Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Work in Progress

I wanted it so badly I could taste it. I had studied the guidelines, examined the reader profile, and scanned back issues. I was ready. Setting fingers to keyboard, I delved into writing an article for a well-known Christian magazine. My first major break into the market. The editor had accepted my query and now I meticulously crafted each word to fulfill promises made. After several edits, I clicked the "send" button, releasing my precious fledgling into cyber-space. I took a deep breath and uttered a prayer, "Please, Lord, let this article make it into print, but not my will, Thine be done."

Waiting on God
I knew it could be weeks before I received a reply. As much as I wanted this publishing credit, I made a deliberate choice to place the outcome in the Lord's hands.
Two months later, while typing another article, I noticed the little red flag on my mailbox waving at me from the corner of the computer monitor. After clicking onto the tiny icon, a message popped up from the editor I had been anxious to hear from. Suddenly my fingers froze on the mouse, afraid to move and actually confirm my worse fear: REJECTION! "Oh God, help me accept Your will for this article, whatever it might be," I agonized.
Glued to the screen, I sat in shock as I read his assessment. While the article had several good thoughts, it was not what he had expected from the query and was too much like what the magazine had recently covered.
Caving in to frustration and anger, I closed the lid of my laptop and pouted my way to the hot tub, joining my husband for a soak. Hesitating to admit another literary defeat, I stuffed my agitation and asked how his day had gone. After a few routine exchanges, I was ready to spill my guts. Feeling better, I grabbed a towel and walked back into the house. The laptop sat on the desk, mocking me, as if to jeer, "Ah, you thought you could serve God and make some income doing what you love best! Who do you think you're kidding? Why don't you just give up?
Repulsed, I turned to walk away, but another voice intercepted. Eileen, you could email the editor again, admit your mistakes, and request a second chance. He did say you had some good thoughts. Why not give it a try?

Humbling My Heart
Flipping the lid to the laptop, I clicked the reply button. As I stared at the blank screen, I prayed for guidance to form my words. Satisfied by my effort, I sent the message and went about my business, never expecting to hear from this editor again. I had almost forgotten about the whole thing when one day I received a reply. One of those "too-good-to-be-true" messages! The editor told me that after reading my email, he had a stronger sense that my article might be something they could use after all. He admitted that in the six years he had worked for this magazine, he had never re-read an article once he had rejected it.
Feeling genuinely humbled and grateful to God, I typed a response thanking him for his reconsideration of my work. Two months later, I received a phone call from this same editor stating that the article approval committee had accepted my piece and a contract would be in the mail. Not only had God allowed me to get a cherished story out to the public, supplying some additional income, but He had provided much more than that--a lesson in humility and trust, and the knowledge that just like my writing, I am a work in progress.


chaplaindebbie said...

What a great story, Eileen, very inspirational. How many writers would have just given up after that first rejection? I am guessing the majority of them....good for you, for trusting God and stepping out in faith.

Eileen Rife said...

I'm so glad God kept me moving forward, almost ten years ago now, because He's opened up so many writing doors since then.

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