A Writing Career Born From Suffering
Let’s face it: suffering is hard.
We tend to gravitate towards situations that give us the least amount of stress and discomfort. Despite the difficulty of suffering, we as believers have the life and testimony of Christ to help us along the way. Most of Jesus’ life on earth was simply experiencing the plight of humanity.
Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Through the lens of Scripture, suffering can actually be seen as a gift that brings us closer to our Heavenly Father. Without it, we would not have a need to run to the Lord.
Grace alumnus, Celia Miller, knows this all too well. As a freshman in college, Miller showed up to campus gung-ho about pursuing a degree in counseling. Now, seven years after graduation, she works full-time for Clevenger Insurance. But her passion project comes after office hours, when she enjoys writing devotionals and Bible studies for women with a steaming cup of tea by her side. Miller’s unconventional path to a writing career is a story of God’s guidance through suffering.
Prior to going to college, Miller always thought she wanted to be a cosmetologist. At the age of 18, however, she became a Christian and felt God nudging her to Christian higher education. She discovered Grace College when her now husband, an acquaintance at the time, came into a basketball game wearing a Grace sweatshirt. After a brief inquiry, she scheduled a visit and loved her experience.
Miller enrolled at Grace as a counseling major in the three-year program, intending to be a family therapist. “I’ve always been told that I’m a good listener, and so counseling made sense for me to pursue,” she recalls.
But in her third year, Miller discovered she did not want to be a counselor. Too far into her education to switch gears, she finished her degree, hopeful that God would still use it.
After graduating in 2016, Miller worked in a boutique for a short time before transitioning to become an employee benefits representative at Clevenger Insurance. But “normal life” as she knew it was rocked in 2017 when Miller’s mom was suddenly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Never before had she experienced real suffering, and for the first time in her life – Miller was angry with God.
Through the cancer journey, Miller’s mom had a growing desire to share her story and to create a sense of community for those in similar situations. So she began Warrior Bags, a nonprofit organization that assembles and delivers care packages for individuals battling cancer. Part of her vision for the organization was to have a blog platform that provided uplifting and encouraging stories, and Miller was asked to write the content.
In the midst of that trying time in her life – sharing hope online, but feeling hopeless at times herself – Miller’s mentor shared a line with her that she never forgot.
“When the Lord takes you through a season of suffering, at the end of that suffering He always gives you a gift.”
Looking back now, she can see clearly that writing was the gift. “I’ve always loved writing, ever since I was little,” said Miller. “But, when I was eighteen applying to college, I didn’t even consider a career in writing as something I could pursue.”
The Warrior Bags blog was just the beginning of her writing career.
In January 2019, Miller purchased her own blog domain, Celia A. Miller, and began building an online community. When she first started, she was nervous. How would the blog be received? Would anyone actually read it? Despite the doubts in her mind, she kept a simple goal in mind: to share what God was showing her in Scripture and through the people around her.
“I write from what the Lord is teaching me, and a lot of things I am wrestling with, so when I feel like I don’t have anything to share, it can be hard to show up to the page,” Miller admits. “But when I do, the Lord is faithful.”
In 2021, God gave Miller a fresh vision for her blog platform – a slogan from which all her content would flow, encouraging her readers to “slow down, seek still moments, and behold God with you in the every day.”
Since then, she has been inspired to create content for her own blog and guest content for a host of other platforms – from magazines to podcasts.
Not to mention, Miller has published several books. “You Are Beloved”, a twenty-one day study available on Amazon, helps readers root their identity in God’s love. And recently, she released an advent study entitled “Be Still”, which helps readers find moments of stillness during the busyness of the holiday season.
To this day, Celia continues to share what God is doing in her life through her blog platform. And every once in a while, she reminds her readership that sometimes our greatest gifts are born from suffering.