Friday 30 September 2016

An Expectant Heart

Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen
Late last year a pastor spoke a word over me about the Lord wanting to give me a new book, a new optimism and referenced Habakkuk 2:2-3 which talks of waiting on a new vision. I stored it away and got on with life.

Over the last couple of years I’ve felt an increasing urge to start writing non-fiction material in addition to my fiction. A dear friend who has read some of the material encouraged me to give it serious consideration.

In May I determined I would head to Nashville in late August to attend this year’s ACFW Conference. I’d been to one in 2012 and have longed to return. Soon a bunch of things fell into place: Ted Dekker (an author hero of mine) was announced as keynote, my Angelguard publisher (Lion Fiction) would be present, an editor friend who I’ve never met was attending, and other friends from the US and from down under were going. In addition, I submitted the manuscript to the sequel to Angelguard, Wrestling with Shadows (WWS), to Lion in early July.

There was a lot to be excited about. I left Sydney with an expectant heart. But with no expectations. I sensed the Lord would reveal something, what, I didn’t know and was excited to find out.

“There is an ocean of difference between expectations and expectancy.”1

Meeting old and new friends

My wife and I arrived a few days before the conference. We’d both wanted to visit Nashville. One of our favourite TV shows in recent times is “Nashville” and so having the conference in the same city was a great reason to pay a visit. Fiona had to head off to Baltimore for work while I was conferencing so we got to be tourists for a few days before she had to fly out. It certainly is a fun place especially if you like country music.

As I waved Fiona goodbye at 4.30am (yes, she had a very early flight) my sense of expectancy grew. It was still 2 days before the conference started and I had set up a few meetings with various people. I had lunch with our very own David Rawlings (we’d never met before) and breakfast with friends Rel Mollet, Dotti Adamek and Ronie Kendig. It was a special treat to finally meet Rel after being buddies for a number of years.

Surprise, surprise

One of the wonderful aspects of conferences is running into people who you've connected with virtually but have never met. I continued to have some delightful catchups.
Dotti Adamek and I getting ready
for Allen Arnold's workshop

The Lord kept on surprising me. I unexpectedly got to spend ninety minutes over coffee with Ted Dekker and his business partner. Talk about wow! Then another author hero of mine had a cancellation and we shared dinner together. My heart was buzzing and the conference hadn’t even started.

I set up a meeting with my publisher on the morning the conference started. I hoped he’d give me an update on WWS but hadn’t anything new to share as it was still doing the rounds within the publisher. Then he asked me whether I had any interest in writing non-fiction? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I lifted my jaw off the table and realised I had an opportunity to give him a pitch. I wasn’t prepared (hey, it’s a fiction conference) and it showed. Tony was kind enough to chat over possibilities and we agreed I’d prepare a proposal and get it to him as soon as possible.

Heart overflowing

And then the conference began. Wow, so many great things happened. Not just for me but others. New friends (you know who you are) got asked to submit manuscripts, Iola and Jebraun won their Genesis Awards and golly gosh it was so good being present when their names were read out. I felt like a proud dad or older brother. And let’s not forget David Rawlings was a Genesis finalist. So great that authors from down under are making inroads at ACFW. One of the thoughts I had at the Gala was how blessed we are that ACFW have opened memberships to "beyond their borders". 

David & Jebraun a few moments
before the Gala Event
The workshops, don’t get me started as I could write another entire post on those, the special worship time, witnessing God’s power and peace in the prayer room, new friends, and on it goes.

“Staying expectant is the opposite [of expectation]. It reflects anticipation for what’s to come. It is being open to what does happen regardless of what you think should happen. Life is not meant to be something we control but something we experience.”2

A few weeks have passed and as I was thinking about what to write for this post I read Allen Arnold’s words quoted above and the Lord reminded me of the word I received late last year.

Will I become a non-fiction author? Maybe. Maybe not. But I sure want to savour the experience writing with the Lord as we discover whether I will be or not. And that’s more than enough for me.

When have you approached a situation expectant and been surprised by the Lord’s goodness? I’d love for us all to be encouraged by each other’s experiences.

Notes: 1 and 2. Allen Arnold, “The Story of With” p103. Self-published.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Such a great post to read, Ian--thank you for letting us in on all your wonderful Nashville experiences. So glad you were able to meet up in such meaningful (and unexpected) ways with Ted Dekker and others. And I hope you DO get to write that non-fiction work waiting in the wings!

    I also love Allen Arnold's input and appreciated the quotes you included above. His (and your) words about approaching things in an expectant way (as opposed to holding onto our expectations) really challenged me this morning re my own journey with my new book. They also prompted a memory from many years ago of standing waiting with a crowd of others outside Jack Hayford's 'Church on the Way' in the USA. The church building was only relatively small then and there were four back-to-back services on a Sunday morning. When one service finished, that congregation left via the back doors and the folk crowding around the front doors were allowed in! As we waited, a lady said to us, 'Oh, I love this church! I can't WAIT to see what God is going to do here today!' It has always stuck in my mind as a wonderfully expectant way to head to church--or to do anything in life really, don't you think?

    1. Thanks, Jo-Anne. It's an adjustment planning a non-fiction book from a fiction one. Struggling a little as I venture into unknown territory.

      I think you'd like Allen's book, Jo-Anne. I don't think it's available in Australia. You can click on the link in the Note at the end of my post for the Amazon reference.


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