Spoiler Alert: My new book, Holy Doubt: Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle is available now on Amazon. If you or someone you know is struggling with God, this book will be a huge help along the sometimes dark and painful path through doubt. The digital version is only $0.99 until May 11th (find out more and snag a copy here).
Some of you started following my old blog almost three years ago when I first began writing about some of my experiences with doubt and what I experienced as a missionary in India. I shared personal stories about the way God was working in my heart as I tried to process what I saw, felt, and heard during our four years in missions, and many of you shared your stories with me as well. I counted it an extreme privilege that my story connected with those of you who read it in some small way, and I started to wonder if maybe God could use my story in other ways too.
So I kept blogging and started writing Holy Doubt with the intention of helping people like me who were struggling with doubt and shattered faith.
But the book was terrible.
There was a lot of “then this happened, and then this…,” and the manuscript turned into one long list of events. Ugh! Essentially, it was a poorly written memoir instead of the helpful guide for the dark journey through doubt and questions that I hoped it would be. It was about as interesting and useful as reading my grocery list. Not. Helpful.
So I rewrote it.
After that second rewrite, I submitted it to a national contest and Holy Doubt was among the top 10 considered for a publishing deal with Tyndale Momentum. That time I thought, “This is it! This story is finally going to make its way out into the world.” But as the date for them to choose a winner got closer and closer, I didn’t feel excited. Instead, I hoped they wouldn’t pick me! Feeling terrified and overwhelmed by the thought of sharing my story with the world and the many ways I would feel exposed and vulnerable, I wished I’d never submitted it to the contest. I finally felt more confident in the manuscript, but I wasn’t ready to be an author.
As it turns out, I wasn’t ready and neither was the book!
So I rewrote it again.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that rejection was God’s way of saying “Wait!”
Somewhere in the middle of the third rewrite I realized God had replaced some of my pain with purpose, exchanged my mourning for joy, and hidden hope for me to find in the dark places. That was when Holy Doubt finally became a story worth telling.
With each rewrite the meaning behind what I experienced sharpened and became clearer, until finally (years later) it became what I had hoped for all along—an easy-to-read guide for hurting people stumbling through the soul-crushing agony of doubt.
I don’t know what you’re facing right now. Maybe God is saying, “Wait!” and you just want to charge ahead, bulldozing every roadblock in your way. I know exactly how that feels.
But God has a beautiful story to tell with your life. It might not feel like it right now, but as someone who has sat where you are (and will likely be there again in the future), can I urge you today to trust God’s timing? It made no sense to me back when I didn’t get that publishing deal, why God would ask me to wait, but years down the road, it makes perfect sense.
~Gut-Check & Action Steps~
- What is God wanting to rewrite in your life?
- Where is he wanting to replace sorrow with joy, despair for hope?
- While you contemplate your story, make sure to check out Holy Doubt on Amazon. I’m praying it will help you see the beauty in the story God is writing with your life.