I have so much to learn on my faith journey, as I travel deeper into growing in the Lord and trusting in Him. He is good and He always keeps His promises, but sometimes it’s hard to surrender to Him and trust in His plan. Especially with all the busyness and work and all the expectations we place on our lives.
Yesterday was a perfect example. Release day for my second book, Believe in Me.
Then last year, the Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest. I grabbed the opportunity and revised Believe in Me. With new energy, I added a strong faith arc, deepened the story, and submitted it to the Heartsong Presents category.
I was blessed with the story semi-finalling, and getting a lovely and enthusiastic revise and resubmit from the Heartsong editor. Just the boost I needed to confirm I was on the right path. I felt God’s direction to write Christian fiction so strongly, but a funny thing happened in revisions. The story grew another 20,000 words! Way too long for Heartsong. I prayed and prayed, and the answer I received was to self-publish the story. A big and unexpected leap, when the whole previous year had been spent targeting the Harlequin Christian romance lines.
But God promised that if I followed Him, He would take care of all my needs, so I wrote to Kathy at Heartsong, letting her know I wouldn’t be resubmitting the story. Fast forward nine very busy months, where I submitted two other stories to Harlequin, learned all I could about self-publishing and cover design, wrote a prequel novella to Believe in Me, revised Believe in Me again, and worked hard with a freelance editor and my critique partner to polish both stories.
And yesterday was the day I’d worked so hard for. Release day for my second.
I’m not sure what I expected, but clearly it was more than what happened, because all morning I felt flat, joyless, and disappointed. It all felt like a big let-down. I had a trickle of sales, but it wasn’t enough. The book charted on two Amazon lists, but not high enough to satisfy me. My expectations killed my joy in release day, in knowing the book was finally reaching readers.
And other things were going on, too. I wasn’t happy with the cover, and wanted to change it, which meant creating a new cover. I was behind schedule with Book 3, and hadn’t heard back from my editor if she could accommodate the change in schedule I needed. There were problems with my chronically ill husband. Phone calls and support needed for family members worried about a seriously ill relative. Money issues.
I felt tired. Tired of the work. Tired of the struggle. Tired of the worry.
I cried. I felt broken by the burdens. I was in that place where all I could do was pray and ask God, “Why? Help me! Take this from me. Show me what You want me to do, because I can’t do it!”
But those who trust in the LORD
will receive new strength
They will fly as high as eagles
They will run and not get tired
They will walk and not grow weak
Isaiah 40:31 (NIRV)
He reminded me this was exactly why He’d given me the faith thread to add to Believe in Me. The heroine Cara needs to let go of carrying her burdens on her own, and trust God to take them from her. The hero Nick needs to deepen his untested faith. I do, too. God always uses my characters’ spiritual journeys to teach me.
Yesterday, He lifted me, gave me back my joy, showed me the path. All I needed to do was surrender to Him. I’m a slow learner. Probably, He’ll need to teach me this lesson again and again and again.
Thankfully, He is infinitely patient!
If you’d like to read Believe in Me, a sweet London Christmas romance, the Amazon listing is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6LS8OU
Please, do download, and help spread the news! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6RNRVI