I opened my eyes. Was I dreaming? Wait, what just happened? Did God just give me direction or did I dream that? My confusion was obvious yet the passion in the moment was overwhelming. I momentarily had purpose! Big purpose; like Stephen King or Ann Rule purpose, but in a Christian sort of way, of course.
I reached over and shook my husband hard! I hate when he sleeps when I’m awake! “Tony, wake up! I think God just told me I was going to write books, lots of them! Like a series! He even provided the name and some of the subtitles! Tony!” The response that came out of my husband was less than desirable. His response was “O.K.”
I’m sure he felt this was another one of my crazy wacked out, not thought out plans of the heart of an entrepreneur who had a record of failing at everything she did. Well, not failing, actually succeeding, but who gave up on all of them when it got too hard or boring. Perhaps this was another of those passionate “letter to the editor” about the injustices that were going on in the very small town of under 600 people.
I ran upstairs and I got my “God Notebook”, a pen, the Bible, hit the exhaust fan in my five foot by five foot bathroom, put the toilet lid down and lit a cigarette. That’s what new Christian’s look like you know…all sorts of messed up, because we haven’t been exposed to the fullness of God’s truth yet. God would later reveal to me that smoking could cause lung cancer in my children, through a St. Jude’s commercial, but that’s a story for another day.
You are going to write books, lots of them, I jotted down, like building an altar with my words to remind me, with a big drawn out heart and a huge “Thank You God!”
You see…my husband and I had just reconciled our marriage after the spirit of infidelity nearly destroyed it. I was depressed. Not the "I'm sad" sort of depressed, but the sort of depression where you started to whimper and sob for hours on end without any cause. You seclude yourself away from family and friends. This is the type of depression where brushing your teeth hurts. This is the kind of darkness where you look in the mirror and you say hateful things about yourself, not really intentionally, but forcefully. You know you should probably seek professional help or medication, but you are too ashamed or hate yourself so much, you feel you deserve this void over your life. Until that moment that God, well at least what you hope was God, says, “You have purpose” and ignites a pilot light deep within your heart.
Weeks earlier, or weeks later, I’m not sure the time frame, as most of the events in my life from the moment of discovery of the infidelity until years later, was a massive blur. In any case, somewhere in the vicinity of that time frame, in a church service, a lady came up to me and prophesied over me, “you are going to lead many, many, couples to the altar, miles and miles and miles of them.” Then she disappeared. Like not in front of me, in some sort of “Star Trek” sort of transport way, but meaning I never saw her again, ever, and I’ve been attending the same church for ten years since then.
So it was no surprise when my first assignment was to “write a letter” to a couple whose marriage was failing. This relationship was crumbling fast due to drugs, infidelity, alcohol, money issues, instability and other destructive behaviors. I sat down with the knowledge, that this was probably my first couple I would lead to the altar for Jesus, save their marriage and write their story! So I prayed. I opened the Bible, I studied scripture, I asked God for wisdom, words, and understanding. I asked God for an open heart and for the ability to follow through with what I believed was his calling for me at this moment. Why? Because this lady was the best friend of the woman who had ruined my life. She was the lady that would drive by my house with this woman and catch me praying on my hands and knees sobbing as they would both point and laugh. This was the friend of the woman that caused my depression. The connection must be there. Freedom was going to take place because I could never think of something so ridiculous or clever. It had to be God! I could see God’s plan unfolding in all aspects of all our lives! After I had completed the letter, I marched my carefully worded God inspired masterpiece down to this ladies place of work. I sat down with her in the smoke room and I poured my God story out to her. This was it! I was going to witness God’s plan unfolding! I am sure I talked one hundred and fifty miles per hour and took a slight breath at the end, just enough to see her disgust at my lousy attempt at leading anyone to Christ. She smirked and replied, I’m happy you found Christ, Angie, but my so called husband, who is now attending your Bible preaching church, just drove by today screaming pornographic obscenities at me. I have no intentions of reconciliation.”
I didn’t know what to say, except “I’m sorry” and walked away feeling utterly and devastatingly humiliated, knowing she would run and tell her best friend, the woman who ruined my life, how pathetic I was!
I must have missed that one! They didn't reconcile, and I didn't write their story.
I picked up my tail of my Eeyore being, just like a scene from Winnie the Pooh, and I crawled back in the hole I came from. Depression.
A few years later, in a routine drive up our driveway, God spoke into my pilot lit heart again. ” Now Go…” It was time. Time to start my first book of the series He had spoke into my heart, two years prior. I was about to birth, “You’ve Been Conned, Defying Depression by the Grace of God.” I prayed about it. I sat down to write, and the words simply poured out of my mouth. My fingers could barely keep up pecking the keys. The typo errors frustrated me because they were slowing me down from the story that was unfolding. It was done in a few short weeks. It was much too easy. It had to be God! The editing and proofing and cover choosing, copy writing, preface, endorsements, and the rest of the process took months longer than the 107 pages of pure heart and soul poured out for the world to see. This was my diary. This was the most painful time in my life. This was the story how depression attempted to consume the life from me, the struggle to find joy, happiness, and trust - yet Jesus redeemed it all! I was about to let the world in, to provide healing prayers for every adulterous relationship out there. I was going to be the next Dr. Phil, I was going to save marriages for miles and miles and miles, just like that lady in church said! I was going to get out of debt and obtain financial freedom just like I had been praying. I was going to find joy and forgiveness, peace and freedom.
Or, more so in reality, open my life to be criticized and rejected. And yes, the latter reality did take place.
What I didn’t know is the character, the integrity, the lessons, the growth, the ethics, the passion and the other things that God would build in me through this experience in writing by giving honor to Christ. These were the things that God would use to fuel my hearts pilot light from then on. I would go through a series of lessons and trials and painful truths. I would be refined in the fire, tested over and over and over again until the impurities were burnt out. I would learn that there are some things you tolerate and compromise and some things you don’t. There is a time to humble yourself and a time to stand. That your most hurtful moments will come at the lack of support from people you thought believed in you and your fan base of encouragers would be from utter strangers. You would learn that just when you feel that you’ve missed God’s calling in your life, and are about to give up, he will throw more gas on the fire. That, looking back on all the entrepreneur opportunities you gave up on, this was one that you couldn’t shut out. You couldn’t drown it out, you couldn’t hide it in the closet and you couldn’t sweep it under the rug. That you will never be fully perfected until the day you stand alone before Christ and that just like your writing, you are always a story unfolding and a work in progress.
Because this is your purpose and God is your only audience.