Last Thursday night, I had the honor of going to an event called "An Evening with Karen Kingsbury" at a local civic center. It was hosted by Journey of Sisters, a new ministry to my area that seems to really be taking off.
Karen Kingsbury, multi-pubbed and award-winning author, was the guest speaker and all I can say is wow. I've always loved Karen's books, and hearing her speak was like reading one of her novels - we laughed, we cried, we smiled, we sniffed, we wrung out our tear-soaked shirts... not really exaggerating. I actually did have tears soaking my necklace (leather cord) and dripping down my arms. It wasn't depressing though, it was inspiring, and encouraging, and relatable. I wish I could quote for you her entire speech but instead, here's a truth that has stayed with me.
"God is still God. He is the Hero of our story--even if this chapter isn't looking good."
In my life right now, I am SO there. With my mother in law's situation not changing, and my husband still not having a full time job or benefits/insurance for our family, with me not entirely sure how our bills will be paid next month, etc. - this chapter isn't looking good. But God is STILL God. He is still my hero and I will NOT believe otherwise.
Here are some pics from the event...Karen's family came with her, and her son, who recently decided he felt led to music ministry, sang for us. So talented!
Here's a fun surprise - after the event, Karen stood in the corner to say hi and sign books. The line was SO long, I mean....LONG. I figured it'd be an hour at least, and I really wanted to meet her but me and my mom debated...finally, we agreed to give it a try and ended up waiting over an hour, but guess what? An old friend of my mom's came over to visit for a minute, and mentioned my books while standing there. She left and a few minutes later, the young couple in line behind us said "Are you Betsy St. Amant?" She had just been given a copy of RETURN TO LOVE for Christmas by her husband, who, small world, works with one of my friends from church and heard about my books, and bought it for her. They were so fun to talk to! They asked all kinds of questions about books and writing and we had a great discussion. Yay for new friends, and how humbling and amazing it was to find fans of my own in line to meet such a literary hero! God is so cool ;)
So finally I got to meet Karen, and she autographed a children's book that my mom bought for my Little Miss. (who won't get to read it for another year at least so she doesn't mess it up! lol) and got to visit for a minute.
THEN...my mom, as Karen autographed another children's book for my sister, mentioned my sister was in the hospital for early contractions (she's okay and home now on bedrest) and Karen just looked at us and said "Let's just pray for her. Right now. Is that okay?" She took our hands and prayed for my sister and her baby right then and there, even with several people in line behind us. So powerful! Such a moving moment.
THEN, another awe-moment...I had my newest release, RODEO SWEETHEART, in my purse. Still not sure why I stuck it in there, but I did. And while we were waiting in line, I felt impressed to autograph it to Karen, thanking her for being an inspiration to me in my writing career. I hesitated, because I didn't want it to come off as prideful or self-promoting or anything ugly. After she prayed, though, I knew I had to do it. I said "I know this is really unconventional, but I write for Steeple Hill, and felt led to give this to you." I handed it to her, and her face lights up and I said "I signed it thanking you for being an inspiration to me in my writing journey. I grew up reading your books and Robin Jones Gunn and that's what helped encourage me to start writing one day." Karen was about to tear up and her daughter, who came to help sell books and was standing back taking photos for Karen's website, said "OH WOW" and Karen just gave me this huge hug. It was such a special moment! She then told me she'd treasure it forever. I'm tearing up just remembering =) What a God-thing! I'm so glad I listened and obeyed that little voice!