My parents and friends kept sneaking glances at me, worried, I knew, that I was disappointed at the few people trickling into the library. But I was too joyful to care, and kind of wanted to laugh more than anything else.
It just struck me as funny. Disappointment was the last thing on my mind when I was sitting in the very middle of a dream.
My mind went back to that day in 6th grade when Mrs. Scharnes handed me back my paper with an effusive, “You need to send this into Chicken Soup for the Soul!”
Really? Send my little story into a major publication at 12? I was just hoping for an A. Maybe even an A+, if I was lucky. I knew she liked me and all, but that seemed a little crazy even for a Literacy teacher. But her confidence in me was honoring, and I think that’s when the seed was planted.
That seed that said, “Hey, maybe I could have some of my writing published one day.”
I honestly forgot about it though. Until the day 11 years later when I got the acceptance e-mail telling me that my mom and I’s story “Breath of the Heavenly” would be 1 of the 101 included in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel.
Oh, my Lord. I breathed. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this chance to share Your story. Thank you for answering a little girl’s dreams.
I hadn’t even believed this moment would come at 12! Who but God could have orchestrated this moment?
Not to mention the story had already been butchered, edited, and rejected more times than I cared to count.
But here it was at last, finally at home and resting in the books stacked across from me. The books that were available in bookstores and libraries all across the U.S. for others to read, a bigger publication than I’d probably ever imagined it being able to reach.
I cannot believe I’m sitting here right now, I thought. Ever since I’d first been published in another Chicken Soup for the Soul compilation and found out that they allowed you to buy the books at a discounted rate for re-sell and charitable purposes, I’d wanted to host a book signing for the private school I’d graduated from. It might not be possible for me to personally write a check to a school that had given me so much and helped me grow as a writer, but through a book signing, maybe it could be.
Now here I was, doing exactly that. Yet another answered prayer.
But the biggest honor of all? The thing that brought tears to my eyes? God is using me and my writing. Me! Oh, Lord, thank you! How good you are! How gracious and kind! Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share your glory and comfort and love with others through the gift of writing you’ve given me. Thank you for answering the prayer I’ve prayed since I was little to use my writing to bless others and to be used by you at all. Is there any greater honor than to be able to speak for you and bear witness to all the amazing things you’ve done in my life? Thank you so much for this opportunity. For dreams coming true.
It wasn’t a huge crowd that showed up to the signing, that’s true. But it didn’t matter. None of this was about me, which was why I think it struck me as a little bit funny seeing the concern on my friends and family’s faces. None of this was even remotely about me! Just the Lord and His goodness. I had no illusions that my signature would mean anything to anyone, nor do I care if it ever does. As long as we sold all the books for the school and our story could touch even one, that’s all I needed or wanted. And I knew we would sell every single book, because that’s what I’d prayed. Every book plus a little bit more, I’d prayed.
And how many did we sell? Every single copy of the book we had, plus one more. God is pretty literal it seems when it comes to prayers. 😉
Still, I was blown away when I looked into the box at the end of the night and realized we had only the precise amount of books left over that were needed for online orders.
30 books. Exactly 30 ordered.
You can’t tell me that’s coincidence! I had to use my ten complimentary copies just to make sure everyone got a book. And to think I’d almost ordered 40 before talking myself out of that by how impractical and unrealistic a number that was.
And all in my own hometown! It was an amazing memory to be able to have in Colorado, and it was such a privilege to be able to give back even a little bit to a community that has shaped so much of who I am. It wasn’t officially on this Bucket List, but I am so thankful it found its way there anyways. I am so proud of where I come from, and am still so humbled and honored by God’s grace in making any of it possible.
The overall point I learned again though was this: stop drawing boundary lines for God. If He’s for it, who can be against it? If He’s laid it on your heart now, why not pursue it now? He can work through even the most unlikely of people or circumstances. Something I’ve heard since I was small, but had life beat out of me for a bit as some dreams crumbled around me. But there is a time and a season for everything under heaven. Both a time to build, and a time to tear down. A time for dreams to come true, and a time for dreams not to… right now, at least. But it’s His promise to make everything beautiful in its time, and I have very much found this to be true.
Though it would take much too long to go into all of the details, suffice it to say the book signing really shouldn’t have happened. First to get into the book at all. Then to try and plan the whole thing within just a week. That’s only one week’s worth of advertising and letting people know that it was even happening at all. Then to sell every single copy of the book we had, plus one. (A copy of the first Chicken Soup for the Soul compilation I was published in.) We even made it onto the front page of a local newspaper after missing our first chance to be able to advertise the book signing! From beginning to end, God’s hand was everywhere, and the night ended for me feeling above and beyond “just blessed.”
Chase after The Mercy King, and you’re bound to get caught up in some beautiful surprises along the way. I love that about Him! 🙂
Please don’t give up on your dreams, dear hearts.
You might miss out on sitting in the very midst of one otherwise.