Friday night, I got an email from the editor of The Promise Bride saying it had won the 2018 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for "Best Western Romance Novel."
To understand why this news had me in tears, I need to take you back a couple months. I've been contemplating giving up writing for a long time now. It's hard work, and changes in the industry have created a mindset that months of sweating over every word should be sold for less than the cost of a three-minute coffee. So disheartening!
But I couldn't shake my own advice: When you don't know for certain that God is asking you to change directions, keep going on the path He last called you to walk. I'll spare you the arguments I had with God over this (some of them quite loud), and simply say I've lived long enough to know I always lose. Which is a good thing. A God thing, even.
Tuesday, I called my friend and fellow writer, Kim Woodhouse, and cried on her shoulder. Wednesday I texted my friend, Kendra, and asked her to pray for me. Thursday at Bible study, I kept my head down while a guest speaker talked about stepping forward in faith. My heart heated, so I knew the Holy Spirit was at work, but I wanted to ignore it until the speaker said, "Someone in here needs to write a book." A gal from my study looked at me and pointed her finger. Yeah...no getting out of that. So on Friday, as we were closing our crit group meeting with prayer, I asked that God would place little crumbs of encouragement along my path.
Four hours later, I got the email about the Spur Award. Do you see now why the news induced immediate tears?
Writing is solitary, difficult work. After Gina and I finish writing the last two books in The Montana Brides Series, I'm out of contracts. I'm staring at a big, fat NOTHING on my deadline calendar. I've sent out a proposal but heard nothing back. I'm working on another proposal to send to my agent to see if the recent success of some Revolutionary War time period stories means I can sell the story that was a finalist in the Genesis Contest back in 2012. But nothing is guaranteed, and I like guarantees. I really like them.
Before I was published, God asked me to do the work and trust Him with the results. I didn't realize then that it would be an ongoing lesson. Time to pull out my big-girl pen and get to work.