Friday, April 20, 2012

A Work in Progress by Eileen Rife

Writers throw around the acronym WIP when talking about an ongoing writing project. WIP stands for “work in progress.”  Today, author Eileen Rife shares how God revealed to her that our manuscripts might not be the only “works in progress.” Enjoy and be encouraged in your own writing life! ~ Dawn

A Work in Progress
by Eileen Rife

I wanted it so badly I could taste it. I had studied the guidelines, examined the reader profile, and scanned back issues. I was ready. Setting fingers to keyboard, I delved into writing an article for a well-known Christian magazine—my first major break into the market. The editor had accepted my query, and now I meticulously crafted each word to fulfill promises made. After several edits, I clicked the send button, releasing my precious fledgling into cyberspace. I took a deep breath and uttered a prayer: “Please, Lord, let this article make it into print; but not my will, Thine be done.”

Waiting on God

I knew it could be weeks before I received a reply. As much as I wanted this publishing credit, I made a deliberate choice to place the outcome in the Lord’s hands.

Two months later, while typing another article, I noticed the little read flag on my mailbox waving at me from the corner of the computer monitor. After clicking on the tiny icon, a message popped up from the editor I had been anxious to hear from. Suddenly, my fingers froze on the mouse, afraid to move and confirm my worse fear: rejection! “Oh, God, help me accept Your will for this article, whatever it might be,” I prayed.

Glued to the screen, I sat in shock as I read his assessment. While the article had several good thoughts, it was not what he had expected from the query and was too much like what the magazine had recently covered.

Caving in to frustration and anger, I closed the lid of my laptop and pouted my way to the hot tub where I joined my husband for a soak. Hesitating to admit another literary defeat, I stuffed my agitation and asked how his day had gone. After a few routine exchanges, I was ready to spill my guts. Feeling better, I grabbed a towel and walked back into the house.

The laptop sat on the desk, mocking me, as if to jeer, “Ah, you thought you could serve God and make some income doing what you love best? Who do you think you’re kidding? Why don’t you give up?”

Repulsed, I turned to walk away, but another voice intercepted. Eileen, you could email the editor again, admit your mistakes, and request a second chance. He did say you had some good thoughts. Why not give it a try?

Humbling My Heart

Flipping open the lid to the laptop, I clicked the reply button. As I stared at the blank screen, I prayed for guidance to form my words. Satisfied with my effort, I sent the message and went about my business, never expecting to hear from that editor again.

I had almost forgotten about the whole thing when one day I received a reply—one of those too-good-to-be-true messages. The editor told me that after reading my email, he had a stronger sense that my article might be something he could use after all. He admitted that in the six years he had worked for that magazine, he had never reread an article once he had rejected it.

Feeling genuinely humbled and grateful to God, I typed a response, thanking him for his reconsideration of my work. Two months later while eating lunch, I received a phone call from that editor stating that the article approval committee had accepted my piece and a contract would be in the mail. I nearly choked on my sandwich. 

God had allowed me to get a cherished story out to the public, supplying some additional income. But He also had provided much more than that: a lesson in humility and trust and the knowledge that, like my writing, I am a work in progress.

An alumna of Christian Writers Guild and member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Eileen has published several non-fiction books, written newsletters, a marriage column, and over ten church dramas. Her byline has appeared in magazines, such as Discipleship Journal, Marriage Partnership, Mature Living, Christian Home & School, Drama Ministry, and ParentLife, as well as other print and online publications. Her fiction works include Journey to Judah, Restored Hearts, and Chosen Ones in the Born for India trilogy, and a stand-alone novel, Second Chance.  She and husband, Chuck, conduct marriage seminars in the States and overseas. Her favorite pastime in this season of life is dancing with hubby, spending time with her daughters and their husbands, and playing with her six grandchildren. 

To learn more about Eileen and her books, please visit:


  1. Lovely post, Eileen. God sure has a way of growing us, doesn't he? And he does it with love and grace. I appreciate your words!

  2. He surely does, Ocieanna! Thanks for stopping by. And thanks, Seriously Write team, for hosting me. God's best to you in your writing ventures.


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