I’m Doing It!

For as long as I can remember, writing has been my outlet.  From a teenager writing in my diary to a newlywed going through the darkest time of my life of battling depression and anxiety, writing has been my way of coping through the many seasons of life.

As a preacher’s kid, I was able to serve in many ministries in our church.  Very early on, I began serving in the youth ministry and then became the youth group leader for a couple of years.  After I got married, I had the opportunity to lead the women’s ministry.  Part of the position included giving the message at the Easter Sunrise Service.  I was so nervous but as I prepared, It was amazing how God gave me exactly what I was supposed to share.  I remember battling thoughts of fear and unworthiness.  I felt so incapable and unqualified.  How in the world could this 23-year-old newlywed have something worth sharing?  But God reminded me of the story of Him calling Moses.  In Exodus 4:10-12 it says,

But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”  

And God fulfilled that promise to Moses in my life that day.  He made me see that all He expects from me is my obedience to do what He has called me to do.

As the years went on, I had many more opportunities to write, speak or lead a bible study.  And on instances when I would, the response was humbling.  To me, it served as a confirmation that this is what God placed me on this earth to do.

But life happened.  And sadly, life’s disappointments and struggles created a detour in my life.  After my dad died, I went through a very dark time.  I completely separated myself from the Lord and lived a very selfish life.  My way of coping only took me so far before I began to see the consequences of my choices.  It was like I was walking around looking down and then one day I looked up and I didn’t even know where I was.  Our family was a mess.  My marriage was a mess.  My life was a mess.

I was so angry with God for “taking” my dad that I allowed myself to pull away and try to fix things myself.  I chose to do the things that would satisfy momentarily instead of choosing to trust that God had a plan in all of this.  But God.  He was still there.  He still had a plan for my life.  He brought beauty from ashes.  He never left my side and He was patient with me as I lived a life apart from Him.  I see it now.  His love.  How great it is.  He truly does leave the 99 just to come back for you and for me.

I’m thankful for the people who God placed in my life during this time.  Strangers that became friends who led me back to God.  A dear friend that I will forever be grateful for because she invited me to a bible study she was hosting in her home.  As much as I wanted to say no, I knew I needed this.  During the bible study, my heart softened.  I was reminded of who God is and that even through life’s tragedies, He is still who He says He is.  My life didn’t immediately change even though I was part of this bible study.  There were still areas in my life that I needed to work on.  I needed to learn to trust God again.  I needed to choose Him above everything else.

During this season, Joseph and I went through the hardest time in our marriage.  There was a span of months where we fought daily.  We didn’t know how to fix what was going on.  We are not a couple who fights.  We have disagreements and heated discussions, but this was so out of the ordinary for us.  It only got worse as time went on.  We did our best to put up our best front because that’s what humans do, right?  We put up a front.  We put on our masks and hide our true selves.  We can’t let others see our struggles, our pain our loss.  It wasn’t until we began to see things in our children’s lives.  Their actions, their choices…they weren’t horrible kids, but it was evident that we failed them as parents.  We failed them in pointing them to Christ.

God began to work in our lives last summer.  I hope to share this soon….It is a beautiful story of redemption.  A story that is still ongoing.  But as the months have gone by, I have felt that desire once again.  The desire to write.  The desire to speak.  The desire to minister to women of all ages.  They are my passion.  This is my calling.  I’ve fought it for a long time because of fear.  I fear people’s judgment for my past choices and mistakes.  I fear their criticism and fear being talked about behind my back.  I feel unworthy, incapable.  I feel that I’m not qualified to do this.  As I’ve felt this desire fire back up, the enemy has brought out all the tricks.

The enemy has a way of tearing you to pieces.  He pours salt on your wounds and makes you dwell on your circumstances.  But I’m done.  I’m done giving the enemy power over my life.  And why?  Because my God is greater.  He’s already won this battle and given me the victory.  He has forgiven me for all of my screw ups and He doesn’t hold it over me.  He loves me with a love that I can’t begin to comprehend.

This morning as I read “It’s not supposed to be this way” by Lysa Terkeurst the following spoke so much truth….

“If you have ever experienced an unexpected darkness, a silence and stillness you aren’t used to, know that these hard times, these devastating disappointments, these seasons of suffering are not for nothing.  They will grow you.  They will shape you.  They will soften you.  They will allow you to experience God’s comfort and compassion.”

Our hardships, our disappointments, they are not for nothing.  God is molding us and preparing us for His purpose.  But it also takes us doing our part.  It takes us saying, “God, whatever it takes, wherever it takes me.  I want you!”

I had a hard time doing that.  For years, I knew what I needed to do, but I wasn’t willing to let go of certain things.  But today.  I am ready.  I am ready to go wherever God takes me.  So today, I want to share with you that I am pursuing my calling in writing and speaking.  What that will look like?  I have no idea, yet.  I am just at the beginning of this journey, but I am excited and anxious to see what God is going to do.  I want to share this because I know that I have a lot of friends in many different churches and ministries.  And I would love the opportunity of speaking at one of your events.

You can reach me through email at maggieeterno@gmail.com.  I would love for you to help me share the word, but most importantly I would appreciate your prayers.

Something that will never leave me are the words of my dad before he passed….he would say that he saw me on a stage speaking in an auditorium full of people.  He saw it.  And today, I am claiming that vision.  Because I know, this is what I’m supposed to do.

I can’t wait to share this journey with you!

-Maggie Eterno

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