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Celestial: One Year Later

Psalm 107:8-9, “Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.”

Oh, boy. I can’t believe it’s been a year since Celestial  published. It felt like an agonizingly slow eight years to get it written. Now, it’s been a whirlwind of activity since my first book entered the world. It’s indeed a very different feel being a published author as opposed to an unpublished one. My struggle with imposter syndrome and newbie-ness suddenly swapped with new vexing questions. Should Celestial be my only book? What expectations will others build about me? Am I ready to relinquish control over my novel? Well, one thing was certain. Once Celestial hit the public stage, there’d be no going back. Best to start things right…

Celestial was always the Lord’s from the beginning. He sparked the idea. He taught me through His Spirit and Word how the adventure should unfold. Constantly I reminded myself Celestial was rightly His. He’d distribute it as He pleases. Still, it’s one thing to be mentally rehearsed. It’s another to openly declare it so before eyewitnesses. However, as one of my pastors happily conducted Celestial’s dedication ceremony, a shivering thrill filled me from head to toe. God would indeed take better care of Celestial than I ever could in the market. Like a proud mother, I could peaceably accept my seat in the stands and watch my newborn in the arena….

Things began humbly. Celestial wasn’t an overnight sensation, which wasn’t surprising. I am a fresh indie author, after all. Still, it sold quite well all things considered. Then the reviews started coming in, and my heart soared. I long hoped readers wouldn’t be too enraptured by Celestial’s supernatural spectacle to miss its true heart: God’s heart. You can’t imagine then how floored I was, as reviewer after reviewer expressed the awe for God and His salvation the book intended to alight. So many reactions resulted in renewed joyfulness and enriched perspectives of Him, it put me in tears. I was watching the Lord do His work through a piece of literature we made together. I couldn’t have been more satisfied than that. Still, God intended to accomplish more in me than sales and reviews….

Throughout Celestial’s eight-year development, I largely walked alone. My family supported me, sure, but I hardly had anyone to closely connect with. Loneliness weighed so heavily, I pleaded for a companion. Well, God used Celestial to change that….

First, a past critique acquaintance bonded closely with me, and we helped finish each other’s books side-by-side. One beta reader became one of my strongest supporters almost overnight. Two other supernatural authors found me, and we’ve become a sort of ‘Three Caballeros’. Then God introduced me to a whole slew of wonderful, talented people at last year’s ACFW Conference. In fact, He’s still widening my friend circle today! The Lord most certainly overflowed my empty cup.

Most profound thing this past year, though, is how much God is still changing me….how our relationship as further grown….Many already heard my backstory; how Jesus drastically restructured my inner self through this ‘nutty’ attempt at authorship. It’d be easy to think ‘I spiritually arrived’ once Celestial released. That couldn’t be further from the truth. New trials persisted. Pride (my oldest monster) intruded most. Pride ruins beautiful things. I laid in bed so often, fearing my ego would spoil Celestial. Could I handle the success I craved?

Well, God’s Word always comes through, and recently God painted a new picture for me—one I could cling to whenever pride lurked. We consider receiving honors a privilege, but according to the Bible, the real privilege is the opportunity to freely return the treasures you’ve been given. You see, men’s worst punishment for sin isn’t pain or even death. It’s blindness—the inability to recognize or seek God for who He is or offer Him our best. Not everyone will get that chance. It’s our purpose. What worse tragedy is there than never finding your purpose? But praise be the Lord! He loved me though I hated Him. His Son died and arose to restore me. He cured my blindness, and now He’s granted me this. Every compliment, sale, accolade, even Celestial’s recent honor of becoming a Finalist in the prestigious Realm Awards are rare jewels I’m privileged to safe-keep, so that I may add them to a crown I’ll one day be permitted to set at the foot of Yaweh’s throne. What sweeter privilege can there be?

Thank you, Lord, for an astounding first year.

Hebrews 13:15-16, “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

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#celestial #anniversary #oneyearlater #publishment #memories #reflections

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