God’s Plan is the Best Plan by Shelia Stovall
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
If someone had told me last year that I’d sign three contracts to write devotionals in 2016, I’d have laughed. But that’s what happened, and I almost missed the opportunity because I had my head down, working on my novel, while planning a short-term mission trip to Africa, and working full time as the director of a small town library. There are many times in my life when I feel like a performer at the circus, juggling plates on a stick.
The only reason I’m up at 5:00 am writing is because I want to share my faith. The road to publication is long, so I keep my head down, focused on the task as writing at least one hour each morning.
Last spring, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers’ Conference and a highly respected editor announced that Worthy Inspired was seeking devotions with the theme, “God’s Presence in Nature.” I had no intention of making a submission, but wrote down the details and forwarded them to my agent in case she knew authors interested. When she asked me if I planned to participate, it surprised me. “But I don’t know how,” I said, in a tone that reminded me of my children when they didn’t want to do their homework.
“Why don’t you try,” Mary said.
It’s always a good idea to listen to your agent, so I took a walk in the woods and sought inspiration. It didn’t take long for God to open my eyes to His presence, and I wrote a piece and submitted it. To my surprise, I was offered a contract to write ten devotionals for The Wonders of Nature: 365 DEVOTIONS Celebrating God’s Beauty.
It released on November 30, 2016. This is a special edition published for Books a Million. See link below to order, and Shelia is giving away one copy of the book next Monday, December 26th so be sure to leave a comment below to be entered.
Have you ever felt as if God has given you a task too difficult to accomplish? If so, know that He will help you, and send others to your aid. If you are working for Him, He will bless you in ways that you never imagined.
One of the best blessings on the writing journey is the friendships I’ve made along the way. Meeting people like Rose, who is on the same difficult road, is a blessing. I’ve also been given opportunities to travel to places like Africa where I never would have visited, had I not been obedient and started writing for Him. But the best gift I’ve received since I started creating stories is that it has drawn me closer to Him. I can’t write one sentence worth reading without God’s guidance. I start the morning with coffee, scripture, and prayer. Then, I wait for Him to give me the words to type. My novels may never be published, but I love the messages He revealed. Maybe I’m the one who needed to be told that to love and forgive is always the right thing to do.
God has plans for me and for you, and they are good plans. He may have a difficult task for you, but if you lean on Him, He will do the heavy lifting.
Prayer: Father, thank you for walking each step with me and for sending me friends to help along the way. Thank you for carrying my heaviest burdens and filling my life with light and love.
Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian and knows what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW, secretary of the Middle Tennessee ACFW chapter, a member of the Kentucky Public Library Association, and the American Library Association.
Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Kentucky. Her work is included in The Wonders of Nature: 365 DEVOTIONAS Celebrating God’s Beauty, November 30, 2016, published by Worthy Inspired, ISBN:9781617958595.
Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women’s friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Characters in her stories share friendship, hope, and fried fruit pies. Readers will discover there’s a fruit for every season.
Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past five years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for the past five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).
Her husband, Michael Stovall, has been her best friend for thirty-three years. Shelia’s two adult children live in neighboring communities, and her favorite pastime is spending time with her two adorable grandsons, Matthew and Jacob.
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