I graduated from college and landed a position with a computer service company. My first week at work I locked my keys in the car – three days in a row. Thankfully, I settled down and kept my job until Jim and I had our first child.

During those first weeks of motherhood, I felt lonely and isolated. I spent a lot of time talking to God about the situation.  At one point, I knew He told me to follow Him and trust Him with my future. He would open doors for me as I obeyed.

Jim encouraged me to give freelance writing a try. I bought a Writer’s Market, took a course at the community college and begin to send out query letters and manuscripts.  Dozens of rejection letters later, I finally sold an article. I was learning what it meant to be a writer and what editors wanted from people like me.

One day I received a call from a new friend. The Birmingham News was looking for a part-time editor. Would I be interested?

They offered me the job and I went to work writing articles and editing The Real Estate Marketplace.

Our second son arrived and our young family relocated to Decatur, Alabama.

A new friend introduced me to an entrepreneur who had just begun publishing a small parenting magazine. I jumped on board and helped with writing and editorial development.  I also wrote religious education material and along with a wonderful partner, developed a writing curriculum for teachers.

I prayed about launching a Christian magazine.  We had one more baby.  Three boys made life full and busy and the time never seemed right.

In 2004 we moved our family to Dothan, Alabama.  Jim encouraged me to consider the magazine again. I gave all kinds of excuses about my lack of connections but I prayed and thought, and prayed some more. Once again, God spoke and opened doors.

My partner and I published the first issue of Wiregrass Christian Magazine in December 2005.  Although the work wasn’t easy, the process was joyful. People shared their talents and supported the work. Gradually the publication grew and became a part of the faith community.

In 2010 we moved to a new community. Once again, I unpacked boxes, arranged furniture and asked God for a fresh vision, and a new outlet for my gifts and skills.  I wrote a book and discovered the blogging world. Today, I  write from my home and teach in Albany, Georgia.

I am an ordinary woman, but I serve an extraordinary God.

I am a wife and mom who juggled baseball and Bible study, family dinners and an occasional evening out with my husband.  I fussed when kids left their cleats in the family room and remembered school assignments at the last minute.  Through the years, I worried about the wrong things and doubted myself.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I have learned a few things along the way.

God created us and gifted us. He calls his children to be active in advancing his kingdom.  When we give who we are and what we have, God blesses our efforts.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t waste any experience or struggle when we respond to him in obedience.

Most of the time we don’t see the big picture. Some days it is all we can do to put one foot in front of the other. But we travel in faith, and the Spirit strengthens and equips us to do what he leads us to do.

Laurel Joyce Griffith is a blogger, speaker, and the author of Lean Forward