Welcome, guest blogger Shelley Shepard Gray!
Shelley :: Thank you, Inkwell Gals, for inviting me to visit! I’m honored to be here!
Giving up control is really hard for me. It’s why I never was any good at skiing--I never wanted to go too fast. Going fast puts you at risk, you know. There’s a chance of falling. Yet, of course, the consequences of choosing not to sail down the hill are great. Going slower hurts your knees. The skis don’t move as easily. There’s an even greater chance of falling--and to get hurt.
Yes, I learned all about falling on the ski slopes when I went to the University of Colorado.
Yet still, time and again, I try my best to stay firmly ‘in charge’. I’ve tried to ‘manage’ things. Plan. Organize. Make lists. Check. Double check. My poor family’s used to my need for control. Sometimes they let me be in the driver’s seat. Sometimes they even let me pretend I’m in control…and then they do what they want.
Over time, I’ve become at peace with that.
Since I like to write books, my quirky character trait works well for me. Being a bit of a control freak is a good thing when you have a whole group of made up characters just waiting to do what you want! But every once in a while, I’m reminded that God has a different way of looking at things.
Of course (you might have guessed this was coming!), in spite of all my ‘wants’ and ‘reasons to work hard’… I was really struggling. For the first time in a long time, I couldn’t think of anything to write. And I had to--I had over a hundred pages to get done! I kept pushing and pushing myself. One day it took me six hours to write ten pages. Six hours! On a good day, I can get ten pages written in under two.
I was really frustrated.
By Friday, I was almost in tears. I had to get the book done. It had to be good, too--if it wasn’t the editor wouldn’t be shy about telling me. But I was really stuck. At a loss, I opened up a chapter from Philippians, the book our small group is studying. I reread the passage that we’d just discussed. Then I closed my eyes and relaxed.
Here’s what I read:
Philippians 4: 4-7
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Finally, FINALLY, I realized that I needed help. I prayed for guidance. I began emailing people who I knew could help me. To my surprise, I heard from four people within the hour. One person even made a phone call and was able to help me with my research. God had placed lots of people in my life to help me over my little writing hurdle. All I had to do was reach out!
Two days later, with all that help, I finished the book. : )
That experience, though it was rather rough and tough for me~ was a learning experience, I think. It reminded me, of course, that I don’t have to do anything all on my own. That I don’t have to always be my best. On some days, I just have to be me. The stumbling girl who tries really hard, but sometimes needs a whole lot of help so I don’t fall.
I stand before you so grateful for all the blessings you given me. Thank you for giving me opportunities to remember that you are in charge. And that with your help, anything is possible.
When were you last stressed beyond your ability? How did you manage? What helps you manage? How did you give God thanks through it?
In 2010, the Seasons of Sugarcreek series debuted. In addition, GRACE, a Christmas Sisters of the Heart novel, will be published in October, 2010. The INSPY’s named WINTER'S AWAKENING a finalist in their Amish Fiction category. Currently, Shelley is under contract to write her third series with Avon Inspire. The Families of Honor series, will launch in March 2011.
2011 will also bring the publication of A TEXAN'S PROMISE, her first western historical for Abingdon Press. A TEXAN'S PROMISE is the first book in a trilogy which will be released annually.
To date, Shelley’s novels were highlighted in the Philadelphia Enquirer, Time Magazine, and USA Today.
Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s degree in English literature and elementary education and later obtained her master’s degrees in educational administration. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two teenagers, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees and volunteers in the church office. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.
Shelley is active on Facebook and also has a website, http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/.
Lilly's heart is drawn to Robert, not to his faith. No matter how much she admires his quiet strength and dependability, she doesn't think she could ever give up her independence and reliance on the modern world. Is their love doomed before it even begins?
AUTUMN'S PROMISE (and Shelley's other books) can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, CBD, Family Christian, or IndieBound.
For a review of Autumn's Promise, click here.