The Hazards of Obeying God’s Call

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Susan May Warren
18 – The Hazards of Obeying God’s Call

Have you ever felt a call from God to step out—really step out—but as soon as you obey, things seem to go wrong? And keep going wrong! What can you do when God’s call takes you not just into the deep, but into a wasteland that you fear will be your undoing? Susan May Warren faced just such a situation—one that put her in emotional and physical danger. Join us as she shares the life-changing truths God taught her in that deep place—truths that will inspire and change you.

Show Notes

Have you ever felt a call from God to step out—really step out—but as soon as you obey, things seem to go wrong? And keep going wrong! What can you do when God’s call takes you not just into the deep, but into a wasteland that you fear will be your undoing? Susan May Warren faced just such a situation—one that put her in emotional and physical danger. Join us as she shares the life-changing truths God taught her in that deep place—truths that will inspire and change you.

Susan May Warren—RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels, five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA finalist, multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and winner of the ACFW Carol Award—has spent plenty of time in the deep, both figuratively, and literally, when God took her and her family to Russia. Siberia, to be exact. She talks frankly about how that’s affected her and her writing.

 

Key Quotes from Susan May Warren

The Deep Dark…

“It was often 40 below where we lived…it took a lot of energy to live in Russia. I thought my husband and I were going to be great missionaries, but what happen was he was a great missionary for the Lord, and I was a stay-at-home mom taking care of three small children. We lived in a high-rise apartment nine stories up. We had no running water during the daytime. We had no phone. We often didn’t have electricity. To go shopping I would have to put my kids literally on my body, a front pack and a backpack, and a sled…I got depressed very quickly. I wasn’t sowing seeds for the Lord, I was washing cloth diapers in the bathtub.”

“It was in that dark place that God started speaking to my heart, saying, ‘Why are you here? Are you here for me? Are you here for your own personal glory?’ I had to get to that place where I was all stripped away. Where I would say okay God, what do you want from me? Is it to stay home and be a great mom? And of course that was part of it. Part of it was supporting my husband. But that was also where God said to me, ‘I would like you to write.’”

 

Where All Great Novels are Written from…

“I soon discovered that all great novels are written from that emotional place inside that you might not have all the answers to, but as you start to write the novel, and as you start to work out those emotions and those truths on the page, the Lord starts to reveal stuff to you. That’s when I really started my journey from the darkness, from the deep, to understanding of what God was doing in my life.”

“If we come to a novel with all the answers, then we limit God’s revelation of truth in our lives as we write the novel.”

“I felt very abandoned, very overwhelmed, very alone. So I went to God and I said, ‘Help me, rescue me fix this’… and God said, ‘I’m going to teach you what a great romance is about.’

“When I write romance, it’s not just about the romance between the two people… it’s also about the romance between God and his people.”

 

The Dangers…

“We had crazy things happened to us in Russia… we were vandalized numerous times with break-ins. My husband’s shoulder was broken because he was mugged. I was held hostage once for about a day. One of my kids had his appendix out in a hospital filled with cats. We had a home invasion in the middle of the day.”

“What happened during the home invasion was that my children were home and my husband was gone. My oldest son thought he was going to fend off one of the attackers, and so he took a knife from the kitchen and held it out. Of course the attacker had a knife too, and thankfully my son was smart enough to go put his knife back… We were pretty sure we were going to get killed that day, and God intervened… I felt as if two hands came over my shoulders and held me, and I had peace that went through my body. My fear was absolutely gone… In that moment I knew God was with us. As I was praying, suddenly the robbers looked up as if they were afraid, and they ran from our apartment as fast as they could… I like to think there were probably angels, mighty angels with swords, that they saw. They were definitely afraid, and they fled. So God literally saved us.”

“I wrote about that home invasion in a book called Tying the Knot…We had come home from Russia, but I was very fearful of things. I would jump when people approached me. I had some injuries, different things like that, and God just met me. I would be writing the book, and I would see the words appear on the screen, and I would know that they were words for me from the Lord. That he was telling me truth and healing me page by page… That was a very powerful book for me. I’ve had people write to me and tell me how powerful it was for their life as well, so clearly God meant it for them too.”

 

Nourishment…

“I’m a firm believer that when we put our dreams in the Lord’s hands…He speaks to us through that medium, through our dreams and our passion, and he draws us to himself if we’re willing to listen to him. And that’s why I love writing. Because I show up and God shows up, and it’s this amazing communion of time together that I think my readers can benefit from, but mostly I just love it because it’s me and the Lord working together.”

“In Psalms it says, ‘Whom have I in heaven but You?’ If I don’t have God, then none of this matters. For me it’s staying in that pocket…The renewing of your mind has to happen every single day…If I’m not surrounding myself with the Lord everyday, then I’m starving and I’m scared and I’m weak and I’m fragile, and the world can easily attack me. But if I’m nourished in that place, then what can man do to me? I have that perfect peace.”

 

What it’s all About…

“When I start a book, I approach the empty page with a small panic attack. Like, who said I could do this? Have they not caught on to me yet? And oh, especially when I’m in the middle, when I’m in the weeds, I’m like, ‘Does this have any spiritual content at all?’ And that’s when I hear God say, ‘Stay with me… walk, the journey with me. Let me work this out scene by scene, sentence by sentence… who am I in your life? Am I the source? Or am I an add-on? If I’m the source then we’re going to do this together.’ I can’t do this alone. And that gives me great courage.”

“If you’re a writer, then you’re on a journey, and the journey is the point. If you haven’t been changed by God through the process, then you’ve missed the point.”

“It’s not about the published books… I’m up to fifty now…It’s about what God has taught me in every single book, and my relationship with him. He’s just using this writing bit to draw you closer to him. It’s not fruitless… If you don’t ever get published, I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter because I know it matters to you, but that’s not the point. The point is for you to engage with your God in a way that speaks to you. In a way that is your love language, and writing is your love language. So pursue that passion and excitement because God has something for you regardless of what the publishing world is doing. Because God always has something for us when we seek him, and when we put our dreams in his hands.”

 

Scripture:

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26

 

Where to find Susan…

Find Susan May Warren at SusanMayWarren.com and MyBookTherapy.

Read about the home invasion in Tying the Knot by Susan May Warren.

tying the knot by Susan May Warren

We’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever faced danger when obeying God’s call?
What did God do?

Tweetable:
What if following God’s call puts you in danger?
What to do when following God’s call lands you in a spiritual and emotional wasteland.

5 comments

  1. Linda says:

    Wonderful inspiration. Everything I am hearing lately is saying let God write through me and with me, for others. Listening.

  2. Karen Ball says:

    God is so amazing in the ways He speaks the same truths to His children! I love that about Him. I’d shared a Scripture verse with a friend the other day, and someone shared the exact same verse with me yesterday. Just made me smile.

  3. Jeanette Morris says:

    This post came at the perfect time for me, blessing me with a huge validation of the novel I have just (and finally) completed. It was, as you have described, worked out scene by scene, page by page and in sync with areas of my life that God wanted to work in. The fact that it all began when the Lord called me to Russia in 2001–definitely out of my personal comfort zone–gave me such empathy for you, and great admiration. I’ve never had to cope raising kids there. I love the verse you shared. Whether washing underwear in a bathtub in a concrete high rise on the other side of the globe, or staring at that blank computer screen–God IS the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

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