Splenda, Sophie, and Sunshine

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Before the Christy Awards, I had a nervous stomach. Wish I didn’t. But I guess I’m human (well, let’s hope so.) Sophie kept telling me to calm down, which I tried to do, but my body rebelled. In retrospect, I should’ve chilled, but alas, everything is easier to say in retrospect.

We’d joked before the ceremony that I could make a scene if I didn’t win (believe me, this was a joke). How? By eating a Splenda packet and swelling up. Apparently, I am allergic to nothing in this entire world, except Splenda. Makes my throat swell up and my lips tingle. I set Sophie’s joke aside and went on fretting.

I rehearsed the thank you I’d say if I won, which turned out to be a futile exercise (even if I did win, this year the winners didn’t give speeches). But since I don’t like to waste a good three hours of mental wrestling, here’s what I would’ve said:

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

Thank You God for stooping to earth to choose weak little me. Thank You for using my small words to touch others. Thank You that You are the God who sees my unspoken words. Thank You for sustaining me on this writing journey. Thank You for my cheerleading family, for my critique group, for Andy, my editor, for Beth, my former agent, and Esther my current one. Thank You for the staff at Zondervan who shepherded this book to publication. But all the thanks turn brightly to You, Jesus. Any scrap of fame, any hint of glory must be turned on its head for the sake of Your fame and glory.

The speech didn’t make its way to the microphone. When they read the first line of the winning book, I knew this. I had peace. And joy. And a little disappointment too. It’s hard to work year in and year out as a writer, shouldering deadlines and bad reviews and angry readers. (It’s also hard to navigate fame and praise–probably more so). I guess a part of me wanted to be recognized for all those hours at the keyboard, to prove to me that I did what was valuable. That others saw. That industry professionals believed me to have talent.

My friend D’Ann reminded me that it’s really what God thinks that matters. He is the One who sees every single word typed or thought or written. He is THE Word. He is the One who spoke this earth into existence. He loves me. Oh how He loves me.

I rested in that as I applauded the winners. And then my daughter Sophie slipped something my way. A Splenda packet. Her sly smile tore into me in the best possible way. I laughed. She laughed. And I remembered how important it is not to take myself (and awards ceremonies) so seriously.


I didn’t eat the packet. I did laugh. And I did learn a lesson in the futility of fretting.

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