Recently, my Coastie son moved to his first station. It’s across the country from where I live. Literally on the opposite end of the country. He can see Canada on a cloudy day. I can’t exactly see Mexico even on a clear day, but I’m a lot closer geographically to the Rio Grande than I am to Canada.


He loaded his vehicle full of most of his earthly belongings and left. Rented an apartment. And had nothing but his bed to put in it. Not a thing more. Suddenly he—and I—realized how much we’d forgotten. Maybe he expected to find a fully outfitted apartment and kitchen, and I forgot how it was when I was on my own for the first time. I’d even forgotten to include basics such as flour and sugar and toilet paper. I did remember plates, silverware and a church member gave us his mother’s cabinet full of spices. Oh, and I found him an iron skillet. But other than that? Nothing. Nada. Zip.


He was a bit unimpressed by his duties at his new station. He was the newbie. Nonrate. Not qualified on anything. They gave him a week to earn his first qualification, but he was assigned the unenviable duty of being the chief dragon slayer—uh, extermlnator—aka spider slayer.  He hates spiders. With a passion. He never came out and said this, but I could hear the despair in his voice when he called. The close to tears disappointment. “I joined the Coast Guard to save lives. Not to kill spiders.”


It made me think about expectations. We tend to expect it all when we start. We don’t want to start at the bottom. We want to start at the top. Already arrived, important, VIP type status. We feel we’re entitled to everything that the other person gets/wants/does.


I have fourteen books published and four more contracted and I (cringing) feel a bit resentful or jealous when the Queen of fiction wins all the awards and honorable mentions because she’s the Queen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing because I want to usurp the Queen. I’m not even writing because I want to be in the royal court. I’m writing because God called me to write. He has a message He wants to say. But I will admit my pride is a somewhat battered when people list their must-read, favorite authors and my name is nowhere on the list. I *expect* to somehow be there, even though I am not (insert name of your favorite author).


But you know, God didn’t call me to be someone else. He called me to serve Him. Even if no one reads the story but the one He intended to read it. He didn’t call me so I could win coveted awards. He called me to obey.


And maybe I’m starting out with nothing to my name except a chair and a laptop computer and a burning desire to serve. And God has assigned me the duty of killing spiders while I learn the ropes, serve my time, and show that I am faithful even when the conditions are less than favorable and I’m scared of the spiders staring at me. To start at the bottom of the ladder, even if He doesn’t intend for me to step on the first rung.


The parable of the ruler who gave talents to his three servants comes to mind. I may not be the one He has given the most talents to, but I’m also not the one burying them. I’m faithfully trying to kill the spiders—eh, write the stories—He sends my way.


(Note: No spiders were injured or murdered during the writing of this article)


God, help me to continue to faithfully serve You even if my job description is spider-slayer. Help me to be grateful for what You’ve given me and to keep using the gifts, even if I’m not doing as well as someone else.  Amen.

Be Sociable, Share!
Laura Hilton About Laura Hilton

Laura Hilton lives and writes in Arkansas, surrounded by her husband and five children. The author of inspirational novels about the Amish, she is also a book reviewer. Find Laura online at: her blog or Facebook page.


  1. Laura, I loved your post, but your last sentence is a wonderful summary to remember. Someday your son will look back at this beginning and laugh! I’m certain he has bigger assignments ahead. I like how you minded this little idea into a great lesson for us.


  2. Laura Hilton says:



Speak Your Mind