Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What God is Teaching Me about Rejection, Writing and His Tender Love - Part I


Mount Hermon is a beautiful retreat center set in the Santa Cruz Mountains, six miles from Monterey Bay, California. In 2005, four years after I’d begun my journey into the writing world, my husband John gave me a gift. A plane trip and registration to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. If you want to check out their wonderful conference, go to http://mounthermon.org/adult/professionals/writers-conference

I knew very little about the writing business, although I’d been writing since I was a young girl. But over the course of a couple of years, I’d pecked out what I believed to be the next great novel, surely my ticket into personal friendships with Francine Rivers and Janette Oke and appointments at book signings for throngs of folks at Barnes and Noble. So I packed my bags and flew to what would become one of the highlights of my entire life.

Redwoods guarded our meetings and kept the rain to a drizzle as we writers traveled from seminar to seminar, pitch meeting to critique. I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I didn’t have. I discovered I knew very little about writing a book and I realized my great American novel could use a few more years of rewrites. Maybe a decade.

But I was happy. Deliriously. The old cliché of smiling from ear to ear was my constant experience. I met other writers who made me laugh and taught me. I met editors who gently explained I had no idea what I was talking about. I met agents who showed me that getting published was indeed a process, and not a one-time event.

Liz Curtis Higgs was our keynote speaker (as she is this year at Mount Hermon) and her words tickled me and challenged me. I cried and told the Lord I would write for Him and Him alone. As we sang in the glorious chapel, my heart beat wildly for the adventure to which God had called me.

One afternoon as I walked to a class, I heard the Lord clearly in my heart and mind. “Sweet Girl,” He said, “you are exactly where I want you to be.” More tears.

Toward the end of the conference I went to the restroom after a class and found a woman upset. Sobbing, her body was doubled over at the sink.

“Are you okay?” I asked, alarmed.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She brushed me off and continued wailing.

“Can I do anything for you?” I felt so bad for her. Surely, something horrible had happened.

She looked at me and wiped her nose. “I just got some bad news.”

Poor woman. I wondered who’d died.

“I got rejected.”

My heart went out to her. Relationships were so difficult. “I’m so sorry. How long had you been dating?”

She looked at me curiously. “Oh no, not a man. My novel.”

Later that day I vowed to never be that woman. I mean, what was her problem? This was FUN. Writing was pure joy and the writing business was a hoot! No need to take it so seriously. I couldn’t believe she sobbed over a rejection.

It’s now seven years later, and I have just allowed the Lord to put my heart back together again after a painful rejection. Funny thing is I forgot all about that woman until this weekend when, at a solo mountain retreat with God, He brought her back to mind.

I know what she felt. I understand now. But I sense God brought her to mind to not just remind me that rejection is a part of writing, but also to show me a “movie” of me.

“See that girl who is just happy and naïve and joy-filled? And see the woman next to her sobbing? The only difference in the two? Expectations.”

(More tomorrow on what God is showing me about expectations and crashing and His continual tender love.)


Cheryl Barker said...

Love to hear how God is working in your life. Will be looking forward to reading Part 2. You've been in my prayers!

Loretta Oakes said...

Expectations...love it. So powerful! Thank you for the reminder.

Robbie Iobst said...

Thank you Cheryl and Loretta!