A Divine Calling

Coleene VanTilburg
CVCC Aspiring Writers’ Forum Co-leader

“Desperate times require desperate measures,” or so I’ve heard. My solace became a spiritual exercise of journal writing–diligently, prayerfully and with hope. Those journals never gave me a critique, but instead, I found that my words filling up a page worked to keep me connected to God’s Grace, maybe even kept me somewhat sane. Sanctuary lived on those blue lines in a padded journal. I trusted this process. Could it be possible to bless another with some of my personal insights, what I had seen God do in my life?

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God gave me courage. Not only did I start attending a small group again, after a long disappointment in others and myself, I started sharing with a group of ladies that seemed a bit different in their Christian faith–they were very authentic, transparent and prayerful. My friend Cathy, who God chose to come alongside me in these desperate times, introduced me to another friend of hers named Linda. She thought we’d be good for each other. I liked to write, and she was a former editor and writer herself. We got to know each other within this caring small group.

The year before, my oldest son, hospitalized so many times for his chronic illnesses, could no longer fight and left this earth for his heavenly home. My writing by this time truly became my conduit to God for all I felt, for all I knew and didn’t know, for all I grieved for daily. Encouraged by these friends to keep sharing, they became a trusted group where I was ministered to and shared the devotionals I wrote.

One day Linda told me of an idea of hers, to start a writers’ group at church. I had heard of book clubs before, but never a writers’ group. Did God’s plan include me in this new endeavor? She asked me to partner with her, become her co-leader. Strengthened by His insight into my grief, my self-confidence in a leadership role did not seem plausible, something I wasn’t sure I even wanted. But, I liked Linda a lot. She was gifted with intelligence and editing skills and she listened to me! I began to see how God’s plan is our “story…,” a story that needs to be told. I trusted Him with so much already. It felt right.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

As the summer of 2009 came upon us, we met several times and planned out how we wanted to run this new, unique small group. Since journaling brought me into the writing world, we thought we’d challenge our members to write a timed piece, prompted from a question derived from the previous Sunday’s sermon, (provided we HAD members, I thought). Oh, ye of little faith.

Granted permission to use the Pastor Dan Vasquez Memorial Library for our Wednesday night gatherings, for three Sundays prior, Linda and I manned a sign-up table. To my surprise, and Linda’s too, several names, real people interested in writing, wanted to come and check us out. (Oh my goodness, this is really happening!)

September 9th, 2009 began our very first meeting. I walked into that library—that sacred, Holy place where a picture of a young preacher with a heart for the Word of God and his tiny blue church hung, this hallowed place named for this special man of God in my young adult life. Many years passed since that time, many lives changed. “Here I am Pastor Dan, trying out something new.”

I share this poem I wrote that first night, September 9, 2009. It may seem coincidental, all these nines, yet in God’s divine plan, nothing happens without His knowledge.

09-09-09

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0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
Would you be so kind
To start a ministry anew
One for writing, sharing too.

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
I cannot be so sublime
Because on paper my words will be
To glorify my God, you see.

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
Tonight this Forum does shine
In the Library whose author’s tell
And a group I pray will soon jell.

 

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
We give thanks for every line
To scribe Your Spirit-led love
Sent to our hands, from God above.          

Thank you, Lord, for the gift to inspire with words, to tell a story that brings You glory and for everyone in my path whose encouragement keeps me moving forward.