Happy Birthday!

Five years ago today my one and only book Growing Down: God’s Grace in Spite of Myself was ‘born.’

That was a big day! I find it hard to believe that it was five years ago.

When a child is born, the waiting and working leading up to the birth is mixed with hopes and expectations.

And as it is with expectations, sometimes you don’t realize them, or have words to describe them, until the hopes are dashed or unmet.

I guess today I am facing the disappointment in my book-child.

First let me say, I am still proud of ‘her.’ I still wholeheartedly recommend my book for the stories (every chapter is a mini-biography of a ‘friend’ I met though a book), for the spiritual encouragement it offers, and because I think the editing and look of the book is top-notch, thanks to partner-publisher Deep River Books.  And I am very grateful for the good reviews and feedback.

But still I am sad that she did not do better.

I’d secretly hoped my book would draw the attention of someone and be published by a mainstream company and even though I did not market her (radio interviews, speaking, setting up book table at events) still I’d hoped for a better outcome.

Not because I wanted the money, so what was it I wanted?  (I am thinking and writing out loud here.)

Recognition?  Validation?  An identity: wanting to be known as an author?  Is it my pride that is hurt?

I don’t know. I just feel sad that there are 800 books in boxes in my attic and I don’t want them to mildew.

Sigh. . .

I try to console myself with thoughts like There are just too many books in the world.  Or It’s because of the subject matter. (Repentance is not exactly a popular topic.) And Just let it go, Sarah, let it be, it is what it is.

 These options — Understand what’s behind it. Explain the reasons. Just accept it. — are not making me feel better.

Nor is it useful to follow the common advice: Lower your expectations.

I never have liked that option because

1. It comes too late. I am already disappointed.

2. I didn’t even know what the expectation was, so how could have I lowered it?

And 3.  It puts the blame on me and feeds my sense of control and self-protection. I naturally look for someone or something to blame so I can reestablish control, to make sure it I don’t get hurt again.

I just realized: all these options leave Jesus out.

What if my disappointment is simply meant to turn me?

To turn me — not to my own understanding and resources — but to Him?

Okay, Jesus, I am turning.  And I am trusting You again.

Have Your way, with me and with my book-child.

I want to celebrate her fifth birthday, not sowing disappointment, but harvesting praise that I am still growing down into Your deep grace, in spite of myself.

Today is a Happy Birthday day!

10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday!

  1. I’m so far behind on my cyber work, but…:)

    Thank you Sarah for your honesty (once again)…and how I resonate…I just want to remind you how much Growing Down ministered to (and still ministers to) me, and how much you have encouraged and exhorted women in this little area of the world through your life, your prayer letters, and your books. You have been and are being used in ways you can’t believe. I have run into it all over the place in my 2 years here. As for those 800 books in the attic…could I get some? I’d love to give them as Christmas gifts to people who would be blessed by them. Much love from East Asheville…sending cyber hugs over the mountains! Love, Elizabeth


  2. Sarah,
    You are a gifted writer. Keep it up. I love reading your stories!
    God is always at work in anything we do using our gifts and talents. Only He knows all the purposes He has for having you write!
    Rod has written 22 books—and this is the first year he hasn’t had a contract. He has been struggling with what God is doing and quite honestly we have no idea. There are 63 people in my family and almost all have his books—- but only a few have read them ( even our own children! ) We hate to see the demise of the publishing industry but that is what is happening. Still, we know that it is in God’s hands.
    But I think blogging is the new medium. Faith’s college roommate at CIU was Emily Freeman. She started blogging and in a few years developed quite a following. She has had several books published and is now a sought after speaker at churches all over the country. Her first book was “ Grace for the Good Girl”.
    So keep at it—and like you said —leave the results to God. I feel like when Rod is gone our family will read his books-if only to feel close to him. They are in some sense his Testimony —-and who knows whom God may touch through them in His good time.
    Love you sweet friend!
    Cindy Gragg


  3. Got it!!! I’m sorry you feel Sad…your book did get you known in some circles, and you got to speak to several groups, I think, and I’m sure you were a blessing to those ladies. Primarily because you are so transparent about the struggles that we face in this life trying to follow Christ. You make the rest of us not feel alone!


  4. I feel for you sister. I often have the same feeling after I preach every Sunday. And I am reminded of the gentle words “Be faithful and leave the results to me…


  5. It is a great read, Sarah, but the entire publishing industry in on a downward trend – that even includes the music/film industry. Technology is still on the paradigm shift and I’m not sure where the love of reading and owning books is going to end up. My Christian Writers group meets here every other month and we discuss this dilemma often.


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