Monday, November 17, 2008


Give God the lead. He's the one with the machete to clear the path. Need proof? Look at the trail behind you.

Country star Garth Brooks released a song when I was in high school about how some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
I don't think God leaves prayers unanswered at all. He just answers them in His own way.
Case in point: Nearly a year ago, I sat in front of my computer and prayed, "Now, God, through hindsight I understand that you've led me down this path to be a writer for a reason, but I need some direction and encouragement that what I'm doing is right."
The next day, I had a request for partial of "Long Road" in my inbox.
With the feeling welling within me that I finally had something right, I stopped sending query letters to other agents. For four grueling months I waited for this agent to let me know: Yay or Nay.
I prayed: "Please God, let this work out. Let this agent be the one who says yes. Let this finally be the step forward for which I've been waiting."
In May, I received my answer: "Nay."
And nothing else -- or so I thought.

The funny thing about that time I spent praying about my writing, I also made connections with other writers. Including one -- and you know who you are -- who gave me some harsh, but needed and helpful, criticism.

In a nutshell, she said: I don't understand your direction. What's your point?

Oddy enough, the very thing for which I'd been praying was the one thing I lacked.

At first, I recoiled at the suggestions she made because it would take so much more work. Had I not just finished writing 92,000 words? Following even part of what she suggested would mean major reconstruction.

But Heather (my mc) is a driving force in my mind. Sometimes, strangely, she's my voice of reason, and when I lay down in bed at night, I heard her voice as clearly as any other saying, "You know those suggestions put all of the pieces of this puzzle together. Try it. Do it. You'll be amazed at how it works."

Let me tell you, folks -- 60,000 words and 21 chapters into this story, this rewrite on Long Road has been like tightening the laces on my favorite shoes.

It's an awesome fit. Everything suddenly makes sense. Characters and relationships I'd never felt comfortable with before suddenly feel great. A melody that has haunted me for nearly 17 years now has its place in my songlist (more on this tomorrow).

God answered my prayers. Not necessarily with the ideal answer, but He's definitely given me direction.

That's not an unanswered prayer. But it's definitely a gift.

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