I am a firm believer that God works in many ways. For me, I often see Him working through people coming into my life exactly when I need them. One such example happened a year ago.
For some context, I was at a place in my life, particularly in my writing, where I was feeling unconfident, and kind of lost. I'm not even sure I realized what was going on, but every time I tried to sit down at my computer, or even open my notebook and write out ideas, I just felt stuck. I had been working on the same story for a long time, one that was very important to me, with characters I had grown to love, but something was just hindering me. I realized later that I was believing lies about my ability as a writer, and ultimately about who I am in Christ. I was not even aware that this is what I was doing, however, until a fake snow day changed my perspective.
In Oklahoma, we rarely actually get snow without it also being accompanied by ice, at lot of ice. On this particular day, the first week in March, it was predicted that the ice would come around 9:30 or 10:00, after the school day had already started. Because this had happened earlier in the year and there were a couple of bus accidents, all the school districts in the area decided to be cautious and cancel school the night before. I decided to take the unexpected day off and just relax: sleep in, play around on social media, read, maybe even binge watch Netfix. I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook when I saw someone post a link for a free Christian romance novel. Not being one to pass up a free book, and that being one of my favorite genres, I clicked on the link. It was a novella, Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg. Normally I would just read the book, and then if it was good, see what else the author had written. This time, however, I decided to research the author before I read the book. This is part of why I am convinced this was all God. I never do this. I found her website and read through what all she had written, a few of her blog posts, and her bio. As I'm reading, I realize that I do not see any mention of a husband. Suddenly, I realize this lie I have been believing about myself. "No one wants to read a romance novel by someone who has never been married." I had heard this lie, and even told people they were wrong, but in that moment, I realized the enemy had been whispering this in my heart, and I was believing it. I realized I was telling myself "I've never read a romance novel by someone who was single, so maybe these people are right." At this point, I decided to confront this lie that I just realized I was believing head on. So I did a Google search. I typed in something like "Melissa Tagg single" and I came across an interview she did. One of the questions was about the strangest question she gets asked and she mentioned being confused when people asked her how she could write romance if she wasn't married. She gave a response that was something along the lines of "most science fiction writers have never been to space but no one questions that." I stopped and it was God was just highlighting this. He gave me this gift of stories and who was I to question my ability to write them? If I don't question other people's gifts and talents, why should I question my own?
Needing a little more time to process, I decided to start the book. It's a novella and I'm a fast reader so I finished it in a couple of hours. It was so good. It was similar to how I write, similar characters to the ones I have discovered and fallen in love with in my own stories. It was inspiring. Suddenly I felt invigorated. I picked up my laptop and started writing new scenes. I felt joy writing again. It was fun and exciting again. I was honestly sad at the idea of having to go back to my "normal job" the next day because what I really wanted to do was spend the entire next day continuing to write. That's the funny thing about Oklahoma weather though, it is unpredictable at times. That huge storm that was supposed to come around 10:00 still had not started by 3:00 in the afternoon. Instead, it started at about 5:30 and was actually worse than they thought, thus canceling school for a second day in a row! It was so refreshing to have unexpected time to just sit and write. And God still had more in store.
A few weeks later, Melissa Tagg's next book From the Start was released. The main character, Kate, is also a writer and struggles with a lot of the same things I find myself struggling with. A big theme is that Kate wants to write something that matters. I think maybe all writers struggle with this, I know I do. I had found Melissa on social media and tweeted something to her about really enjoying the book and being encouraged in my own writing by it. To my surprise, she wrote back! It was a sweet note, thanking me and wishing me luck in my writing. It started a sort of online friendship. I discovered she loved NEEDTOBREATHE and was a Jess fan on Gilmore Girls. She has a full time job so she understands the struggle of balancing a writing career with a "day job". She was open and honest on her blog and engaged in Facebook discussions. For someone who I had never met in person, she was so encouraging. Often, she said exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. I felt almost like I had found a sort of mentor in her. I realized God was using her not only to encourage me in my writing, but also in my walk with Him.
Sometimes, God works in these big, obvious ways. When I wanted to move back to Oklahoma City, I needed a car and a job and neither were looking possible. Then in three days, I found a car that I previously couldn't afford, and a job opened the same day I had a preliminary interview. It was pretty obvious that my move was supposed to happen. But most of the time, I find God works in little ways. Just over a year ago, I had not even heard of Melissa Tagg. Now, I consider her one of my favorite authors, and even though we've never met in person, a friend. This wasn't some big moment that happened, it was just listening to that little voice that told me to read her book and do a Google search. I didn't know at the time that it would be a life changing moment, I just decided to listen. And at the same time, we also never know who else may be impacted by our obedience. I doubt that when Melissa Tagg decided to write these books that she knew that God would use them to impact some random author in Oklahoma, but they did. We never know what listening to God can turn into, but I do know that listening to Him is always worth it.
If you are interested in Melissa Tagg and her books, you can check out her website,
http://www.melissatagg.com/ and be sure to check out her newest book, Like Never Before, which releases April 5!
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.