Laying prone on the carpet of my bedroom floor, I could not contain the overflow of tears drenching my face and racking my body with sobs. I had just began my Advanced Creative Writing class and submitted the first half of my twenty-five page non-fiction memoir. My professor’s comments were devastating. Here is my journal entry for the following day:
July 3, 2016
Last night was rough. After dinner, I checked my school website and discovered the grade my teacher gave me for my final paper. I got all the points–because I had the correct page count–but she really did not understand my paper. It felt like she hadn’t really read it based on the comments and questions she made. God, I really need your wisdom, guidance, and peace over this. I do not want to take the wrong steps and make a costly mistake. Please give me favor as I finish this class. Let your words be my words. If it’s your will I want to write for you.
I can’t wait to see what you have in store for me–I will be looking through the eyes of faith!
While laying on the floor sobbing, I spoke to God in a deep, gut wrenching way pleading for the power of the Holy Spirit to step in and lead me on the path God was giving me. It was complete surrender, I had nothing left in me anymore to try to do this on my own. I continued to rest in His presence, got out all my anguish, and began to feel peace within me. Once I calmed down, God laid on my heart what to do next: get a second opinion.
My next step was something I had never done before. I uploaded my paper to the University writing lab and asked for their critique. I really wanted to know the truth, so I asked more than one person. At that moment, it seemed to be the best way to figure out what I did wrong. Even better if they came back with the same outcome, right? I received the results a little more than a week later and received confirmation, from both, that what I believed about myself was right:
“You have a clear focus, and you have included good details in your paper to illustrate your point. Your conversational tone in your memoir is engaging and keeps the reader’s interest. Your paper is well -organized with each paragraph focusing on developing one main point or theme. Nice work!”
Writing can be so subjective, but I knew the basic framework of what I was trying to articulate was there. Armed with this knowledge; I kept writing, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, believing in what God had started in me, and paying close attention to the comments my professor gave to me. Just because I did not believe in her first assessment, I still very much respected her. I worked very hard in this class, but it was the Holy Spirit in me, when I was in complete surrender, that took over and allowed me to tap into the supernatural power that can only be given through Jesus.
The hard work paid off and my final paper turned out exactly as I had hoped it would. You see, this memoir was very important to me because it detailed the last few weeks of my mother’s life. My mom’s faith, the miracles that we experienced, and my relationship with her permeated the pages with smiles, tears, and, yes, a few laughs. I am happy to say that my final grade was a 100%, thank you Jesus!! But that wasn’t the best blessing I received. The smile, tears, and love reflected on the face of my father, as he read my memoir, was the ultimate gift.
Oswald Chamber’s touched on this beautifully in his devotional, “My Utmost For His Highest.”
“When God sends His inspiration, it comes to us with such a miraculous power that we are able to ‘arise from the dead…,’ and do the impossible. The remarkable thing about spiritual initiative is that the power comes after we ‘get up and get going.'”
God’s inspiration is the Holy Spirit, and many times we need to step out in faith and obedience before the power is unleashed. Is there an area in your life, like me, where God has asked you to step out in obedience to Him? I urge you to take the initiative and take that first step. The holy spirit will be there to give you “such a miraculous power” to complete what He has called you to (Chambers).
I’d love to hear from you. In this fallen world, the hope and encouragement we can give each other can be such a miraculous thing! Share the hope of Jesus in your life with someone you know, it may change their life!
By the way, want to see the POWER of the holy spirit at work through me? Check out my teachers final comments!!
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest. “The Inspiration of the Spiritual Initiative, February 16.” Discovery House, 1992.