Isn’t it amazing how we can look back at certain events or circumstances in our lives and see the hand of God at work? What a faith-builder! I believe this is what God wants his children to do–remember the way he has blessed us in the past so that we will trust him with our future.
Noah was given a rainbow to remember how God spared him and his family from the flood. The Israelites were given the Passover to remember their deliverance from Egypt. Joshua had the 12 tribes each carry a stone from the Jordan and build a memorial to help the people recall that the Lord had held back the mighty Jordan River and allowed them to pass into the Promised Land on dry ground. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, so his followers would remember the sacrifice of his body on the cross and his blood shed for their sins.
These memories are important in sustaining us in our faith journeys. They give us hope and remind us of God’s goodness. One of the “God moments” that I turn to for encouragement in my own life, stems from a series of events that led to my first book contract.
In 2007, I took my first completed novel to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas. I arrived a day early and worked at the volunteer station stuffing envelopes. There was a woman working beside me. I didn’t know her, but her name was Karen. My name is Karen. So that was kind of fun. However, as time ticked on, I picked up clues to her identity from others in the room. This was Karen Schurrer, an editor from Bethany House, my dream publisher. I hadn’t even signed up for any appointments with Bethany House because I didn’t think a newbie like me had a chance with such a large publisher. But the Lord put me in this editor’s path.
Later in the week, I sat at this editor’s table at lunch. I pitched my project along with everyone else, but I was too shy to ask for anything further. Then one brave writer at the table asked if we could send her our proposals. She said yes. Again, the Lord provided. I was too shy to open the door myself, so he placed someone in my path to do it for me.
After the conference, I sent in my proposal and soon had a request for a full manuscript. By this point, I could see God’s hand at work and was sure a contract was right around the corner. Well, not the first corner. A rejection waited for me there. Yet, even rejections can be God’s plan, for the publishing door was still ajar. The folks at Bethany House liked my writing, but didn’t think that particular project was a good launching point for me. However, there was one component to the story that they really liked—the dress shop. Could I come up with a new idea surrounding a dress shop?
Now you have to understand, in the original manuscript, the dress shop burned to the ground in the prologue. It didn’t even make it into chapter one. But when she asked me to make a new story around this dress shop, I took the offer as the gift from God that it was, and said yes. I started brainstorming, and even met with both Karen Schurrer and the acquisitions editor, Charlene Patterson, in person at the 2008 ACFW conference where they gave me feedback and encouraged me to resubmit. By January 2009, Bethany House offered me a three book deal launching with A Tailor-Made Bride.
It was a God thing.
I attend the ACFW conference every year, and in honor of what God brought about for me through this conference, I do some sort of volunteering at every conference. Now that I’m more established, I’ve also taught sessions and provided paid critiques. I do my best to encourage and support other newbie writers who are waiting for God’s perfect timing in their publishing journey. Next week, I’ll be at the ACFW conference again with eyes wide open to see where God’s hand might be leading me this time. Last year, I just happened to take a seat by a writer sitting alone at a lunch table, and that “chance” meeting turned into a wonderful mentoring correspondence. I’m sure that was “a God thing” as well.
- What are some “God things” that you have experienced in your life?
- What is a key memory you turn to time after time to encourage you in your walk of faith?
Today only – my debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride is available for download for only $1.99. This price should be valid for both Kindle and Nook. You can purchase the Kindle version here.