Romans 8: 28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
One day I was mediating on Romans 8: 28 when it occurred to me that the verse isn’t just about the future but also about the past. In a flash, I suddenly saw how so many things in my past worked together to keep me in peace and joy now, in spite of this difficult journey with my brain tumors. I could see how each of the listening lessons I’ve discussed here give me the grace I need every day to do the best as I adjust to my new normal.
Life isn’t easy, but God will prepare us—if we let him. We let him by learning through His Word and through the experiences of our life. I know that’s true in my own life. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.
First, I actually discovered my God-given dream of being a writer before I actually reconnected with God. I didn’t know then it was a God-given dream, I only knew that writing made me happy.
Once I’d reconnected with God, I was blessed to be in a church that encouraged Bible study. The more I studied and meditated on God’s Word, the better listener I became. Through my Bible study I began to accept that I was a snowflake—one of a kind—unique and that not only did God create me to be special, but he did it for a reason.
God created me for good works.
His good works are my God-given dream. I came to understand that my love of books wasn’t an accident, but a part of His plan for me. It was only after I reconnected with God that writing became my passion as I understood that writing was my God-given dream.
And what joy that filled me with!
During those years when a book contract eluded me, I learned about faith, perseverance, and listening for and to God’s small still voice. I learned about celebration, gratitude, and thanksgiving even when things weren’t going my way. I finally received two book contracts at Christmas time 2010 and my first two books with a traditional publisher were released in 2011. Notice the timing. In 2012, I was diagnosed with the brain tumors. It was also at this time that I “lost” my part-time job as a speech pathologist due to a change in the school district.
I was offered other positions, and even took on a substitute position for a time, but it didn’t “feel” right. By now I was really learning to listen to that still small voice so right after Thanksgiving in 2012, I told them I wouldn’t be subbing any more. Less than two weeks later is when I started having the side effects from the first tumor treatment. In the months that followed I was so grateful that I didn’t have to worry about the responsibilities of having a job.
Here again, God worked out what seemed like a negative situation to me for my good, so that I didn’t have to worry about anything but getting through this very difficult time in my life.
By the time the side effects started, I had finally begun to think of myself as a writer. Had I not received those contracts and subsequent releases of my books, I don’t think I would have had the “heart” to continue when I became so ill. But I did have the contracts, and that spurred me to continue writing even at my lowest and sickest points. See what I mean about God working all things out for those who love him?
I haven’t talked about my “fuzzy” brain much. But during this time along with all the other health issues, things just weren’t right inside my brain.
But because of my habit of writing every day, I continued to go to my office at least once every day. By this time, I actually had to climb the steps on my hands and knees because of my balance issues.
I would sit down at my computer and something truly amazing would happen.
The fog and fuzzy brain would go away, and I would write.
Sometimes only for ten minutes; other times for up to an hour or even more. When the fog and fuzziness came back, it was time to stop. But during those two years when I was at my lowest point physically, I was able to get three more book contracts.
When I think back to how badly I felt during that time, it truly is amazing that I could write at all, let alone get six book contracts.
God is so good!
He really does work out all things for the good of those who love him.
It’s true that I don’t know what the future holds, but the truth is none of us do. We may think we know, but all that can change in the blink of an eye or when a pandemic happens or during an election year.
But I do know that by listening for and to God’s still small voice, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me as it says in Philippians 4: 13.
Oh, I almost forgot to answer the question I asked at the beginning of this devotional series, why the hula hoop?
As you learn to listen for and to that still small voice that is God, exciting things will begin to happen. You might even write a book about hula hoops that is really a book about God’s amazing love!
This is an excerpt/summarization from GOD, LIFE, & HULA HOOPS. To buy the book or get it free with Kindle Unlimited, click on the link.