Tuesday, June 9, 2015

When the Time is Right by Sally Bradley

Sally Bradley
In 2007 my husband left his job as an assistant pastor to be head pastor for another church. It involved a move to a new state, a new culture, a new school for the kids, and a new job for me. I’d been a stay-at-home mom, but now I needed to find some part-time work to help pay the bills.

For the past several years, I’d been writing and studying fiction while my kids grew from babies to school-aged children. I’d had two agents offer representation, had a handful of houses request full manuscripts, and felt that I was getting close.

Close! Maybe my next book would be the one.

Everything about the move happened fast. From hearing about the position to accepting it took four weeks. And then we’d move in four weeks.

I was excited for my husband; he’d been longing to be a head pastor for a couple years, and I believed in him. God had really molded him, and I thought Steve was ready.

But I began to realize that he’d need more support and help from me as we made this huge adjustment. On top of that, my kids would be dealing with a new school. And again, there was that pesky job-that-actually-brings-in-money that I needed to find.

God began to impress upon me that I needed to set my writing aside.

When I knew I was so close.

It was heartbreaking. While I packed up our home and said goodbyes to family and friends, I kept the struggle about quitting writing (for a time please, God?) to myself. I didn’t tell my husband. I didn’t tell anyone.

Not until I felt that it would be sinning to keep on writing did I tell Steve that I felt God wanted me to stop writing in order to help him in this move.

And his response? “Oh, thank goodness.”

So not what I wanted to hear!

The day after the move, Steve went to work and I took the kids to new schools and started a job hunt, all while slowly unpacking our gazillion boxes. There was no time for writing. Not even any time for reading.

It hurt.

But I began to see God working in the church through my husband. There were sweet moments and big-time hurts and betrayals. At home we got caught in the housing crisis. We also had a surprise baby. I quit my job and started freelance editing. I read. I cooked and cleaned and invited church members into our home.

In short, I lived a whole lot of life. And grew up some more myself.

Four years later, the desire to get back to writing pestered me, no matter how much I reminded myself that I’d set it aside until God made it clear it was time to go back.

Was it time? How would I know? We were still so busy. I was homeschooling now. Where would I find time to write?

That summer my husband chose a video series by Pastor John Piper that dealt with living for God. It was an excellent series, but the one thing that struck me repeatedly was that being a Christian wasn’t meant to be one of misery. While definitely not a health and wealth message, the concept was that we should be happy in our Christian lives. If we were living right and in a right relationship with God, there should be joy. God had given us dreams and goals, and we would never be happier than when we were following the desires He’d planted in us.

That hit me so hard.

Throughout the weeks of the video series, the desire to write my next book grew and grew and grew until I felt I had to do it. That it would be wrong not to write it.

So I told my husband. “I think I need to start writing again.”

And his response? “Good. I’ve been hoping you’d get back to writing. You’re much happier when you’re writing.”

His words weren’t said in a negative way; he was just stating fact. I was meant to be a writer. He knew it. I knew it. And it was time to get back to it!

So five years after setting writing aside, I dove into an idea that had been simmering in my head since before our move, the story of a completely unchurched woman caught up in our society’s twisted views on love and relationships. I’d like to say the story poured out of me in a month, but I was still homeschooling and editing. It took a year to get that rough draft down, another eight months to cut sixty thousand words—seriously!—and then another six months before it was published.

That book went on to win two awards: The Christian Manifesto’s 2014 Lime Award for Romantic Fiction (beating out two Susie May Warren books and a Tricia Goyer book) and the 2014 Grace Award for Romance.

When I look back, I realize I wasn’t nearly as close to publication as I’d thought, way back before that move. The time off from writing gave me a chance to experience more life, to come across people who had a huge impact on me and who would influence how I would write Kept. All of that life gave me so much more to pull from.

And it set up the perfect time for my first book to find readers, a welcoming reading world that was waiting for the kind of book I wrote.

I look back on those five years and don’t view them as wasted at all. They were painful at times, hard for sure. But I didn’t see the end result as I walked through it. I had no way of knowing what God was doing, what He was going to do. I had no idea the roads He was paving, the connections He was making, all of which would result in some of my biggest writing dreams coming true.

Why do I write all of this? To encourage those of you who might be in that stage—where you’re giving to everyone else and finding no time for yourself, for your dreams. You might even be thinking, I wish it had only been five years, Sally. I know. God doesn’t work in all of us the same; some might go through a season like this for a whole lot longer. I get that.

But if you are in that waiting stage, if you’re in that season where there’s no time for anything but family, laundry, the day job, and church, realize that you’re still in a very good place. You’re still right where God wants you. And He’s working through all those mundane, ordinary events to create someone who’s ready to write for Him.

When the time is right.
About the Author
Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they still get back to Chicago once in a while for important things—like good pizza and a White Sox game. Fiction has been her passion since childhood, and she’s thrilled now to be writing books that not only entertain, but point back to Christ. Connect with Sally at sallybradley.com and on Facebook at Sally Bradley, Writer. Kept is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Gutsy and fast-paced."—Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning

"One of the most surprising and best books I’ve read this year."—MaryLu Tyndall, best-selling author of Legacy of the King's Pirates series
by Sally Bradley

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago's lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father's sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can't help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she's longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who's gone too far and done too much.