A few days ago, when my publisher sent me the design of my book cover, it hit me.
I wrote a book!
How did I get here?
I had always been interested in writing. As a girl, I journaled and wrote poems and essays. In my twenties, I started a blog was about my life as single Christian gal. I couldn’t keep it up and my interest fizzled out.
When I moved to America in 2008, the desire to write resurfaced. I wanted to start a blog to record God’s faithfulness to me in a foreign country. The blog posts would be written in the form of letters to my son, recounting my struggles as an immigrant and how God matured my faith.
In 2018, I decided to attend a writers’ conference to brush up my writing skills. Writing a book was not on my mind. But when I browsed the website to register, I discovered that I had the chance to submit ten pages of a manuscript for critique.
Why not repurpose my blog concepts into a book?
My husband and I brainstormed our ideas and came up with a book summary. He edited the ten pages I took with me to the conference.
Nervous and unsure, I felt like a whale out of water on the first day. I had no idea what a book proposal was, who a literary agent was, and what an editor did. I attended as many workshops as I could, soaking up all the information like a sponge.
I told God that if He wanted me to become a writer, He needed to clearly spell it out. I was too hesitant and scared to take bold leaps of faith.
God needed to give me a big push.
The first person who critiqued my writing did not have a lot of positive things to say about my book. She liked neither my book idea nor my writing style.
On one hand, I was not surprised. I was a newbie and she had been working in the industry for a long time. She was simply doing her job, I told myself.
On the other hand, her critique made me question my decision to take my writing seriously. Disappointed, I braced myself for seven more appointments I had lined up with various professionals in the publishing industry.
Prepared for more negative comments, I showed up at my second appointment with little hope. The editor praised my writing and encouraged me to start writing for magazines to improve my craft and visibility. She believed I had a bright future as a writer. Tears of shock and joy trickled down my face.
My remaining appointments went better than I had expected. I felt encouraged and uplifted.
On the last day of the conference, God gave me the sign I needed to keep at my writing. I won the award for the most promising writer.
There was no looking back.
I knew God was with me and that He went ahead of me on my writing journey. Since that first writers’ conference, God has opened doors and strategically brought people into my life who would help me birth a book.
At my next writers’ conference in 2019, I sat down next to a wonderful young woman for lunch, not knowing that she was a literary agent. Karen Neumair signed me on as her client in 2020.
During the same, the message of my book resonated with an author, Xochitl Dixon, who volunteered to mentor me. She continues to invest in me by coaching me and praying with me.
The editor who encouraged me at my first writers’ conference introduced me, via email, to my future publisher. Edwina Perkins of Harambee Press and Iron Stream Media offered me a book contract in December 2020.
When I look back at my humble beginnings in 2018, I cannot believe how far God has brought me. Many times, I tried to quit. Writing a book was not easy. Finishing a 60,000-word manuscript seemed like an uphill task.
With writing come other responsibilities like creating and maintaining a website, building a presence on social media, crafting a newsletter, and other promotional stuff that, at times, overwhelm me. I also often wrestle with doubts and fears. I believe I’m not qualified enough. Not good enough.
But where my faith weakens, God’s support grows stronger.
What my journey so far has taught me is that when God calls us to do something that is way beyond us, He expects and wants us to rely on Him. When we reach the next milestone or the mountain top, we know we could not have done it on our own. God gets all the glory, and He gives us a testimony to share.
Our limited strength and wisdom allow us to experience the miracle of encountering God and enjoying His provision in new ways.
“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6 (NIV).
Is God calling you to do something that is outside your comfort zone? How can you trust Him and take a leap of faith? In what ways can you depend on God to equip you to carry out the work He has called you to do?