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©2018 by Janna Barber

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Grace: An Invitation

Updated: Apr 27, 2019



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 everyday, without losing it 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.

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