I launched Devotional Diva as a single person in 2009 under the name Renee Johnson. It was my dream to use that platform to get noticed and become a published author. God knew. A few months later, NavPress signed me for my first book, Faithbook of Jesus, a 365-daily devotional. It released one year later while the ink was drying on the trademark I purchased for Devotional Diva.
Talk about a whirlwind.
I experienced tremendous growth as an author those first few years as well as personal. My first book sold so well that NavPress signed me for another book. Then the economy tanked.
It was a God-sized miracle that Harvest House signed me for a two-book contract in 2011.
That same year, I thought I was going to go to seminary and become a career author. Then I met the love of my life—Marc Fisher—and we soon married.
I saw God’s hand when my editor, Kathleen Kerr, saw something in me that I didn’t. She helped me turn my second book with them, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me into the best non-fiction book I have ever written. I was on top of the world. That is until I wasn’t. Both books didn’t sell well and they were soon discontinued. I didn’t know a publisher could do that! I remember blogging on Devotional Diva that my dreams were dead.
I thought I was stuck.
It took me a cross-country move and many years later to see there is life after forgiveness. After death comes life. What needed to die were my dreams because God had far better dreams for me. One of the things I felt God asking me to give up was Devotional Diva. In 2016, by faith—I let my followers know that I was going to shut it down. Permanently. I wasn’t single anymore. I also wasn’t a devotional only author.
Then Maggie Winterton spoke up.
It was a miracle when I announced I was shutting it down that she offered to take it over while preserving the heart behind it to allow women to share their stories for the purpose of spurring others forward (Hebrews 10:24). I needed to do this as an act of faith before knowing God would resurrect it.
Side note: Why is it easier to believe that if we hold tightly to our dreams that we’ll somehow save them? That’s not what Jesus says. He says to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. This, He says, is the way to recover your life.
It wasn’t until I obeyed to let go of Devotional Diva that God showed me to start a self-publishing agency. I had a passion for helping authors avoid the same pitfalls I experienced to get their book babies out into the world. After a successful run, I once felt God calling me to lay down my dreams once again to trust in Him. Like last time, I wasn’t sure what I was making room for. I had no idea what was next. That I was making room for a new life.
I wasn’t resting from something but for something. This year, Easter means so much more to me than ever before. Marc and I are happy to announce that we are expecting our first. He or she is a rainbow baby because we experienced a miscarriage over five years ago. That’s over five years to think about grief and think about death. That’s also over five years to hope against all hope.
I don’t know where you are along on the journey from death to life. I do know that it is so much easier to focus on the dead dreams and even death itself than making room. Just look at what’s going on in the world right now. We need the message of the cross. We look to Jesus and His suffering death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection over the grave to receive new life. Real hope. This is what I wish for you and for me.
We cannot have a theology of new life and healing if we don’t also have a theology of suffering. It is both/and. It is because of Jesus’ suffering we have new life. No matter where life takes you, how many times God asks you to give up your dreams for His—He is here. He lives! His Indwelling Presence lives inside you.
It is because of the sufferings I’ve experienced in my life that I wanted to become an author in the first place. I knew God called me to share my story so I obeyed. Each and every time I thought that door was closing on ministry, He continued to open yet another door to continue spurring others forward.
This Easter whether you are experiencing healing or suffering—take courage. After death comes life. Hope in God alone.
—Renee Fisher is a dreamer and a do’er. She is an author, coach, nature lover, and photographer. She is passionate about defending dreams and spurring others forward to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). #DreamDefender
Renee is a BIG fan of glitter and gardens. She is a graduate of Biola University, and lives in Davenport, Iowa with her handsome husband and their fur child named “Starfish.” Connect at ReneeFisher.com and PeacefulFisher.com.