I closed my old, beloved copy of Sense and Sensibility, and got all sappy, rambling on about my favorite authors.
“I wonder what Jane Austen was really like. I hope I get to meet her in heaven someday. And I want to have tea with all the Brontes at the same time. I want to know how heaven measured up to Emily’s poetic imagination, to hear how satisfied Charlotte is by grace, and if Anne has found a good ending to all the stories in her heart…. I’m not sure they’ll be as excited to have tea with me, though.”
“I think they totally will be,” said the man who loves me best in the world.
I just smiled. Because he’s completely biased, and it’s lovely to have a husband who thinks you’re worthy of the company of brilliant people like Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Bronte.
It’s easier for me to think I’m not worthy of the company of these heroes of mine, but the truth is my husband is actually quite correct about it all. Christmas means that we’re all worthy of more than we generally believe, and the story of Mary proves it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary this Advent season. I’m in awe of the way she carried Christ in her womb, in her arms, and in her heart. I’m hounded by how weak she was, just a simple teenage girl, and yet all three persons of our God showed up to make the impossible happen in her life. When she asked how the impossible would happen to her (in specific, getting preggers with Jesus), the angel told her,”The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”
Mary was found worthy of the company of all three persons of God. Eh-rybody showed up for the arrival of the Savior of the world.
Now, because Jesus is our Savior, because He stood in our place, we’ve been found worthy of God the Father’s protection, the Holy Spirit’s power, and the Son of God’s holiness. We common, simple people of the world get the whole trinity, too, because God loves to show up and make the impossible possible.
Now I ask you, what, after all, is more impossible in my life at this exact moment than a book deal? Nothing. Nothing at all.
My book proposal has been through one round and is sitting silently in round two of pitch piles. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to get a deal. I can hear the heart monitor attached to that document, and it’s one long beeeeeeeeeeeeeep. I lvoe her, though, and I don’t want her to die.
I need the whole of who God is to keep going here.
It makes no sense to trust a God we can’t see, but when you’ve been loved as He loves us, what other option do we really have? We are so ridiculously weak that a tiny baby was strong enough to save us. We are so lost, one Man’s death was the only thing that could find us. We are so shattered by sin, God came in person to piece us back together. The brokenness of humanity is like a bazillion piece puzzle with no corners or edge pieces.
Even so, I am always being told that I will have to do this whole book thing myself.
A few days ago, I was emailing back and forth with a random contact in the publishing world. She asked me a few simple questions about my agent, etc. I responded with the information. Then she wrote this to me, exactly as I’ve typed it here:
“Remember: THE AUTHOR SELLS THE BOOKS. The publisher’s role is only to get the book “sold” into bookstores. Getting people into those stores to purchase the book is all on the author…..”
This was not news to me. I have read this and heard this many times. I’ve eaten this dish hot and cold, boiled, fried, pan-seared, and steamed a thousand times over the past few years. And every bite I’ve taken tastes like the world’s ideas about popularity and success.
The platform/marketing talk makes me nauseated and I keep spitting it out. Not because it isn’t true (I know it is), but because I know I’m not cut out for this race they say I must run. I have never had a talent for promotion or sales, and you can tell me I have to learn to do it well, but that really won’t help me. But even more than that, I find it terribly unbiblical. Despite the general strategies used the Christian publishing world, I can’t find a single story in the Bible that follows this narrative of garner-as-much-popularity-as-you-can kind of success. I can’t stop thinking about the upside down way God favors the powerless and chooses the outcast.
Perhaps that’s because I’m powerless, and a bit of a publishing outcast.
And yet, the words still come. The dream whispers on.
Logic and reason listen to my dream and they cry out “How, Lord?” Then hope comes to me in this way: Just write. Just write something today, and then a bit more tomorrow. Forget all the things they say you must remember about the industry, and remember this:
God has never played by the rules we like to make. He ignores our attempts to make the numbers work in our favor. God reigns outside the box of what makes sense, and generally asks His people to do the same. Jesus walked on water. He fed thousands with one boy’s lunch. Moses made bitter water sweet by throwing a tree in it. David killed Goliath with a sling and a rock. A prostitute named Rahab is in the line of the Messiah. The Bible is full of preposterous stories about how God doesn’t fit inside our ideas about how things are or should be.
Why should my story be any different? Why should yours?
This absolute ridiculous line of reasoning may mean I’ll never get a book deal. But it also may mean that I’ll have something to talk about with Charlotte, Emily, and Anne someday over a hot cuppa. We’ll sit there, in the full light of the whole trinity, and talk about how in the end, a girl can only dream….