[CF Devotionals] 2011-10-26 - Good Work

Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Question: What 'good works' in your life do you believe God will be 'faithful to complete?' How can you trust Him, when you aren't sure what He has in store regarding these 'good works?'

I picked the book up almost reverently, flipped the pages, breathed in that new book smell, and enjoyed the weight of it in my hands. The 'About the Author' page had the writer's photograph at the top. Not just any writer. Me! It was my picture. It was my book.'Carmella's Quest:Â Taking On College Sight Unseen' by Carmella Broome.

Writing the book, which described my freshman year at a small Christian college in upstate SC, had been a long, slow process. I'd started it in the summer of 1995. I'd switched computers several times, lost parts of the manuscript, and was too busy to work on it for months at a time during college and graduate school. I'd almost given up on it several times, thinking it was just too hard to get a book published, and that mine wasn't all that special anyway. I just couldn't do that, though. I felt led to hang in there with it.

Once the first draft was finally done, I got a former English teacher to proofread it for me. She corrected punctuation and grammar errors, and provided some helpful feedback about changes that might strengthen the story. I shared the completed manuscript with several friends, who genuinely seemed to like it.

I believed the book was both interesting and meaningful and considered it a story very much worth sharing. My faith was an important part of it, along with stories about the meaningful friendships and other relationships I had, my coursework, and the stressors and successes I faced during that time. I wanted it to be an encouragement to other people, to be a read that was warm and real and genuine.

Trying to find a publisher who shared my enthusiasm was torture. I spent hours pouring over writing magazines and websites, looking for publishing houses that seemed appropriate to query. My favorite publishing company hadn't been interested. A couple other places rejected the manuscript, as well. It was hard not to get discouraged. I knew that God had a plan for my book. I knew He'd begun a good work and would carry it forward. I just wasn't jazzed about doing more research on publishers, more rejection, and more time going by, while I held on to an unfinished manuscript.

Then, I heard about a small press that worked with local authors and contacted the publisher. After reading my book, he said he was very interested. He seemed to have some good ideas about the manuscript, and our communications were very positive. I liked his approach to publishing good books and promoting first time authors and was very enthusiastic about taking the next step. I was so excited. Next thing I knew, the publisher was offering me a contract! After over ten years of writing, rewriting, sending out queries, and receiving rejection letters, I'd found someone who was interested in helping me get my memoir into print.

The hard work wasn't over, though. What followed was more months of editing, trying to come up with a title the publisher and I could agree on, getting the author picture, choosing a cover, and publicizing. At long last, my memoir was released in early 2009. It still seems hard to believe it finally happened.

Now that its done, I can say that all the work was worth it, but I didn't always feel that way. Sometimes, it seems like we can't move forward in using our talents, or pursuing goals that we truly feel God has given us. This can be frustrating and disappointing, but we can be secure in knowing that God has promised to carry us through and 'completed' the work He has begun in us and through us. Our skills and talents will not be wasted. They've been given to us by God and for God. He will show us exactly what to do with what we've been given, so that His purposes are accomplished.

Prayer for today: Lord, help me to trust You when I'm not sure what You're doing with the skills or talents You've given me. I know that You will be faithful to complete the work You began, and I am thankful to be a part of that process. I thank You for what You will do, and I know it will be Your way in Your timing. Amen.

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