Do you ever wonder what impact your writing has had or is having on the public? The feedback I have had for 'Time to Shine' (co-authored/ co-edited with Jenny Baxter, along with some lovely contributors who had their work previously published in Christian Woman magazine) has mainly come from book reviews or friends, or friends of friends. The feedback has been pleasing but has never quite had the impact on me that a recent one has had.
A customer, I have never met before, came into the library where I work casually and totally floored me. She was looking at my name badge, as I processed her books, and said,"That name... did you write a book?" It was my 5 second moment of fame - and my work colleagues congratulated me (and ribbed me)!!! Someone had recognized my name as the name of a writer!
It was a lovely moment. But fame isn't important, though perhaps it can help with publishing. What was important to me was that this lovely young mother treasures her copy of our book. This book that was published five years ago, and conceived eight years ago (and a great many of the stories that Jenny and I had selected had been written many years before that!). She has it sitting on her bedside table and returns to it over and over again. She told me the stories of the women in the book were a huge encouragement to her. May God bless those women who once felt compelled to write their stories for that magazine.
It is a great reminder that what we put down on paper is ministry - it is the work of God. Surely it is holy. Do we ever recognize it as such? How often do we think we aren't up to it? Or we question the value of what we have to say?
This encouragement came at just the right time for me. For almost three years now I have been working on a manuscript, a unique collaboration with someone very special. There was a time when I walked away from it because I felt vulnerable and uncertain, but it has a message that is very close to my heart and I know God wants me to stick with it. God also brought on board a close friend, who is a well published author (30 plus books) and editor, who kindly edited it for me (free of charge)- as a gesture of friendship and belief in my work.
As we are getting nearer now to submitting our work to a publisher it may be just the time for me to trust that God will use my faithfulness and that of my friend. Maybe it is indeed time to recognize this writing I do as a holy calling. I remember saying to Jenny as we worked on 'Time to Shine' - "God will use our availability and obedience above any skills we might or might not have". He called us and we responded and then one day a young mum with a terrible cold pushed a pram into a country library and delivered a message I needed to hear.
Thanks be to God.