Estimated reading time: 4 minutes:-)
Eight days ago, I finished writing the Far Below Human Eyes series. I wrote the last word in the fifth book (yes, there are five), closed my computer, and cried.
Closing that computer for the last time on that story was more than just shutting down a laptop—it was closing a chapter in a my life, closing the story of my childhood, ending a major narrative that had guided me through puberty, high school, and my teenage years.
Right after I finished writing it, I wrote how I was feeling (as is the way I process everything). I decided to share it with you this morning (don’t worry, I deleted a bunch of it so you wouldn’t get any spoilers:-). Maybe one day, I’ll be able to share the original text, after you’ve read all five of the books, but that day has yet to come. So for now, here are my slightly edited confessions after finishing Far Below Human Eyes:
“I just finished writing the Far Below Human Eyes series about three minutes ago.
It feels so surreal. The story I’ve been working on for nearly six years, the story that has helped me grow up and shaped my life for all my teenage years is finally over. What are you supposed to feel when you finish a project you’ve been working on for literally 2,190 days? 26,280 hours? 1,576,800 minutes?
What do you say to the characters that have helped you get through the most difficult times? What do you say to the setting that made you feel like home when sometimes your earthly home felt foreign?
I don’t know. I don’t think there is anything right to say or think—it’s too big of a thing for me to process anyway.
But I want to take a moment and write down all the things God has worked through the last six years as I’ve written this series. How many times he’s opened my eyes to the truth, shown me little miracles along the way.
I started Far Below Human Eyes when I was twelve, and I named my main character Harold.
I don’t know why. I didn’t know any Harolds, didn’t particularly like the name, either. I never read a book with a character named Harold. The closest I can think of is Harry Potter. But who names their main character Harold?
But here’s the thing. I’ve always known I wanted to make Harold a Christ character, a figure that represents Jesus, because Jesus has flipped my life upside down and given everything I do purpose and meaning by saving me. I wanted to tell his story. But I still didn’t understand why my Christ character’s name was Harold.
Until I wrote the very ending to the Far Below Human Eyes series.
I don’t know what motivated me to look up the meaning of Harold then, and not another time, but I did.
And Harold means “ruler.” “King.” “Brightness.”
This is something I can’t explain. I can’t explain why the meaning of Harold’s name, randomly chosen and given, relates to Jesus. But I know God intended it all along.
I remember I used to do a lot of plotting in the shower. I would plan out some plot points before I jotted them down as I shampooed my hair, because—I don’t know, I had the time. I remember one time, when I was writing the second book, having this feeling like my story was failing. Like I wasn’t doing well enough, that I would never get published, that it was all falling apart.
Then, as I was writing this scene with Harold crying (much like how I felt at the time), I heard this voice whisper over me.
It is enough.
And I put that in the story because it brought me so much comfort. I can’t explain it—it was God. God telling me not only that my story was good enough, that I should keep going, but also giving me the next thing to say in my story.
And that second book became the only book to win a gold medal from the Scholastic competitions. It was enough.
Later, when I was writing the fifth book, a similar feeling assaulted me. I told myself this last book would fail, it wouldn’t be as good as the others, it wouldn’t work. I would be too rushed, I wouldn’t be able to finish it in time. After all, I only had a month to write over 45,000 words. But again, God whispered over me.
It is well.
And I was reminded that no matter what happens, it is well. I was writing some pretty emotional scenes in book five at the time, and they were taking a toll on my mental state. I felt heavy, but God reminded me, it is well. And I put that in my story. It is well.
I could go on and on testifying to God’s faithfulness in this incredible journey. Becoming an author at 17 and being able to share my faith with people worldwide. Getting to share my testimony on my website and tell news anchors that I was baptized or that God’s hand has been guiding this whole process.
Far Below Human Eyes isn’t just a story about Jesus. It is a story guided by Jesus. And I can’t believe it’s finished.”
It’s bittersweet. I’m going to miss riding with Harold on Swiftless and sailing through the sky. I’m going to miss writing the intense battle scenes and the racing scenes and the dormitory scenes. I’m going to miss Galidemus and the pond. But I also know there are so many stories ahead of me.
And I can’t wait for God to show me my next mission. Who knows? Maybe this next adventure could be even more thrilling, even more heart wrenching and profound and fun! I trust God knows what he’s doing with the ideas he gives me:-)
So here’s to a new season and a new story—always guided by Jesus.