Friday, October 14, 2011

Called … Again by Rosslyn Elliott

We write because we feel called to write. It not only gives us purpose—it is our purpose—or at least part of it. But writing may not be all we’re called to do. What if you’re asked to do more?  And what if it feels like the timing couldn’t be worse? Author Rosslyn Elliott shares how she personally faced such a situation. I was blessed by Rosslyn’s willingness to be transparent, and I found her story relatable and encouraging. I think you will too! ~ Dawn

Called … Again
by Rosslyn Elliott

This summer, I was pushed to my emotional limits by my writing life. My deadlines were tight, and I feared my skills would not be equal to the monumental task of rewriting that lay ahead of me.  The only way I got through it was to handle it the way I would any other potentially crippling fear. I gave the outcome over to God and got through one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time.

And right in the middle of all of that, I was called to yet another task—something desperately needed, a healing event for a crisis that threatened to destroy our church.

I did not jump up and down and cheer when I got this call. I was upset. I knew I was the only one who was going to start this journey, the only one who would choose to make this event happen and carry it through. Our church was seriously demoralized, and most others who could have been leaders of this effort had been knocked out of commission by discouragement and confusion. So I was dismayed that this additional task was about to be added to my already difficult summer of writing. Organizing the event wouldn’t even require that much work, in the grand scheme of things—it was just the straw that felt like it would break my back.

At the same time, the call was unmistakable and clear. Would I step into the gap and arrange this event? Would I do everything I could to fight for the survival of our church, or would I look the other way?

I accepted it. The event had to happen, and I was the only one called to the job. Eventually a friend of mine volunteered to help and eased the burden somewhat. But I won’t lie--it was one of the most stressful summers of my life!

There are seasons in our lives when we over-schedule ourselves just because we find it hard to say no, or because we’re enthusiastic about a number of projects or ministries and get carried away.

But there are other seasons when we are simply called to a whole lot of work—more than we think we can handle—but saying no is not an acceptable option.

If God calls me to such a thunderstorm of work, I can get through what seems impossible and frightening by holding on to the understanding that my particular gifts are needed, that God called me because I could handle it.

Even if my initial internal answer to the call was, “You cannot be serious.”

Well, He was serious. And in the end, I’m glad I answered the call. Only living in service to that inner call can bring us real joy.

Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?  Esther 4:14

Rosslyn Elliott is a homeschooling mom who lives in the sunny Southwest with her husband and daughter. She and her daughter spend a lot of time with their equestrian vaulting team, which involves young people doing gymnastics and dance moves on horseback. Rosslyn is the one holding the horse, not standing on the horse’s back! After working as a schoolteacher in her mid-twenties, Rosslyn went to graduate school for seven years and finished a Ph.D. in American literature in 2006. Finishing that long academic dissertation gave her the confidence she needed to finally pursue her dream of writing novels. Her debut novel, Fairer than Morning (Thomas Nelson 2011), is a historical romance inspired by a real minister's family from nineteenth-century Ohio who helped fugitive slaves run to freedom.

To find out more, please check out these links:  website and blog


  1. Dawn, thank you for having me! I enjoyed the chance to share my story with your readers. I'm posting a link here from my blog today.

  2. What an important and inspiring message, Rosslyn. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. Rosslyn--Been there, done that, undergirded myself with the same Scripture verse from Esther.
    Bless you for stepping up to the plate and taking on the added responsibility, and for sharing it with us.
    And thanks to the hostesses of this blog for allowing us to read about your journey.

  4. I feel a certain amount of trepidation in stating how I really think about this. Though, naturally, my words will spring from my own peculiar history and experience, so you can toss out what I'm about to write with a grain of salt. That said, here is my initial response.

    I think that a church setting is a tiny, tightly-wrapped microcosm in which there can, at times, be little space to move around with authenticity. If one needs to decline because of overcommitment, one's choice may, and likely will, not be embraced and understood. Rather, one's standing may have shadows cast upon it because they are not 'answering God's call.'

    Again, my words come from a very particular background so they can be completely off-base regards any given situation, including this one. I'd just rather comment honestly, is all.

  5. Such an inspiring post, Rosslyn.

    It's not easy to step into a mess that you've been called to. We have to trust that all of our callings will work out for the best, and God will give us the strength to plow through them, one at a time.

    I have two major callings on my plate now. One is my writing. I know it's not going to be easy, but knowing God is with me each step of the way comforts my soul.

    I'm reading your book. I love your writing...beautiful, just beautiful.

  6. You are an amazing woman! Thanks for the inspiration to keep going. God knows what all we can handle, He knows our strengths and weaknesses and uses them to His glory.
    Thank you for the reminder that doing His will is always the best way to go, even if it does stress us out along the's all part of the journey of growing.

  7. That verse "Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" was just perfect to go along with this! I am so glad you stepped up to God's clear calling, even though it meant adding to the stress. Because when the call is clear, you can be sure He will provide strength to accomplish. I felt overwhelmed when i found out I was having twins, but who could deny this was God's calling for me? And He has provided every step of the way, if I only I remember to keep my eyes on HIm.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Rosslyn. I was recently in the same situation. I'd felt a nudge from God for a while to take on more of a leadership role in my mom's group. So I talked to one of the leaders about being a fill-in small group leader. Then next thing I knew, another leader had to step down. So guess who stepped up? God clearly had other plans for me. But I wouldn't trade the blessings that have happened as a result!

  9. Thank you, everybody, for visiting Seriously Write and leaving your comments.

    Loree - I am grateful for your kind words about Fairer than Morning! It has been a quasi-rough day in that area, so it's all the more of a relief and encouragement to hear that you like it.

    TC - Such a good point. It is, indeed, about growing. Next time, I will know that I can handle such a joint calling without dying, and I will gripe less in my head. :-)

    Margo - Yep, having twins is a pretty clear calling to a very difficult task! But I have enjoyed reading your blog and following your insightful journey as you navigate twin motherhood plus continue your intellectual life.

    Sarah - Ha! I love hearing about similar situations.

    Jessica and Richard - Thank you for coming by and discovering Seriously Write. I'm glad to have your friendship and support.

  10. I love that you used the Esther verse to complement your story. Anyone who's ever experienced that kind of moment—where you can just feel Mordecai's question come to life and impress itself upon your heart, and know that it's a question God wants you to consider—well... let's just say goosebumps are in order.

    And I personally believe that, if it is truly something God has called you to do, He will empower you with the strength and wisdom to get through it, even if it is hour-by-hour, as you said.

  11. Absolutely, Barb. You put it very well!

  12. Thank you for sharing your story here, Rosslyn. I appreciate the transparency because too often as Christians we bottle up our uncertainties about what we're called to do in His church, especially when it's something we'd rather avoid having to deal with. I'm sure your involvement was a blessing to others, and a reminder to you that God doesn't ask us to do anything without giving us the necessary strength.

  13. Oh, do I hear you on this one, Rosslyn. I'm not being released from my call as a teacher, even though the toll it's taking--in so many ways--is a burden many, many times. Neither do I feel totally released to let the writing go. So here I wait, in limbo, praying and waiting, waiting and praying. I know God will not keep me here forever, but while I am, it's NOT fun.

    May God bless you and I'm so grateful He brought you through your difficult, but productive, summer!


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