“The Lord said to me, ‘See, I have begun to deliver Sihon and his country over to you. Now begin to conquer and possess his land.’” –Deuteronomy 2:31

Now begin, so says the Lord.

But I don’t know how. Not tonight. Perhaps these words are a place to start. Let me explain.

These are real tears falling down onto my computer keyboard tonight, real pain welling up inside of me. If I’m being honest, really digging deep to understand this potency that’s picking away at my heart, at the root of it all is my sense of failure. I could list a dozen “if onlys”, spend a lot of time digging around for a place to put the blame, but the torment that keeps hammering cruelly into my mind is this one:

If only I was a better writer I wouldn’t be in this mess. I would have been signed by a reputable agent/publishing house, thereby saving me this incredible heartache.

It’s been a few weeks now since I learned about my publishing company’s “going out of business.” That’s a bit too tidy for what has really happened. I’ll spare you the details. Safe to say, there’s nothing pretty about it, nothing remotely above board in this unfolding of events. Thousands of authors are now caught in the wake of this betrayal. It’s only now in these moments of surrendered grief that I’m able to put a few words to this loss.

If I’m not careful, I’ll nurse this pain far longer than it deserves, and so I step gently into these words this evening because I desperately want them to mean more than simply as a way of securing your sympathy. A good dose of sympathy is required on occasion, but sympathy never really moves us past our pain, does it? Accordingly, that’s not what I’m after. What I am after is a way to begin again, and writing (for me) has always been that place of renewal.

Honestly, beginning again feels impossible, and yet this is the choice before me. It is a choice … to begin again. I can choose to stay clothed in these ashes, or I can choose to walk them forward, to wake up tomorrow with the smell of fire on my skin and know that what has been burned in me is not final. Painful? Yes. Formative? Yes. But not final.

My writing days are not over. Man cannot take from me what God has placed inside of me. The corruptions in this world are no match for the Creator of this world. God’s world was built with words. “Let there be … “ and then there was. So there still is. All created things, whether books or recipes or sewing (whatever your artistic bent) begin with words. Maybe not with audible ones, but even a thought has its origin in words.

And so, I shall not fear them not coming around for me anymore. Words will find me wherever I go. Perhaps some of them will make it to print; perhaps some more aptly suited for prayer. Regardless of their entrance into and exit from my world, words will always be my friends. I cannot imagine my life without them.

Now begin, so says the Lord.

And now I have, in this safe place. With words, with God, and with renewed expectation for the lines yet to be written on the blank pages of my tomorrows. He who has begun this good work in me … in all of us … will bring it to completion. Of this I am certain.

Rest easy in the arms of Jesus, friends, kept in perfect peace all the night through. The best is yet to be.

16 Responses to Begin

  1. “The best is yet to be”… I love those words! Something to look forward to! A HOPE that springs in our heart. Yes, begin again Elaine! You have more words in your heart and soul than most anyone else that I know. I love reading what you write and I know there are many, many others who feel the same way. I pray that God continues to lead you in the path you need to take as far as your writing goes.

    Love you much my Faith-full friend!!

  2. I’m so glad I saw this post just now Elaine. Your pain is real, and it hurts. But I keep seeing this is a chapter, NOT the final chapter. I’m pretty sure that’s also how god must see this place. He, who knows the beginning from the end, is right there with you, and it’s HIS words that are in your heart… it “shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
    So hang on sister… He’s got this.

    Love you!

  3. What JOY and peace our God brings in the midst and through the fires of this life. To come out on the other side there is such purity and refinement. God is So Good even when life is so hard! You bless us with your words, no matter where they are printed/spoken!

  4. So glad to see your closing words, “The best is yet to come.” I fully believe that for you, friend. Sometimes loss means feeling untethered, but I believe that untethered means a new freedom for you in writing and publishing. (If there is one good thing to come from this it is that no one will maintain a claim or a hold on your words.)

    “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isa. 43:19)

    Continue to hear the words He’s given you, then trust Him to lead you to the doors He will open.

  5. Elaine, my heart goes out to you in the pain you’re going through regarding your publishing company. I’m so glad to hear, though, that God is helping you begin again. This is one of those “only God” times, isn’t it? Only he can give you the strength to carry on, and he will definitely bring his work in you to completion. The best is yet to be indeed. God bless your every effort, my friend.

  6. The best IS yet to be, because God will bring beauty from these ashes. His promises are true and faithful, and He loves you so much. Praying for you, Elaine.

  7. Your words here always touch me. You will find that next avenue and you will write your heart for others.I like what you said about sympathy…it doesnt move us forward.

  8. In 1989 I thought my world had collapsed; my life shredded beyond recognition. I began to understand what it means to despair. It was dark, the sort of dark that made it next to impossible to read God’s word or pray. Many a moment was spent alongside Job. Today, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I realize THAT episode had to be penned before all these other ones could even “be”. When I say “The best is yet to come”, it’s not fanciful thinking that fuels the belief, but the experience of those dark days (months) back then, long ago.

    That pioneer heart of yours is such a gift. Along with so many others, I watch with expectancy to see how the Lord leads in the days to come.

    Praying comfort for your soul, strength for your hands, and vision for what is to yet to be.


  9. GOD’s word for you is Hope!
    He will lead and provide. I know this as surely as I know my name, and you do to! May His guiding Hand prompt you in the next weeks to a project birthed in your heart and fueled by His Spirit. Your writing is so rich, a poetic expression of a fierce faith that encourages many. May our Faithful LORD JESUS open up avenues for both of us to be contracted with godly publishing houses. Amen and amen!
    Love you lots. ((Hugs))

  10. We Feel Your Pain But Also Your trust. You Know God Is In Control So Therefore We Hope and Plan For SomethIng Bigger And Better. And We Pray For You In This.Keep Writing….I Need It!!! ((HUGS))

  11. Knowing our God, He will likely build something very beautiful upon the ruins… The psalms of His people, always coming to the right conclusion through the tangled emotions in the wake of ruins… always finding our way back up to His lap, seeing from His perspective.

    God will continue to bless your words, and lift others. His publishing house has no bounds. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. It blesses and encourages me to see you rise above this disappointment and pain, even stronger than before. What faith…what a testimony! God’s definitely not finished, yet, sweet friend. He has even bigger and better plans for you…I can’t wait to see where He leads you next. He’s already working out every detail. As you said, “The best is yet to be.”

    We really need to catch up. Please call me one afternoon, when school is over for the day.

    Sending hugs, prayers, and lots of love…

  13. As I read over your comments, knowing that many of you have walked this publishing journey with me from its beginning, I am blessed by your continuing participation in my life. Thank you for believing in me and for sheltering me in this storm! God has the final word on all our words. Shalom.

  14. My dear friend… I have walked with you for nearly five years or more, I think… and I have read nearly all the posts you have written. You are my real life friend, not anymore just a blog friend. And this latest thing happening in your life, is just another hurdle of a closed door, a prelude to a new door opening. I will not belittle the pain of the betrayal and the disappointment, but what I want to do is to pour buckets of encouragement over your broken heart today dear friend. Not a tear you have shed is ever wasted in God’s economy.

    Much love

  15. After reading this post, I had to go Google WinePress to see what was going on. Oh, how it made my heart hurt. What a sad and broken mess. I am so sorry that this event boiled over to affect your life, and your books. This makes my copies even more special to me.

    Elaine, though it could sound trite (and I don’t mean it that way at all) – God does know. And I cannot for one second believe that He would allow this avenue to close down for such a gifted writer as yourself, without having already opened up something new. In time, I know it will be revealed.

    And I will stand by and celebrate with you.


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