God’s Hand in Encouragement

It’s funny how God works. He always provides exactly what I need, even when I don’t know what that is.

moving2Over Christmas break, my family moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky. The decision to move was made right before Thanksgiving, so in a month’s time, we planned, packed, and found a new home. My husband, Gregg, started a new job that he loves — LOVES. Our family is extremely happy at Fort Knox, and we know that it was a good move for us.

But in the process of moving, unpacking, hanging pictures, deciding on room designs, buying furniture, picking out rugs, etc., etc., I had a deadline of March 1st for a romantic suspense novella for a box set. I have to be honest with you. I did NOT want to write this book. I wanted to set up my new house. I wanted to get my kids completely settled into our new community. I wanted to have coffee and tea and lunch with friends I was meeting through chapel and in the neighborhood.

But a commitment is a commitment, and a deadline is something I’ve never missed. So, I started writing it sometime in mid-February, and finished it early March. I struggled through every word. I cried. I prayed. I beat my head against the keyboard. I cried some more.

Word by agonizing word, this novella came out of me. It is a stand-alone, not connected to any series, so I had to create a whole new world with new people. I had to research human sex trade and the Russian mafia — a very dark kind of research. Nothing was enjoyable about this process.

on the ropesWhen I finished it, we discovered that Gregg did not have the time to edit it. He was settling into a new and intense job that took all of his mental reserves. By the time he came home every night, he was exhausted. National Guard took any free weekend he might have even pretended to have. However, he has always, always, been my first editor. I know I’m a good storyteller – that is my gift from God. But, I’ve never felt I was a good writer. I have always believed that Gregg is who turned my good stories into good writing. For the first time, it went to my editor without his special touch. For the first time ever, I did the cover consultation with our cover artist. I arranged the design and the deadline and provided the critique. (I also originally titled it, but Gregg did come up with a much better title. Clearly, I’d tapped my abilities.)

Smoke Mirrors FlatWhen this novella, On the Ropes, published in the Smoke and Mirrors box set, I was so stressed about it. I felt like it was the worse thing I’ve ever written and that if Gregg couldn’t (understandably) partner with me in the future, then maybe I should take a break from writing until our life had settled down around us.

I have always heard from readers on a bit of a sporadic basis. I read reviews, receive Facebook messages, and get emails, but nothing on any super large scale. Until this novella published in this box set. Suddenly, I got a deluge of emails and messages. Every day, I have received several. And they all say something similar:

Just want to say that I love the way you write. …I just read On The Ropes and again was amazed at how the story line reaches the heart. Thanks for your action packed clean books.

Another one said:

I just finished reading ON THE ROPES and LOVED it.

One reviewer said:

Thrilling, heart-stopping, hopeless but hopeful—‘On the Ropes’ is written in the past and the present until the time-frames dramatically collide. This edgy romantic suspense was so powerful; it took me a while before I could read anything afterwards. Hallee Bridgeman is a new-to-me author and I can hardly wait to read more from her!

I could continue to list the emails and reviews, but that’s not the point. The point is, this novella was ripped out of me, I had a bad attitude about even having to write it, and I was worried the entire time about the process being disrupted with Gregg’s new job. But, God, in all of His wonder and glory, has sent me DAILY confirmation that He would still have me doing what I’m doing, that HE will provide to me the talents and skill I need to do what He would have me to do, and that I CAN do this even if I can’t utilize the best editor on the planet at this time.

My mission statement remains the same:

To prayerfully craft stories as modern day parables to uplift fellow believers and minister to seekers in our fallen world.

I don’t want that to change. I don’t want to get caught up in marketing and writing and book rankings and lose the focus of my mission statement. I truly believe that the daily emails I’ve received have been God’s way of giving me a much needed confidence boost and encouragement to keep me crafting those stories. I currently feel revitalized, refreshed, and excited that I’m almost finished with another book — ready to start the next series on my list.

If you’ve read On the Ropes, or any other of my books, I’d love to hear from you. You have no idea what kind of encouragement you can give a writer by reaching out. If you have already, thank you for listening to the urging of God and being a part of His encouragement.

I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
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    • Debbie Shreeve on July 1, 2016 at 15:35
    • Reply

    Had I only known of the struggle you was going through when I met you in Midway KY, I would have hugged you much longer! I absolutely LOVED the Jewels Series! Sometimes we have to be in the valley to appreciate the mountain tops. Not an original saying but a great reminder! God is faithful. Don’t doubt yourself. Keep writing until you hear from God that it’s time to stop. God bless!!!

    1. I think you are a born encourager my friend. ♡

  1. I absolutely loved On the Ropes. You have an amazing talent!

  2. I’m so proud of you. I know it was a stretch and you made it through with a fantastic story at the end of it all. Not that I am biased or anything. 😉
    Love you.

    • Paula Dye on July 1, 2016 at 20:06
    • Reply

    All I can say is I am sooooo glad you are not giving up writing! You are far too talented and touch so many hearts and lives, I for one would be heartbroken!! Even now I am reading the Jewel Series again! ! Don’t ever stop! With my heartfelt thanks to you, Hallee!!

    • Amanda on July 1, 2016 at 22:19
    • Reply

    I just finished On the Ropes, and it reminds me why I love to read your stories; I never finish thinking that there was an area of the story that felt unfinished or untouched. There is so much depth and detail in every story and they are so fun to read! Your stories are fantastic and I wish I had the words to encourage you more 🙂

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