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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From "No" To "Now"


Last winter I won a scholarship to attend a writers conference that I have always wanted to go to. I was ecstatic and began planning my trip. But the more I researched the details of the trip, the more the costs seem to add up that I was going to be responsible for. As I prayed about it, I felt God telling me not to go. I truly thought that it was because it was not a wise use of our money at that time, because we were still not out of debt, nor had our house sold. So, I accepted God's "no" but wasn't thrilled about it either. Just being honest...

A few months later, I broke my foot. (Some of you will remember that chapter in my life.) I will never forget the day I went to the doctor and looked at the date on the calendar. It was the same day I was to leave for the writers' conference! God had not been telling me no because of the money... (Why do I always feel compelled to supply Him with reasons??) He knew I wasn't going to be able to go because of something I couldn't foresee, but He could! I was so glad I listened to His prompting and saved myself some extra chaos.

A few months after that, I found out about another writers' conference that a friend and I wanted to go to. She and I hatched a plan and I took the idea to Curt. He felt that it was a good idea for me to go, as one of my favorite writers was going to be there and I could get a 15 minute critique appointment with her. Since I was a few chapters into writing a fiction novel, we felt that was a good place to start finding out if I had what it takes. But as I began to pray about the trip, again I felt God telling me "no." What was the deal?? Was He just against me going to all writers' conferences? Was He trying to let me down easy because I didn't have what it takes? (Again with the reasons...) Sadly I informed my friend that I couldn't go. I was pretty down about it to be honest.

Then this winter I got another opportunity to apply again for that same scholarship from the year before. This time I researched the flight costs beforehand and the other fees I would be responsible for. While it still wasn't cheap, we were no longer in debt (glory hallelujah!) and had moved so things were different from one year earlier. I applied for the scholarship, never thinking I would win again... but I did! And guess what? That writer that I wanted the 15 minute critique appointment with? She was going to be there... teaching a six hour clinic with just six other ladies! I applied for the clinic and was accepted to that as well. That was a very cool little arrangement and I thanked God for it. I couldn't stop smiling.

In a few hours I will board a plane to CO, flying cross country to do something I have dreamed about for a long time. When I look back on those other two trips I wanted so badly, I see that it just wasn't the right time for many reasons. I see that God was saving me from wasting time, effort and money when He told me "no." I see that this time He has flung open the doors, whispering to my heart, "Now."

Was it easy to hear "no" those other times? No! Did I want to surrender my agenda and trust His? No! I want the control, baby! But I am glad I waited on Him. Because He had something so much better in store. This trip my agent will be there. I get to room with one of the P31 speaker team members I don't know very well. That writer (Susan Meissner, I am not trying to be cryptic) will be there-- and instead of a fast 15 minutes, I get 6 hours! And I am going with an actual fiction manuscript this time... something I didn't have those other times. I see His protective hand on me-- not bullying me or controlling me as some would paint it. But guiding me, steering me in the direction that matches His will and His plan.

If you are hearing "no" about something right now, please don't let that shatter your dreams or deter you from hope. Accept the no and then tell your Abba Father that you can't wait to see what that "no" is going to lead to! Set your sights on the future and go confidently towards it, knowing that Your Daddy has a good and perfect plan for you. A plan that involves some no's... but that also leads to fabulous "nows" in the future!

(I will be gone through Sunday evening so expect an update about my time at the Colorado Christian Writers' Conference early next week! I appreciate your prayers for me and my family while I am gone! Thanks y'all!)
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17 comments:

Karen Ehman-The Keep it Simple Woman said...

Hey there---

Have a wonderful time!! I'll be praying for you. Wave when you fly over the Midwest. :-)

takemetomaui said...

Wonderful message - thank you!!! And have a grest time :) YOu will be blessed (I just know it!)

Bonita said...

I'm so glad you posted this as it helps me immensely!

I also can't wait until you get back and fill us in on the details. This is going to be such an exciting week for you! God is all over it and all in it and He has some unexpected great things in store for you!

Sandra in Phx said...

What a blessing for you to be able to go! PRaying for your safety and for your family as you are gone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this message! You have no idea how timely this is for me and a confirmation to a prayer for clearer direction. I have been praying about wisdom for several things...to make the choices God wants me to make regarding my calling. Instead of feeling this peace and resounding "Yes!" I have had the impression that God was saying "No, not yet. Not at this time." I have been confused and was beginning to doubt if I was truly hearing from God on what He is calling me to do. Your post so eloquently confirms what I have been sensing in my spirit. Wait on God and trust His timing. Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey. It is not only inspiring but it reminds me that I am not alone. I hope you have a wonderful trip! I know God will bless you tremendously!

Renee Swope said...

The details of this story are so amazing!!! I am so glad you shared it ALL. I am so blown away and happy that you won the scholarship - AGAIN!! Can't wait to hear the rest of God's story when you get back. Have a great time!!!

Kelly said...

How cool! I love both of the books I've read of Susan's (at your recommendation!)...can't wait to hear all about your time in Colorado when you get back!

Oh Dear said...

WOW! Will be stalking the blog to hear!

Laurie Ann said...

Going in God's timing...this will be a fantastic trip! I can't wait to hear how it goes. And I will definitely be praying.

Sheena said...

I like the new family photo....Its beautiful.I am where you were.Having God tell me no beacause it is not "now" yet.But like you i know in hindsight i will be thanking God because in His time,He makes all things beautiful...

Sweet blessings
Sheena

DOakley said...

I know you're away, now, Marybeth (have a great time!), but I wanted to thank you for this posting. It was so encouraging and helped me to see, again, how God works without us really even knowing. Sometimes it seems that God is working against. We don't like being told 'no'. But, with God, 'no' may open up a whole new avenue to blessings.

Darlene

Mary DeMuth said...

I hope you have an amazing time! Drink LOTS of water!

Hey, can I feature this post on Wannabepublished in June?

Julie Coleman said...

It's always encouraging when the Lord allows us to see the whys. But of course we can trust Him even when we never know why-- like Job-- because of the character of God. He is good, all the time. He can't be anything but.

Molly said...

Just wanted to share a 'no' that has turned into a 'now' in my life. I have wanted to attend She Speaks for a couple of years but always had what I call a 'God stop' in my spirit so didn't pursue it. When the conference was first advertised this year, I had the same impression. However, within the past month He has changed it to 'now' and I am registered to attend! I don't know what He has in store for me but I can see that the delays were necessary to prepare my heart and to help me be willing to give up my comfort zone. Praying for you this weekend and can't wait to hear all about it! BTW, I'm reading your book, "For the Write Reason", and it is blessing my socks off! Affirmation after affirmation from God as to His calling in my life.

Pattyandthemoos said...

Your post was exactly what I needed to hear today. I literally got tears in my eyes over it. There are some things in my life right now that I have been pondering and wanting to do but keep feeling this tugging like now is not the right time. But, like you I sometimes want to do things in my own time. It is hard to let go sometimes. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Terri said...

This is a great encouragement! Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

Peter P said...

Great message and thank you for sharing so openly with us!