Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
By Karen Witemeyer
Without Him I could do nothing
Without Him I’d surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail
(Chorus) Jesus, O Jesus
Do you know Him today
Do not turn Him away
O Jesus, O Jesus
Without Him, how lost I would be!
The words of that old hymn are an apt description of not only my faith journey, but my writing journey as well. I grew up in the church, my father a song leader, deacon, and eventually an elder. My mom taught Sunday school and raised my brother and I to love the Lord. I was baptized when I was ten years old, gladly dedicating my life to Jesus. Yet it wasn’t until my life fell apart six years later, that I understood just how much I needed God to survive.
My father, the spiritual pillar in my life, the man I loved and respected and strove to emulate, contracted a rare virus when I was sixteen. At first his only symptom was double vision. Doctors struggled to discern the cause. A week later, he was in the hospital, his internal organs shutting down. Viral myocarditis. The virus had attacked his heart, and by the end of the second week, he was gone. My rock was gone.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
No, my rock wasn’t gone. My rock stood beside me, sheltering me in the storm of grief and loss, supporting me when I thought I couldn’t go on, and giving me a strength not born of myself, enabling me to support my family. Jesus held my heart together and refused to let it break. He became real to me in a way he’d never been before. I could feel him lifting me up, and I knew he’d never abandon me. He’d see me through this tragedy and any other life chose to send.
Years passed. I graduated from high school, went to college, married, and finished grad school. Soon after, I left work to have my first baby, and two more followed during the next four years. During this time, the dream of writing was only a vague, someday-I-might-give-it-a-try kind of dream. I was more of a reader than a writer anyway, having been a bookworm since preschool. Sure, I liked to daydream stories, but I wasn’t a writer. That was for artistic, creative types. Not for analytical thinkers who loved logic puzzles and mathematical equations. Then came the second major turning point in my life.
My husband found out his position had been cut.
Panic hit. I had to do something to contribute to the family income, but I didn’t want to leave my babies. My youngest wasn’t even a year old yet. That’s when the nebulous dream of writing crystallized from abstract to concrete. I started putting pen to paper with intent. I searched out a local writers’ group and began attending meetings. God had made the dream real and sparked an ambition that drove me to chase it. After a few months, I realized that I wouldn’t be contributing anything of consequence to the family income anytime soon with this endeavor, so I sought out a normal day job and at the end of six months, both my husband and I had regular paychecks. But my dream to write didn’t die. It grew.
I started attending national Christian fiction writing conferences, found critique partners, learned the craft, and made connections in the industry. I faced rejection, discouragement, and questioned whether or not this was something I was supposed to do, but God never left my side. He urged me on and opened doors I was too timid to open on my own.
Six years after my writing dream became a living thing in my heart, I signed my first contract. Today, I’m a multi-published author with new novels and novellas coming out every year. But the words of that hymn are even more true to me today than they were before – Without Him I could do nothing. I’m still an analytical soul with very little natural creativity. I depend on the Master Creator for ideas, and I pray over my work every day, knowing that Without Him I’d surely fail. I need him every day, in my writing and in my life. Without Him, how lost I would be.