This year, one of the things I’m thankful for is that I finished the month of November with just over 50,000 words written on a new project. But on Thursday, three days before the deadline, with a deficit of almost 5000 words and a whole day of non-writing (Thanksgiving Day), I didn’t really think I’d make it.
By Friday, discouragement had rendered me almost inert. To get so very close and fail. The thought galled. While at the gym on Friday morning, I listened to a talk author Robin Jones Gunn gave at the ACFW conference this year–the conference I wasn’t able to attend. And when she talked about Hannah and her request of God for a son, and then having the fulfill the vow she made to give that son back to Him, I remembered my own vow about my writing: that I wouldn’t neglect my family to do it.
Would it be neglectful to lock myself in my office and finish? Maybe God was asking me to put my family ahead of the goal and trust Him. After all, the only thing that not reaching the goal would truly affect was my pride! I struggled with the decision for an hour or so after I arrived back home and finally concluded that if I just sat down and worked for two focused hours each day, I could do both. But let me tell you–at that point it took sheer grit and determination to sit down and work, to miss even a couple of hours of the short time my kids were at home again.
But guess what? God is so faithful to help us when we desire to do as He’s asked–for in that moment, I believed He asked me to write, not to lay it down. (He could have asked the other; I’d have done that, too.) Not only did I knock out half of my final 5000 words that Friday morning, I spent the rest of the day enjoying my family. Later that evening, after watching one of our traditional Christmas movies, I thought perhaps I could squeeze in a few more words to make Saturday’s writing time shorter. But lo and behold, the words kept flowing. And flowing. And flowing. By the time I closed my computer and headed to bed, I’d reached that magic number: 50,000 words. One day early.
This month has been a great lesson in discipline as well as in rediscovering the joy of writing–and the reminder that those two things must go hand-in-hand. I’m so grateful that the Lord continues to teach me to hear Him, trust Him, depend on Him through the daily struggles of life and writing.