The “glamorous” writing life is usually very mundane—spending long hours alone in my office staring at a computer screen. Even when I’m not in my office, I continue to fret over my plot and characters, trying to dream up fresh ideas and themes and ways to tell readers about God’s love. It’s hard work and I enjoy it, but I seldom receive feedback for my daily labor. And the long-term results are often invisible and intangible.
But for the past week, God has graciously allowed me to see and savor some of the fruit of my writing. I’ve just returned home from a tour in the Netherlands to promote my new non-fiction book “Pilgrimage; My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked.” I traveled to ten bookstores in cities all across Holland to share my personal story about a time of spiritual dryness in my life and how I found renewal on a pilgrimage to Israel. I met so many women who could identify with my story, and who longed for renewed closeness with God. And I was blessed to discover that my book offered them hope.
My busy schedule included interviews with a newspaper, a women’s magazine, and a Christian TV program. But what blessed me the most was the warm reception I received from readers of all ages. They told of the many hours of enjoyment they’ve had reading my books; how the books have taken them to other times and places; and how they’ve learned about God and themselves from reading them. Several people had tears in their eyes as they told me how my stories changed their lives.
I’m sure I had a look of stunned surprise on my face as I signed books and talked with readers in each beautiful Dutch city. It never occurred to me when I began writing 30 years ago that my books would be translated into other languages and enjoyed by readers in such diverse places as Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, Germany, and the Netherlands. But God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Now, after a long trans-Atlantic flight through seven time zones, I’m back at my desk, alone with my computer once again. No more lovely meals and gracious welcomes and thankful readers. I’ve returned to a snowy Chicago winter after enjoying springtime in the Netherlands with green grass and blooming daffodils and crocuses. But what an encouragement to know that my labor in the Lord has not been in vain! I’ve been reminded once again that God has given me this gift of words so I can share His love and grace with readers all around the world.
I know we’ll receive a reward in heaven someday for the work we’ve done here on earth, but this week I’ve already had a taste of that reward. So, to all my new friends in the Netherlands, thank you for blessing me beyond measure.