Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
I'm back! Thanks for hanging in there with me while I took some time off to finish my manuscript. Here's a post about the last few months. I hope you enjoy!
Have you ever had a Gideon moment with God? You know. The kind where He makes the very thing He's called you to increasingly impossible? The kind where He just keeps putting more and more on your plate as a deadline approaches? The kind where time is taken away when you actually need more of it, not less?
I have. In fact, this is precisely what's been going on in my life over the last few months as I've worked to finish my manuscript.
If you're not familiar with the story of Gideon, let me fill you in a bit. Gideon was commissioned by God to lead Israel into battle against the Midianites, the Amalekites, and "all the people of the East." Israel was armed with 32,000 men. Their enemies, 135,000. The odds were certainly not in Israel's favor, at best, but then God did something that, I'm sure, didn't make sense to His people at the time. Knowing man's heart, God said, "The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying 'My own hand has saved me.'" And so, God told Gideon to tell all who were fearful to go home. 22,000 men returned home that day, leaving 10,000 men to fight. Still, God was not satisfied. Once again, He said there were too many, and He brought the number down to 300 men, saying, "With the 300 men...I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand."
And He did.
Over the last few months, I've been working like crazy to finish my book before my girls get out of school for summer. My fabulously wonderful agent, Jessie Kirkland, asked that I finish even a bit earlier than I had intended, so she could edit the manuscript before I send it to my publisher at the end of August. June first was my new deadline. When I set out to meet this goal, I knew I had to write one chapter each week in order to finish on time. I thought it was do-able, at first, but then I realized, my girls would be home for two weeks during this time for spring break, and I had made a promise to both God and my family long ago that I would not allow my calling to write interfere with my primary calling to my husband and my children. And so, time was taken away in order to keep my priorities straight. I wrote a little each morning while they were home, and by God's grace I didn't get too far behind.
But then the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association contacted me, asking me to be in their next "My Hope with Billy Graham" film. I felt strongly that this was from God, so I agreed and felt truly honored to take a small part in Mr. Graham's ministry. Truthfully, only God could have done this. All I kept thinking is, "Me?" Out of all the people in the world, God brought their attention to my story. It still amazes me.
With the film, came quite a bit of time-loss. Hours that I would have normally spent writing were given to phone interview after phone interview, as the director evaluated how best to use my story for the film. And of course a few writing days went by the wayside during filming as well.
Needless to say, I was behind. But as I prayed, I received a spirit of calmness. I knew God had prepared me for this. I knew He was behind every one of these things. By outward appearances, all these things could have been considered setbacks, but they weren't. All the things that pulled me away from writing my book were good things, given by God. Through these things, I had been given the opportunity to spend two weeks with my girls during spring break who are growing up entirely way too fast, to my liking. And the Billy Graham thing was an opportunity to be part of something I never thought I would be part of. An opportunity to touch lives for the cause of Christ through my story––something that I believe is my life's calling.
I went into the last two weeks before my deadline with confidence that God would pull through. He had to. What I had left to do was not possible apart from Him. Mind you, I average a chapter a week, but I had three chapters and an epilogue to organize and write, an afterword written by Anthony to edit, and twelve letters from inmates who have been impacted by our story to type and format––all in two weeks. Still, I wanted to fulfill my commitment to my family––I believed God would honor that––and so I refused to write when they were home. I chose to be the wife and mommy I am called to be.
All seemed to be going well for a while, but then, I got sick at the beginning of the last week with some sort of bacterial infection, and that just about topped it all. God had effectively brought me down to my 300.
By all logic, it was not possible to finish. But I knew I would because, you see, God is a God of the impossible. That's just what He does. I had seen it before, and so I knew that He would do it. I had my moments of doubt throughout the months before, but by this time, I knew I would finish, and I did. I completed my manuscript just as God promised I would, at the last hour. It was nothing less than a Gideon victory. And there was no confusion. This was not something that I did. I did not win this battle by my own hand, but by the hand of God.
Once again, God is a God of the impossible, so whatever it is He's calling you to do. Know this:
God will enable you to do whatever it is that He's calling you to do.
God has prepared you for this.
You have all the time you need.
Your strength is found in your weaknesses.
You can do all things through Christ.
You don't have to worry.
God is with you.
God is fighting for you.
Remember, we may fight in the battle, but make no mistake, victory comes from the Lord. [Tweet that] God's the one who does this, not you. Not me.