When I read the email that the editor at Heartsong Presents wanted to contract my book, I was shocked. Not only because my work was going to be out there for the world to read, but because God had brought my writing journey full circle.
A year earlier, I had been in church doing everything I could not to cry. I had a new baby, and I had been feeling God pulling me away from my dream of being a writer, a dream I had pursued since college. That day, our pastor was talking about how sometimes God calls us to give up our dreams so that he can give us something even better. The pastor didn’t know it, but he was talking to me.
On our way to lunch after church, I broke down to my husband having a big, ugly cry and pouting about the fact that God would let me chase after something for so long and then, tell me to let it go.
I was especially worried that all my friends and family who had supported me on my journey would think I was a quitter. I didn’t want them to think that I couldn’t cut it and had given up. My need for everyone’s approval was one reason my writing dream had become toxic. It was more about proving to everyone that I could do it than following God’s will for my life.
I had one submission left that was ready to go out the door. I prayed about it and decided that it would be a good form of closure. I’d send it off, get another rejection letter, and know that I’d done the right thing.
I stopped writing. I gave away most of my writing books. I stopped reading the blogs of all my favorite writers. I started reading more nonfiction. It was too hard to read the books that I had dreamed of writing.
It turned out to be a tough year for our family. My husband’s grandfather passed away. We also lost my husband’s dear uncle and his other grandfather within one day of each other. I received an email from JoAnne Simmons requesting the full manuscript while I was in Kentucky for Kevin’s grandfather’s funeral. We were flying to New Mexico for his uncle’s funeral the next day. With the tough times we were going through and my belief that this submission was merely closure on a chapter of my life, I sent the manuscript when I returned home and didn’t let myself get excited about something that I thought wouldn’t happen.
When things began to settle down, I realized that I was bored. I had been spending so much time and energy on my dream of publication, I didn’t know what to do with all my free time. I had a new baby at home, so I obviously spent most of my time focused on my beautiful family. Outside of my family and my job, I didn’t have anything to do.
I prayed about it, and I volunteered to lead the 6th grade girls small group at my church. I learned to crochet by watching videos online. I took a knitting class. I joined the YMCA and started taking care of my body. I still missed writing, but slowly, I found other ways to fill my time and I was thankful for my life and all my blessings.
One day, I opened my inbox and there it was - an email from JoAnne Simmons asking if my book was still available and congratulating me because she wanted to contract it.
I knew God had reopened the door for me to start writing again, and this time, I had a whole new outlook.
My writing is about following His plan - not about my need for affirmation from others. I’m so thankful for the journey.