through His Word
by Jeannie Waters, Contributor to Heart Renovation
Questioning the Call
Doubts assailed me as I stood on the mountain. After driving six hours, I’d arrived for my first Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Fear tainted my excitement as I considered that maybe I’d made a mistake by coming.
Is this God’s plan or my idea? Why do I want to write anyway? Is my motive pure?
I’ve dreamed of this venture for years. Friends assure me my efforts are publication-worthy, but what do they know? I wonder if an agent would agree? Are my pieces good, excellent, or none of the above?
Writing for God . . . Wow! What a blessing! Did He choose me for this type of kingdom work? Wait. That couldn’t possibly be true. I’m a fair judge of writing and mine is okay—well, maybe good—but certainly not great. No, I’m not a great writer. I dare not write in God’s name if He’s not asking me to do so.
Conversing with God
With thoughts swirling, I remembered a conversation with God in prayer:
Oh, Father, I’m remembering a talk we had months ago. After accepting what I believed was Your call to write, I’d read pieces authored by two friends and screamed to myself, “That’s it. I won’t do it. My writing is good, but their skill is great. Now I’m certain I’m not called to write for God.”
With loving firmness, You interrupted my internal tirade and spoke to my heart, Father, asking, “Jeannie, are you willing to write with the gift I gave you even if it doesn’t appear as profound as someone else’s?”
Your question dissolved me into a puddle of humble tears as I cried, “Oh, yes, Lord. I’ll do it. You HAVE given me a gift for Your purpose and You’re calling me to use it. I offer it back to You in obedience. Teach me, Father.”
Can you identify with my struggle in your area of service? Doubts still arise, but when they sneak in, a heavenly shoulder tap reminds me of God’s call and my commitment to it. In the Bible, God didn’t always call people who were experts on each aspect of the work. He called those who said yes, and then, He continued preparing them.
During the two years following my first conference, I contracted to write devotions for two compilations, contributed an article to a book, started writing regularly for Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and authored a published poem. I’m amazed at God’s blessings for this once-hesitant writer! With each opportunity, I learned more about His Word and how to write.
Finding a New Challenge
Last year, Beebe and Katy Kauffman shared their dream of publishing a Bible study entitled Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character. Their enthusiasm captured my interest as they invited writers to submit articles.
Why did I agree to join the group? First, in addition to believing I’d gain craft experience, I anticipated spiritual growth through the process. Jesus promises, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). Yearning for His abundance, I trusted God would continue molding my character as I participated.
Secondly, as a new Bible study writer, I liked the idea of a team effort. Not likely to undertake such a task independently, I believed this community of scribes and gifted leaders ensured prayer support and guidance.
The topic also enticed me. What is more important than learning from Scripture and the experiences of others about how God changes our hearts?
After the editors selected articles, all thirty writers rolled up our revise-and-edit sleeves, sent bios and headshots, voted on cover options, and finally signed books at BRMCWC. From the first Zoom meeting to the virtual launch party and beyond, it’s an amazing adventure.
Receiving Unexpected Blessings
Unexpected blessings surfaced. Composing for a compilation requires strict attention to guidelines so that all the pieces fit nicely together for a polished product. While writing, I learned to focus on the mission to ensure continuity.
Another benefit is that as I read this book during my daily study, I picture the author friend who penned the words. We’re expressing gratitude to co-writers as we read.
I’m thankful God patiently walks with me through “Doubt Valley” and sets my feet on the mountain of His grace as He renovates my heart and teaches me to serve Him.
Whether you’re a writer or serve in other ways, have you experienced doubt about God’s call? How did you discern His will?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
Colossians 3:23 ESV
If you read Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, I hope you receive many blessings. Thirty writers prayed you would.
© Copyright 2018 by Jeannie Waters
A regular writer for Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Jeannie Waters is a contributing author to Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character (Lighthouse Bible Studies), Let the Earth Rejoice (Worthy Inspired), Breaking the Chains (2018 Selah finalist, Lighthouse Bible Studies), and Just Breathe (Worthy/Ellie Claire).
Sharing the encouragement of Christ fills Jeannie's heart with joy. Find her creative ideas for “Brightening Someone’s Day” with encouraging words, acts of kindness, and meaningful gifts at http://www.jeanniewaters.com. Connect with her on Twitter, @jeanniewaters44.
Jeannie and her husband have two children, four grandchildren, three granddogs, two grandcats, and one grandhamster named Clara. A retired teacher and instructional coach who taught students from over twenty-five countries and ranging in age from five to sixty-five, she currently teaches ESL and leads an English Club for friends learning English.
Jeannie’s favorite moments are spent laughing with family and friends, hiking to waterfalls, and cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs with her Bulldog hubby-buddy.
About Heart Renovation
How does God make our character more like Christ's? What is His part, and what is ours?
Under construction is the condition of our hearts as children of God. He is the Contractor in charge, and Christ's likeness is His flawless design. We contribute to the process by cooperating with His work within us and by following the principles and instructions of His word. Then transformation happens.
This Bible study compilation is a construction guide to building godly character and overcoming the hidden problems that sabotage it. It explores how God works in our lives and gives us wisdom to handle such real-life issues as unwanted change, grief, loneliness, financial debt, and difficult people. It shares God's blueprints for a renovated heart by looking at Jesus' character, godly people in the Bible, the Fruit of the Spirit, and the Beatitudes. It also discusses how to help our children grow in godly character.
Whether your heart renovation started recently or years ago, this book will encourage you to continue to cooperate with God until the job is done. After all, the goal and the reward is building a heart like His.
A leader guide for a group study is included.
Heart Renovation, Jeannie Waters, writing, writing for a compilation, small group Bible studies, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies