I’m delighted to be a part of Tricia’s work with Walk It Out. She writes so many truths within her book. One resonated with me and that is what I’d like share here: You never know what God has in store. Simply trust him.
In December 2008, I was severely injured. For a time, slowly moving from my bed to an armchair then back to bed was the most I did in a day. I could not define myself as I had for years, I barely recognized myself. I could no longer run with my husband, play tennis with my son, study tae kwon do with my daughters, volunteer, drive carpool, fix meals, work as freelance marketing consultant . . . I had always moved fast and done much . . . Then one day, I faced months filled with pain, slow movement, books and prayer time.
Three months into recovery, and having read about sixty books in that armchair, a character came to me. She had a voice, anger, fear, issues and she wanted to be heard. God made it very clear I was to write her story. I had no experience in novel writing. I had no experience in fiction writing. But, with prayer, I began.
Eighteen months later, I titled my manuscript Dear Mr. Knightley and started querying agents (sending pleading letters to agents). In the following months, I received over thirty rejections and began to suspect God wanted the story for me, not for publication. After all, I had learned something in the process. I had grown. The moment I reconciled myself to that idea, a small publishing house offered to buy it.
The risk seemed low. As I printed the contract, my inbox beeped with an email from a writers group. I opened it and found my picture staring back at me (a random galley shot taken a year earlier at a conference) under the headline “Why You Need An Agent.” I’m not kidding. I immediately wrote the head of the group and asked if I needed an agent, basically demanding an answer as he’d used my picture and that was my exact predicament. He wrote back immediately that an agent was necessary. He didn’t recommend signing any contract without one.
But who? Almost forty agents had turned me down. I went to my bookshelves and pulled down books I admired. In the acknowledgments, one agency’s name turned up in three books out of ten. I looked up the website, saw a man’s picture, and clearly heard God say, “That’s your agent.” But the website said, not to call, to write a query and patiently wait — six to eight weeks. I didn’t have six to eight weeks. I had a contract with a deadline. So I called — and left a three-minute frenetic, highly embarrassing, message.
I was shocked when he called me back, and humiliated when I couldn’t answer any question.
Lee: “Give me your elevator pitch.”
Me: “What’s an elevator pitch?”
Lee: “Give me your story in three minutes.”
Me: “It’s complicated. Can I have ten?”
After what I am sure for Lee was a very frustrating half-hour, he closed with “I’m not taking you on, but I will help you out. Send me the manuscript and the contract and I’ll call back Monday with my best advice.”
Monday came with no word. Tuesday too. I didn’t have the emotional fortitude to pursue other agents so, on Wednesday, I planned to sign the contract. That morning, a one-line email arrived:
Don’t sign the contract. I’ll call tomorrow . . . Lee
The next day, Lee opened with “Where have you been?” To which I replied, “Right here.” We talked for over an hour, he agreed to represent me, and he walked me through how to write a proposal. We then met two weeks later in Dallas, proposal in hand, to pitch Dear Mr. Knightley to anyone who would listen. He sold it a month after that to HarperCollin’s Thomas Nelson imprint, along with two subsequent novels.
The story is extraordinary because I had little to do with it. God made his presence known every step of the way and in such ways that I can never seize credit — for almost at every step, I did the wrong rather than the right thing. The story, however, doesn’t end there. God doubled down on his love and grace when he gave me Lee for an agent. Lee was not just any agent, or any man. He was one of the most Christ-like men I’ve ever known. In the year we knew other, before he died of cancer, Lee taught me not only how to navigate book writing and publishing, but how to be a more loving and considerate person.
On days when I get caught up in my own problems, irritations and little frustrations, I cast back to this time and I remember. I remember God’s extravagant love — and his sense of humor — and I trust in him.
Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…
She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.
The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.
More about Walk it Out
What Happens When We Read God’s Word and Actually Do What it Says?
Bestselling Author Tricia Goyer demonstrates the powerful work God accomplishes if we are willing to step out in obedience to Biblical commands and His quiet urgings, no matter our fears or feelings of inadequacy.
Walk It Out illustrates the real-life results of listening to the Scriptural mandates such as care for the orphan, serve the poor, go into the world to spread the gospel, and love others of all races. The author’s journey, from accepting Christ’s forgiveness and telling her story of redemption to answering the call to adopt seven children when she least expected, is filled with the exhilarating, radical, unexpected life that we experience when we walk into God’s plans for us.
“I neither planned or expected any of this—from the ten kids to the stamped-up passport. I didn’t accomplish these things by making a list and checking it off. They happened as I took steps of faith to follow God’s directives.” ~Tricia Goyer