As we pulled open the second set of large, wooden doors in Barnes and Noble, the mingled aroma of coffee and new books greeted my mom and I like the warmth of an old friend. That late October afternoon was my twenty-first birthday, and my parents were gifting me with one of the newest books from my favorite author.
As I browsed the Christian Living aisles, searching for The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, Sara Hagerty’s latest book, Unseen, caught my eye from a nearby shelf. I picked up the inviting, navy hardback with a smile. It was also one I had hoping to read it since its release date. A clerk helped Mom and I locate The Broken Way from one of the round, center tables.
Holding Sara’s book in my left and Ann’s in my right, I felt torn. Both authors had impacted my life in such a wonderful way. Their blog posts and social media entries were not only a continual wealth of spiritual encouragement, but also a gift of fresh inspiration for me as a writer.
I had already journeyed with Sara in her first book, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet. She had traveled Uganda’s dusty, red soil just like I had. We both had hearts beating with the same compassion for the fatherless. More recently, I loved hearing her share the process of how Unseen unfolded. Her moments spent scribbling it in her moleskin journal had cocooned and sprouted into fluttering excitement as she received her hardback copy before its official release.
On the other hand, Ann’s poetic, meaningful way with words made an impression on my raw, still-growing writing style when I was a teen. Reading her books gave me a taste for using description and vulnerability. Her encouraging words gleaned from her spiritual walk helped me to give thanks for all the ways He loves me and appreciate the wonder of Christ’s coming in ways I never had before.
I continued to stand there in Barnes and Noble, struggling with my decision.
How could I choose? Both women were dear to me. Although I had never met them, they were kindred spirits who had opened their hearts in genuine ways. They fearlessly shared the messy, less than perfect moments in their lives along with the exhilarating mountaintop experiences with God as He spoke gently to their hearts and revealed His love in a personal way.
In a moment, I looked up at my mom with a decision in my heart. I told her I knew that The Broken Way was the one I wanted to take home that day because Ann Voskamp had truly been my favorite; her book was the one I had looked forward to holding in my hands for months.
I retraced my steps to place Unseen back on the shelf, but made a mental note to put it on my Christmas list.
After the cashier checked us out, my mom and I lingered and sipped lattes in the bookstore’s cafe. Wild, hope-filled dreams rushed through my mind. Maybe I would be published too, someday. I imagined seeing a book of my own on the nearby shelves. Although the future was a question mark, my heart was extra wistful that day.
Maybe I will inspire many through books and large social media platforms like Ann and Sara. Or maybe my words will only reach a close-knit circle of girls.
Whatever happens, I pray that my goal will remain steadfast, true, unwavering—to write what God created me to write and who He created me to write for.
No matter how tiny or large the audience is. No matter if that means signing with an agent, getting a contract with a publishing house or simply continuing my role as staff writer and columnist.
The charm of fame is dazzling but here’s what God has been teaching me:
Fame shouldn’t be a goal. Fame doesn’t satisfy. Fame won’t validate me.
My joy will become thoroughly depleted if I let recognition be my “well done” or certificate of achievement.
The secret to unleashing joy as an author is to simply pray for inspiration and to quietly rest in His design for you as a writer.
Whether you’re an artist, musician, design tech, sports player, teacher, or any other profession, Jesus tells full joy is possible by loving those He has put in our paths. We can use our dreams to demonstrate His love (see John 15:10-12).
Most importantly, I hope people can say they know me not only as an author, but as a loving, compassionate friend to walk through life together with—just like my favorite authors have done with me.
It is a beautiful legacy to adopt. So, here is a challenge I’d like to take with you, friend:
Let’s live out our dreams and passions by loving others through our giftings. No matter the reach of our audiences, we should devote our hearts to serving each heart in front of us. This is when our dreams will be thrive successfully and joyfully.
Moriah Simonowich – Column: Hope For Weary Hearts
Moriah Simonowich a twenty-year-old living in North Carolina who loves porch swings, wide open skies, lattes, lab puppies, and the crispness of October. It’s rare that she misses an opportunity to slip outside and quietly capture sunsets. Writing is like oxygen to her heart. You can connect with Moriah here: www.delightinginhim.com