February is always bittersweet.
Six years ago this month, our family suffered a gigantic loss when my sister-in-law died of cancer at the young age of 46. I am aware that many families deal with tragedy, but to us, this experience was monumental and changed our lives forever.
Her story of faith was followed by people all over Ohio and even in surrounding states. Her plight drew support and encouragement from thousands of people.
For many of her family and friends, we were left confused and bewildered as to why God allowed such a wonderful person to die.
For weeks, those of us who were left behind were numb and upset. We felt let down and discouraged.
Five years ago in February, Angie inspired and encouraged me to write about what took place and how those who loved Dee Dee coped with losing her.
Over the next few months, we met with families and friends and listened to their stories of faith.
We spent time in the homes of several people and countless hours on the phone taking notes and writing down information.
From these meetings, I developed a manuscript that highlighted the real-life journeys and struggles of three people of faith. My book Having Impossible Faith was born, and it told the stories of remarkable faith under fire. It challenged readers to examine themselves and to find the only way to be prepared to face significant obstacles.
Four years ago, in February, my life again changed forever.
After searching what to do with my manuscript, I blindly reached out to Michelle Medlock Adams, a fellow author who is now one of my closest friends. She loves me, even though she will deny it in public.
She gave me some advice on the next steps, and I followed it.
One of her suggestions was to attend a writing conference. Angie and I headed to the Asheville Christian Writers Conference and then to the Florida Christian Writers Conference where my journey picked up speed.
I signed a contract to be represented by my agent, Cyle Young, who really took a chance on me. At the same conference, a publisher pitched a book idea to me that has taken off and developed into a series with Iron Stream Media.
This year, again still in February, I signed a contract to write my first children’s book, which is also related to the popular book series that started with the idea at the Florida conference.
All of this happened since that awful day in February six years ago.
God used a family tragedy to kick me in the pants and help me realize there was a ministry for me. The writing was healing, and as I made connections with new Christian friends, doors began to open for me that I had not even dreamed about. I had never intended to write a book, let alone the several books that have transpired since then and are now in the works.
If my family and I had our way, Dee Dee would still be here with us on earth boldly testifying to the world of her savior’s healing power. But God’s plan was different than ours. However, through that trial, I believe He prepared me to tell the story of her amazing faith and the legacy that she left behind.
For a long time, I had wanted God to use me. But I struggled with how. I kept knocking on the door, asking God to let me know what plans He had for me. I never expected to find the answer in the midst of such sadness.
After God unexpectedly swung open the door, I walked through, and He sent me mentors to advise me on what to do next. But I had to be willing to do what He asked me to do. The same can happen to you.
When you get out of the way and allow God to move in your life, good things will happen.
If you struggle with being used the way you want to be used, take a step back and observe, listen, and surrender your will and desires over to the Lord.
It might turn out that God has something completely different in store for you than you ever imagined.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. It all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)
When the door opens, don’t ask questions or try to negotiate. Walk through the door and be willing to fulfill God’s plan for your life.
That is what He wants.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of C.Y.L.E. Agency.