March 13, 2017

Unfinished Projects - Sheila Webster

Ephesians 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

About 2006 or 2007 I started to write a manuscript about my simple view of spirituality in a book format.  However, one of those life tsunamis took place and much of my writing and life became jetsam on scattered shores of memory.  Never the same again and I didn’t know what happened to that manuscript along with much of my other writing.

In 2011, while visiting my former childhood pastor, several provinces away, he asked me if I had ever published the manuscript.  I was stunned as I had forgotten about it and became ashamed in a way that it was another broken thread of life.

He laughed at me, which seemed like an entirely inappropriate response for what I was feeling.  Upon going to his office he returned with my unfinished manuscript in hand!
“You emailed it to me for my comments on whether it was doctrinally accurate and not condemning of people or situations! “  He seemed to think this should have been obvious to me.

I didn’t know what to do, except that if God had preserved this piece while hundreds had been lost, I must finish it.

Finishing the last few pages was monumental because I was now a different person, No longer the same name or family structure.  God gave me the grace, the faltering words and the funds to complete it.  A Simple Spirituality was published within the next eighteen months.  Many people have told me how my simple faith and perseverance through difficult situations described in the book have encouraged them to return to faith or increased their faith and forgiveness in situations.

Another unfinished project resurrected itself this year.  I was having what I thought was a simple conversation with a friend about something.  It reminded me of something I had written almost two decades ago that also had been lost during that difficult time.
My friend was so intrigued by the story she asked a literary periodical if they would be interested in it!  She then nonchalantly told me they wanted it and to hurry and rewrite it for them.  I had never considered it, as it was a difficult piece.

Rewrite it I did, even though it came out from a different character’s perspective and with different details but a similar ending which was the most salient part.

I have heard several sermons lately about our calling being without repentance – as Christians those good works prepared beforehand by God, in Christ, through the help of the Holy Spirit.

What pieces do you need to dust off, resurrect, pray over or write?  For all of us the process can be challenging but comes down to a number of simple spiritual and practical disciplines.

1.     Pray
2.     Put your hand to the work.
3.     Persevere
4.     Edit
5.     Publish

In the end, whether on earth or later we will hear the words – “well done good and faithful servant.”


  1. Thank you for such an encouraging post

  2. Thanks Sheila - I like how "you were a different person" when you went to finish the work - good reminder that we are all works-in-progress - great post!

  3. Thanks for such an insight into finishing our works, Sheila. I'm often reminded that after we've put our writing aside for some time, we come back to it with fresh eye--especially if we've forgotten we've written it! It's a great way to finish what we've started.

  4. So encouraging, Sheila! I loved your book too!

  5. Thank you for this. As it happens, I'm spending part of each day going through paper mountains and computer files, some ancient, some recent. Although there are pieces that, having been written, have been very helpful to me, sometimes providing a catharsis, they won't necessarily be helpful to others if published. Yet, they are reminders, milestones, prompts to other writing I could do. There ae so many tangents radiating from these pieces that I could sort and think until my earthly life is done and never submit another file! "They" would find me, desiccated, buried deep under discs, papers, thumb drives and artwork. All that would be necessary would be to plant a sign on top: "RIP Patricia Anne Elford, Overwhelmed Writer", and close the door.
    I'll make a vow to submit one appropriate piece to one suitable receiver by the end of this week.

  6. Thanks, Sheila, for sharing this insightful and inspirational story. I love the part about the lost and "forgotten" story your pastor friend had saved for you. No doubt there is more to the story of Sheila Webster that needs to be uncovered from the sand dunes and resurrected through the publishing process.

  7. I really enjoyed your book, Sheila. I found your story of how your simple spirituality helped you through the difficult times in your life truly inspiring. The challenges you overcame to finish and publish your manuscript make my excuses for my unfinished projects pale in comparison.


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