by Ginny L. Yttrup
When I step onto the grounds of Mount Hermon this spring for the annual Christian Writers Conference, I’ll do so knowing I’m treading on sacred ground. It isn’t just the rich history of Christian ministry that’s taken place there over the last 100+ years—nor is it the grandeur of creation—the redwoods standing as sentries declaring the glory of God. Those are simply the backdrops against which God fulfills dreams dreamt in accordance with His will. And that, in my mind, is sacred territory.
20 years ago, I was a shy, insecure 30 year old with a husband and two toddlers back at home. I’d barely graduated from high school and hadn’t attended college, instead choosing to marry at 19. All I brought with me to that first writers conference was a dream. Lord, I’d love to be a writer, I’d confessed earlier that year.
Year after year, I returned to the conference. And year after year, my knowledge increased. Everything I now know about writing, I learned through the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference—knowledge garnered through the many workshops I attended or through the relationships I built.
When I reached 47 years of age, I was still dreaming the same dream. But now, the husband was gone, the toddlers were grown, and for the first time in my adult life I was staring at the daunting task of having to provide for myself, and my future. I was dependent on God as never before—which is a frightening, and oh so glorious position. It’s also sacred ground.
Two weeks into my new adventure with God, I received an email from my agent, Steve Laube, who I’d met through the conference. The email simply said, Call me. I was in transition, with my life crashing around me, and I’d neglected to give Steve my new phone number. I picked up the phone that morning and heard the news that God was finally fulfilling my dream. But not only fulfilling it, He was exceeding it.
By the time I hung up the phone, I’d verbally accepted a three-book offer with B&H Publishing Group. Not one book, but three, with advances, actual money, attached to each book. And, I’d be working with my dream editor, Karen Ball.
Just remembering that morning leaves me speechless all over again.
Last December, I signed a second three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group. While we all know writers don’t make enough to live on, I’ve lived the last two years working as a full-time author. I’m not sure how that’s worked, but I choose not to look at the numbers too often and instead trust that God is again exceeding my expectations.
Speaking of numbers, yes, it was 17 years before God fulfilled my dream. But those were not wasted years.
Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1) If God has planted the seed of a dream in your heart, it will take root and flourish.
2) God will equip and prepare you for the fulfillment of your dream.
3) At some point, God will ask you to surrender your dream to Him. For the dream is never more important than the One who planted the dream.
4) God acts in His time and His way, always with your best in mind.
5) If you are chasing the will of God, you will encounter obstacles. Perseverance isn’t optional.
6) God is in the business of doing exceedingly abundantly more than we expect.
7) Exceedingly and Abundantly are ly adverbs and using ly adverbs breaks the rules of writing. It has something to do with telling versus showing.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory…
Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV
I hope to see you walking the sacred ground of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference this spring.
Ginny L. Yttrup is the author of Words and Lost and Found, both of which released to rave reviews. She is working to complete her third novel with B&H Publishing Group, and is contracted for three more after that. She is a child of God, mother, friend, and obsessive pet-lover. She attended her first Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference 20 years ago, when she was just 5 years old. 🙂