Interview on God’s Calling to Write on the Write Stuff Radio
God Called me to Write
When I was sixteen years old I felt God’s calling to write. Sometimes you just have a feeling that God wants you to do something – you just know it, in you heart. That’s how this was.
So that summer, when I was sixteen, instead of trying to get a job, I set out to write some stories and to try to get published. I really tried that summer – in my mind it was a kind of test for myself to see if I could really do it. But I found it really hard. Because I was very inexperienced at writing, writing stories felt very difficult and it was so slow. I spent hours at this every day. That whole summer, I think I only got one short story actually finished. And it wasn’t great. As for trying to get published, the prospect was overwhelming.
Now it was about this time that my parents started trying to talk some sense into me. They told me that I couldn’t make a living at as a writer. That I needed work towards getting a real job. They loved me and cared about my future.
I felt discouraged. Writing was so hard and getting published seemed impossible. And my parents said writing can only be just a hobby.
Time passed and I came near to the end of high school and had to try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I prayed frequently and even fasted a number of times, asking God what I should go into.
The answer I got, repeatedly, was, “a writer”.
But I told God, “I know, I am going to be a writer, as a hobby. But I need to have a real job. What should I do to make a living?”
And to that I heard nothing. I thought maybe God didn’t care what I did so I could just pick something.
Both my parents are teachers so I decided to follow them into that profession. So then I spent the next fourteen years striving in the wrong direction. I went to university for five years to become a teacher. Then I tried to get a job. I’d land a term position and then it would end and I wouldn’t get re-hired. And this happened again and again. God was closing doors.
One day when I was at home, after a term teaching position had ended, I was just crying, and praying, “God what do you want me to do?”
I heard him tell me clearly, in my heart and mind, “I want you to stay home and write.” I knew I felt God’s calling to write.
Doing writing all alone was one of the things that made it so hard. When you feel like no one cares what you’re doing and you’re all alone it…giving up seems like the only thing to do. “But God, I don’t want to stay home all alone!”
I clearly heard God reply. “So don’t be.”
I didn’t understand what he meant but I didn’t peruse the matter further. I tried to write some, because I knew he wanted me to, but on the other hand, I was determined to try to get a teaching job and settle in somewhere long-term.
Years passed. Finally, when I was 32 years old, God swung the final door closed on teaching. He told me specifically, at that time, that he wasn’t going to let me get even another term position. I had to stay home and write. God wanted me to focus on writing -that was my calling – the calling to write.
I cried in frustration. God was forcing me to be a writer and I’d never get the stability of having a real job. I’d never have that security, that safety.
I remember, it was dark and raining, I was getting out of my vehicle one evening when God told me, “It’s not going to feel safe. But having an adventure is more fun, anyway.”
At this point, my husband, Leo, had been working on his own business for two years already. He worked from home. So now I wouldn’t be home alone. So I set my heart on obeying God. God was calling me to be a writer so that’s what I was going to do.
It was felt really, really hard at first. I didn’t know what I was doing and I still felt like I was alone. In the beginning I was still getting pressure from family, that I needed to get a real job. But I stopped listening to that. I was called by God to write. Being a writer is my real job!
The second year that I was at home writing I just happened upon an advertisement on the website of our local library about NaNoWriMo. So I decided to try it! I connected with several local writers through the NaNoWriMo boards. We started meeting, locally, once a week. That group still meets.
It will be six years in September, that I’ve been following God in obedience and staying home to write. I’ve published 21 titles. Last year sold about 150 books each month. This year, so far, it looks like my sales are going up from that. I’m making some money as an author. I’m starting to feel really, really happy with what I’m doing. If someone offered me a teaching job right now I’d laugh. There’s no way I’d go back to that! I love this adventure-life that God has given me. And it’s all because I stopped fighting God for control, instead, I followed Jesus into my true calling – what he made me for. Now I try my best to listen and obey. Because that’s what it’s all about.