The Christian Writers Guild mentor evaluated my writing as I looked on. She read through samples of my inspirational material, my bible studies, and my novels. “Ready for publication,” she pronounced, complimenting me on my writing and on how I had crafted my career.

I laughed. God had done the crafting.

Each of us is unique, each journey novel and entirely personal. God superintends. First, he had me write in obscurity—this, she had thought particularly wise; but it wasn’t my idea. God did it.

As I blasted confidently into my young adulthood, God refined me privately and painfully. He knew what I needed better than I knew myself. As part of this spiritual journey, the focus on knowing God, dissecting my character flaws, and comprehending how they had adversely affected others required hours of days, days of years, and years of decades.

I grew. My journals overflowed.

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In 2005, when my pastor asked me to write the bible studies for our church, I saw God open doors. Submitting myself to the crucible of public criticism helped me craft better material every year. I honed my words and perfected my powers of explanation. I learned to take criticism as a welcome gift.

Meanwhile, my house emptied of precocious children. The priority their education held for me as a homeschooling mother dwindled. Write fiction now, God whispered to me. I wrote. God crafted this, too. He inspired. He brought my life experiences to profitable use. He refined.

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One child remains at home, she an artist. Managing inspiration is still a lesson; we learn from one another. I work hard. I’ve blogged frequently about the challenge of caring for my family and myself while emptying my brain of the words that keep me awake at night.

I’m now preparing my first novel to hand to my publisher. The contract has been signed. The ink is on the page. I’m tightening the manuscript, applying the lessons God taught during all these years of criticism, removing superfluous words, honing close to the bone. Next comes the back and forth of collaborative editing with my editor.

This is where I am on my novel journey.

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My journey, like yours, is deeply personal and superintended by God. I, like you, am God’s servant, a mere responder. Jesus draws me to himself, acts in my heart, crafts my life events, bestows gifts, and nudges my desires. He opens doors I can’t open. He designs my life message and this writing career to be what he wants for his purposes. I merely submit, and the submitting is often hard.

Your journey is intimately crafted as well. God has glorious plans to use you in his kingdom.

As you consider God’s use of your gifts, what crafting has gone into your unique and novel journey?