Someone needs to hear this:
Your faithfulness from years ago is not "gone", wasted, or irrelevant to what God is doing through your life in this season.
Your faithfulness today has more impact on your future than you realize.
I remember going through a Bible study that was life-changing for me and discovering the author had written it a decade ago. Yet, God timed it in such a way that it was exactly what I needed in that challenging season.
I re-committed to the Lord that I would not trust the immediate "results" or "impact" that I could see as evidence of the effectiveness of my obedience to Him.
If He wants to use something I do today to encourage someone a decade from now, so be it! His timing will be perfect.
But, you've got to remember:
His perfect timing can look like precisely the worst, most impossible timing.
Example: When my father-in-law was dying of Alzheimer's disease and my husband and I felt overwhelmed with caring for him and our 5 kids, I received an email saying something about being a contributing writer for something to do with (in)courage.
In my bleary-eyed exhaustion, I barely scanned the email. I didn't understand much if it, and thought "Lord, I want to write for You so much... but I know I can't even consider taking on anything else right now..."
Click. On to the next half-read email.
A few days later a friend of mine reached out to me on behalf of the project organizer/editor because they were mutual friends and she asked my friend to follow up and see if I'd received the email? Because if I wasn't interested they needed to move on and invite the next round of writers to be a contributor to this project.
Ummm... I clearly had missed something.
I thought the email was sent out generally, to the (in)courage mailing list. I had no idea this was a personal invitation for a specific writing project.
As it turns out, it was an invitation to be a part of two writing projects:
Not only were the names of the other contributors some of my favorite writers to read, but there was a part of the email that gave me hope I might be able to contribute after all: They were accepting submissions for consideration of previously written content that could be reworked into the format they wanted to use.
I could hardly believe it! At that time in my life writing all new content was something I simply did not have the mental or emotional capacity to do well.
As I prayed about it God reminded me of several stories I'd written years ago that had only been read by a handful of people.
I lightly edited and submitted the stories, and about half were accepted!
Months rolled by and I was given the opportunity to write a couple of original pieces as well, and at that time I had the margin to gratefully accept.
This is what humbled me, awed me, over how God works (and this is the part I don't want you to miss!):
He impressed upon me 8 years ago that He wanted me to write. Even though I never went to college, barely finished high school, and had no writing education other than what I subconsciously gathered from reading good books He made it clear:
He wanted me to share with others the good things He was teaching me.
So I wrote. For years. To an audience of maybe 30 people total - half of which were my family - who sometimes read my long-winded, grammatically incorrect blog when I asked them to.
I didn't know if my words had any real impact or not, and I considered quitting more times than I can count. But I kept feeling the urgency to write as a way to process life for my own sanity, and as an act of love for God and His people. So I kept writing.
And then, unexpectedly, in a life season where I could barely form a sentence without brain fog taking over or emotional rawness causing me to randomly burst into tears, God was taking my words written in obscurity from years ago and publishing them next to the words of some of my favorite authors.
And could there be a stronger confirmation that He wanted me to write than to have my words put in the Bible next to HIS words? I will never get over His outrageous kindness to me.
I want you to know the backstory behind my becoming a contributor to this gorgeous Devotional Bible because I believe God wants you to be encouraged in your ordinary faithfulness where you currently see very little evidence - if any - that your obedience now matters more than you know.
God can do anything. He will use your faithfulness in ways you can not even ask for or imagine.
Keep sowing the tiny seeds He tells you to plant. Let the dirt get under your fingernails, and know that all the messy process, all that's happening underneath the surface, is seen and tended to by Him.
Sow in faith. That's your job.
The timing and size of the harvest is His.
He is so proud of you! Of the way you keep putting your feet to the floor, your hands to those daily, consumable tasks.
To learn more about what is included in the (in)courage Devotional Bible and to get a FREE 54-page sampler so you can see and understand the awesomeness of the design, go right here: The Biggest (in)courage News Ever!
You are so, so loved.