At one time I wanted to leave my mark on this world. I wanted to be remembered after I'm gone. In my mind, I was thinking of my name on famous novels sort of the way we remember Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Burns, Anne Bradstreet. C.S. Lewis, etc. These people are long gone, but not forgotten. But this thought pattern is the way the world thinks, not in long-term, eternal thoughts as God thinks. After a period of unwanted trials and tribulations, I was forced into a position of re-prioritizing my life. I stopped writing for three years, and we allowed God to purge the world from us. For quite a while we fasted from TV, Internet, movies, video games, novels, we even stopped certain entertainment activities unless it was church related or a Bible study at someone's house. Details of why we were led into this phase of our life are irrelevant. It is the end result that counts. And--it wasn't by choice, I assure you. It was a purging that burned and squeezed the life out of us--or so we thought.
When all the things of the world are taken from you, it is tempting to become bitter and blame God. Instead, we turned to Him for deliverance. We began to concentrate on what we did have, not what we didn\'t have. We had each other, our health, our lives. We had hope that this would soon pass and we could go back to "normal".
By turning to God and having all the distractions taken from us, we read more of the Bible for ourselves, not relying on a pastor's sermon to teach it to us. Guess what? It was then that the Bible came ALIVE! It was no longer some old-fashioned, hard-to-understand Bible that I'd always tried to read in the past. The words leaped off the page at me with clear understanding--much like my novels! This is when God became a living being to me, not some distant, invisible Lord I had always known in the clouds somewhere or in some spiritual world apart from me.
My life changed. My relationship with God changed. My thought patterns changed. The life that I thought had been squeezed from me--WAS. It was the world that was being squeezed out of me. A NEW LIFE was given to me. During the process of being purged, it was hard. It was painful. I'm reminded of the poem, Footprints in the Sand. A person asks God where He was when they were going through all the difficult times because there is only one set of footprints, and God replies that He was carrying that individual through it.
Sometimes we expect God to sweep down and deliver us from the storm--to carry us away. But if what we are going through will give us wisdom and will change us for the better in the long run, He doesn't deliver us FROM it, He delivers us THROUGH it. He carries us through the storm and that is why there is only one set of footprints in the sand.
I could write several books on the wisdom we learned through this process, but suffice it to say that my purpose in life has changed. I no longer want to be remembered as the "famous author" and leave my mark on this earth. I truly want to be known as a woman of God who made such a difference in people's lives that I've made a mark on eternity--not earth.
I don't want to teach my child the ways of the world. I want to teach her the ways of eternity and how to cope in this world until her time comes to pass through it. That became one of my purposes in life the moment I gave birth to her. I didn't know it then--but I know it now. I thank God for the purging He allowed in my life--and I pray that I will always live according to what He taught me through it.
Try not to despise the trials in your life. Pray to learn quickly what God can teach you through it.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an author of historical Christian fiction and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her fiction has won awards in the American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis Contest, and her work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Everton’s Genealogical Publishers, and The Military Trader. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, genealogy, and reading.