“My dad passed away yesterday. I turn to page 78 and the top of page 79. Thank you for being you. I appreciate you.”
I stared at the words in an email that carried the subject line, “The page I turn to in your book.” I said a prayer for my friend. She was in deep pain from loss. I then read the pages she was referring to in my first book Dolores, Like the River.
“There were times I felt I could not go on any longer. It never failed that at those dark times, a letter would arrive from Dolores with a Scripture verse included. One of her favorites was from Ps. 34:18 that read, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’”
I closed the book I had written over eight years ago and reflected not only on the words, but the time when I too felt a pain similar to that my friend now voiced. I cried as I remembered that time and Dolores’ gift of sharing comforting words in an attempt to offer a hand of friendship across a bridge only I could walk. And I thanked God that He had given me opportunity to share those words with others when they would need to rely upon a hand of friendship in a lonely journey.
When my husband, Keith, came into my office and asked what was going on, I read the email to him. He sat down and took my hand and said, “Well, I guess that is your answer then isn’t it?”
“What? What answer are you talking about?” I asked.
Keith reminded me that for several months I’d been asking God what my focus should be in terms of resuming my writing career. I explained to the Lord, because I wasn’t sure He was aware, that COVID had shut down all opportunities to market my books in person, and I wasn’t particularly inspired to keep writing. Without an immediate response from Him, I became increasingly reluctant to pick up my pen.
My husband kissed my forehead and went to answer a phone call. I was left alone with my thoughts, my questions and the reality that maybe, just maybe, I was discouraged because I allowed the purpose of my writing ministry to become blurred.
Oh sure, I always said it was God’s gifting of me that allowed this book to be written and it was for His glory. But when there was no movement on sales or events to promote the work for an extended period of time, where was that conviction? I questioned how God could possibly use my little books to help others without my earthly efforts to promote that work.
In the silence that often affords clarity, I saw that my husband was right. God was not only using my little story to help another hurting heart that day, He was nudging me to continue using my gifts to tell His truths through my own experiences. I needed to obey and answer His call. He will work out details of sharing the fruits of that obedience according to His will.
When I went to share this revelation with Keith, he motioned for me to come closer to him. Then he said, “Well she’s right here. I’ll let you talk to her.”
“Hi Laura. I just wanted you to know I’m sitting here reading Jesus in Shorts. I love this book. I read one story a day or sometimes more. They are very inspiring.” The voice belonged to a friend of Keith’s and mine who was calling about another matter but wanted to tell me what my second book meant to her. I thanked her for the kind words and then thanked God because he could not have been clearer in His directive; and as always, His timing was impeccable.
As I reflected on these two events, I again committed to surrendering my gifts, and all of my intentions for their use, to the One who always knows how best to use them. I was humbled and in awe that He directed these two precious friends to make His intentions clear. I thanked Him that my little books and their stories were chosen, by Him and them, as the pages they turned to.
Copyright January 2021, Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO
Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page
Check out the books I have published
“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the Buy Books tab on my home page
The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the Buy Books tab on my home page.
See my Publications tab on this website for books I am featured in, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and Xulon Press, “Letters to America”.