Life has a way of taking strange turns.
So much has changed for me in the last year and a half. In 2014 I realized a lifelong dream by publishing two books, but it wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as I thought it would be. And that’s not just because the books didn’t sell and the Amazon reviews didn’t pour in. It was because I felt God tugging on my heart, telling me there is something more. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
In 2014 I also lost friends and distanced myself from my writer’s group. Sometimes the people we think will support us the most are the ones who are the first to let us down.
But it was all for the best. It led me to fill my Wednesday nights in another way. God used that to lead me to my church home, and to my forever love. I made new friends, found a niche to serve in many different ways, and when I lost my job of 8 years in March of 2015, it led me to my dream job working for my church in communications and marketing.
Over the last three months I have started preaching in two ministries. It is the fulfillment of God’s promise to me from way back in October of 2006.
Just two weeks ago another dream was fulfilled when I married an amazing man of God and my partner in ministry with a calling so similar to mine it’s scary. I’m sitting here simply amazed.
I’m grateful for all the heartbreak I’ve endured because it brought me to the one person who is a gift directly from God. I can’t believe I was ever willing to settle for anything less.
I’m grateful for the people who let me down, because when those friendships ended it freed me from a lot of negativity and made a way for good people to come into my life who love and support me even when I’m awkward – sometimes, especially when I’m awkward.
I’m grateful for the job that ended. First, because it allowed another, better door to be opened. Second, in those two months between one door closing and the new door opening, it taught me powerful lessons in trusting God with the seemingly impossible. And lastly, my former job prepared me for my ministry in surprising ways.
I’m also grateful my first two published books never got off the ground. My pastor says if you believe a dream for five years it will come true. I’ve been at it for 20 years. I’ve written 10 books. Yet, I only have 4 Amazon reviews and I only made enough money to buy a few Starbuck’s Venti Lattes, which was just enough to make my taxes complicated.
However, all is far from lost. I poured myself into those books, fought through the odds, got up every time I fell, faced heartbreaking rejections, and even suffered public humiliation. For two decades. Through it all, I saw glimpses of the effect of my work on others. Although I wrote fiction, it morphed into a ministry. I saw an atheist stop and consider his beliefs from a new angle, even if just for a second. I’ve had people thank me for putting Angela’s story down because it resonated with their own. People have told me they cried while reading my work, which is the best compliment a writer can receive…it’s even better than an eloquently written review because it means I’ve reached someone’s heart.
Part of me wants to shake my fists at heaven and demand to know why God would give me a desire, walk me through it, encourage me through rejection after rejection, inspire me to create works that are well-received by a few – just enough to give me hope – and then slam the door and tell me to stop.
Yep, that’s right, after 20 years of writing fiction I’m hearing the word “stop” loud and clear. He’s probably been shouting it for a while, but I wasn’t ready to listen until now.
Sometimes, the things we are led to are only for a season. They serve their purpose. I think I’ve been in training for 20 years. Crafting stories taught me so much about myself, my world, and God. Or maybe it was all just to make that one atheist sit back and go “hmmm.” If so, I can’t regret it. Nor can I regret this redirection.
And so, this is a long-winded way of saying that Abigail Easton is retiring. Maybe she’ll pick up the pen and craft some more stories down the road. Maybe she’ll even finish the “Heart of Grace” trilogy one day, but for now it’s time for me to step out from behind the pseudonym and write a non-fiction book that God has placed on my heart, one that will dovetail into my ministry and preaching.
I ask you all to pray for me in this new venture, that God will bless my words and allow me to reach more people with His message of hope and renewal. And I will continue to pray for all of you, that God will show himself to you in a fresh way and that he will spark in you a new dream, giving you the courage and guidance to follow it.
Thank you for your support over the years. Thanks to those of you who bought my books and wrote reviews on Amazon. Thank you for reading this blog and to those of you who have commented. You have no idea how my heart would jump every time I saw that little notification symbol at the top of the screen.
I will keep this blog open, but I will be posting under my new name going forward: Holly Edwards. Thanks and love to all!