I hadn't experienced that from the Lord, until September 2011. Sitting in a devotional time after breakfast one of the mornings at the ACFW SEPTEMBER 2011 CONFERENCE in St. Louis, MO.
We were asked to stand after the devotional given by one of our members. The gal asked us to close our eyes and empty our mind of any conflicting thoughts, because we were about to ask the Lord for something. That something? A word to carry us through until the next conference in 2012.
I closed my eyes, quiet before the Lord. Then, I asked Him to give me a word for the year. Something happened that I had never encountered before, and haven't since. Across the blackness behind my closed eyelids, in VIVID WHITE SCRIPT was the word "PEACE". I was astounded, but before I could as much as gasp, the verse found in ISAIAH ~ Chapter 26 ~ Verse 3 - "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee..." scrolled across, following the word PEACE. That verse hadn't come to my mind in a very long time, so it was such a shock to me to see it in white script across my eyelids, and it was also in the King James Version, which I hadn't used for over a decade, since I began using the New American Standard Bible.
Since that time, I've purposely asked the Lord for a WORD for the year, starting my request in November, rather than at conference time. Almost always, He has supplied a word before Christmas, affirming it in so many ways throughout the year. Although, it's not been given in such a dramatic way since that 2011 Conference, it's been made very real to me, and He often reminds me of it.
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Having been given the word PERSEVERANCE for 2019 in November of last year, I had no idea what was in store for me and my work. Closing out 2018, I was in the middle of my first ever (and I hope and pray my last ever) Thyroid Storm.
Also, in November of 2018, I asked the Lord for a unique idea for my journeystojoy blog. Within a very short time, a plan formulated in my mind about using CHARACTER BACK STORIES - FROM THE CHARACTERS' POV and in in their VOICES.
I invited those among the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) membership to take part. I thought I'd be able to eek out a post per month. NEVER DISCOUNT GOD'S AMAZING PROVISION - I had every week filled, with the exception of personal posting weeks - like this one and next week's - with a different author, different characters, ready to share Their Stories BEFORE The Story they came alive in. God provided an array of novellas and novels in a slew of genres, with few being the same genre in consecutive weeks.
I was blown away by the response to my invitation. I believe there have been at least 44 weeks of posts other than my own in 2019 - Beginning in February. Readers, though few in number this year, have shown an appreciation for getting to know the characters before they appear or speak the novel they're a part of.
In early December, God reaffirmed the word PERSEVERANCE in my life with Scripture, and in messages that others sent me, not having a clue they were passing on affirmations.
December 23rd, I took my 3-month old puppy, Bella, outside, at 4:30 am, going out through our sliding door off the dining room onto our deck. I had no idea that we'd had freezing rain in the night. She pulled me across that ice on the deck, made a sharp right turn to go down the steps into her doggy yard, and I couldn't move with the same speed. I took a header down the steps, barely missed the cement slab at the bottom when my head bounced on the frozen ground.
Each year, on Dec 23, we celebrate both the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and my husband's birth with our children and our grands in the evening. That was a rough day, and I have little memory of the evening that transpired. With Jerry's expert help, I got the meal made, the tables set, and managed to celebrate, and no one seemed any wiser.
I don't have any recollection of the day before Christmas or Christmas eve. I only remember dealing with an extremely sore leg.
On Christmas day, I kept my leg elevated, using ice, while my dear hubby went to the Avery~Family Christmas gathering at my nephew's home.
December 26th, I learned at my regular dr's follow-up appt for my other conditions, I had a concussion. My leg was looked at, and I was told I was doing the best possible treatment for the contusions there that had resulted from my fall. I was banned from any devices, books, crocheting, knitting, writing, etc for a six weeks. Do you know how difficult that was for this writer? NOT PLEASANT.
I managed to PERSEVERE, though I have few memories of all that happened in that time. Memory has since become problematic, especially when under any level of stress.
By Feb 2019, my Thyroid Storm finally waned, according to the blood work, while some of the less pleasant side effects hung on.
In April, I commenced work on editing/revising my novel, Meant For Her. With editing expertise from one of my own editing clients, Dawn Turner, I PERSEVERED through some tough, long days, and longer nights until last September.
FINALLY, by October 2019, Dawn formatted the novel for both Ebook and Paperback formats and finalized the cover tweaks at KDP/AMAZON. Under her direction, I loaded the book in both formats to KDP. We set the release date for November 14th to coincide with both the beginning of the story and my daughter's birthday.
NOVEMBER 14th - MEANT FOR HER hit AMAZON.COM in both ebook and paperback, and the welcome by readers has been wonderful!
VERY POSITIVE REVIEWS ON AMAZON & GOODREADS
I could not have done any of the book signings without the help of my friend, Karen Middaugh - she has been there from the beginning of seeking out venues - assisting a book signings, and tirelessly helping me with inspecting book shipments, and packing to go to the various libraries and coffee shops, and keeping record on spreadsheets. She has been praying me through a LOT of tough stuff!
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, KAREN!
I had one more 2019 book presentation and signing on December 21st - in the Vicksburg District Library - Vicksburg, MI - the village where Candi's story opens in Meant For Her.
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On a much sadder note, my family suffered a loss - a huge loss - of my big brother, Vernon Avery, to a liver disease in November.
The visitation and Memorial service, complete with military honors, were held December 13 and 14.
That was an extremely emotional time for me, even though I know without a single doubt, Vern is pain free and with our parents and Jesus! In that, I rejoice! He will be greatly missed at family events from now on.
~ ~ ~ ~As we close out 2019, my prayer for each of you, my readers/followers, is that you will see God at work in your life, and that you'll draw closer and closer to Him in your personal journey. I also pray that if you read Meant For Her, it'll bless your socks off in a special way!
I haven't gotten my "word", yet, for 2020, yet, but my heart and mind are open to that special one He has for me for this next year.
PRAYING YOU EACH A BLESSED, JOYOUS, and PROSPEROUS 2020!