Monday, July 23, 2012

Lost and Found

Let me tell you about a beautiful, private, inspiring moment at the 2012 Christy Awards--something that no blog-follower, no attendee, no photographer could have posibly captured. As many of you know, the beginning of the evening consists of each nominee walking across the stage to receive a finalist's medal--this wonderfully heavy ornament suspended from a thick, royal purple ribbon--while laudatory comments about either the book or the author are read to the room. I confess to having no idea what was read about my nominated book, Forsaking All Others, mostly because my head was full with reminders of not to fall down or throw up. No, when I think back to that isolated bit of time, I recall two things: one, the feel of being enveloped in a hug by fellow finalist Liz Curtis Higgs; second, her words to me saying, "You have my complete permission to win," followed by some other beautiful things I am choosing to treasure in my heart.

Now, have you ever been hugged by Liz Curtis Higgs? If not, you are missing an opportunity to experience one of life's greatest comforts. She is a woman of such warm and Christ-like love, and she wraps it around you with soft, devine strength. During the three seconds of that embrace, she held me suspended between the hope that I might win, and the certainty that I wouldn't. There was this transference of assurance, a dream-like camaraderie. Had anyone told me five years ago that I would be sharing this kind of moment with her, I would have thought they were nuts. But of course, that's because it's impossible for us to see the intricacies of God's plan in our lives. Then I remember her comments on a piece I wrote for a contest at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. (She said I was "a hoot;" I won.) And I remember a blog interview she did after the release of my first novel in which she said I was "one to watch." (It became the first time I ever forwarded a link. To everyone I knew...) And now, like the third base in a baseball diamond, I have this little moment.

Still, it's just one moment in a mass of thousands. Liz gave me permission to win, but God gave me the strength to find contentment in remaining a finalist. I flew to Orlando on the wings of well-wishes, and the moment the first line of Lynn's book was read as the winner, I landed in the softness of the same. In "losing" the Christy, I found nothing but love from my readers, support from my family, and assurance of my true purpose in what I--and all those brothers and sisters in Christ who write for Him--do. It's an absolute truth that, in this case especially, there is no loss. We are not in a competition with or for readers, we write side-by-side for the glorification of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Both books in the Sister Wife series -- For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others -- were finalists for this award. And, no matter what I might write in the future, I think they will always be the most important works in my career. Thank you all for reading, and most of all, thank you for sharing Camilla's story with your loved ones.

***Deep breath...*** Now to see what happens with Lilies in Moonlight in September! Everybody be on high alert: I might need another hug...