God does wonders through a willing heart

I never was a writer.  I never kept a diary.  I never liked English class.  I confess – I even plagiarized most of my school papers.  But that didn’t matter to God when he called my husband and me to publish a Christian Newspaper in South Florida.  After much prayer, research, planning, and a trip to the library, Grif, a restaurant manager, became publisher and I, an interior designer, became editor within a few short months.  Neither of us had any clue what we were doing, but we were zealous in our young faith and hopeful that God was going to do really great things. 
Then the day came that I’ll never forget.  I was awakened to the reality of what we were trying to accomplish and in my discouragement I doubted that we could ever succeed at a seemingly impossible venture (I mean, if you only knew how unqualified we really were). That was the day God spoke almost audibly to me.  He said, “Marcie, I don’t need you to start this Newspaper, but I would like to use you if you are willing.”  Immediately, I replied, “Yes, Father, I am willing.”  And that was the beginning of the Good News in South Florida and our amazing adventure in faith.
Our first issue was published in April 1999 with 16 pages and a handful of advertisers (one of which was my parents). 5,000 copies were delivered to the doorstep of our townhome and stored along our dining room wall until we could deliver them all using our 2-door Honda Accord. Our newborn baby boy sat in the backseat completely surrounded by Newspapers.  Those of you who remember our first issue can attest to the grace, mercy and sense of humor our loving Father has.   He truly uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise and boy did we ever confound them!  I was horrified when I saw all the mistakes we made in the first issue.  Seriously, I used my body as a barricade at the front door and told Grif I wasn’t going to let him take a single paper out of our house!  But the paper got out in spite of me and people loved the paper in spite of all the mistakes.  God is so faithful; His purposes do always prevail.
In the following months, God made abundantly clear to me that He can do wonders through a willing heart.  With each issue, my writing seemed to just overflow from within.  He would speak and I would write.  I was amazed at the precious gift the Lord had given me and there was nothing I did to deserve it or earn it.  All I really did was step out in faith and He did the rest.  I thoroughly enjoyed honoring the Lord and blessing others with my gifting and was content to have found my place and calling.  But circumstances change and life doesn’t always go the way we plan.
I unexpectedly had another wonderful baby boy within 16 months of my first and Grif became increasingly overwhelmed with working two jobs to support our family and the paper.  He knew we couldn’t survive that way much longer and made a difficult, yet necessary business decision for the growth of our family and the paper.  That decision provided all the resources we needed for steady growth and income so that Grif could work full-time on the paper.  The only problem now was the need for a full-time editor and I could not fulfill that role being a stay-at-home mom with 2 young children; someone had to take my place.  While I knew this was for the best, I struggled with many emotions.   It was difficult to let go.  I was still able to write for the paper, but I didn’t have control anymore.  It was my baby and I had to entrust it to someone else.  As a result, I began to write less and less.
Then, I had my third precious boy and began homeschooling my other two, which took up the majority of my time. I had stopped writing completely.  A few years later, I had my fourth (a girl, finally) and was completely exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually.  People would ask me when I would write again, but I had no answer.  I had no desire anymore; I had no time.  I thought maybe that season was gone and that was it.  I thought that God was finished with me in that capacity.  I didn’t think God takes away our gifts, but I sure felt like it.  I felt guilty, as if I had done something wrong.  I asked God to forgive me for not using His gift in hopes that He would restore me again.  I had lost my passion for writing and couldn’t get it back.  There was no overflow from within like before.  Yet, deep down was this faint hope to write again someday.  I just didn’t know when –  but God did.
Two years ago, I was told by my pastor’s beautiful wife that she could see the gift of writing in me and that I needed to fan it into flame.  I took it to heart and began to pray for God to help me to write again.  I wasn’t aware then that He had to take me through the most difficult trial of my life before He would do so.  He was going to release this overflow only by experience.  There was no other way.  As I was walking through the darkness, I vowed to the Lord, (and I don’t take them lightly as I’ve only made two other vows ever- my covenant with God to remain faithful to Jesus and my covenant in marriage to remain faithful to my husband) “If you get me through this, I will shout from the rooftops whatever my testimony may be.  Wherever, whenever, I will say what you say and do what you want me to do.”  And I meant it desperately with every ounce of my being.  Christ in me is the hope of glory.  I want to bring Him glory.
After two years on my knees, I now stand in awe once again at the faithfulness of our God.  Everything we are is because of Him.  The Apostle Paul clearly understood this when he said in Acts 17:28, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”  Everything we desire to do for Him originates from Him and is done through Him.  His plans are always accomplished in His perfect time, in His perfect way.  He is glorified in our weaknesses.  He refines our character in the waiting.  He develops trust and dependence on Him through the darkest of trials. He infuses our hearts with His passion to do His will.  He is our source of wisdom, strength, and power.  Even our faith in Him is a gift from Him. All we do is walk in it, step by step.
So, here I am at my computer writing for the first time in years.  I must admit I am nervous and when I began I had absolutely no idea what to say.  Where do I begin?  How do I articulate what has transpired in the very depths of my heart and soul?  How will others understand when I am not sure I fully understand myself?  All I do know is that I have been given an opportunity through the Good News to declare what the Lord has done so that you may know that God is mighty to save, redeem and set free.  That you may also know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.  That you may know his intense, fierce, passionate, boundless love for you and that He can be completely trusted.  That you may know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will never ever leave you or forsake you.  That you may know that you are not the only one.  I invite you to walk with me on this journey in the months ahead as I keep my promise to shout from the rooftops what my Father in His mercy has made known to me….that you may know.

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