Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” He is a new member of RWA and the FHL chapter. His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel; finalists for the Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award; and winner of the Selah Award. His next published novel, releasing in the spring of 2015, is Fatal Trauma. You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page.
I guess I identify with the TV detective, Adrian Monk, who said, “I don’t mind change. I just don’t like to be around when it happens.” All my life I’ve disliked change. I still recall the sinking sensation I felt when I heard that a favorite pastor was leaving for another church. I remember the knot in the pit of my stomach when I walked onto Ward 5-C on my first day as an intern. And butterflies populated my inner regions when I stood at the front of the Little Chapel In The Woods and watched my bride-to-be walk down the aisle.
I was uneasy about the changes I’ve described. What I couldn’t know at the time was that the next pastor of our church would help me find a direction for my life, that my time as a physician would lead me to activities and places of which I never dreamed, and that Cynthia and I would enjoy forty years of marriage and rear three wonderful children. I couldn’t see beyond the moment, so I feared and, in some cases, resisted change.
Now we have changes in the publishing industry. When I first began to write non-medical material, it was a simple matter of reading books, going to the conferences, writing and editing, submitting work to editors, and letting things play out. Then came the time when agents became the choke point for manuscript submissions, so acquiring an agent was added to the mix. Somewhere in all that, self-publication went from an activity most professionals scorned to a way to get your words before other people while making money at it. And the changes haven’t stopped.
In the midst of all this change, there has been one constant in my life. When my mother died, God bore me up through my sorrow and loss. When I was sent two thousand miles away from my wife and young son to serve in the military, God sustained us. At a time when I was burned out and ready to leave the private practice of medicine, God saw to it I was offered a position that would put me in academics for a decade of enjoyment and fulfillment. And after my wife died and I thought my life was over, God used that event to direct me from what I’d pictured as a quiet retirement into a new career. Not only that, God prepared a wonderful woman to become my wife and share my life. God has been the constant among the changes in my life.
I’m still leery of change, but after all these years of seeing what God can do with and through it, I lean on the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV). How about you?