Just Breathe

It’s been crazy, preparing for our next mission trip to Africa, while summer is the busiest season for the library. On top of that, my wonderful agent decided to leave the field, so I feel orphaned, in the ultra-competitive writing world. In September, I plan to attend the annual ACFW conference in Dallas with the hopes of securing a new agent.  My manuscript must stand out, and be close to perfection, if I’m to convince another top agent to represent me.  Every spare minute I have is dedicated to polishing my work.

For weeks, I’ve had boxes of supplies stored in my dining room. With everything packed for the journey, I began removing empty boxes. A sure sign I’m stressed is when I start cleaning, organizing, and filing. In the jumble, I discovered an unopened box. Curious as to what I’d missed, I ripped open the cardboard lid and discovered several copies of Just Breathe: 365- Day Devotional Journal published by Worthy Inspired. Even though I only have five devotions included in this collection, I still let out a squeal of joy.  The journal was released in early July so the package has probably been sitting in the debris field I call a dining room for about six weeks.  Oh, how I needed to read the words, Just Breathe.

Every time we depart for Africa, I experience a roller coaster of emotions. With over five-hundred people praying for our team, I feel the outpouring of love, and know I am blessed beyond anything I deserve.  At the same time, I feel inadequate, because I may be the only chance for someone to hear about Jesus and God’s plan for salvation.

Who am I to be chosen to go anywhere to share the gospel? I’m not really the missionary type. I’m a librarian, not a trained Bible scholar. Worry taunts me, and I am far from being a mature Christian. Sometimes I act plum ugly, especially around those I love the most—my family. Even though this is my sixth trip to Africa, I’m amazed God allows me to be a part of his plan. Seriously folks, if I can do this, I know many of you can too.  I suppose it’s my weakness that allow the true power of the Holy Spirit to shine. If anything good happens, it’s obvious to anyone who knows me it’s God’s who produces fruit.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for us on our closed Facebook group.  If you would like to join, please send me a message in the comments. I covet your prayers. Please pray for the health and the well-being of our team members and our families. Pray for team unity, especially, when we are hot, tired, and dirty. Pray for God to prepare the hearts and minds of those He’s arranged for us to meet. And please ask that the seeds we plant will land on fertile soil, and that God will reap a harvest.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on feeling blessed and “Just Breath.” When I return, I’ll have a drawing from those who comments and someone will win a free journal.  Thank you for your prayers.  Each of you is a blessing to me.

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and knows what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Secretary of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Mary Keeley with Books & Such Literary Management is her literary agent. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

16 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. Fay Grace

    Prayers for you and your group on your mission trip. I know you will share the gospel straight from your heart, so Just Breath Cause He’s Got This!!!

    Reply
  2. Rose

    Shelia I will be praying for you and your team and all of your families and esp. for those you will be ministering to, that God’s ?Word will NOT return void! And prayers for you to find the best agent for you! A similar thing happened to me after my first agent, then she left the field also 8 or 9 months later! God will provide!

    Reply
  3. Shelley Pruitt

    Prayers and hugs! I am always blessed with your stories of inspiration, hope and goodwill. May your trip be touched by God and may his divine intervention be to those whom you touch through your faith and light that shines within and through you.

    Love,
    Shelley
    Ps…. missed seeing you at the last Director’s meeting.

    Reply
  4. Regina Merrick

    Praying for you on all fronts, Shelia! I haven’t gone on an international mission trip yet, but I know my husband really wants to at some point. We have a couple in foreign missions from my church – they’re in the middle-east, in one of those must-not-be-named countries. What courage. I admire you all!

    Reply
    1. shelia@sheliastovall.com Post author

      Thank you, Regina. I declined going to Africa several times before I joined the first group. I told God, if you really wanted me to go to Africa, you’ll have to removed my fear. And guess what? He did. If you get the opportunity to go, ask God for a sign. I think I’ve used the words. “If you really want me to go, I need a sign, and it needs to be like a billboard.” God has always responded in a big way that makes it clear to me that I am supposed go. Hugs and love, Shelia

      Reply
  5. Estella

    Continued prayers for you and your team as you prepare for the Africa trip. I have never been on an international mission trip. You inspire me to reach out and do more to help others for God’s glory. I would love a copy of devotional, Just Breathe. Awesome to see God’s plan for your life unfolding. He has already gone before you and prepared the way. Be encouraged my friend

    Reply

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