A Season of Work: When God Says Go

Life has a way of slipping by, doesn’t it? When I realized almost a year had passed since my last blog post, I knew it was time to drop in and share what God’s been doing lately. And man, has He been busy! Here’s just a sampling…

In the early part of 2013, I went through what I called a season of sacrifice. God had asked me to lay down my writing for a season, to honor Him by knowing Him more and pouring my heart into my family. It was a beautiful, weightless season that grounded me and strengthened my faith.

Then shortly after, I announced to my Facebook friends that I’d signed my first fiction contract–a novella project with three other authors that was to release with B&H Publishing in October 2015. One month later, I learned that B&H was closing their fiction line and the novella project was off the table.

All this time, a new story had embedded itself deeper in my heart and mind, and I felt a distinct pressing from God to start writing again. I had a few Moses moments and said, “Are You sure, God?” To which He said, “Go.”

So here I am, back to juggling writing and motherhood and life in general. Let’s just say there are moments when I ask, “Can’t You call me back to a season of sacrifice? It was sooo much easier focusing on You and my family.”

But just like God led the Israelites through the desert–His cloud and pillar of fire telling them to sit still at times and then move at others–the same is true for me. I don’t necessarily know where I’ll end up, but I’m trusting that He knows. And in the meantime, He’ll provide enough manna and quail to sustain me. (Or a personal chef and housekeeper would suffice.) :)

So that’s where I am, friends. Still doing my best at this thing called life. I may pop in here from time to time, but I’m not at a place to commit to regular posts yet. (I do update my home page every few months, and if you haven’t already found me on Facebook, rumor has it that I visit there more frequently.)

No matter what season you find yourself in, I pray this posts finds you in the center of God’s will, breathing in His deep and lasting joy.

God bless,
Sarah

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A Season of Sacrifice: Why I’m Stepping Away From My Blog

This is one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve written to date. In fact, I’ve started and stopped it at least a dozen times. Typed until my fingers were sore and then erased huge chunks of text.

How does one summarize a decision that has been whispering for a while and only recently found its full voice?

The gist is this: The Lord has asked me to put writing on the back burner for a season.

There are many factors involved, the main one being I’m the mama of two young children–one of whom will be entering the world of kindergarten in August. That’s six months away.

Pardon me while I hyperventilate.

I’ve heard so many people tell me these years are precious, to invest in my children now because once school starts, I’m releasing them to the big, wide world. (Thank you, Erin MacPherson.)

But the truth is I haven’t always done this as fully as I should. Too many times I’ve allowed my heart and emotions to become divided between my family and the pursuit of publication. All of this to the detriment of what’s most important.

Let’s back up to give some context. (Be forewarned I’m going to have a rare preacherlike moment, but I feel led to share it, so there ya go.)

Six months ago began a journey of spiritual restlessness for me. It’s like something clicked inside and I realized I didn’t want to keep paying lip service to my faith. I wanted to live it out in a deep and authentic way. And this wasn’t just a nice little nudge from God….It was an all-consuming urgency, propelling me to crave more of Him and to seek His true will for my life (as opposed to what I thought His will should be).

And let me be honest. This restlessness scared me like crazy, because past history has shown that whenever God draws me to Him like this, something big (and not always what I view as good) is coming.

As I searched and prayed about where this restlessness was taking me, I started to hone in on a sobering truth. If someone would ask me what my top priorities were in life, I would say: God first, family second, and writing and other interests next. But the way I was spending my time–not to mention my mental and emotional energy–was in the exact opposite order.

Something was wrong with this picture.

Somewhere along the way I had allowed my writing to inch its way to the top of my focus, taking away precious time from my family and my Savior (who incidentally gave me the gift of writing in the first place). Sure, I had surrendered things along the way, but as this restlessness grew, I knew God was asking something bigger of me.

He was asking me to sacrifice.

How many of you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible? Remember how Abraham carted Isaac up the mountain, strapped him to an altar, and prepared to sacrifice him to the Lord? This was his chosen son! The one through whom God had promised to number his descendents as numerous as the stars in the sky.

And yet God had a test for Abraham. It was like He said, “I know I’ve given you this miracle son, but exactly how much does he mean to you?”

In the end, we know that God provided a ram to take Isaac’s place. But before that point, Abraham proved his faith by obeying God, even to the point of risking the loss of something extremely valuable.

Now I’m not trying to get all spiritual-giant on you and make it sound like I’m sacrificing something that equals Abraham’s father-of-the-nations sacrifice. But God did use that story to remind me that no matter what He asks of me in this particular season, He loves me and will provide.

And the truth is, while a step like this would have freaked me out a year ago, I have absolute peace that it’s the right decision.

So what does this look like on a practical level? Well, the most obvious thing is that I won’t be blogging for a while. At this point, I know I need to step back until the fall and I’ll reevaluate after that.

I do plan to keep my writing juices flowing whenever God gives me windows of time, and story ideas are still bursting in my mind and begging to be told. So I’ll seek His guidance each day and use whatever time He gives me.

And while I’m not able to visit your blogs, I don’t want you to become strangers. I’ll still pop into Facebook now and then, so please keep in touch with me there or through email.

Please know that I cherish all of you and can’t wait to see God’s purpose lived out in each of our lives as we serve Him!

God bless you,
Sarah

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Meet and Greet with Author Michelle Ule

Meet and Greet is a regular feature on my blog. Be forewarned…Unlike the typical interview, these brief questions will get to the true heart of my guests…or at least the heart of what’s in their kitchen. Grab a latte (or other beverage of your choice), find a comfy chair, and prepare to make a new friend.

I’m thrilled to welcome Michelle Ule as my guest today! Michelle is an agency-mate of mine who also happens to be Books & Such’s office assistant. I’m in awe of how she wears dozens of hats without even a stumble. Her new book just released this month, and I must say the setting of Coronado Island sounds wonderful (especially since I’m enduring frigid temps where I live). :) For more details on her book and how you can win a copy, keep reading.

Michelle UleNavy wife Michelle Ule is a graduate of UCLA and the author of three novellas and a novel. She lives in northern California with her family where she works at a literary agency, teaches Bible study, plays in a woodwind ensemble, and writes.

Michelle is a long-time lay counselor in both crisis pregnancies and budget counseling. She loves to travel and is an accomplished genealogist. You can learn more about her at www.michelleule.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Welcome, Michelle! On to the questions we go…

Opener Question: What seven words best describe you?

Devout, Funny, Ironic, Musical, Well-read, Navywife, Family-oriented

Either/Or Questions:

1) Right brained or Left brained?

I can never remember if I’m right brained or left brained, which Janet Grant tells me means I’m right brained . . .

On the other hand, I just looked up a test, took it, and it says I’m left brained. (But, is that a right brained or left brained thing to do? So many questions . . . )

http://www.intelliscript.net/test_area/questionnaire/questionnaire.cgi

2) Jump in with both feet or Enjoy the view?

Enjoy the view if I’ve worked for it. Jump in if things are chaotic.

3) Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie?

Love them both. I’ve read Little House on the Prairie more times, so I guess I’ll go with Laura. (Have read the entire series out loud to my four children five different times.)

4) Gourmet chef or Chef Boyardee?

Gourmet. I’m Italian, the Chef B should be embarassed.

5) Classical music or Jazz?

Classical music, but I like Jazz, too. (I’m a trained musician. I played the clarinet in the UCLA Marching Band. I still prefer classical music–which is what I play on the piano!)

6) E-reader or Paperback?

E-reader–it’s easier on my hands to turn the pages. But if I was at the beach, I’d take a paperback.

7) Mountain cabin or Beach resort?

I’d say mountain cabin, but I’ve spent more time at beach resorts (headed to Puerta Vallarta over New Year’s for my nephew’s wedding).

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Loved your answers, Michelle, especially the Chef Boyardee one. :) I also loved learning that you’ve read The Little House on the Prairie series out loud to your kids five times. What a neat way to bond and instill a love of reading in them. I’m still trying to figure out if that makes you right brained or left brained… I took the test you linked to, and I fell almost right down the middle. Maybe this is a common quandary for us writers. :)

Thanks so much for visiting today! It was a pleasure to have you here.

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bridgecaptureBridging Two Hearts

When Amy gets a job as a massage therapist at the glorious Hotel del Coronado, she is excited and terrified because it means driving across the Coronado Bridge to work every day. Josh, meanwhile, returns from a Navy SEAL assignment more than a little uncomfortable about possible claustrophobia–but he’s not afraid of anything, right? The two meet, spar and learn, together, to deal with two very different ways of handling fear.

(You can read about the book’s funny backstory and other information here, including the humorous tale of Michelle’s attempt to get information about SEALS out of the Navy.)

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Blog Readers: Let’s talk…If you’ve had a chance to take the right brained/left brained quiz, what was your result? Or do you already know where you fall on the spectrum? If you’re confused like Michelle and I are, let’s talk books….What one book have you read the most times and why?

*Giveaway Details: Michelle has offered to give away a copy of Bridging Two Hearts! All you have to do is leave a comment. (For extra entries, you can Tweet or share this post on Facebook…I’ll add an extra entry for each. Just make sure to mention it in your comment.) Winner will be announced in next Monday’s post. Good luck!

**The winner of last week’s Dani Pettrey giveaway is Elizabeth Dent! I’ll contact you this week with details.

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