was true. I began to write immediately and kept at it for the next few weeks.

But one day in December, I stepped back and looked at the situation. And I felt crazy. In my desire to write professionally had I somehow convinced myself that God gave me a story? I doubted everything and was ready to delete everything I had written and walk away from it. For some reason, I convinced myself that because I enjoyed it, it couldn’t be from the Lord.

That morning a woman from church called and asked if I could write and deliver a Christmas devotional at a women’s fellowship time the next week. She couldn’t know how very much I needed that encouragement at that exact moment. I told her about the doubts I’d been having and she laughed and asked why wouldn’t God let us enjoy the talents He gives us? I agreed to do the devotional and shared my Christmas poem. The response from those women did such good for my heart.

I continued to see God work after that. In too many ways to share.

For the next six months, I was amazed and inspired over and over by how faithful God was to help me fulfill this task He gave me. I would find just what I needed to learn about the places I wrote about at just the right time. I was able to meet with the right people that could encourage me and give me information when I needed it the most.

But still, as I wrote I kept thinking, “Lord! I will never be able to do anything with this! Do You know how impossible it is to get published?!” The answer was always, “Trust Me.”

By chance one evening my family had to make a stop at a grocery store.

One that we never go to.

The older girls had to use the restroom.

While Mr. waited for us in the hall leading to the restroom, a poster caught his eye.

For a writers’ conference in town.

That we could afford.

That I could go to.

I went.

I met a man that works with my husband there and we chatted over lunch. I told him about the story God told me to write.

He asked if I had a sample with me.

I did. I gave it to him.

Turns out he is the co-owner of a publishing company.

Through a series of events, his company and I entered into a contract agreement just a month later.

And next month this book, this journey, will be available for you to hold, to read, to share.

I am in awe. Just in awe. God is so good. He is so good to give us gifts, to give us talents, to let us enjoy the work of His kingdom.

I can’t wait to share this story with you. For now, thanks for reading about the story behind the story.

B.D. Riehl is the author of The Earth is Full, and The Heavens Are Telling.

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