Dear Diary

For our sruggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. ~Ephesians 6:12-13

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dear Diary,

Another day. Another blog. I almost forgot about this one. Looked at my calendar and realized it was the 25th. Oops! LOL. Anyway, I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts in regard to what happened to me this past week—a week where God dove deep, down, inside my heart and pulled up things I didn’t even know were there. Lovely things. Frightening things. Things that challenged who I was in Him.

Question: Where do I start?

Ah yes…

Eight years ago God called me to write something that was beyond my comprehension. One story. Nine books. An epic. Then He said “apprentice.” So I did.

Things went along just fine…for a while. Then my “wine skins” dried up. I wanted to quit. But God said “no.” Said He’d provide me with new skins—ones that would never empty. And He did.

Enter ACFW. Enter Kathy and Paula. Enter Heather and others.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. It was. There’s a lot of pressure making yourself accountable to a group of women who barely know you. Sharing your dreams, your visions, your words from the Lord. Watching in amazement as they stand by you—believe in you even when you don’t/can’t believe in yourself.

So, dear diary, I stepped out in faith and trusted.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into a few years. Time did what it does best: moved forward. Sometimes slow. Sometimes fast. Sometimes at a steady drip, like water from a faucet. Yet these friends stayed there. So did the story.

Writing is an interesting experience. You start out not knowing who your characters are or what they’ll be doing. For a while you feel like a stranger in a foreign land. But before you know it, the characters—the story—belongs to you, becomes a part of you. But not without challenge.

Last week was my challenge.

Five days ago a friend sent me a link to an article posted on publishersweekly.com. When I read it, my heart stopped, my blood froze, every cliché I’d ever heard, happened. Thoughts exploded through my head as doubt clashed with promise, fear clashed with hope. I began to question everything the Lord had told me regarding my call, regarding the story, regarding His promise.

How could someone else—someone secular—been given the same story I had? Someone who I could not compete against? Someone with credentials a mile long that could propel his books—my books—into the public’s eye? And by autumn, nonetheless. It was eerie, the similarities between “his” and “mine.”

There was only one answer I could come up with. Only one answer that made sense.

I had failed God.

Failure sucks. Especially when it comes to believing you failed God. So without second thought, I did what was, to me, the next obvious step: I decided to quit. Quit writing. Quit hoping. Quit believing in the promise. I mean, why bother? I had failed the only One in my life who had never let me down.

I clicked off a text to the friend who had sent me the link and told her my intentions. Her response: get over it.

What? Get over it? Yeah. Right.

I was quick to reply with one simple word: No.

We texted back and forth for a while until the stark reality of what needed to take place next, hit me. I needed to take it to the Lord.

How long does it take, dear diary, for self-pity to turn into anger? A minute? An hour? A day? I was there now. Throwing myself in a full fit at the Lord’s feet. Accusing Him of leading me on. Of giving me false hope. Of letting me down. Yet during the entire time He did nothing but listen. Quietly, lovingly, listen. No condemnations were thrown my way and I didn’t get hit by any lightening bolts (although I probably should have). Instead, gently He lifted me up and held me close.

“Do you think I was surprised by this other book?” He whispered. “Do you think this wasn’t part of My plan? That I can’t handle a mere bump in the road? A bump the enemy put there to deter you?”

What could I say? He was right, you know. It was His plan. Not mine. His. And I had to trust that He knew best.

The evening melted into early morning before I was finally able to fall asleep. I had my tantrum, and God and I had our talk. In the end I realized what the Lord had called me to do…to write…had landed me dead center in the middle of a battleground. On my own, I would never survive. But with God on my side, carefully guiding me through the minefield, it would all work out.

After all, the battle belongs to the Lord—even when it comes to my writing.

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About J. N. Hups

I am the author of a 9-part young adult speculative fiction book series called THE CHRONICLES OF SPECTOR. The first book is due to release February 29, 2016, with Mt. Cydesh Publishing Co. Between 2006 - 2014, I served as president, vice president, and secretary of ACFW North Denver, a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and in 2008 was part of a team that implemented social networking and web presence for the ACFW chapters in Colorado. A native Coloradoan, I live in Westminster with my husband of 36 years. I have four grown children, and three "perfect" grandchildren with another on the way.
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