Faith Notes- Edited by God by Barbara Ellin Fox

We're in for a treat today my friend Barbara is a very talented, award-winning writer. I've had the pleasure of knowing this precious lady for several years. We are in the same online critique group, she's a wonderful faith-filled lady, who has a passion for Jesus, writing, and horses. Come find out more about Barbara. I'm thrilled she's here!  

Often, I can write a story from beginning to end in a few days because I know where I want to go with what I have to say. It feels right. At this first draft stage, I’m excited. I love the plot and the characters. Putting the words together has been an adventure. I’ve laid the foundation.

Eventually, the euphoria dissipates, and I ask questions. How can I make it better? What is the heroine’s real issue? Does she really want what appears on the surface? I add layers, deepen characters, investigate struggles, dig into their history, and consider their deepest yearnings. The story slowly takes on depth and develops more impact.

Editing is perpetual. Whether edits deal with big things like plot points or smaller issues such as commas, each edit makes my sentences brighter, clearer and stronger. Editing can seem tedious and never ending, but small things clarify meaning, truth, and what the reader will take away. Editing perfects our work.
Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) tells us Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. I love that our Savior is an author—The Author, another beautiful example of being created in His image.

I like to think of the day I received Jesus as the rough draft of me. It felt right; I loved being reborn and was full of excitement. Over the ensuing years, God layered changes into my life. He developed my character, created depth in me, dug into my backstory, and worked with my struggles. He added surprises and twists to the plot of my life, too. He improved me.

Being the kind Father, God adds to and changes us little by little as we’re open to receiving more from Him. I’m thankful He works this way because if He’d changed my life in one big dump, I would have crumbled.

About thirty-five years ago, I set a specific time aside to interact with God daily. Even though God is always with us, He loves when we purposely set time apart from other activities to focus on him. At first, I was pretty hit-or-miss, but our Lord is infinitely patient. As a horse trainer I can see now that He rewarded even my smallest effort. In the horse world we call that small effort “try.” After a while, the minutes with God were so fulfilling they became the most important part of my day and I lingered longer. Even then He was editing me. Did I mention editing is perpetual?

I’m best in the morning before anyone is awake, and the day has demands. Once life intrudes, I have trouble focusing. My household wakes up by 6:15 AM, so I try to meet with God by 5:00.

There is no particular pattern for what God and I do together. I might read the Word and pray. Other days I read prophesies, listen to Christian music, use my prayer language, write, draw, or I may read a chapter in a spiritual book. Most recently, I’ve read Ted Dekker’s The Forgotten Way and I’ve just finished The Story of With by Allen Arnold. Sometimes I just sit with the Lord and try to quiet my mind. Boy, that’s hard for a creative!

I have mornings when something has gone wrong the day before, or my mind was assaulted during the night. Maybe I’ve had words with someone, or I’m not proud of my actions, or I just don’t feel like being intimate with God. Yup, it happens to everyone, and believe me when I say no one is better at heaping guilt on myself than me.

God has taught me two things through this situation. One is He doesn’t get angry with me because I miss, skip, or shorten our personal visits together. He’s not keeping an attendance record. God looks forward to and loves the time I willingly spend with Him. The other thing He taught me is that if I’ll just sit in His presence, He’ll meet me. If I’m in my negative place, I’ll sit in my spot as usual. I may even grumble. “Okay, I’m here.” God honors that little, even begrudging, act of obedience with His grace. The more I do this, the faster I recover. His mercy truly is new each morning.

God has given me emotional and spiritual healing for some enormous issues, and He’s taken care of a lot of small ones, too. He’s shown and told me precious things through scripture, His words, and through pictures. He’s breathed life into my dreams and tamed my mind and taught me about His love and what it means to be His daughter. He gives me peace, joy, and strength. And it just keeps getting better and better.

Little by little, the Lord layered gold into my life. He has taken me deeper and farther into my walk with Him than I ever imagined possible. And praise the Lord that He keeps editing me.

If I could encourage another to do one thing, it would be to give your gift of time to God. Remember that we can’t out give the Giver. One day you’ll look back in amazement at how He has edited your story.

About Barbara- 

Before becoming a full-time author, Barbara Ellin Fox had a lifetime career as a horse trainer and riding instructor. She stays connected to the horse world through her herd, which includes Reno, the wild mustang. You can visit Barbara at her author website or her professional horseman website