Please welcome back this week’s guest Holly Michael for The Journey. She answers the question: How have you seen God work in your writing journey?
God has worked in a mighty way in my writing journey, beginning from the day that I quit writing. Yes, that’s right. About fifteen years ago, a stay-at-home mom with three small children, I grew frustrated upon receiving yet another rejection letter. I was so done writing query letters. With the two oldest in school, I put the baby in a stroller and headed out for a walk to discuss my decision to quit writing with God.
I gave Him all the reasons why I should quit; no time with three little ones, too many rejection letters, probably not His plan for me, etc. But, I left a small loophole open. I told the Lord that I would continue writing if He gave me a clear sign.
Upon returning home from my walk, I discovered a message on my answering machine from a Guideposts editor who wanted to publish an essay I’d submitted.
I thanked God and committed my writing to Him.
The next day, I got a check in the mail from a parenting magazine along with a copy of my first published work. I never sent out another query letter or sought writing jobs again. Seriously! The Lord brought them all to me.
A few weeks later, we moved from Michigan to Arkansas. The first day at my new church, I discovered an ad in the bulletin. The diocese was looking for a reporter for area churches. I got the job! Through another connection, Wal-Mart headquarters hired me to be the creator and editor of a one-time magazine. Soon, I was writing for the local newspapers and continuing with my work as a freelance writer for Guideposts for Teens. This job also led to a freelance editing job with them. Another chance meeting brought me occasional writing and editing jobs for a corporation.
After a divorce, I needed full-time work. In God’s perfect timing, the paper I freelanced for offered me a full-time job as a features writer.
There have been times and seasons during the last fifteen years—moves and ups and downs of life (especially after a remarriage)—where I truly needed a break from writing, a God-ordained break. I didn’t write. And that was okay.
Then, living in Kansas City with my husband, after the kids left home, God nudged me again, placing a strong desire on my heart to commit to writing as a full-time career. But what should I write? The Guideposts magazine I’d worked for had folded. Newspapers weren’t hiring. I didn’t have any of my old connections. I prayed, asking the Lord for direction. I’d always considered I’d write a novel or two in my lifetime, but wasn’t sure if this was the time.
Then the Lord brought the American Christian Fiction Writers to my attention. I joined, got serious about writing, then went to the ACFW conference in Indianapolis with an agenda. I wanted to get an agent and a book contract. On my way to the conference, with my husband driving, I had a moment of doubt. Can I do this, I silently prayed. Then, my husband called my attention to a semi ahead of us, with a sign on the back that said, “AM-CAN” My husband said, “I’m reading that as God telling you, I AM. YOU CAN. Even more amazing was that the lane was ending and flashing arrows appeared to be pointing to the sign on the back of the semi. How cool is that! As a result of that conference, I got an agent and a book contract.
Now, I just launched my first indie novel, Crooked Lines, and am in the editing stage of a devotional contracted with Harvest House that I’m writing with my son, an NFL player. Through God’s guidance, I’ve emerged into a hybrid author of fiction and non-fiction, traditionally and indie published. Writing has to be a full-time thing for me to accomplish the writing projects the Lord has placed on my heart, but God’s message is clear. I AM. YOU CAN.
Holly Michael, published in various magazines, newspapers, and in Guideposts books has released her debut novel, Crooked Lines. She and her husband, Anglican Bishop Leo Michael, regularly travel from their home in Kansas City to India. She enjoys watching football, especially when her two sons are playing—Jake (NFL) and Nick (Rajin’ Cajuns). She also has a beautiful daughter, Betsy, who is in grad school in Louisiana.