In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps.
Have you ever had your plans waylaid? My life has felt that way for a long time. I had to “retire” early from being a psychologist after 25 years because of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But God has a plan for each of us, and He has shown that to me in my writing career.
In the past four years I’ve been dealing with the inability to walk properly, without intense pain, because of Achilles tendon problems. I had surgery a year ago, which failed to correct the issue so in March 2015, I had a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) procedure that was giving me great results. I was walking more, I was coming out of my orthopedic boot, and going to events I’d not been able to attend. Just prior to that PRP procedure, I’d completed the second book in The Christy Lumber Camp Series and was in prayer about how to promote the upcoming release, The Lumberjacks’ Ball. I wanted to be obedient to God.
The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.
I “knew” what I needed to do as far as marketing, but I kept feeling like God was holding me back, and I wanted to obey. So I needed to trust Him rather than jumping on the promotion treadmill. As the co-leader of the Tidewater North Christian Fiction Group, I was also trying to set up our Spring meeting, with a special guest photographer--but that whole plan was NOT coming together at all, either!! I was frustrated.
But God knew what was coming.
Then came the beauty of Easter, rejoicing in the resurrected Christ, and what a delight to also celebrate my son’s birthday, too. Although my new book released, I’d been obedient to Christ and no immediate promotion had been set up. But I wanted to do so and prayed about one event for the following week. After Easter brunch, I ended up violently ill and in bed much of that week, so it was a blessing that I’d planned no promotion. Yet the book was being promoted—by others God had touched to do so.
One week later, we had finally canceled the writers’ meeting. I could make no sense of why this meeting, planned for months, wasn’t coming together. Nor did I understand why I shouldn’t set up blog visits and all the other promotion I’d normally do.
God brought me through.
I was admitted to the hospital after being in incredible pain and on the date of our planned meeting, I had emergency open gall bladder surgery. It was now the second week of my new book’s release, and here I was bedridden in a hospital. Those who have a book release know that promotion in the first 30 days is critical if you want to make the Amazon Hot New Releases list and more! But following a surgery that left me with a foot-long scar, I was still in excruciating pain and unable to do a thing, certain this whole debacle was a ploy of the enemy to thwart the release of this book. As Christian authors attempting to draw others to Christ, we often feel like a moving target, and this particular target—moi—felt like someone filleted me like a fish and gutted my plans. Why God?
Be still and know that I am God.
This particular verse is one I love. And repeatedly God told me to be still and spend time with Him. Once home, I remained in bed for the next several weeks, unable to do much of anything. Although I knew God’s hand was with me throughout the healing process, I started to wonder. But Lord, I’m supposed to promote my book—is this operation why You said not to schedule anything?
And then I heard in my heart, “Rest. You don’t need to DO anything.”
Really, Lord??? Look out the window. My blinds were pulled and the sun lit up my lilac tree, which had NEVER bloomed before, illuminating three heavenly blossoms. I know God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have everything in the universe under control and they do care about me—but those fragrant lilacs reminded me how every good gift comes from the Lord. And my book was His to do with as He would.
“Just be in the moment,” God whispered to my soul.
That was another gift He gave to me. Instead of being caught up in promoting my new release, I got to spend time just in the moment and to enjoy time with Him, resting. We need to do that, to just soak in the glory of His presence!
And God promoted my book.
To my shock, the Lumberjacks’ Ball ended up on the Hot New Releases list, hitting the #1 spot — again affirming that God is in control of all things. Without efforts on my part, God mobilized others to promote my book for me, dear friends such as my Pagels’ Pals Facebook group and my precious cohorts on my blog, a blog whose theme is about overcoming with God’s help!
He just needs us to get out of the way! And to trust Him.
During my recovery, one of the songs that really resonated with me was Steal My Show by TobyMac, which emphasizes that anything we make or do belongs to God, so why not give it to Him—your writing, your promotion, your talent. Before my book released, that was my prayer—that this work was for God and it was a gift to Him for Him to do with as He willed. And He did!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Lest you think I’m encouraging authors to not promote their books, that isn’t what I have intended. Be obedient to God, for He does plan to bless you. So just do what He tells you to do and don’t do what He says NOT to do. And trust that He’s got it all under control. Because He does.
Have you ever had your plans waylaid only to find that God had a reason?
A paperback copy of The Lumberjacks’ Ball and an MP3 download of Steal My Show by TobyMac. Leave a comment to enter.
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., Tagline, “Hearts Overcoming Through Time,” is the author of The Lumberjacks’ Ball (April, 215) an Amazon Christian Historical Romance bestseller. The Fruitcake Challenge (September, 2014) was a Family Fiction finalist for Book of the Year and a Selah Award finalist. Lilacs for Juliana releases in 2015 and is the third novella in The Christy Lumber Camp Series. Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose), releases in 2015. Her short story, “Snowed In,” appears in Guidepost Books’ A Christmas Cup of Cheer (2013). She’s the Amazon best-selling and top-rated author of Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance (2013). Her Historical Category winner, “The Quilting Contest,” is published in Family Fiction’s The Story 2014 anthology (Salem Publishing). Carrie received Honorable Mention for the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence. Administrates two popular group blogs: www.OvercomingWithGod.com and www.ColonialQuills.org. Former psychologist (25 years), married mother of two.