Marlene is offering one copy of her powerfully helpful, non-fiction WRITE HIS ANSWER to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, April 11th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
Only God . . . by Marlene Bagnull
If anyone had told me when I was growing up that one day I would have a writing and speaking ministry, I would have said, “A loving God would never do that to me!”
I hated English in high school, and I was terrified of the public speaking class we were required to take. Still, I couldn’t shake the call I felt to full-time Christian service. After reading the entire New Testament in King James English, I searched the shelves of my local library for Christian novels. Back then they were scarce. I devoured The Robe and read Taylor Caldwell’s Tender Victory at least five times, never dreaming that one day I would write words that others would read.
The more real Jesus became to me, the more I longed to share Him with others. But how? Where? Certainly not in the halls of my high school. I read about the exploits of missionary evangelists. Yes! That’s what I would become. I would go to a remote jungle and boldly preach the gospel. It obviously didn’t connect that I’d have to speak!
I knew I’d need a college education. Hopefully it would help me overcome my huge inferiority complex. My parents did not support my decision. “What makes you think you’re college material?” they scoffed. Evidently the people in the admissions office of my top choice colleges agreed. Finally, a little Bible college down south accepted me.
Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with a sailor. When he broke up with me, I was devastated. “Okay, God,” I sighed. “This must be confirmation that you do want me to go to college unless – unless You bring Paul back into my life.” He did! And I said yes when Paul asked me to marry him over fifty years ago.
I’ve never regretted my decision or ceased to be amazed at the way God has worked out His plans for my life despite my self-doubts. For years I felt ashamed that I was only a high school graduate. I questioned how He could use me. It was easy to believe the lies of the evil one that I was not smart enough or good enough.
Still the call to ministry never went away. Ever so slowly I began to believe God’s promises and to step out in faith to do things I was not qualified to do. I clung to the words of the apostle Paul. “When I am weak, then I am strong – the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB).
Today, I’ve made over 1,000 sales to Christian periodicals and published nine books including Write His Answer–-A Bible Study for Christian Writers that has been in print for twenty-four years. I’ve watched the Lord expand my ministry of writing and speaking, in Ephesians 3:20 ways.
Thirty-one years ago He led me to begin the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship. He didn’t tell me that this ministry would grow into a three and a half day conference or that fourteen years later He would call me to direct the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I’m sure I would have run the other way! After all, I wasn’t qualified. I’m still not. But I’m learning that “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power” (Phil. 4:13 TLB).
What is holding you back from becoming all God is calling you to be and to do?
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Marlene Bagnull is the author of five books including Write His Answer: A Bible Study for Christian Writers and the compiler/editor of four other books. She also has made over 1,000 sales to Christian periodicals. Marlene has given her Write His Answer and Get Your Book in Print seminars over 50 times around the nation in addition to serving on the faculty of over 75 Christian writers’ conferences. She teaches At-Home Writing Workshops, freelance edits, leads two critique groups that meet in her home, and helps Christians publish affordably and professionally through Ampelos Press. She has directed the Colorado Christian Writers Conference since 1997 and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, which she founded, since 1983. In 1999 she received an honorary Doctor of Letters. All she could say was, "Wow! Only God could take someone who felt as inadequate as I did (and often still do) and make all this happen.”
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