Passed Over

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Faith, Fear/Doubt, Friends of ACFW, tips, writing 14 Comments

by Terri Gillespie

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time. It hastens to the end and will not fail. If it should be slow in coming, wait for it, for it will surely come—it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3, TLV

Do you remember your first manuscript rejection? (I know, what a jolly way to begin a blog.) That first “no” felt personal, didn’t it? Mine sure did. Of course, my story and characters were terribly underdeveloped.

Later, after years of classes and critiques and editing, I was confident the time had come! A line of interested agents and editors would fight over me and my story(ies). Yes!

The reality? Editors thought the story was good. The characters were good. But, not for them.

Passed over, again.

Getting that rejection letter isn’t fun, but, is being passed over always a bad thing?

A Different Pass Over. When today’s sun sets, the first night of the Biblical feasts of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread begin. (Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-8; Matthew 26; Mark 14; well you get the idea) Our household has celebrated this holiday for nearly twenty-five years.

The symbolisms of the stories and elements are ripe with meaning. God’s deliverance of the Children of Israel—our deliverance. The unblemished lamb sacrificed so that God would “pass over” the Jewish people’s homes—Jesus’ sacrifice so God could “pass over” our sins. So many relevant imageries for meditation.

Who knew there were allegories for the writer’s life?

God’s Timing. After nearly 430 years of bitter bondage in Egypt, the Children of Israel were about to be delivered. Before God would deliver them, He commanded that each family perform a ceremony. An unblemished lamb was to be sacrificed, its blood painted on the doorposts and lintel. Then, a simple meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs with the family. Unless the Jewish people followed God’s command, their first-born would die. (And we complain about social distancing.)

Over the years, wise mentors and friends have encouraged me with the adage, “Being published is in God’s timing.”

Honestly, true though that saying may be, it seemed like there was more at work than “timing.”

An “aha” moment whacked me in the noggin recently. Before the Children of Israel could be delivered—before they could walk out that door—there was a sacrifice.

The Sacrifice. Recently, during my years of exile from the pursuit of publishing, God revealed something unnerving. He said I had corrupted the vision He had given me. I had tainted it with impatience, pride, and stubbornness. Even worse, I had narrowed His vision, and become unyielding. Ouch.

I had a choice: remain in exile with my “principles” or be freed to the Promised Land of God’s infinite creativity. However, it would come at a cost—a sacrifice of my vision. Really, once I knew what I’d done there was no choice.

Unleavened “bland.” At first, writing without the security of my flawed understanding seemed “bland” like eating plain unleavened bread—matzah. The stories and characters seemed flavorless.

Eventually, like the wonderful matzah recipes I’ve discovered over the years, new stories have emerged along with characters I love. Today, the passion for writing is stronger than ever.

How many times have we been passed over? Published or pre-published, has His vision in us narrowed, or been corrupted? Are we in “Egypt” bound to old understanding? Is there a sacrifice God might want from us, so that we can discover the Promised Land of His infinite creativity?

Yes? Then, may your journey be blessed.

Passed Over, Again? Check Your Vision. @TerriGMavens #ACFWBlogs #writetips #writing Click To Tweet

Terri Gillespie is VP of the NWGA ACFW chapter and never wants to end up in Egypt again. Her first traditionally published book was Making Eye Contact with God—A Weekly Women’s Devotional. She’s won various fiction awards and patiently awaits God’s timing. Member: ACFW, CAN, AWSA


Comments 14

  1. I’m loving these analogies, Terri. Thank you! You are right that God’s timing is impeccable–of course! And there is always something for me to learn during that time of waiting. You are right, too, that waiting is not always easy, but time spent with the Lord in that waiting bears the greatest fruit. A blessed Passover for you and your family!

  2. Excellent article, Terri. My own journey was filled with pass overs. I was gong to committee clear back in 2006, but God kept the door shut for another 8 years. Someday, I’ll know why, but He gave me enough encouragement to keep me going. Bu the time I got my first contract, I had several books ready to go and only once had to write to tight deadline. So I heartily agree. Pass overs can be a good thing.

  3. Yes, I’ve been passed over
    so often, heaven knows!
    Not boss, I’m just a drover,
    and that’s the way it goes.
    Yes, I’ve been rejected,
    and perhaps that’s how it has to be,
    and I am not dejected,
    for the bushman is still free
    to roam abroad in dust and heat,
    find water with divining rod,
    sleep under stars, there to meet
    a kindly and bewhiskered God
    who says, “Good on ya, my old mate,
    you’ve won the casket; ain’t life great?”

    ‘The Casket’ is the Aussie lottery

  4. Thanks for sharing your “Passed Over” story, Ane. I’m impressed with your patience and perseverance. I always remember how you greet us all with joy and were always volunteering to help. You’re a real testimony!

  5. Terri, I’m crook, and waiting to go up the blue with Jesus. But that said, no aggro. Life is ace.

    Aussie raised, living the dream with a saintly lady in New Mexico, USA, where people drive on the wrong side of the bloody road.

  6. Terri, this is one of the best blog posts–if not THE BEST–I have ever read. Its message is powerful and freeing and one to which I can relate.

    Years ago, while I was studying for my PhD, I had my own “Isaac Experience.” I was three months shy of graduation after seven years of courses and writing a 300-page dissertation when, one day in prayer, I heard the Lord’s voice say, “I want you to give up your PhD.”

    My mind reeled. Was that really God’s voice I heard? Surely, He wouldn’t ask me to throw away seven long years of study?

    But I knew in my heart that that was exactly what He was asking.

    And so, three months before graduation, I went to my professors and told them I was giving up my doctoral studies.

    Of course, they thought I had lost my mind. They feared that my intense studying had affected my reason.

    When I explained that God had told me to give up my degree, they were ready to admit me. 🙂

    But I obeyed God and gave up my degree.

    Afterward, I experienced the deep, deep peace that always comes with obeying the Lord.

    Long story short, the Lord eventually allowed me to return to my studies to complete my degree, but only after I had shown Him that He was far more important to me than any degree or than anything else on earth.

    May our Lord bless you, dear Terri, as you continue to write for Master Yeshua!

    With love and Blessings,


  7. MaryAnn, I am in awe of your testimony. I don’t know that I could have done that voluntarily. In my case the LORD had to corral me into obedience. Thank you for sharing this. It truly inspires us.

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