Yesterday on Writes of Passage (a group blog I'm part of), Robin Lee Hatcher shared about the joy of what we do as writers, and yesterday I experienced what I consider to be among the sweetest joys about writing--hearing from a reader and connecting with them through the story and characters, and sharing and encouraging each other in our journeys with the Lord.
Here's the email I received (shared here with Kristen and her daughter Carley's permission, of course. Carley's pictured to the right). I so appreciate the kind words about my books but even more, I appreciate them sharing their own personal journey. A painful one, but hopeful as well...
I can't thank you enough for writing such wonderful books! I have read all of them and am looking forward to readingWithin My Heart next.
Your book, The Inheritance is close to my heart right now as my 17 year old daughter, Carley, is reading it. Since August 11th of this year she has undergone 10 surgeries which have resulted in the loss of her right hand. Right now her right arm is attached to her stomach to hopefully speed up the healing to her wrist area. She will undergo another surgery this week to detach it. These past two months have been an incredibly hard road for our family--especially for Carley.
Reading your books is one thing that has kept her going. I think it's been nice for her to be able to escape the "real world" for a little while and enjoy the company of your wonderful characters.
Her face lights up when she says, "Mom, my book is sooo good!" It's so nice to see a smile on her face as she can't do much else right now.
I hope you continue writing and sharing the wonderful gift God has given you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving my precious child a reason to smile!!!
Kristen in Three Rivers, MI
Kristen, I return your thanks a hundredfold even as my mother's heart aches for you, friend. To both you and Carley, I'm blessed by your faithfulness to the Lord and your courage to trust Him as He leads you down this difficult road. I firmly believe that nothing happens to believers that doesn't first filter through the loving hands of our Heavenly father. That doesn't mean we're always given the understanding behind the "why" some things happen. Not hardly.
Yet the longer I live, the less important I'm finding the "why" to be. And far more important is the "who." I know with full assurance Who holds my life, and who holds yours. And we're right beside each other in the palm of His hands. I'm praying for you, Carley, for complete healing in hand and body, as I'm sure will everyone who reads your brave story.
To learn more about Carley and her upcoming surgery this week, request to be added to "Carley's Group" on Facebook. You may also leave her and her mom, Kristen, a message here in the comments, if you'd like.
A good friend, Joe Barnett, passed along the following quote from John Cheever a while ago, and I'm reminded of it today. "I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss--you can't do it alone."
While I can technically write without a reader, it would be a far lonelier journey for me. Part of the blessing in writing is taking steps closer to the Lord as I write. And also closer to you, dear readers, as you read.
Thank you for reading and sharing your journeys with me. Carley, we're praying for you, girl.