Ten Years and One Day Later …


Ten years and one day ago is a date I will not soon forget. It was the day I received an assignment that changed my life.

I realized this week that my family and I would be commemorating the 14th anniversary of my daughter Bethany’s home-going to heaven—always such a difficult anniversary to bear. Try as I might to be strong, the tears seem to ebb and flow like a turbulent tide during a hurricane.

Then I realized, the date of October 20, 2017, was significant for another reason: It was ten years to the day that I “heard” the call to write my first novel.

I wrote about this event in the memoir of my daughter’s battle with brain cancer, Bethany’s Calendar:


The story of my daughter's journey with cancer.

The story of my daughter’s journey with cancer.

On the fourth anniversary of Bethany’s death, I lay in bed without any intentions of getting up. I wanted to cover my head and hide from the world. I hated these dates of remembrance.

But God had other plans for me that day. With an inaudible voice speaking to my heart, I “heard” a very strange assignment. I was to write a novel about my ancestors during the American Revolution. The message was so clear to me yet so strange that I was embarrassed to tell Steve.

After all, although I had previously been a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines, I was now a fulltime nurse. Besides, the only time I had tried to write after Bethany’s death, I had melted into a pool of tears. I never wanted to write again.

And now I was being directed to write a historical novel. Okay, so I love history and family genealogy. But this made no sense.

Since our ways are not God’s ways, I decided to go to the used bookstore and start looking for books about American history. And the rest became part of my history as one novel turned into two, then two turned into three.


I wrote Bethany’s Calendar in 2014. Since then I’ve written three more historical novels and I am researching my next one.

Did I say that our ways are not God’s ways? See Isaiah 55:8-9. I cannot fathom His ways nor his purposes in all the plans he has for me. Yet I know that, if I am obedient to His Word and His sometimes bewildering beckonings, then I will find His purpose for my life. However strange His requests may sometimes seem.

Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit prompting you to do something unexpected? I’d love to hear your story.


  1. This is beautiful. He brings new life, even in the shadow of death.

    • He Who overcame death, delivers new life to us as we seek Him. Thank you, Tim.

  2. Words to encourage the hurting seeker in all of us, Elaine. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to sit at your computer and begin typing that novel. But don’t you love the way God knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows exactly what it is going to take to get us to navigate this life’s pain? Praise God for His eternal perspective.

    • Amen, Kendy. We cannot imagine the Lord’s plan for our lives nor how He will use us in our journey, if we submit to His will. And yes, God knows us so much better than we know ourselves. Thanks so much for commenting.

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