Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: When God Speaks

Thankful Thursday: When God Speaks

Today I place the music video before the written message because I want to show how amazing God is and I believe that song "God Speaking" by Mandisa says it all! I could end my post here but I won't because I have a testimony to share.

Here's the story: I've been in a season of waiting on God for about three years now. I thought my career was taking off when I moved to Montana to take my first big break in Journalism as an Editor and Reporter for a county newspaper. But that did not work out and after a few months of being there, I took a one-way flight home just in time for Christmas Day. The classic song, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" has a brand new, special meaning for me now. I loved the people in Montana--they were so nice and sweet--but I did miss home and am so grateful to be back!

Since returning from my brief stint as a "real" (full-time, salaried) journalist, I've returned to work as a freelance writer for a newspaper and I love it. My heart's passion is the arts and as a freelance writer, my work schedule is flexible so I do have time to work on the creative side of my writing which includes marketing my first book (Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories) which was released in Sept. 2013 and also working on my next book project. I'm in a good place creative-wise but not financially as I'm not fully out of the "starving artist" phase of my career.

So today, I felt discouraged and inside my mind I was sinking fast. I felt discouraged because as I said, it's been three years since my last steady job complete with salary and benefits and while I don't envy the people who have to work from 9 to 5 or later, I do miss having stability in my career knowing that no matter what, as long as I am employed by this organization, I will receive a paycheck of an sufficient amount every two weeks. Now while I miss that stability, I do not miss not being at peace and feeling trapped if not suffocated because to me, writing is like breathing and during those years when I tried to fit the 9 to 5 steady job mold, I felt like I could not breathe.

I love the freedom of being a freelance writer but have been praying to God to bless me with more high-paying clients so that my finances will not be an issue. I do have my moments--earlier today as I was driving I told God that I need a steady, reliable job that pays me my worth. But in this season of waiting, I've been experiencing silence from God and I often express my concern to trusted people that God isn't speaking to me. "He's being SILENT," has been my classic, most repeated line for the past three years.

Now here's the part that leads into the song I just shared with you: Just today, like a literal hour ago, when checking my e-mail, I read a message from one of the people who regularly critiques my creative stories. She was impressed by my most recent story submission and felt the need to write a letter to me at the end of her critique notes she made on the word processor document. This critique partner who we'll refer to as R, told me that she thinks I'm a natural writer, an artist and that God's given me this talent for a reason. At the end of her letter, she told me to not give up, to keep writing because God has big plans for me. R's words helped me so much because it lifted me up out of the discouragement I was facing earlier today--she threw a metaphorical lifesaver over me just in time to keep me from drowning in the sea of negativity I was sinking into--and I knew after sharing R's encouraging words with a true friend, that God was speaking.

"I don't EVER want to hear you SAY that GOD is NOT speaking to you after this, Alexis," the friend told me after I read the e-mail from R.

Here's what I've learned from this experience: When God speaks, you need to listen. When God speaks, you may be caught by surprise but delighted. When God speaks, you have peace.

So this Thursday, I am so thankful for God speaking to me through R and encouraging me on my journey/pursuit of a career as a creative professional. I want to encourage you in your life journey too. Know that wherever you are headed, God is already there. The Bible says He knows "the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10) and He is waiting for you to trust Him. 

So if you're in a season of waiting like I am experiencing, I want to encourage you to continue trusting in God. Keep the faith. The wait is worth it!



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