One of my all time favorite mythological creatures is the phoenix. Their golden feathers are plumes of flashing fire that cast dazzling sparks as they sweep through the air. Then they set themselves ablaze upon the end of their life to arise anew from the ashes. They’re powerful symbols of life, death, and rebirth and encapsulate the glorious essence behind every Christian’s genesis into newness of life. We die to sin to be resurrected as a new creation through Jesus. Isn’t it so fascinating then how God designed nature to follow a similar pattern? Wherever there be destruction, a fresher beauty springs from the rubble. Looking back, I’ve undergone many life-altering transformations in this universal cycle, and the ending to my writing journey for Celestial was no exception.
Come year 2020, I was finally getting close to finishing Celestial’s last definitive manuscript. My schedule kept my progress agonizingly slow, but I finally spotted light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, I was somewhat distracted in my personal life at the time. Our dance studio’s annual performance was coming up, and for several months, I was also in my very first romantically serious relationship. I don’t know if that would shock some people, but yes. I’ve never been 'pursued' before. You have no idea how high-octane my euphoria was after waiting and praying for someone to actually ‘want’ me for so long. Sadly, everything burned in March. The man I loved admitted he didn’t fully love me as he should. A stress fracture in my foot put me on crutches, barring me from performing, and the first COVID quarantine trapped me at home. My heart was broken. My foot was broken. My social life was rendered non-existent, and all in the same week.
I tried not to show it a lot after the first two weeks. I didn't want to depress my close family, but everything inside me hurt. Still, the Lord and my family drew near. My parents and sisters assisted me with my injury. Meanwhile, God regathered the fragments of my shattered heart piece by piece. Sure, I felt emotionally sick, yet…well…it’s hard to explain. There are no terms short enough to fully describe what went on within me during that dark period for this little blog, but God filling that emptied void in me with more of Himself gave me such a strengthened sense of His presence, it seemed He hugged me the whole time. It manifested a closeness with Him unlike any I experienced before. As it is said in my favorite hymn, He increased as my best thought and vision by day and by night. Social gratification, achievements, capabilities, they weakened as sources of happiness for me. His Spirit, on the otherhand, sparked to a roar in my life.
A new level of freedom, the likes of which I hadn’t enjoyed since I was fifteen, also opened up my life. Instead of dancing, teaching, cleaning, and traveling; my schedule suddenly shrank to occasional chair exercises and home-cooking. I had more time than I knew what to do with, more than enough to finish the book. God had opened the way and ushered me forward. So much so that by the end of the month, Celestial’s last definitive draft was complete. Still, the Lord wasn’t finished yet. The book needed a place to reside in the public eye, yet He impressed upon me that this place should serve a greater purpose than advertising and selling Celestial. The world needed a website that served its visitors in the fictional plane. It should minister, challenge, and encourage creative minds to equip the Word as their key to understanding and unlocking Spirit-led imagination; the same way God did with me for Celestial. Some two months later, FlyingFaith (this very site) materialized. Few can explain how seeds bloom beneath ashes, but Jesus certainly fertilized new life under mine. Neither the book nor the website would be here without that singular worst week of my life.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there of course. It took six months before I could walk normally again. I still get occasional phantom pains too. As for Celestial, my beta-readers put it through the paces. It didn’t get past the first round in ACFW’s ‘Genesis’ Competition either. Heck, Celestial didn’t even meet releasable standards for another two years! Still, those failures lead to better blessings. Because of COVID, our performance got postponed, granting me adequate time for my foot to recover. The judges’ knocked Celestial out of the runnings, yet they scored me highly in all the areas I doubted myself most in while my beta-reader’s unanimously applauded the exact areas those judges weren’t certain about. Then the Lord provided me a reputable editor I could afford and a generous cover designer who’s work surpassed expectations. Then something I never dreamt of occurred. Celestial, the product of this wannabe game designer, was granted first place in its category in ACFW’s ‘First Impressions’ Competition!
Over and over, God scattered my plans for a better path. I wanted to be a game designer. He wanted me to be an author. I wanted it done in two years. He said eight. I thought I wanted one kind of life. He knocked me down to gift me another and increased His influence over me in the process. Now, a new chapter begins—stepping out as a published author. It’s kinda scary. I’m not gonna lie. Still, in all my troubles past and in all my troubles to come, I’m happier to be in the story He’s writing for me than the one I would’ve written for myself,… and I don’t want to miss a sentence.
I hope you enjoyed the Celestial Diaries series! Check out the Celestial book page for shopping links and info! Subscribe for my free newsletter below for updates on Celestial's 'soon-to-come' prequel, discounts on editing services, and prize draws too! Thank you!