“Emptiness, yieldedness, brokenness—these are the conditions of the Spirit’s outflow.
Such was the path taken by the Prince of Life to set free the flood-tide of Pentecost.
Oh, the pains that God has to take to bring us to this “abandon”—equally ready for silence or for saying, for stillness or for doing unhesitatingly the next thing He calls for, unfettered by surroundings or consequences. How much reserve and self-consciousness have to give way with some of
us before the absolute control passes into His hands
and the responsibility with it.”
Little did I know, two weeks ago, when I began this post, how very timely it would be in my life. This past Wednesday evening, my literary agent emailed me. Before opening it I took a long, bated breath, because I knew it would contain either good news (acceptance of a manuscript) or bad news (rejection of a manuscript). I have been waiting for this email for a long time. Upon skimming the first two sentences, I saw the news: rejection. Immediately, my soul sank. Already down for the count with an upper respiratory infection, this news made me feel even worse, as you can imagine. In many ways, I feel as though I have miscarried. Having miscarried in 1987, my second pregnancy, the emotions felt strangely similar.
It wasn’t the news I was expecting. I felt so sure that this book project was the next step in my life. It has consumed the last 9.5 months of my life. First, researching the subject and digging into my heart of hearts to write the content of the book proposal. Then, rewriting and rewriting and rewriting the book proposal, until my literary agent and I were 100% sure it was my voice, my best work and ready to be submitted to the editor, who had requested it.
But, God said no. Discouragement tried very hard to take me to a dark place last Wednesday night. As I placed my head on my pillow, I remembered the words of the seminar I had taught, “When the Lights Go Out.” I remembered Hannah. Her pleas before God. Her agonizing years of pain and waiting.
And then, I remembered Corrie Ten Boom. Amy Carmichael. And, Lilias Trotter. All of these women, these dangerous godly women, who I have been studying for years. The pages of their biographies are underlined, highlighted and tear-stained. I don’t even pretend to be in their “spiritual” class, but I know that their lives serve as a grand model of true godliness and spiritual fervor.
Lilias Trotter, who I am sharing about today, lived in the late 19th Century. Take a few moments to read a condensed version of her biography at http://www.kingsleypress.com/previews/lilias_trotter.php. Influenced at a young age by Hannah Whitall Smith (“The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life) and D. L. Moody, Lilias, a gifted artist, surrendered the opportunity to become a world reknown artist to serve the Lord, for over forty years, as a missionary to the Moslems in North Africa. Her thoughts and writings during a very difficult period of opposition, overwhelmed me today, as I read them again, hoping to find one little ray of hope for my sullen soul. Listen to her wise words:
“I am full of hope that when God delays in fulfilling our little thoughts,
it is to leave Himself room to work out His great ones. And, more and more
as time goes on, I feel that the longer He waits the more we can expect, for
the deeper and wider will be the undermining, and the greater will be the band
of those who will come forth free from their prison walls. When one gets hold
of that vision, one can throw back in the devil’s face his taunts over the
seemingly wasted years that lie behind us.”
Five very important lessons here:
God delays for a reason.
He is making room for his perfect plan.
The longer He waits, the more we can expect.
People will be set free from their prison walls.
In a consecrated life, not one second is wasted.
When I get to heaven, I want to thank Lilias for this word. I am clinging to it. Satan wants me to dwell in the land of discouragement and despair. Especially right now. So much for those 9.5 months you spent in front of your computer writing. Look what good it did. REJECTED! Ha! Never good enough, are you? Good, but not good enough. Think of what you could have done with that time. What are you going to do now? So much for your plan!
And, to top it all off, all three children are launching in 2,3,4 weeks, consecutively. I, and I underscore I, thought I’d be writing my second book. I had a plan. But, instead, I will be on my face before God, seeking HIS plan. HIS will. His next step. All the while knowing that not one word that was penned during those 9.5 months is going to be wasted. God has a plan and I trust HIS plan way more than mine. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing. Keep moving forward.
Have you ever experienced a “miscarriage” of your plans? If so, how did you press forward? I’d love to know! Until next time, be wrapped in the blanket of God’s tender love toward you. Know that HE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH. HE IS ALL YOU NEED.