Monday, March 30, 2015

i asked God for a sign

Last week I posted the above photo on Instagram with confidence that Draft 2.0 of the book would be done by Saturday afternoon. I was sure that on Sunday, my twenty-sixth birthday, I'd be on to celebrating a new year and a new manuscript completed. Much to my own disappointment, I didn't make my goal. Not even in a slight, sort of way.

On Wednesday morning, I woke in a funk. I'm not sure if it was the intense word counts I was asking of myself, the intense desire to start the celebrations, or the impending ski trip on the calendar but I wasn't making any progress in my word count. Thursday was more of the same and the start of celebrations with Jason. I was thankful, so thankful for the distraction. I was so sad to have made such progress only to be met with a bad attitude and lack of words.

Thursday night, closer to that midnight hour that ends in AM, I laid in bed and felt doubt creep in. Doubt that said you can't do this, you won't do this, you're dreaming a messy, ugly, soon-to-be-carcrash kind of dream. And, I wish I were being dramatic when I say, I mourned right there over that manuscript.

I laid awake for more moments than I'd like to admit, asking Him how I dreamed up such a wild, misconstrued thing. I wrestled with words in the way I always find myself doing in the dark of night. I asked Him how this writing about hope could feel so hopeless. And, in the way I tend to do, I made a plan. A plan that faithful girls make. A plan where we tell God He best give us a sign. I told Him not a little sign, not a flicker, but a big, bold, undeniable sign.

I lived Friday in a bubble of wishing to know. We ate lunches, ran errands, took walks and played with dogs. All the while, I searched for that hawk that would fly so close I'd know, for the wall graffitied with HOPE, for a billboard along the freeway screaming out WRITE AMBER. And nothing.

Come Sunday, I felt deserted.

I asked God because I trust Him. I asked not to test Him, but because I want assurance. I want a burning bush, a pillar of salt, a dove with an olive branch. I want Him to move the way I read about Him moving for His early people. I know He's a God of impossibilities and my asking for a sign seemed minor, easily accomplished, and fine. I didn't get my sign.

Instead, He gave me a reality check. I sat distracted in a cushioned church chair while a pastor talked passionately over my busy working mind. I wrote furiously, my stream of thoughts scribbled and scrawled over and over again. Scribbles that said I love you, but I do not act according to your whims. Scrawls that said, I love you and, in that, please know your place.

I understood, but I wanted my way.

I laid in bed that night thinking of a pastor's words when I was torn on where to attend college. Over the dusty sand of a small Mexican village he told me, "When making big choices, follow what's good, what works and just be sure to take Him with you. As long as He fits, you're headed the right way." I knew I'd left Him behind.

Manuscript 2.0 is too small, too constricted, too scared of what He has laid here in my little fleshy heart of fear. It's disappointing as its writer, it's too gentle as a reader, it's uncomfortable as a Believer. So, we're going to try again. We are going to do it together as Him and me. It's not about my small words and big fears this time.

Pray for us.


  1. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvMarch 30, 2015 at 6:35 AM

    the best things take the most time. be patient and have courage.

  2. Praying! Patience is something that many strive for, but in the end it is good. This will turn out better for you if deadlines aren't the reason behind your writing.

  3. Tears over here... and oddly enough - comfort, because I'm relieved I'm not the only one who becomes victim to THAT doubt. (Because THAT doubt can surely make you think you're crazy.) HOPE though, friend - that's what I'm sending to you today. Hope, strength, and a reminder that it's OKAY to rest. Sometimes rest is what our souls really need and while sometimes I think we even try to put a timestamp on that period of rest, we really shouldn't. Just as we take care of our bodies with food, etc. - we should take care of our creativity by allowing it as much rest as it says it needs. And rest doesn't mean you're losing anything - even our God rested when it was time :) I think you're an awesome human, Amber.

  4. Ohh the goosebumps. You are so incredibly talented and I am so incredibly excited to see what you do, especially with Him along with you. xx

  5. Praying because I know He planted the seed, and He will bring something from it! I have never once doubted your ability to do this, and to do it phenomenally.

  6. I am so proud of and inspired by you, Amber Thomas.

  7. Dearest Amber: each day is a struggle. When we look for signs, we often feel disappointed, because we are looking for something in particular of that "sign". You woke up. Your handy Mac started and didn't crash (take that PC). Your words STILL flowed, even by pen and paper (even if they were scribbles). Take THOSE as your signs that you have SO much in you to pour out and share with the word. Sorry to be so absent lately, Baby Stella baking process leaves one...exhausted! Looking forward to seeing your name in the "bright lights" of the bookstore soon!!!-Lena

  8. Oh, I can connect to this on so many levels. (I want to point out - this is at least the third or fourth blog post, including my own, I've read about us writers wondering if we're good enough and why we started in the first place. We're all in a writing funk!) My manuscript has been collecting dust the last couple of weeks and I thought I'd be so much further in, but I'm not. And wanting God to give us a sign, I've been there. So many times I wish God would just scream at me what he wants me to do. But most of the time he doesn't work that way. We just need to lean on him and know he's there with us the whole way.

  9. As someone who talks to a lot of writers and who miserably failed to finish writing her big draft nearly 8 months ago, I can tell you you're not alone. It seems to be the writer's curse to have to push past setback after setback. But most authors will tell you that their best work came from the most resistance.

  10. My friend. This means a million things to me. You know how it goes.

  11. Thank you. So many thanks because right now I just feel like a hot mess express and that doesn't lend to creativity or joy in this process! :)

  12. You'll do great things, my friend! Never stop moving forward.

  13. The comfort that comes from knowing we aren't alone is my favorite thing. It's like a warm quilt fresh from the dryer wrapped tightly around our shoulders. And, girl, I'm thankful you feel it because it affirms me too. It makes me realize I'm not alone in this mess that feels so intensely messy! :)

  14. "In the end, it is good."

    This is what I'm reminding myself daily, daily, daily. In the end, it is good. Because it is and it will be and yes.

  15. The best things take the most time.

    yes. i've written this on a post it note on my computer. because yes, truth all over the place my beautiful friend.


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