I feel as if I’ve been having a Jonah moment. I’ve been down in the belly of the whale only because I choose to hide out from God. I am embarrassed to admit that I have tried to hide from the Maker of all. Who did I think I was fooling? Did I forget He is the Omnipotent, all knowing God? What an idiot I have been. Yes, I realize my mistake now. I tried to hide from the One who knows every hair on my head and every thought I partake. How could I have been such a fool? Yet in the midst of my foolishness, I came to rediscover God’s grace and mercy. Thank goodness He is the God of do over’s.

 

Now, some of my story is just too coincidental to believe, but yes, it is in fact true. And through this period of hiding out, I’ve rediscovered that God is a gracious and good and the stories from the Bible are still relevant today as in the past.

 

It all started last summer when I decided it was time to return back to work after taking a hiatus to raise our child. I determined fall would be the perfect opportunity to return to the workforce since my son would be returning to school. My former career was not family friendly, so I was seeking a new path. Coincidentally, I stumbled upon some writing competitions for two well-known magazine publications. Gently, I felt a nudge to submit the essays. But, in the back of my mind, I asked, “What if I failed? What if I was totally inadequate? What if no one wanted to read what I wrote?” Certainly God had chosen the wrong person. I felt like quoting Moses, “Me? God? Are you sure? Nah, you were just kidding, right?” There are others better qualified, I reasoned.  Especially since I am the one who struggled through English all of my school years and even into college. I’d hang on the shirt-tails of fellow classmates and ask an abundant number of questions to clarify the lessons. I am even the one who had to meet with a professor-lead committee in regards to me passing English! I can still recall the sweat and tribulation of that noonday meeting. Yet one of my saving graces, in that moment, was a prior professor, who stood up for me and spoke about my willingness to work hard and not give up. Whew, I would be able to graduate. And in the midst of tug and pull on my emotions, I also recalled my early childhood years and being asked to compete in creative writing competitions. I had always had a natural capacity for writing interesting stories. And the gentle nudge to write these stories persisted in my thoughts and I finally followed their urging and submitted two pieces.

 

But during this time, I rationalized that I should work outside the home and work on my writing in my spare time. I rationalized that could do it all: work, manage the house, take care of my family and myself, and bloom in the skills of creative writing. I was completely kidding myself. In reality, I was hiding out behind the curtain of busyness because I was too afraid to try something new. I hid behind a new job to curtail my fears.

And I told myself it would be good to work with others and not be at home alone. I need to be amidst people and share in their positivity.  I also craved a desire to be acknowledged, appreciated, and recognized for all the work I would perform. Funnily enough, a stay at home Mom doesn’t receive much recognition for the clean dishes and laundry, or the fresh, hot meals prepared on a daily basis. It is a rewarding job, but not highly praised. And I craved recognition and appreciation.  Yet, interestingly enough, I didn’t end up receiving appreciation on the job either. I was mostly told how to improve on my training and how to do things better next time. Didn’t my employers see the 90% of the work that was done properly? The lack of having my needs of appreciation met was frustrating, to say the least.

 

And during this time of working, I continued receiving nudges to write. Ideas for books and articles kept popping up in my mind and in my dreams. I would turn on the radio and NPR would be interviewing a writer. Book club chose books about women who wrote their stories. The desire to write engulfed me so much, that I started carrying a notebook around to write all the ideas down.

 

Also, I prayed to God and asked for sign. Was it silly of me to leave a part time job that could help reduce our debt and ease the financial stress? Was I being wise in giving up a sure thing paycheck for the uncertainity of a career in writing? And how do I explain to someone that I am going to do something I have never done before instead of something I know I could do in my sleep? It seemed like such a risk to quit my job. It felt like I was leaping into thin air, so I continued to ask for a sign that I was making the right choice in choosing writing.  And the sign did appear.

 

On the last day of my job, I was walking down the hallway, past an area I walked many times before, and I looked to my left and saw a book. Not just any book, but a book titled, “Writing on the Wall.” “Whoa!” I almost fell over and exclaimed to myself that is surely that is a sign! So I did not hesitate signing the exit papers and leaving the building.

But wait, there is more! I have to tell you of God’s grace. In my last hour of work, a customer called in to tell the manager about the outstanding customer service they received in my care.  “Ah, finally a moment of recognition for all my hard work,” I thought. And how thankful I as to God for that gift that was so perfectly timed. I left the company on a high note.

 

And as I got into my car, the song being played was “From the Inside Out” by Phillips, Craig and Dean. The first lyrics I heard were “Lord, I give you control.”  I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew that even though I was stepping into the unknown world of writing, God is in control. He is guiding and directing my steps along the way. And a wave of peace washed over me as I sang along and drove home in a new direction.

Here are the lyrics.

 

 

“From The Inside Out”

 

A thousand times I’ve failed

Still your mercy remains

Should I stumble again

Still I’m caught in your grace

Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades

Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame

 

Your will above all else

My purpose remains

The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades

Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame

 

In my heart, in my soul

I give you control

Consume me from the inside out

Let justice and praise

Become my embrace

To love you from the inside out

 

Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades

Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame

And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise

From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out

By Karla Gillan | Freelance writer