Yesterday was one of those rare Saturdays where we had nothing on the calendar all day, so we decided to take advantage of it with a long family hike. And it was glorious. We don't have mountains or oceans or any of those majestic features here in Wisconsin, but we have beautiful forests and rolling hills and pops of color in wildflowers and berries. Seeing all of that--knowing that God created it all for us--just takes my breath away sometimes. And when I try to imagine how perfect this world must have been at creation, before the fall into sin--wow, wouldn't that have been something to see!
Something else God has been taking my breath away with lately is the response Advance Readers have had to Not Until Us. If you remember, last week I was anxiously awaiting their feedback. But I'm happy to report that they didn't make me wait long! And their comments have been blowing me away:
The best book I've read in quite a while! Awesomely amazing! -Lisa
Loved this story. Luckily I got it on a weekend as I couldn't put it down. -Karen
This inspirational story is SO good! It is a story of hope, forgiveness, faith and love. It was tender and romantic yet touched on real life struggles and emotions. -Shavona
The story just draws you in and makes you fall in love with Jade and her friends as well as reminding you of the unfailing love of God for us all…. A well-written book that will keep your attention to the very end! -Deb There were so many unexpected turns that I was hooked the ENTIRE time…. I think this is the best yet in Valerie’s Hope Springs series! -Ashley
I absolutely loved the book & the characters. It was so emotional I was crying buckets all over the place! -Jenny
I mean, oh my goodness, I don't even know what to say to all of that. It's incredibly humbling to think that people are saying that about my little book. But here's the thing--I know it's not me. It's completely God who has given me the gift to write these books and who is blessing them. I was reading Exodus the other day, and I came across this passage as God is giving instructions to Moses about building the tabernacle: "See, I have chosen Bezalel ... and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.... Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you."
Reading that, I was like: "Yes, this is exactly how I feel. Everything I can do is from God because if it were up to me, I would totally make a mess of this." I know it can be hard to see our own gifts--trust me, it feels like it took me forever to figure out how I could use this gift of writing the Lord gave me to serve him (but that's a story for another day). God has given us all different gifts and abilities, but the thing we have in common is that he calls on all of us to use them to his glory, as did Bezalel and the craftsmen who built the tabernacle. As we can do in even the simplest acts--offering a kind word, making dinner for our family, cleaning our house (I have to remind myself often that I can clean up to God's glory rather than begrudgingly). I am so grateful for the opportunities God is giving me to reach readers with my books and to share his love with them. And I'm so thankful that you're on this journey with me.