Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. ~Ephesians 3:20
My fifth baby wasn’t human. The first four had arms and legs. Number five? Let’s just say he was more than the world to me; he was the whole Universe. He was a book. An Astronomy book.
I self-published for exactly a year and sold 200 copies. Because I’m a writer, not a business person, I lost money. I couldn’t print any more books. Time to find a publisher.
Usher in desperation. Invite fear. Welcome determination. Most of all, ignore God because I’ve got this one covered with blood, sweat, tears and my own ideas for my future.
Enter rejections. Dead ends. Anxiety. Anger. Don’t they see how good my book is?
Before we hung up, my friend asked me if I had any prayer requests. She’s just that kind of person. I used to be. I told her about this publisher I needed and how they needed me. “Pray they call and say yes.” She began spouting some infuriating prose about “if it’s Your will.” I was livid. No! Not “if it’s Your will!” Pray it happens. This is what I NEED! It must happen. It’s the ONLY way.
With a tight voice and clamped teeth, I thanked her for her inept prayer, hung up and crossed my arms. Why didn’t she pray what I asked her to pray? Why couldn’t she just ask God for what I needed? Why did she have to invalidate it with the “if it’s Your will” caveat?
Two hours later, the publisher called with bad news. I fell to the floor and wept. It was over. All over. I had poured three years into this book. Three years of my life swept away as if they didn’t count. Dust. I was broken and couldn’t understand God’s seemingly cruel dealings with me. I thought the book was His will. I believed He led me to write it. Like a faithful servant, I was obedient to Him. It was His book, not mine. Each chapter was wrought after travailing prayer. The book was truly an act of worship, only to be thrown into a sludge pile and spit upon.
Wait a minute! A whisper to my soul. It was His book. It’s still His book. Whatever happens with His book is not my concern. My only concern was to act in obedience and write the book—whether anything came from it or not. I had done His will but had expected an outcome that was never promised. Conviction reigned down upon me. Surrender. Give up your rights to that book. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to God, and He will have his way with it. “Not my will, but Your will be done.”
I opened my hand and like a balloon released into the sky. I let it go. Peace flooded my spirit—a peace I had forsaken when my will was master. Oh, to be free. To be free from what I want, from what I need, from what I think is best, from what I desire to happen. All at once, I was released from my prison and could live again. I could smile again and look with hope to my future as a child of God.
“I give this book to you, Lord. Accomplish Your will with it. It’s not mine. I have no ownership over it. It’s Yours.”
When I finally released the book to God, He was able to have His own way with it. His plans were abundantly beyond all that I could ask or imagine. Surrendering to God our plans, our desires, our rights, our hopes and dreams will enable Him to fulfill His purposes for us.
Jeannie Fulbright is the author Apologia’s award winning, best-selling elementary science series. Exploring Creation with Astronomy is the first-born book in her series. She is writing a college handbook for high school students and, in her free time, is creating inspirational romance fiction under the name Jeannie Kaye. Visit her website at www.jeanniefulbright.com and her blog at http://www.jeanniesjournal.com