Do Blessings have Costs?

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Facing rejection is one of the most frequently-talked about subjects at writing conferences, but the idea of getting a rejection letter from a publisher or agent never bothered me nearly as much as never hearing back at all. A rejection letter–even a form letter that left off any kind of greeting like the vague nicety “Dear Author”–was still an acknowledgement that I was “in the game,” or “in the running.” My work had gotten looked at. Far worse was throwing work into a black hole of nothingness–do that enough times, and the lack of any response at all can make the most confident writer start to doubt whether or not they should be in the game at all.

I’m realizing, now that I’m on the other side of the publishing “game” and have a book that is available to anyone at all who has access to Amazon, that there are new fears entering in that no one ever really talks about. Like realizing that all those people who might actually read the book also have access to sharing their feelings about it–good and bad–as a review on Amazon. Suddenly, having millions of people with access to your book feels a lot like standing naked in front of a picture window on a busy street!

My family and I have experienced multiple blessings lately, and we are so grateful for all of them. The publishing of Sophie’s Quest is just one of them. This week we took our girls to college; our youngest is a freshman. Once again, we felt so proud to be part of Seattle Pacific University as we listened to the inspiring speeches and saw the happiness and excitement on our daughters’ faces! What a privilege to be able to send them to such a great school that truly wants to “Engage the Culture and Change the World.”

Is it selfish to be just a little bit sad, too? To realize that the child-raising phase is over and our parenting has entered a new stage? To miss them being HOME?

I’ve been ruminating on these types of thoughts all week–the good with the bad, the blessings with the flip sides. We are so blessed that I don’t want to make too much of the down sides–yet, those exist, too.

Abraham, the man that God chose to bless the entire world, certainly was acquainted with flip sides. He was promised a son and land, but had to wait until he and his wife were 100 years old for the son and they had made all sorts of mistakes trying to help God’s promises come true. Once he had Isaac, God tested him in almost a cruel way, taking Abraham to the brink of sacrificing that precious son to see if Abraham really trusted him and would obey him no matter what.

Jesus himself, God’s own Son, blesses everyone who comes to him in faith. Yet, it cost Jesus everything to do it–his closest friends abandoned him, he was mocked and executed brutally. Every time I hear a kid use Jesus’ name as a swear word, I think about how it still costs Jesus to save and bless us.

So, thank you, Jesus, for your blessings. For your blessings of children and work and the way you provide so abundantly. For the tears mixed in with our joys that tell us that you’ve taught us a little something about love. For the fears we have when we put our work in your hands and trust you to do something good with it–even if we feel exposed and drafty! You are worth it! Amen!

Can you relate to this? What are some of the costs that come to mind with your blessings? What makes the blessings worth the costs?

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 57:9-10

For friends new to this blog, I post an article on Sundays on themes in the novels: faith, friendship, diversity, etc. “Wednesday’s Word” is a weekly Bible audio clip that rotates between Genesis, Luke and Psalms. Occasionally, I post “Wednesday’s Word to the Free,” a short Bible passage on what it means to be free. Freedom is a very big concern to Timley Mouse, the tiniest character in my novel, Sophie’s Quest.

Notice: Wednesday’s Word is taking a hiatus for the summer. See you in the fall!

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and picture books for children, and occasionally an article or short story for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
This entry was posted in Faith, Life transitions, Sophie's Quest and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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