Better Than Ever Before: Karen Wingate’s Story Behind the Story
Though I haven’t met Karen Wingate in person I’ve been blessed by our online acquaintance. She is also a client of our mutual agent, Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency. Her example of trusting God despite difficulties has been an inspiration to me over the years since I’ve known her. My much smaller issues with cataract surgeries and glaucoma pale in comparison with the visual impairment Karen has cheerfully endured over a lifetime, but I know whom I can go to for prayer and understanding whenever I’m concerned about my eyes!
Be blessed by her beautiful account of how God has been working in her life and the miracles He’s accomplished.
Better Than Ever Before: Karen Wingate’s Story Behind The Story
Tomorrow is the launch date of the anthology, Life-Changing Miracles, compiled by James Scott Bell. I’m so excited! My story, “God Can Do Anything,” was chosen to be part of that anthology.
Yes, it’s wonderful to be included in an anthology published by a major publishing company. For me, it’s so much more. The excitement comes from how that story came to exist in the first place.
Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” My college professor said the same principle another way. “It takes ten percent of your time to do ninety percent of the work, and ninety percent of the time to do the final ten percent.” Both are true in my writing. I would agree that ninety-nine percent of my writing is nailing my backside in a chair and making myself write until I feel like writing. Most of my writing accomplishments—twenty years of curriculum writing, over 200 published magazine articles, about 120 published devotions, and even more writing that never made its way out of an editor’s computer—has come through perspired persistence. The sweetness of success is often in the struggle.
Then come those very rare moments where the writing flows, the doors of opportunities fling open, and the success hits before I’ve reached my stride. It happens so seldom that when it does, you know without a doubt the Lord was in it.
Three months had passed since I had seen God work in a miraculous way in two separate health issues. I long knew the possibility existed that I might lose what precious little sight I had since I was born with a genetic defect that wreaked havoc to my eyes on multiple fronts. The day came when a doctor saw a torn retina in my left eye. At first, he hesitated to do surgery, but when the tear grew, he opted to go ahead, warning me that my vision might end up worse. On top of that, the hospital radiology department called me in for a repeat mammogram. It was a fearful week as I pondered that my writing career and my daily independence might be coming to an end. The future looked bleak but I was so grateful for all the years God had given me functional sight.
Not only did the mammogram results prove to be negative, the surgery accomplished the impossible. My alert doctor made the snap decision to clear out the debris field left from inadequate childhood cataract surgeries. In the midst of the surgery under local anesthesia, he told me I would have better vision than ever before.
I spent the summer healing from complications, adjusting to my new visual acuity, and trying to catch up with writing commitments. A random notice that James Scott Bell was looking for stories for his latest compilation flitted through one of my email listservs. The deadline was in two weeks.
Not enough time. I didn’t have anything to write about. My forefinger hovered over the delete key.
Uh, hold on? This magnificent miracle just happened to me and I thought I had nothing to write about? But two weeks isn’t enough time to do a good job. I’ve learned too often the truth behind the proverb, “Haste makes waste.”
God’s Spirit continued to argue with me. I did this awesome thing in your life. I gave you improved sight when so many doctors thought it couldn’t be done, and you say you can’t write a story in two weeks? God must have been shaking his head.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” my mother used to say. I sat at my computer, opened a vein of my inner soul, and the story flowed. I found two critique partners the next day who made the story shine. I sent off my submission with days to spare. Six months later I found out it was selected to be part of the collection.
The real life-changing miracle came days before my eye surgery. Despairing that I might have to give up my writing, God’s Spirit spoke to me saying, I am not done with you yet. At that moment, I thought the Lord just meant He would somehow help me keep writing even if I lost my sight or my health. I never dreamed He meant the gift of better sight than I’d ever experienced, and, on top of that, that He would enable me to write a story that most likely will reach thousands of people.
It boggles my mind. And it reminds me of this important truth.
If God gives you a story to tell, He’ll give you the strength and resources to tell the story.
Karen Wingate works with her husband to lead a church in Western Illinois. In addition to keeping up with her own blog at Grace on Parade and her other writing, Karen leads worship, teaches Bible studies, and directs the Women’s Fellowship group at her church. Karen’s current work in progress is a book that journals her new eyesight discoveries.
Read the entire amazing life-changing story in the book, Life-Changing Miracles. Find it HERE.