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!