I was twelve years old, playing with my brother in the bedroom we shared. My dad walked in on a Saturday afternoon. He told us God had called Him into ministry, and we would be moving to Texas to plant a church. After he left the room, I whispered in my mind, “Thanks for sharing, but I’m not going anywhere.” My brother and I returned to our playing-not, having any idea what serving in ministry actually meant. I knew I had no desire to leave our home’s comfort and my friends here in Iowa.
Now, fast forward thirty-five plus years. Fired from a job that I enjoyed and thrived in, having earned millions of dollars for the company. I had busted my tail in rehab to return to work after my stroke in 2010. Things were definitely in flux as I sat in my living room, conversing with the oldest of my sisters about what had happened. I was not sure what was next for myself. I had been successful in sales in marketing for almost twenty years.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. You will eat the fruit of your labor, blessings and prosperity will be yours. -Psalms 128:1-2
God works in Mysterious Ways.
In the immediate future of being fired, I enjoyed not having to wake up with the roosters to begin working at 6:30 in the morning. However, it was not long before I was longing to do something productive. In November of 2014, my baby sister sent me an email. In the email, she mentioned how much I always wanted to write. She also sent me some links to various blog sites and suggested that I consider creating one myself.
Blog? Seriously? I scoffed at the notion. My perception of a blog was someone detailing their daily activities like an online journal. For example, today I went to the store, walked the dog, had lunch with a friend, etc. Despite my misguided perceptions, I clicked on the links and began to read the different blogs.
I was pleasantly surprised! The writers of these blogs seemed to be helping people! They offered helpful tips, ideas, and even encouragement to their readers. I was stunned at the responses and commented that their readers were leaving. Thanking them for the help or sharing similar experiences mentioned in the post. I wanted to create a blog to help and encourage people, as well. God had given me a new purpose!
“What’s next, God?”
It was exhilarating to have purpose waking up each morning. My firing was in the rear-view mirror. I needed to figure out this “blogging” thing. Thankfully, I came across a lady named Sue, who had a blogging academy. Nevertheless, My blog needed a name. I was already in a praying state of mind-asking God for direction.
Now, I was praying for Him to give me a name for my website. Initially, I wanted to incorporate the words “salt and light” for my blog. My heart desired to glorify God with my life and my writing. Googling salt and light, it was everywhere. I said, no thanks-I; wanted something unique, so I continued to pray.
It was the week between Christmas and New Years Day-kinda a sleepy week. My radio was on Christian radio. I was listening to a poignant message from Chuck Swindoll. Then it happened! God gave me the title for my blog site, PleasingtothePotter.com. It was such a wonderful epiphany. The name of my new website represented everything I wanted to do with my life going forward.
Nothing but Crickets
The excitement of writing and publishing my first post was a huge victory. It had taken several weeks of trial and error-several errors, just getting the website setup. I was so thrilled and hopeful to share what God had done in my life since the stroke.
I published an article titled New Creature in Christ. Even though I had accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of 5, I was not living for Him. The first post was published, and I waited and waited some more. Nothing. No response and no comments. It was months before that initial post received any feedback. My next post the following month was about the same. I doubled my comments from one to two. Something needed to change.
Community of Kindness
Because of the kindness of Crystal Storms of Heart encouragement, Lori Tullis over at Frog’s Lilypad, Deb Wolfe with Counting your Blessings, and Lori Schumacher with Moments of Hope that I am continuing to write today. These Godly Christian women were some of the very first to welcome me into their blogging communities and allow me to share what God had put on my heart. A massive thank you to these women and the women who participate in their weekly link-ups for welcoming me and encouraging me in my writing. Lori Tullis, your prayer partnership has meant the world to me. Just know I continue in prayer for you and your family.
A special heartfelt thanks to Marva from SunSparkleShine, who has been there to help and support me during some of the severe health issues I have been battling the past few years. She offered to and had written beautiful blog posts on my site when I could not do so. Her review of my book on prayer, she emailed me, almost brought me to tears. Also, I want to say thank you to Melanie Redd. She was the first to pin some of my images and invite me to share my posts in Christian/Bible groups on Pinterest. Her words of encouragement from the beginning meant the world to me.
One thing that has stuck with me was that when on more than one occasion, one of the ladies would leave in the comments, May God bless you in your ministry.” Ministry? There’s that word again almost forty years later when I’d heard it from my father.
“I just want to Write.”
Words cannot express how much I appreciated the kind words of encouragement from all of these women. However, I was confused when they referred to my “ministry.” In my mind, there was no ministry. I just wanted to write. That word was still scary to me. I had never considered that God would use my writing as a ministry. However, for me, this has become a double blessing. I have the opportunity to share my testimony of faith doing something I love writing about my Lord and Savior.
Walking in Faith
One of my all-time favorite passages of scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6. I know many of my readers know this scripture by heart. But for me, it has taken on a more special meaning recently. “Acknowledge Him in all your ways” is the portion I try to focus on in every situation. Asking God first and seeking His purpose is critical.
My website had been doing well for a year as I continued to grow my community and develop a platform. I was sitting on my sofa, and I decided to switch and check out the debates for the Republican nomination for President. I’m not really into politics like my older sister, but the attacks and arguing had me turning the channel quickly.
I turned off the television and headed to bed. As my head hit the pillow, I felt disappointed, shocked, and disappointed about what I saw on TV. So, I began to pray to ask God what is going on with this world and our country? Of course, in His infinite wisdom, God answered me by prompting me to write a book on prayer to give people hope.
My initial response was, write a book? Are you serious, God? It took me forever to get my website up. I have no idea how to write a book, Lord. However, a small part of me was both excited and anxious about the opportunity to write a book on prayer. I had seen the power of prayer in my life and was thrilled to share my story. Let’s do this, Lord!
God indeed was with me in the writing and publishing of my book on the power of prayer. Unleash the Power of Prayer in your Life continued to receive excellent reviews and was awarded a bronze medal from Readers Favorite in the Christian non-fiction category.
I wept in with gratitude to my Lord for blessing me with accolades for the book. It was an affirmation from Him in being obedient despite my fears. This December, exactly two years to publishing the book, I will be attending a red carpet award ceremony at the 8th Annual 2018 Christian Literary Awards. The book is one of six other books that received a nomination for the prestigious Henri award in the Inspirational category.
The awards and excellent reviews have been beyond encouraging and affirming. As a first-time author, I hope that the recognition will help in my original purpose for writing the book. I want to get it in as many hands as possible to remind Christians of the power available to them via prayer. I want to encourage and inspire all who read to pray with purpose.
Regardless of the book wins awards in December, I would be remiss if I did not give a sincere word of thanks to both Megan Langston and Melinda Martin, my copy editor and book designer. Both of them are Christians and have been such a pleasure to work with on my books. I am thrilled that they have committed to working with me on my next book, The Furnace of Affliction: How God uses your Pain and Suffering for His purpose. (A FREE preview of my new book will appear on my site before the year is over, so continue to check back often.)
Heart of Gratitude
I know some will visit my site-read this post while just skimming over parts of this and not read its entirety. I understand that’s the case in this microwave/ fast food society. I’m not sure that everyone mentioned will even read this article.
I wanted to share these words of thanks because God put it on my heart. It was about a month ago, and I was halfway through writing my new book and attacked with severe doubt. It was to the point where I had considered not moving forward on this project at all.
Thank You, God
I had gotten up to take my nighttime medicine, and I was headed back to bed. I felt God leading me to my computer. He instructed me to sit down and read the book together as each chapter is currently separate. I wanted to argue with Him and get in bed because it was 11:15 pm.
So, I sat down and read each chapter, and then I realized that this book would help and encourage all who read. I thanked God for instilling within me the desire to write about Him. I will never be able to thank Him enough for all that He has does and continues to do in my life. To borrow a thought from my new book, I am Redeemed, Restored, and God continues to Refine me into the man of God He desires. Thank Him for His grace.
Final Word of Thanks
Thank you for taking the time to visit and read this post on thanks. My prayer has inspired you to consider someone you need to tell how much you appreciate them. Sometimes a timely”thank you” can go a long way towards making someone’s day. You will be surprised and blessed by how good it makes you feel as well. God instructs us as Christians to lift each other in spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
If I forgot to mention to you, I sincerely apologize. This post would morph into a novel if I tried to thank everyone who has helped me on my journey. Maybe in my memoir, someday I can thank everyone. Nonetheless, I almost forgot to thank my beautiful mother, who would take the time to proofread my posts in the beginning. Her insights and encouraging words kept me pressing forward on my writing journey. My sweet baby sister encouraged me to write and proofreads my books before going off to the editor. A ginormous thank you to Susan Mead and Jaimie Webel, who were more than willing to promote my prayer book on their site when it was published. Remember this, and there is always someone you can give a word of thanks to in your life.
So let your light shine and brighten someone’s day with a word of thanks. Take a moment to think about this. Does anyone come to mind? Are you willing to live each day with a heart of gratitude? Start today!
Horace Williams Jr.