Testimony Tuesday: Timing is Everything / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

When I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say that I’ve been blessed. I have a testimony!
— Rev. Clay Evans
Image from www.pexels.com

Image from www.pexels.com

As I was getting dressed this morning, my mind was on rewind and I felt a wave of gratitude wash over me. It’s funny how details of your life can be forgotten until just the right moment.

For whatever reason, this morning was the right moment.  

When I tell the story of my college years as a student at New York University, I mostly speak about my studio art classes, partying in the Village and shopping. And while that made up the bulk of my experience—especially the partying and shopping part—I never mention the year I spent as a journalism major.  

I wanted to be a writer.  

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Prose. Poetry. Memoir. Fiction. I’ve written it all. I had a dream of living in New York City,  being fashionably fabulous, and writing for the Village Voice, Vibe, the Source, and Essence Magazine. But somewhere in that first year, the journalism classes were more theory than practice and I yearned for the more creative aspect of the business. That desire for creativity led (or drove) me straight to the Steinhart School of Education where I became a Studio Art major. I do not regret the decision, and I believe that God led me there, but momentarily I abandoned my dream of writing for a living.

But I never stopped writing.

Writers write. And although it was not the way in which I made a living, words always had a prominent place in my life. Even as a Master of Fine Arts student at Howard University, words were a major part of the visual work I was producing. And I found joy writing my thesis to accompany my visual project.

After graduate school, I mostly wrote in journals. Once I began theological studies, I had a reason to write again. I found such satisfaction in writing papers and found a way to incorporate creative writing into the process. After graduation I continued to write—I wrote sermons, I wrote Bible Studies, I wrote devotionals for our church Advent and Lenten mediation books, and I wrote for our church magazine.

I still wasn’t writing for Essence, but somehow—the details escape me—I made a connection with John Richards, then editor for Urban Faith Magazine. I wrote a few pieces for Urban Faith, but being a bleary-eyed, first time mother, I found it difficult to keep up with assignments. I had to gracefully bow out. It was too much for me. I felt like a failure. And I started to think that maybe my writing would be limited to the local church and the intimate space of my journal.

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But that just wasn’t true.

We grow impatient. I grow impatient. I want what I want, when I want it, and if I don’t get it right then and there, it feels like it’s never going to happen. I often mistake God’s “Not yet” for “No” when really God is preparing the situation, preparing me, or both, so it works for His glory and my good.

As a student at NYU, the timing wasn’t right for me to be a journalism major. God had another plan for me.

As a new mother, the  timing wasn’t right for me to write for Urban Faith. God had another plan for me.

But now, with five features published for Urban Faith since September and more on the way, I know that it was simply a matter of timing. God’s timing. When Big Girl was a baby, I didn’t have much to say. I certainly don’t know how coherent it would have been given my sleep deprivation. Six years later, I have had a wealth of experiences as a wife, mother, daughter, preacher, chaplain, friend, and runner that have given rise to a unique perspective in my writing.

And here is my testimony: This small oft forgotten detail of being a journalism major for a year blessed my soul today. It gave me hope to hold on as I wait for God’s “Not yet” to become God’s “It’s time!” It helped me to know that timing is everything and that even if I don’t always understand it, that it’s best to trust God for the timing of my life.

And who knows, maybe one day I will write for Essence....

Dear Readers, what dream deferred has you questioning God’s timing in your life? How can you lean into where you are, trusting that God will lead you to it?