|Gals at the gala: (l-r) Raquel, Anita, Moi, Sandy, Elizabeth|
So...what I'm sharing with you now isn't exactly what I'd planned to say in some acceptance speech. It actually comes from my sermon notes from the Sunday before the conference.
The text: John 15: 5-8
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Years ago, before I even knew about the existence of Christian fiction, I knew I wanted to be some sort of writer. I clearly remember reading these verses and thinking that, if I didn't follow through in some sort of obedience, God would dry up my very ability to write. Then, last Sunay, as this was the focal point of the sermon, I sat thinking about how far God had brought me. Until that moment, if anyone had ever asked me about the "fruit" of my writing, I would have told of my novels--Nine of them!--and my Awards and Almost-Awards. But that Sunday, God spoke just as clearly to me as He had all those years ago. My fruit wasn't on my Amazon Author Page. My fruit was in the lives of people in whom I am invested. One point our pastor made was that a healthy, fruit-producing vine remains green--healthy enough to produce a crop year after year. My writing friends feed me. I nourish my own career by trying to clear a path for others. My stories thrive because of my critique group, and I yearn for the professionalism of writing-centric conversations.
So...yeah. That's what I meant to say. You know, all eloquent with scriptural references and alliteration and the occasional clever twist of phrase. It's just never easy for me to talk about myself. About my books? Sure. About YOUR books? Absolutely! Instead, I was all weepy, weepy, bwah, bwah, bwah...ill-prepared for the magnitude of such a blessing.