Grace: An Invitation

By

I finished my book on a Monday afternoon, an hour before the kids got home from school. I’ve written over fifty thousand words during the last five years, and it feels like I’ve finally told the whole story I set out to tell. There’s still a little polishing to do, and maybe even a few more paragraphs to add here and there, but I’m more certain than ever that I know what the final product is, and that’s a great feeling. Of course it terrifies me to make this public knowledge because now people might start asking to read it, and that’s just as scary as writing the darn thing.

I guess my new job should be finding an agent, or a publisher, or just printing it myself, but I’m bound to face rejection on all those avenues, so I’m not in a hurry to start chasing publication just yet. I really wish I could say, “Well, I wrote it, now on to something else.” But dang, I know that’s not the right move either, and I can’t explain why.

I’m so filled with muddled thoughts right now. I really thought I’d be more excited to share this news with everyone, but instead I’ve been forcing myself to do it, and every time someone congratulates me I feel like a fraud. I wish I were well and whole already. I wish I didn’t freak out over things like possible rejection and unknown futures. I wish it didn’t feel like I was fourteen again, like the last twenty-eight years of life haven’t changed me at all. Will I ever not have doubting and sorrow? Or worry. How can you find peace and joy every day without losing them all the time, like an obstinate set of car keys?

No, finishing a book hasn’t made me whole. And neither will getting it published or reaching a thousand followers on my blog. But being honest about how I’m feeling right now is better than ignoring my feelings, which is my usual tendency. So here I am, sharing some honesty with the internet again. I hope airing these negative feelings today will help me move on to more positive ones, but even if it doesn’t, I know that I still have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for all the lessons I’ve learned in writing this book, and for all the wonderful people who’ve encouraged me along the way. I’m thankful to be able to see the same set of circumstances in a different way now, and I’m thankful for all the new people I’ve met through this venture, and the stories I know that got me to this point. The sun is out today, and the trees and flowers are blooming. My dog doesn’t bark as much as she used to, and I’ve got great friends and a terrific family who loves me just as much as I love them. Even if we’re not all that great at showing that love to each other, grace says we’re beautiful anyhow.

I stole that idea from a Sara Groves song called, “Add to the Beauty,” and those four words have been hanging on the wall of our living room for seven years now. They were there when I started writing this book, and they’ve been inspirational in many other facets of life ever since I first heard them. The story God is telling through our lives and in our world is a beautiful one, friends, even if we don’t always see it that way. And as his image bearers we find joy in looking for, and perhaps adding to, the beauty in his one-of-a-kind tale. Even if we never “arrive” as artists, I think Jesus is pleased with the work we do in his name.

So now I’m gonna go put some clothes in the dryer and decide whether or not to wash my hair today. Thanks for reading my big announcement post and for taking an interest in my work in the first place. I hope you have a nice afternoon and that you’re able to see something pretty out there today. Even if it’s small. Sojourn well, dear friends. We’re all loved infinitely, regardless of whether we deserve it, or believe it, or not.

Click here to visit Janna’s blog.


7 Comments

  1. JamesDWitmer

    Congratulations, Janna. You won a war to get here, and thanks for having the courage to share what it feels like. I feel those ways, too. And I, too, death grip this:

    Even if we never “arrive” as artists, I think Jesus is pleased with the work we do in his name….We’re all loved infinitely, regardless of whether we deserve it, or believe it, or not.”

  2. Bill Deutsch

    Just breathe for now. After running a marathon, it takes time for the swelling to go down and the muscles to recover. But you bounce back. And soon enough, you’re looking for another crazy race to run.

  3. William C Deutsch

    @wcdeutsch

    Just breath now. After a marathon, it takes time for the swelling to go down, and the muscles to recover. Before long, you’re looking for another crazy race to run. Enjoy the down time.

  4. Amanda Dykes

    Janna, congratulations! Such a beautiful, beautiful milestone, and I love that you are marking it by stopping to soak in who God is and who you are in Him. He keeps us so close when He sets ideas in our hearts, through our human emotions and tendencies, through our casting them upon Him to reminds Whose we are. You have reflected upon this in such an encouraging way, and I am so sure He is full-of-heart at your beautiful obedience and surrender in this calling. Praying for you as you seek what to do from here!

  5. Samantha Hobbie

    @s-v-hobbie

    Thank you for being brave. You have prompted me to be brave in return. To borrow a term from a forum thread on here, I have been “lurking” for a few months. I have garnered many cries of my heart that say, “Oh, yes, that!”, and I have thought about commenting several times. This is the first time I felt I really should take courage in hand and comment. But being me, I had to take even more courage in hand and register because I didn’t want to comment and then have to come back later to register if I got brave enough to regularly comment on the site.

    What particularly resonated with me from your post is: 1) the title including the word “invitation” – this is an idea of particular note in lessons God is teaching me; 2) finishing a book but being uncomfortable telling people, feeling like a fraud the few times I do, and not knowing what to do with it; 3) these words, “I wish I were well and whole already…Will I ever not have doubting and sorrow? Or worry. How can you find peace and joy every day without losing them all the time, like an obstinate set of car keys?”; 4) practically every word of your article, I just can’t quote it all here, but that, along with looking a bit at your website and other titles here at The Rabbit Room, make me wish I lived close enough to sit down and talk with you a while (though likely I’d be too shy to actually do so); 5) “Sojourn well” – I have long appreciated the sense of hope and adventure in the word “sojourn”, as well as the ideas it kindles in my mind; and 6)though you are sharing a landmark, you ground it in the fact that a majority of our journey is lived in daily tasks like laundry and hair washing.

    Although I feel a bit awkward saying all this since I am a complete stranger to you, again, I thank you for being brave and for your honesty.

  6. Walter Correia

    Thank for this post. I really needed it. And congratulations on completing your book!

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