Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Today’s experience is from Zoe McCarthy who found balance in her life through dedication and obedience to God. Welcome, Zoe!
Thank you, Sandy, for inviting me to share my story.
As a highly organized woman, I thought I was good at maintaining a balanced life. For instance, with my chronic insomnia, I’d learned to function well on four hours’ sleep. I fit in my devotional time, job, writing, family, ministries, and Bible studies.
Then John and I retired to live on a hill in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where rush hour is stopping at a stop sign to let one car roll by. I treated my writing and platform building as a nine-to-six job. John supported me, doing the laundry, vacuuming, shopping, and starting dinner.
My first book contract followed. Soon after that novel released, I worked with a publisher for the possible publication of another completed novel, and I finished a third novel. Also, industry professionals encouraged me to write a non-fiction book based on my blog posts on writing.
I was trucking.
During this time, I sensed God calling us to attend Bible Study Fellowship’s nine-month study on the Book of Revelation in North Carolina. Because we traveled a total of five hours and spent the night, my workweek dropped to four days. That put my organizational skills to the test. To cope, I worked Saturdays, and then Sundays before and after church. Thankfully, with my insomnia, I could rise earlier.
During that year, through nudges and prayer, God called me to teach the Community Bible Study and start a prayer shawl ministry. The six-hour Bible study preparation, a morning teaching, and the shawl ministry consumed more work time. So, I found ways to work smarter.
When the Revelation study ended, God made it clear we were to attend the BSF study on the Gospel of John this past year so I could share what I learned with the Community Bible study. The ladies’ response, the increase in attendance, and my passion to prepare and teach the class, assured me I was doing my Father’s work.
Then, I received three book contracts with three different publishers. One contract introduced me to my first deadline experience.
Wouldn’t you know it, in January, God called me to another task: to keep my Sabbath holy. I stopped preparing Bible study lessons, writing, and working on my platform on Sundays. I trusted God to help me get more done in four weekdays and half of Saturday than I did in seven days. Sundays were to worship, rest, spend time with God, attend a Bible study, and love on others.
Since I’ve kept the Sabbath holy, I no longer encounter the nightly insomnia I’ve experienced most of my life. Sleeping is a miracle. My writing, blogging, marketing, ministry, and teaching tasks are falling into place without rising at 4 A.M. or working on Sundays. And we don’t feel called to attend BSF in September.
For me, balance is being obedient to God in all things, and He will equip me and bless my time.
How has God blessed you when you trusted Him with your time?
A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of Gift of the Magpie and Calculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing that opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, gardening, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly at www.zoemmccarthy.com.
Gift of the Magpie
Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English tea
cher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine’s Day date. He may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong.