Amber Stokes began working as a content writer for Harvest House Publishers this week. She also writes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, the next step in her career lies in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she’s always considered home.
Once upon a time there was a girl who majored in English. No, she didn’t plan to be a teacher (though she certainly admired and respected the profession). She had stories in her heart that she wanted to get on paper, and a dream to find a position in publishing. When senior year came, the infinite stretch of time before her became finite. Too short. And she didn’t know what to do to make her dreams a reality. She wasn’t even sure she knew what she really wanted.
So she decided to return home, where her grandparents and parents and sister awaited her. It was a safe choice, and because of that, she worried that it was the easy choice. But she didn’t know what else to do. Months passed. She felt no push to leave. Then an idea came—a bold one, she might claim—to start her very own business. A freelance editor. An entrepreneur. So she went out and got her business license. Ordered some business cards. Created a website. And more months passed. Until finally, one day, she shared a guest post and someone emailed her. A paying client! Then the floodgates opened.
Not to wealth or fame, but to work and experience. And she met a friend who taught her that publishing her own work didn’t have to be an impossible thing. A year passed—a year of writing books, publishing books, editing books, marketing books, blogging about books. And with the start of a new year, that senior-year pressure descended once again, to go out and earn “real” money, meet “real” people, live a “real” life. She gave her resume to local businesses. Weeks passed, and insecurity raged. She sent her resume to publishers on a whim and a wish from her father, and she continued to wait.
Eventually, she got a job at one of the local businesses. And a publisher showed interest, involving a weeks-long interview process. In those weeks of uncertainty, her dreams seemed as hazy as a winter sunrise: cold, intangible, and promising nothing. After the third step in the interview process, she received a message. HR wanted to chat with her the next day. That night she hovered on a wispy bridge over a deep canyon. And I’ll tell you something she had been discovering about herself: she was afraid to hope.
You’ve felt that, haven’t you? That “certainty” that your dreams would never be realized because they were “too good to be true.” Someone or something would come along and push you off the bridge, whispering right before the shove, “You knew all along it was never going to happen.”
The saddest part of all, though, was my fear of hoping for good things because they might not be God’s will. I was scared—and with good reason—that if I claimed this wonderful thing would surely happen as a blessing from God, and then it didn’t happen, I would be making God look bad.
I still believe that I shouldn’t presume to know God’s exact plan. That would be prideful and vain and foolish in the extreme. But what you might lose with the fear is the certainty that God can bring it about. He has the power and strength to give us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), and “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Nothing is ever too good to be true with God, for “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Sometimes the “too good” thing is not what we expect. And sometimes it’s the fulfilling of a dream that was years in the making.
What happened when I called HR the next day? I got the offer—a grand offer to work for a Christian publishing company. An honest-to-goodness dream come true.And you want to know something? I wasn’t dangling on a thin rope bridge over a canyon. I had crossed the canyon a different way: walked down the rough slope as if I couldn’t possibly be moving in the right direction; shuffled across the canyon floor where one step forward hardly seemed to make any difference; and crawled up a path so steep it appeared I wouldn’t reach the other side after all.
Now I can look back at the canyon and see that all those times where I thought progress was negligible and my path so uncertain, God was actually guiding me straight into His plan.
This isn’t the story of the girl who made herself from nothing. Rather, it’s the story of a girl who thought she was epicly failing at life, but simply had to trust that God would show her the next step in His timing and use each step for His purpose. A girl who has to believe that God is a Good God who has good plans and the power to bring them to pass, even when they don’t unfold when or how she expects them to. A girl who, through the grace of God, is daring to hope as she embarks on a thrilling new journey beyond her fledgling dreams.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5
Interested in writing a guest post like Amber’s?