Friday, May 21, 2010

Just Keep Trying Suzanne Woods Fisher

Author Suzanne Woods Fisher joined us on May 12 for our Writer’s Journey Wednesday to talk about the importance of paying attention to the world around us. This Fortifying Friday she returns to Seriously Write to encourage writers with her story. Welcome Suzanne!

Just Keep Trying

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV).

Simon gave up too easily. He had been fishing hard all night long with only a few measly fish to show for it. He and his partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, went back to shore, tired and discouraged, pulled in their nets, and started to pack up the tools of their trade for another day.

Surrounded by a crowd of people, Jesus had been standing by the lake and noticed the boats. He asked Simon if he could teach from the boat. To appease Him,Simon put the boat out into the water a little distance from the shore so Jesus could have a little breathing room for His lessons.

Afterwards, in a touching sign of lavish generosity, Jesus asked Simon to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4). Imagine what went through Simon’s mind: Look, Jesus, the fish, if there are any to be found, aren’t biting today. I just cleaned and stored my nets and tools for another day. I’ll have to start all over again. Still, Simon liked this Jesus fellow and decided to oblige him. “Because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).

You can guess the rest of the story. The nets were so full that they had to call in another boat and then the boats were so full of slippery, gasping fish that they both began to sink!

What if Simon had refused Jesus’ offer? What if he had decided to keep his tools locked up and out of sight? Stored safely away, waiting for a better day to fish? What if Simon had limited Jesus?

Recently, I had an experience like Simon’s. I had written an article that I felt was well-edited and full of impact, but it was rejected by all of the magazines for which I usually wrote. Discouraged, I thought of one more venue to try. An unlikely candidate, too. In fact, not only was it a prestigious magazine, but they did almost everything in-house,rarely accepting freelance work.

As I stood at the mailbox, opening the lid to insert the envelope, I ran an objection past the Lord one more time. “God, do you realize that this magazine is probably going to reject the article like all of the others?” And yet, I felt His prompting to keep trying. Just keep at it. With a thud, I heard the envelope slip down and land at the bottom of the mail container.

One week later, the editor contacted me with an enthusiastic acceptance. He made very few changes in the article and had already scheduled it for publication. Better still, a working relationship developed between us that has resulted in more accepted submissions. My boat felt full to the point of sinking!

Prayer: Today, Lord, I give You my leaky boat, my discouraged frame of mind, my bum luck at fishing. You ask me to get out my unused nets, unspool them, and put out into deep water. Why would You ask that? I was just out there. I came back with empty nets and a dose of discouragement. But You asked, and by faith, I will try again. Forgive me for quitting too soon, for limiting You. Lord, sometimes I just need to try again. Today, by faith, I need to remember to look to You to fill my nets. Amen.


Can you think of a time recently when you gave up too easily? What did you learn from that experience?

What did it teach you about God? What do you think God wants you to expect from Him?

“Call to me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NAS).

Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and was a free-lancer writer for magazines while her children were growing up. She published her first novel, Copper Star, with a small press. That book won three literary awards and caught the eye of a literary agent, Joyce Hart. Joyce knew that Suzanne had a family connection to the Plain People (Suzanne’s grandfather was raised Plain) and introduced her to an editor at Revell Books. Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World was the result of that new publishing relationship. It is a finalist for the ECPA Christian Book of the Year Award. ‘Lancaster County Secrets,’ a fiction series about the Old Order Amish, soon followed Amish Peace. The Choice, the first in the series, was a CBD, CBA and ECPA bestseller, and was the Crossings’ Book Club Main Selection. Suzanne has contracts with Revell for eight more books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the host of “Amish Wisdom” on, a weekly radio program featuring guests who are connected to living a simple life.

To learn more, or to connect with Suzanne:

Web site:
Facebook: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Twitter: suzannewfisher

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