Not All, But Some

Who’s heard of Google Alert?

It’s this handy-dandy little thing on Google where you can enter in certain words or phrases. Anytime those words or phrases make their way into the world wide web, you receive a notification via email.

I have two Google Alerts.

One for my name. Another for the title of my debut novel.

I’m not sure if this makes me smart or idiotic. Because the reviews that people write show up in my inbox. Every single time I open one, I find myself flexing my stomach, holding my breath…

Thankfully, they have been super encouraging so far. Some have flat out blown me away.

Last week, though, I read a review from a reader who wasn’t happy with me for making a religious leader in my book a “bad guy”. 

It’s a valid concern.

One I wrestled with while writing the story.

I don’t want to perpetuate the “fire and brimstone” stereotype. Not when there are so many God-honoring, grace-filled, Spirit-led, Bible-teaching, humble-hearted pastors and preachers out there. My church is overflowing with them. 

But here’s the thing.

We live in a broken world. As much as this truth pains me, there are people out there who have been burned by churches and their leaders. There are people out there who were judged instead of welcomed. People who needed to hear the truth spoken in love, but instead heard words of condemnation. Words that hurt instead of healed. 

Despite my hesitancy, despite knowing that some people might be offended by Pastor Fenton, I felt it was a topic worth exploring. Spiritual abuse exists in the church. As much as I wish it didn’t.

After reading the review, I spun into a tornado of worry.

My stomach got all knotted and heavy. 

I found myself dwelling in the land of What If

What if my story offends more people? What if a whole slew of readers aren’t happy with me? What if I put things in my book that others disapprove of? 

In the midst of this mini tornado, I went outside and plunked myself onto our porch swing and let myself soak in God’s presence. 

It didn’t take long to realize…

I was focusing on the wrong things. I was focused on affirmation and approval. A common trap for a people-pleaser like myself.

Instead, I needed to step back. Refocus on what is true. 

And here it is.

God isn’t going to use my story to touch every heart, but He will use it to touch some. My words will not bless every reader, but they will bless a portion.

This should be my focus.

That God, in all His greatness and glory, would use little old me and this little old story to draw hearts closer to Him. To bring hope, maybe even healing. Not to everyone. But to some.

Let’s Talk: Are you being faithful and thankful for the “some” God has given you during this stage in your life? Who is He wanting you to bless? 

Since my book is coming out very soon, I’ll be making a lot of guest appearances on various blogs. Yesterday, I answered some fun question over at Dawn Alexander’s blog. Today, I’m chatting with Christy Janes and Lindsey Harrel and guest posting at Keli Gwyn’s blog. Would love to see you over there!

Don’t forget about the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop this Friday. If you’re participating, please send me the link as soon as you have it.  

My debut buddies all debuted yesterday! Beth Vogt’s book, Wish You Were Here. Dani Pettrey’s, Submerged. And Olivia Newport’s, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. All great reads! We’re having a joint launch party of epic proportions on May 15th. Hope you’ll join us!

30 thoughts on “Not All, But Some

  1. The hardest part in overcoming our weaknesses (I’m a people pleaser, too) is that we have to actually walk through situations that try us. When I exercise, I am putting pressure against my body, causing pain and muscle growth – the same is true for exercising our character. God allows pressure to push against our weaknesses in order for us to grow and be strengthened. He wants the muscles of our character to grow so that we can do more and more for His Kingdom. The stronger we become, the more He can entrust to us, so our “some” can be “many.”

  2. If it’s natural to the story, then I don’t see a problem with it, because you’re right. There are religious leaders out there who are villains. Plain and simple.

    The one thing I see more often than I’d like in CF is the cardboard pastor. He’s a secondary character, which is fine, but he’s absolutely spineless and barely resembles a man. He’s a joke. Those are the portrayals that bug me. I expect it from an unsaved world, but it shouldn’t happen in CF.

  3. Katie, religious leaders are susceptible to temptation just like the rest of us. Your portrayal is simply an accurate reflection of our fallen world. I’m glad you stuck to your guns and wrote it out that way – even though you had to wrestle with it. After all, when religious leaders fall (and we’ve seen them do it), we wrestle with it then anyway.

  4. This is what I tell myself over and over about my writing: Some is better than none. ONE is better than none.

    I think the fact you used a religious leader as a “bad guy” was commendable. It happens. And it’s why people never commit to Jesus, or to going back to church at all.

    When Peter (who was a Christ follower) cut off Malchus’ ear in zealousness, he was wrong. Jesus healed Malchus. Proving, God’s people can hurt. But God is the healer and corrector.

    You did a wonderful job showing that!

  5. Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”?

    ‘Permanent’ is our relationship with God. ‘Immediate’ is all the bright lovely things that come our way and thrill us.

    I’m a pleaser and have learned that not everyone’s opinion is worthy of my efforts. Reviews may sting or thrill, but it is what we lay at the feet of Jesus as our offering that counts.

  6. Holly Hassenzahl

    Amen, sister. At at the end of the day, if you had sugar-coated Pastor Fenton’s character in order to not offend people, you wouldn’t have remained honest to the story that God was calling you to write. Like you said, there are pastors out there that have caused some damage. And you brought it to the light, exposed it for what it is, and inserted some Godly redemption…some TRUTH.

    Love you lady…6 more days!

  7. Great reminder, Katie!

    I always ask myself the question…is what I am writing going to matter in the eternity? Meaning: When I stand before our holy God, will He be pleased with my life’s work or not?

    Congrats on the release of your book! The first of many….


  8. Found a post on twitter about a guest blog and clicked it, loved the blog and came over here to subscribe. Now, I’m going to check out your books. Glad to find you. Your book sounds really cool! Holly

  9. People pleaser #1 right here, Katie. It is so difficult to separate our desire to please others with God’s true calling. I need to continually ask myself what I’m writing for, Who called me into this ministry, and remember that He’s asking me to bring hope and healing to some–just some, maybe only one!

  10. Katie, this is great. And you’re so right. We’ll never please everyone, but I’m a people pleasers too, and knowing there are those who don’t like me or who disagree with me is a hard pill to swallow. God is constantly reminding me that He will be faithful to cause my path to cross with those He’s chosen to bless through me. As for the others, they’re His responsibility, not mine. Unfortunately we live in a numbers focused society, and it’s not always easy keeping our eyes off the numbers and focused on God.

    As for Pastor Fenton, take this from someone who’s been a pastor’s wife for almost 30 years. The Pastor Fentons ARE out there. In fact, when I read your book, I could picture him as several people I know. I also know those who have been deceived and led astray by men like him, while others have been deeply wounded. Sad but true. How awesome if someone has never run across a Pastor Fenton, but I imagine there will be more readers who have than haven’t.

  11. Congratulations on your debut, Katie!! I didn’t realize it’s so soon. I must add you to my Blog Buddy Must-Reads Page!!

  12. Oh, those pesky reviews. 🙂

    I loved your book!

    And yes, I think you make such a great point, that we can’t focus on pleasing everyone…but we can focus on encouraging, affirming and blessing the some God puts in our path. Love that! It takes a lot of pressure off, too. 🙂

  13. Katie this is so true with everything we do. If we maintian this focus – or more appropriately, allow God to maintain it for us – not everyone will like us, but they will respect the consistency of our message and our lives. And…we’re FREE to not have to please anyone but Jesus. The truth will set us free. Love that!

    I looked you up on the Books-A-Million site yesterday and THERE YOU WERE!! I’m so excited for you Katie. Can’t wait to read your book. You just enjoy God’s fulfillment of His dream for you and trust that He has great plans for the hearts of those who read His message in your book. Congratulations!

  14. So true, Katie. We have to keep our eyes on the Lord. Of our books reach one heart and change one life, it’s worth everything.

    There will always be naysayers, who will let their voice be heard. But there are hundreds who are blessed and simply breathe a blessing on the writer.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      You are so right Ane – it’s all worth it if one heart is touched.

  15. You did the right thing, Katie. You took that anxiety straight to God and talked it out with Him, until you had His heart on the matter. Rest in knowing He is in control of getting your book into the hands of readers it will touch and encourage. It’s true this won’t be the case for every reader, but trust Him in that too.

    And remind me of this in a year, okay? 🙂

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I’m still so excited for you, Lori! Waterbrook/Multnomah is a DREAM team! Can’t wait to read your book when it hits shelves. 🙂

  16. Katie, I know whenever I have books published (thinking positively here!) I’ll have the same issues, because I’m a people pleaser too. But you’re right; we need to focus on the Audience of One. Is God pleased with what you’ve written? Have you written what you’ve felt led to write? If so, then the only thing to do is sit back and watch Him work.

    I had a mentor tell me that if people react negatively to your book, and felt strongly enough to write about that negative reaction, they still have been affected emotionally. And that can stir up stuff they don’t want to think about. So they take it out on you. So even if your words haven’t “touched” someone the way you think they should have, they’ve still changed someone and made them think. And that’s never a bad thing.

    And I agree with Wendy. Pastor Fenton was an excellent addition to the book.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      You’re right about the negative reaction – it was a very strong reaction too. So even though I didn’t encourage that particular reader in the way I had hoped, at least she had a strong reaction to the book. That has to be good, right?

      Love being on your blog today!

  17. I put it on my Amazon wish list. (until I get a large enough order for free shipping)

    1. Katie Ganshert

      You should hop on over to Lindsay Harrel’s blog and leave a comment. You could win a free copy and then you wouldn’t have to worry about shipping! 🙂 The link is up above at the end of the post. Christy Janes is also giving away a copy.

  18. My TBR pile is so large I have been resisting getting your book. . . yet. But after this post I am tempted to put it at the top of the list.

    The bible warns us against false teachers. And some, like King Saul start out good but loose their loyalty to God. So yes, sometimes a Christian Leader is the bad guy. Sadly.

    I lost a good friend because she hates my writing. And the fact that I sometimes write about fallen leaders.

  19. I love the truths you’re finding during this time of reviews, Katie! I’m storing these up in my brain, b/c I know every writer’s going to have to wrestle w/these things sooner or later.

    And I love that you kept it real w/the Pastor. Not every pastor is good, that’s the truth. And our writing should always reflect truth. From what I’ve read so far, you’ve also included a “good pastor” in your story, as well.

    Many of us have seen or experienced religious abuse in high places. Not all of us, but many. So your book is touching on a relevant topic in a realistic way. Thank you for being brave like that!

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Aw, thanks for the encouraging words, Heather! I don’t feel brave a lot of the time.

      I just watched We Bought a Zoo with Matt Damon. Have you seen it? There’s this theme throughout and this cool saying that you only need to be crazy-brave for 20 seconds. Just 20 seconds. And I really resonated with it. I’m usually scared to publish my blog posts, but all it takes is hitting “publish” and walking away. 20 seconds of pushing past the fear.

      1. Ha–I haven’t seen that movie (will watch soon!), but I think I have the opposite problem. I’m sometimes too brave/outspoken, then I sit around wondering why something I said didn’t go over so well. A little healthy hesitance can be a virtue, too! But glad you were brave w/your book!

      2. Katie Ganshert

        Heather – perhaps we are twins. Because I can be very impulsive with my words! Sometimes I leave a comment on somebody’s blog and I think, “Doh! Why did I write that!?”

  20. My Google Alert has a glitch. I’m alerted when I’ve been mentioned, but I’m not given anything else…links, time, etc. Awesome. I think this is God’s way of protecting me. 😀

    As far as PF, I’m glad you explored a character like that. It is reality. And I think a little light shed on truth is good, good stuff!
    ~ Wendy

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Perhaps God should protect me in that way too! Actually, I’m glad I’m reading the reviews. Some people say to stay away, but overall it’s been good. Super encouraging, but also a great reminder that this is all so subjective (hence, Monday’s post!)

  21. Oluseyi

    I so much agree with this statement “I was focusing on the wrong things. I was focused on affirmation and approval. A common trap for a people-pleaser like myself.”
    This has always been a problem for me to and your post makes me realise that Not all but Some” LOl. But true.
    I am truly inspired!!!!

    1. Katie Ganshert

      So glad the words inspired you! And know that you’re not alone in the people-pleasing department. It’s something I have to constantly be aware of!


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