By Beth Muehlhausen
"Okay Lord, it’s just the two of us … let’s wrestle this out. Is there a future for my writing goals?"
The empty computer screen glowed eerily in the darkness as I tipped back my oak chair and curled my foot around the table leg, staring at the blank ceiling. I choked back yet another wave of emotion, reaching my arms toward heaven. Tears trickled into my ears and dripped onto my shoulders.
It had already been an incredibly intense week. Rather than shopping and meeting friends for lunch while my husband was fishing in Canada, my solitary hours had been spent seeking God at our lake cottage. As I pored through scripture, as well as several books and tapes on marriage and relationships, He offered me a generous dose of hope.
"I’m serious. This week has been awesome, but now I want to know something. What am I supposed to do with this…"
I searched for the right word.
My life of fifty-six years had been good, very good, but also largely defined by duty, expectation and sheer gut-level resolve. This was the last night before my husband’s return. It seemed imperative that I retreat into God’s deeper dimension—into my heart.
"Are you serious this time?"
The question caught me off guard, and the chair crashed down onto all four legs. Was He kidding? Hadn’t I always been serious?
"What do you want? Do you want to write?"
My heart jumped in response to more adrenaline, wanting permission to pursue the dream; wanting direction to know how to begin.
"Of course," I whispered into thin air, knowing that He heard before I even spoke. My head swam in dizzy circles.
The glowing computer screen still sat before me, tempting me, awaiting my command. In response, I quickly typed "Christian writer" into my search engine. Was this a wild goose chase?! While my pulse pounded in my head, I waited for what seemed like several very long seconds.
"What do you see?"
The first web site that popped up said, "FaithWriters.com—the home for the Christian writer."
"What’s this about, Lord? A website … but there must be many others. Am I supposed to check this one out?"
"What is your heart telling you?"
I stared through the picture window at the glimmer of a moon trail on the lake. Recent years had been marked by a climate of seeking; seeking the heart-life. While confronting serious chronic illness, financial uncertainties, and the empty nest, it seemed God was leading me to discover Him. Now he was speaking through my heart—again.
"I think it is saying, ‘Go for it.’"
"Then what are you waiting for?"
Tentatively, I clicked on the FaithWriters’ site and hunched over the computer, wondering what to expect.
"Are you willing to write—tonight—for Me?"
I searched the screen. It all looked so foreign.
"What? Tonight? How?"
As I cruised through the site menu I noticed a link to a weekly contest.
"Click. There. Right there."
Earlier in the week I had been reminded that God respects heart-cries more than surface whimpering. Maybe He was serious.
"There’s the current topic," I said out loud. "Do You think I should enter?"
"What did you learn this week?"
Searching the moon trail on the lake for an answer, I reviewed my days of solitude.
"Your timing is perfect. You are my source of healing and wholeness. You have gifted me for Your purposes. I can trust Your inspiration." There. The words tumbled out, unafraid to confront the stillness.
"So, write! Enter the contest."
It was Thursday night; the contest would end Monday. I began to type, almost without thinking. As the words marched with precision across the computer screen, they told a story—a complete, well-developed story.
Click! I submitted it quickly then crashed into bed, only to stare at the moon’s shadows on the ceiling, unable to sleep.
Judging seemed to take forever. Could I expect encouragement? Disappointment?
When the big day finally arrived, I stared at the computer screen in shock:
"Second place; third place overall."
"But, that was such a spontaneous entry … with no planning. Lord, do I deserve this?"
"I provided your inspiration! Trust Me. Write again; write from your heart; write to the emotional center. Write with Me, for Me, to others. Let it flow. Write because you must, because I made you to write. Now get busy. And don’t stop until I tell you!"
As a wife, mother, grandmother, and ex-business owner, Beth Muehlhausen enjoys relating with people, especially at the heart level. She loves both creative and intellectual pursuits—concocting "strange" dishes in the kitchen, writing "gut-level" stories on the computer, and digging into the deeper "illusive" levels of the Bible. She shares a love of water and lake life with her husband and family, and continues to occasionally "wow" them on her antique 1964 slalom as a senior citizen water-skier.