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Sometimes God’s leading is difficult to discern. Other times it’s clear as day. When it’s written in His Word as a command to all believers in Christ, we know without a doubt what God wants us to do. But it’s more difficult when we’re determining God’s specific leading. Do we take on this responsibility or that? Do we go here, or do we go there?

The Lord made two things clear to us. He wanted us to homeschool our large family. When He began to open those doors, I didn’t even believe in homeschooling! It was His idea, not mine. The Lord also gifted me to write for Him. I attempted these simultaneously, but quickly discovered that fiction writing, teaching, and childrearing don’t coexist productively for me. Babies turn my brain blissfully into mush.

KhloeCreative Commons License Mary via Compfight

So I wrote copious journals in the days before Christian mommy bloggers. And I educated our children, checking in with the Lord periodically to see how long He wanted us to continue. In that season, I gave all I could to my kids and their academics, field trips, co-ops, debate teams, sports teams, ballet, piano, and violin lessons.

And then, it was over.

Five novels came pouring out of me. Bam! There they were, five manuscripts to polish and much to learn about the publishing world. This was a new season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Thrilled to see God’s plan for the seasons of my life unfolding before my very eyes, first raising my children and now writing my stories, I hoped to release a new story every year or two for the rest of my life. What fun that would be!

4/366: It's so good to be back... Daniel Coomber via Compfight

I attended writers’ conferences, contacted agents, met with publishers, and my first novel was contracted. But my own story had taken a turn, first a bad fall and torn hamstring, then two car accidents and some strains in our family. Next my mother-in-law died a slow death by cancer, our college-age daughter at home battled a mystery illness, and I caught Epstein-Barr. I have never recovered.

Several autoimmune diseases now cause body-wide destruction. I have worked from a horizontal position for the past three years. My work is completed slowly. Some days my brain is too tired to work. This part isn’t going as I planned.

But God had a plan from before He began creation, the first chapters of Ephesians tell us. We are His handiwork, His poiema, a poetic masterpiece written into His story. He saved us by His grace, and as believers in Christ, He created us to do good works that He prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:4-10).

God has a plan, and, in a mysterious way that we can barely attempt to understand, He writes our stories in perfect synchronization with His plan.

she gets winded just watching mad men - _MG_9090.embed sean dreilinger via Compfight

When our stories work neatly together as we had hoped, it’s easy to rejoice in what He’s doing. But, when we see the plotline turn to difficulties and trials, as all plotlines must, do we still praise Him?

Do we believe He’ll truly work it together for our good and His glory?

During these years of suffering, He refines me, making me into the kind of woman I have always hoped and prayed to be. He has set my eyes on eternity, and my hope entirely on Him. I wouldn’t exchange this for anything.

Now I see that novel pile differently. I had one plan, but God had another. He already knows my story, even all my days before there was even one (Psalm 139:16). Perhaps these five stories are all I will produce. I’m now editing number three. At this point, only God knows. I will trust Him.

How do you see Him unfolding your story?