A Perfect Gift

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God recently surprised me above what I could have asked or imagined. As my tears flowed and shock coursed through my veins, James 1:7 flashed in my mind.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

My local writers’ group asked if I’d put together a presentation on entering writing contests for our January meeting. Though the thought of getting in front of adults makes my stomach somersault, I’d had a feeling for months that this would be part of my writing path.

Sharing what I’ve learned. Helping other writers on their publishing journey. Guiding those a few steps behind, so they can catch up.

I was nervous but really excited {but nervous}.

(Did I mention I was nervous?) 

In preparation I pulled together this information and that information, eager to share all I’d learned in a *hopefully* positive and coherent manner.

A couple writer friends from the group got in touch, letting me know they’d be there. Grateful for their support, I gathered my materials that evening and headed to the church where we meet.

I arrived fifteen minutes early, just behind a group member who’s about to move. We chatted about the process of packing up her home of many years. I unloaded the books I’d brought and set out the paperwork for the presentation on entering writing contests.

A couple minutes later, another person walked in. When I glanced sideways, smiling a welcome, my breath caught.

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Someone so dear, so unexpected, walked in. And though we’d never met, I knew her.

Almost three years ago, Vie judged my entry in a contest (I didn’t know this at the time; we only connected afterward, when I emailed my thank you letters to judges).

Her comments on that entry (my middle grade story) touched and encouraged me tremendously. In some moments, those precious words kept me afloat amidst a sea of negativity and rejection.

  • I printed the email and taped her comments to my computer and the bulletin board in our office.
  • I read and reread those words when road blocks and closed doors and sheer time weighed on my shoulders and made me want to give up.
  • I hoped and prayed to meet her one day and give her a big hug for the gift she’d been and the kind encouragement she showed.

We live quite far apart, and finding an opportunity to meet at writing conferences never materialized.

So when she appeared that evening, smiling tentatively as I’m about to give a presentation on writing contests, I lost it. (She wasn’t sure if I’d recognize her.)

She said she’ll never forget my face. I just remember bursting into tears because of the gift it was to see her in person, at that moment.

(She happened to be in my home state when she saw my post about the presentation.)

Having her there….it meant the world. It was a gift from God I hadn’t expected. But isn’t that just like the Lord? We think we want this or that, and instead He surprises us with such good and perfect gifts.

This sweet woman’s encouragement three years ago also affirmed the heart of my presentation that night:

We’re not writing in a vacuum. Pray for others. Encourage others. God calls us to love and serve others on this writing journey (sometimes, even above ourselves).

This is the key ingredient to the writing life…loving and helping others. Otherwise, we write in vain.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” (Phil. 1:3)

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11 thoughts on “A Perfect Gift

  1. WordPress needs a “love” button, Kerry. I LOVE this post and loved reading how good God was to bless you in this exceptional way. He has known the desire of your heart since you first communicated with Via. He is the good God of great surprises. So sorry I couldn’t be there that evening (but I heard from Barbara Routen that you did a great job; I was in Gainesville with my best friend to attend a Ravi Zacharias event at the University of Florida). I hope to see you in February (and if you have notes or handouts from the January 25 meeting, I’d love to see them). I’m so happy and proud for you.

      1. Thought you’d like to see Vie’s reach in message on our BCW Facebook page as she was trying to find you.

        “Ruth, I am a snowbird from Virginia and just found your FB page. I headed JoyWriters, an ACW group in Galax. I would love to attend your meetings while I’m in Florida (until March). I see the address on FB, but wonder if it’s in a church, etc. –something to give me an idea what to look for. I judged Kerry in the ACFW contest the first year she entered. I have never met her though, and would love to hear her speak tonight.”

  2. Thank you, Kerry. This is so on target. I shared w/my writing group a similar msg a few weeks back, that I felt the Lord inviting us to pray for our fellow writers, that they’d birth and release what He has given them. We can become too self focused as writers. A sure way to prosper is by serving others by praying for their success.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kathryne! SO agree about the self focus. Sadly, it was all about me the first few years I wrote. 😦 So glad the Lord brought me out of that, though I think we have to fight that self-focus our entire lives. Hope you have a nice week!

  3. Wow – what a precious grace note from Papa God! I especially appreciate your timely reminder that we don’t write in a vacuum. Sometimes it sure feels that way, doesn’t it? Great post, Kerry!

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