Deborah Anderson

In 2000, Deborah Anderson left the medical field to care for her elderly mother. Soon after, she began writing. She has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and numerous other publications. She is a member of TWV, ACFW, CWG, and FCW. Married 30 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. She also spends her time rescuing cats, reading novels, and taking nature walks. Deborah recently completed her first novel. You can contact Deborah at:

Diary of A Crazy Writer

When God Says No

When I discovered that American Christian Fiction Writers was going to hold their annual conference in St. Louis this year, I was elated. Since the designated location was only about a forty-minute drive from where I live, I knew I’d be able to attend my first writer’s conference.

Or so I thought.

The deadline for the registration loomed ahead. Every time I thought about signing up, though, a voice whispered inside of me. No.

I massaged my forehead. Huh?

Have you ever tried to pull the logic card on God when He speaks to you? Well, I did.

This doesn’t make sense, Lord. Why would You tell me not to go? This conference is nearly at my back door.

Don’t go.

But, God, I have to. How else am I going to meet editors and agents?

Trust me.

What about the book you gave me to write? You know how hard I’ve struggled to finish this manuscript. You’ve seen all the roadblocks hurled across my path.

In loving memory of Evelyn O. YoungNo.



So much for my logic.

At the beginning of August, a doctor diagnosed stage four metastatic cancer in one of my brothers. He said my sibling’s prognosis was grim. A light bulb went off in my pea-sized brain. No wonder I wasn’t supposed to register for the conference.

I e-mailed my closest writing friends, including the members of my critique group, asking them to pray for my brother. Deep inside, I still clung to the hope I would somehow make the conference, until one of my critique partners wrote back to me.

No, don’t leave now. You have time for other conferences. Your family needs you.

I was getting mighty tired of hearing and seeing the word no.

So I decided to enter a writing contest instead. Maybe I could get my foot in the door that way.

My oldest brother and I spent the next few weeks in and out of the hospital, taking care of our sibling. I even fought with some of the nurses when they didn’t get my brother his pain medication on time. (Picture Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment: “Give my brother the shot!”) I felt like a one-legged man in a high-jumping contest.

And I was losing.

In the middle of all this, we still had to juggle seeing our mother in the nursing home.

Before I could blink, the deadline for the writing contest was upon me, and then it passed me by altogether.

I was not a happy camper.

A few days later, I was doing dishes in the kitchen one morning, and my husband strolled up behind me. “The Lord says you’re like Gideon.”

I spun around from the sink, whirling soapy water with me. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“You have great faith, Deb.”

“Then why do I feel as though I’m about to fall apart? I don’t feel like I have any faith at all.”

“I’m just calling it like I see it.”

Bless the man’s heart. He wants to encourage me.

That same evening, time ticked down for my visit with Mom. Since I’d been running myself ragged, not to mention the contest I had missed, I was feeling a little snarky and decided not to go.

I went upstairs, started to change into my pajamas for the night, and again, I heard a still, small voice. Go.

Go? I’m tired, Lord. I’ll run up there tomorrow.


I tossed my pajamas aside, pulled my jeans back on, and went to see Mom.

After I arrived at the nursing home, I wheeled my mother to the front visitors’ room, plopped down in a chair across from her, and jiggled my leg.

“What’s the matter, honey?”

“Nothing, Mom. I’m tired.”

“Did you make the contest in time?”

I shook my head. “No. I’ve had too much going on.” I filled her in on everything, including arguing with the nurses over my brother.

She leaned forward in her wheelchair. “You need to slow down and take care of yourself.”

Mom then reminded me of a time when I was in high school. I’d been caught skipping classes one day. The principal had called her and my dad into the office. “I worry about your daughter. She’s constantly helping others, taking up for everyone. Who’s going to help Debbie when she needs it?”

I eyed my mom. Why was she bringing this up now?

“It’s not about anyone helping me, Mom. I’m tired of being the one nobody likes because I open my mouth. I have a bigger mouth than all the boys put together do. That’s why others don’t like me.”

Mom leaned forward, tears in her eyes, and patted my leg. “I like you.”

Knowing I was about to cry, I decided to do my usual to dodge my true emotions. “You have to like me. You’re my mother.”

She laughed.

The rest of the visit went well, but she kept admonishing me to take care of myself.

I wheeled her back to her room, cradled my arms around her, and told her I loved her.

She looked up at me, a fresh batch of tears in her eyes. “I love you.”

I turned to leave, but stopped at the door. I rushed over, hugged her once more, and said, “Rest well, Mom.” No sooner had the words come out of my mouth, than a strange feeling welled up in my soul. Stop it, Debbie. The stress is getting to you.

She asked about my brothers, told me to tell them she loved them.

Right before bed that night, my husband came back for another round about Gideon. As before, he told me what great faith I had.

I wanted to believe him.

The following morning, I woke to my husband’s voice. He cradled my face with his hands. “I need to talk to you about something important, Deb.”

At seven o’clock in the morning?

Thinking he was going on another roll about Gideon, I waved him off. “I have to go to the bathroom first.”


I brushed past him. “I’m serious, honey. I really have to go.”

When I returned to the bed, he gently cupped my face in his hands again. Maybe he was acting this way because God had another word for me. I so desperately needed one.

“Honey,” he said, “the nursing home called. Your mom died a few minutes ago.”

“No! No! No!”

“Yes, honey. She’s gone.”

I pushed his hands away. “I was just up there last night. She’s fine. Those stupid idiots. They’ve got the wrong person. What is wrong with those people?”

Within minutes, my oldest brother came rushing into the room—and I knew. I fell against his chest and sobbed.

My heart is still breaking over the matter, especially when I watch my other brother fighting for his life, and I sure don’t feel like Gideon.

But God knew I would feel this way all along, didn’t He? That’s why He spoke to me the way He did.

No conference, book, or any amount of writing could replace the time I’ve had with my family.

I’m glad I listened.


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