|With two of my CPs at the ACFW Awards Gala|
Well…I’m back, friends. Back from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Indiana, and then visiting friends in New Mexico and Arizona, with a good bit of research and learning along the way.
It’s been an eventful week. My novel Beneath a Turquoise Sky received the Genesis Award for the Historical category at the ACFW conference this past weekend in Indianapolis. It was a huge and humbling honor to be among all the wonderful finalists in nine different categories, to sit with two of my three beloved critique partners at the formal black and white candlelit table, and then, amazingly, to hear my name and title called and walk trembling up to the red and white curtained stage to receive the plaque and rosebud and give my acceptance speech. Then all the congratulations afterward, hugs from those who know and love me, handshakes from many I’d never met before or only knew from afar. Hugging and celebrating with my agent and critique partners.
It was all rather surreal.
Little did I know when, four and a half years ago, the Lord put three characters in my head—a young woman going west to teach at a Navajo mission school, the opinionated young reverend in charge, and a young man seeking, against much opposition, to follow Jesus within his God-given Navajo identity—that His path for this story and me would lead me here. And I know the journey is far from over—I am still unpublished, and not all Genesis winners even go on to publication. But I am very thankful . . . not just for the joy and affirmation for me as a writer, but even more for my story.
Because this story is not really mine—it belongs to so many others, without whom I could not have written it. It is the story of the Diné, the Navajo people and their children who were put into boarding schools and often greatly hurt in the process. It belongs to those who were told they had to change who they were in order for God to love them. It seeks to tell a few of the often untold stories of the host peoples of this land.
Most of all, it belongs to Jesus, whose heart is for all nations on earth to know and be healed and redeemed by Him, through whom alone the walls of hurt and misunderstanding between cultures and peoples can be broken down and bridges of reconciliation built. The One who is truly “The Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in His wings.”
To Him be all the glory.