Reprinted by permission from SharperIron.org.
Confessions of a Classic Performer
I grew up on a farm without animals—domesticated animals, that is. Wild cats came and went like vagrants seeking shelter for a few months before setting off in search of something better. Those cats especially liked our classic circa 1900 red barn. As a boy, I remember sitting in the barn’s hayloft while dust motes danced in shafts of sunlight at my feet. Peering up at the cavernous ceiling, I imagined that I was inside a massive cathedral until the flutter of wings drew my attention to a four-paned window inset into the peak. Birds that had been trapped inside the barn fluttered against the glass panes in search of a way out. (Photo, clockwise: Adam, Kim, Laura, and Julia)
In many ways, aren’t we all like those birds before we meet Christ—trapped in the “barn” of self? No, I’ve never been trapped in a physical sense. In fact, I experienced a Christian background many might envy: godly parents and siblings; fundamental, Bible-preaching churches; and a quality Christian school education. But like everyone at birth, I was trapped in my sin as much as any drug addict. Though God spared me from the more obvious pitfalls of a life without Christ, He gave me just as much saving grace as He extends to anyone who calls upon Him. For that I am indeed thankful.
Sealed My Pardon
My mom led me to Christ when I was four years old. I remember sitting next to her in a Buick Opal (I’m dating myself now) on our way to who knows where and chatting about heaven and hell as casually as two friends might discuss the weather. Even at four, I knew I was going to hell if I didn’t trust Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. My mom pulled the car off to the side of the road, and Jesus “sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior!” Yet as is often the case with early conversions, I had doubts. At age nine, I attended a Word of Life concert about the rapture. I remember a big auditorium, lots of people, red carpeting, and a balcony seat. The woman on stage sang a beautiful but frightening song about God’s leaving unbelievers behind. Unsure about the decision I had made when I was four, I left the building with confidence that I was on my way to heaven and wouldn’t, in fact, be left behind.
Years passed, and I grew up in a sheltered environment—a spiritual greenhouse, if you will. My life basically revolved around family, church, and the Christian school. One of my few windows to the world came from our TV, but TV shows then (Little House on the Prairie, for example) weren’t what they are today. I’m grateful for my sheltered background, but looking back, I realize that I was a pretty self-righteous kid. Studying the world from afar, I thought I was something special because of the things I didn’t do, because I wasn’t like those people. In spite of godly teaching to the contrary, I grew up as a classic performer: I said too many verses in Awana, got two many straight A’s on my report card, longed for too much praise. Though I knew I couldn’t work my way to heaven, I thought the rest of the Christian life pretty much depended on me. God had so much to teach me.
Saving of a Different Sort
Only later, as I entered high school and set my sights on college did I realize that I wasn’t the squeaky-clean kid people thought I was. Though the Holy Spirit lived inside me, my heart was wicked, and no amount of good performance could clean up my act. My old nature reared its ugly head time and again, and I realized that I needed saving of a different sort. I required the daily saving we all need from self and our own bent to sin; I needed to die daily and to depend on Christ for His power to live the Christian life. I couldn’t do it on my own. God began working on my heart and opening my eyes to who He is and who I am.
I loved to write stories, and God opened a variety of doors to lead me toward a future in publication work of some sort. At Bob Jones University, I pursued a degree in print journalism instead of creative writing only because I knew that novelists aren’t guaranteed a regular paycheck. I wanted to write and pursued a skill set in harmony with that desire—and God repeatedly confirmed that I was heading in the right direction. After college, I began publishing short stories and articles and moved to Chicago to serve as an editor at Awana Clubs International Headquarters (Streamwood, IL). I had the privilege of writing and editing leadership training manuals and Bible study curriculum for youth of all ages. Four years later, God directed my path to Northland Baptist Bible College (NBBC, Dunbar, WI), where I filled a similar editorial role for a decade. I also learned that having the right heart or being right with God is more important than externals—a major paradigm shift for me.
A Speed Bump in My Path
In 2006, after several years of being married, having two daughters, and living a comfortable life “in ministry,” God wanted more out of my life and put a life-altering speed bump in my path. An unexpected layoff opened my eyes to the uncertainties of life and to how little I actually depended on God to guide my steps and provide for my family. During the same week I learned of my layoff, a literary agent expressed interest in my Christian suspense novel. God was doing something, but I wasn’t exactly sure what . . . at least yet.
Looking back at 2006, I see how God led me to a new stage of dependence on Him. I didn’t know if my family and I would need to sell our house and move somewhere. Someone suggested that I do freelance editing from home, but I was uncertain about the idea until God began opening doors. Jason Janz invited me to be the official managing editor here at SI. Several other ministries also contacted me with potential projects. By May when my contract ran out at NBBC, my wife and I decided to give the work-at-home opportunity a go, and that summer family and friends helped me build a home office into my basement. Simultaneously, I worked as a Fed Ex early-morning package handler and spent the rest of my time editing and trying to build the business—creative writing was definitely on hold. Space doesn’t permit my sharing everything I learned, but I will say this: Sometimes God leads us down paths we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves—paths that may not even make sense at the time—but He is always good and is always working out His perfect plan. He just wants us to trust Him and be faithful doing whatever He has given us to do, even if we don’t necessarily like the task at the time.
Here I’ll Stay
I am truly blessed. Since January 2007, I’ve been working full-time from home as a freelance editor and writer. Gone are the days of driving to work, and I get to see my family throughout each day. But the opportunity is not without its challenges. Gone is a paycheck every two weeks. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I’ll get a paycheck at all. Yet I’m convinced that I’m exactly where God wants me to be at this time in my life—confirmed by His constant provision for my family’s needs.
The publication of my first novel, a dream since I was a kid, will take place in the spring, the Lord willing. But publishing novels isn’t my focus. Supporting my family comes before that, and God has given me opportunities to provide ministry editing and contribute here at SI. Until He closes doors, here I’ll stay—this is what He has called me to do. Meanwhile, I’m happy to share the lessons I’ve learned in hopes of encouraging others. Daily I’m reminded of what God has saved me from and of how He has so obviously and meticulously planned the puzzle pieces of my life. For that I give Him all the glory.
|Adam Blumer is a freelance editor and writer as well as SI’s managing editor. A Bob Jones University graduate with a B.A. in Print Journalism, he served as an editor and writer for 14 years at Northland Baptist Bible College (Dunbar, WI) and Awana Clubs International Headquarters (Streamwood, IL). He has published numerous short stories and articles. Kregel Publications (Grand Rapids, MI) plans to release his first Christian suspense novel, Fatal Illusions, in spring 2009. God has blessed Adam and his wife, Kim, with two daughters. Visit his author’s Web site and his freelance editing Web site.|
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