I felt like I’d brushed my feet on holy ground, as if I’d been time-machined back to Jacob’s era where a ladder stretched heavenward while angels danced up and down toward glory.
It began simple enough–in a Marriot breakout room, Lisa Samson speaking on the topic Published but not Popular. She hushed and preached her way through her writing life, giving us glimpses of our own hearts as she laid hers bare.
I took notes, but then my pen stopped. The only thing I wrote was this: “Most of our books are centered around the idea that something in the world is unacceptable.” Oh how I agree, Lisa. We write to unwrong the wrongs, don’t we?
I can’t even remember her words when the Spirit fell, but I remember her face–joy mixed with awe, tinged with pain. God stretched out His finger that day and said these simple words (at least to me): “I see.”
God sees us even if we’re unpopular. (I am reminded of my junior high wallflower days, back slammed tight against the wall, feigning interest in my cuticles, waiting for an offer of dance). As novelists, He is more concerned with the state of our heart toward Him and His children than He is concerned with our sales numbers.
At ICRS, a bigwig came up to me and told me how the publishing house was greatly disappointed in my sales. It stung. I felt less worthy, somehow, though I had poured my heart into the book, only to find little applause in terms of sales. And yet, I know God wanted me to write that book. Trickles of emails show me that somehow He used my words to touch others. But even that’s not the point. I obeyed Him. I suffered for what I wrote. Even if no one else was touched, I obeyed God. And He sees.
As Lisa continued and the cries of authors echoed through the Marriot’s room, I felt a little nudge from Jesus. I’d been pining about how I’d felt like I did nothing of significance in France. And yet, I realized that it’s not about the accolades or about doing stuff to get noticed by others or God. It’s about simple obedience. Yes, it is hard in France. But I’m doing it for Him and He sees. I struggle with little seeds of fruit, but He sees. I cry, but He sees. I am weak, needy, frail, and my heart feels divided, but He still sees.
The word God has spoken to me this year is ABUNDANCE. Imagine my surprise when God chose to not only show me that He sees, but that He is beyond gracious. At the conference, folks wrote tributes to other authors and friends. The last tribute was for me–the girl who feels she is making no difference, but is learning to trust anyway. These words blessed my soul:
“Be encouraged because you’re making a difference.”
Isn’t that like God? To nudge us toward deeper obedience (to write and to live out of obedience despite the cost) and yet still bless us with encouraging words? What a great God we serve.
To the God who sees and encourages, I lay my will and life down again.