"My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer." Psalm 45:1
I held a nervousness inside much like butterflies before taking center stage. I checked and double-checked my list of things to pack: table, chair, books, posters, easel, stickers, book marks, props, change. Check! It was all there and packed inside my tired Subaru ready for one more local fair. But, the nervousness remained. I was facing the panel of my peers and my own hometown.
It's one thing for a complete stranger to thumb through my book and turn away unimpressed but I couldn't imagine if my own neighbors did that. How embarrassing! I'd have to live with that picture of disappointment every day. I couldn't even bear the thought. So, I breathed a prayer, "Lord, blow me away and silence these lies of inadequacy."
Well, blow me away, He did. As I faced my fears and beckoned friends and strangers alike to my booth, the book sales rocketed to record sales. The faces and giggles of the children and grown-ups were such a gift as they connected to the story and the wonderful illustrations (thanks to my talented nephew-in-law, Michael). I smiled until my cheeks hurt and chatted until my voice was hoarse.
It was a great day at the fair, Saturday but that nervousness still nagged at me. You see, with every visitor and every sale came the question: "When is your next book coming out?" As innocent as that question appears, it eats away at writers. It creates internal pressure. I've been asked that same question at every fair for six weeks straight. Every time I've answered, "I'm working on it."
Sunday morning, a lovely lady, we'll call A, and I were setting up our prospective booths again. We struck up a conversation and inevitably that question was asked of me again. She had a gentle spirit about her so I indulged her with my struggle. "I'm working on the next two books but I keep getting caught on the conflict. I can't resolve it so that it all makes sense." I shared with her how I spent eight hours staring at the computer on Friday, only to end up in frustration.
"Do you believe in ...?" A asked as her eyes pointed heavenward.
"Yes," I answered.
"Then give it up. Give it to Him (God) and He'll give you the endings. You're trying too hard."
She was absolutely right! I'd broken my own rule which is to never write unless I've spent time alone with God, first. I was trying to come up with everything on my own, in my own strength, in my own head, for my own purposes.
The sales were slow Sunday but God still blew me away. He met me through that conversation and I am changed.
So, you may ask, "When's your next book coming out?"
"When God gives me the ending!"