Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
There’s something about growing that makes you want to go back to your roots.
God has blessed me with a lot of opportunities to grow in the last few years, and part of me feels like it’s all culminating in the next few weeks. Far Below Human Eyes hits bookstores on Tuesday, the 27th! Soccer tryouts are the same day. Prom is tonight, graduation is the end of May. It’s crazy to see so much changing in such a short period of time.
I’m so excited to celebrate the release of Far Below Human Eyes, but before I recognize the accomplishment, I knew I needed to go back and understand why I’m here. Because I think it hinges on one reason.
But before I tell you that reason, I wanted to share something very dear to my heart with you. I wanted to show you what my very first draft of Far Below Human Eyes looks like.
Keep in mind, I was 12 when I wrote this. The structure is a disaster, numerous words are misspelled, and the names for many things have changed. For instance, I didn’t have a name for the town at the time, so I just called it The Thing. Real, creative, I know.
But I want you to recognize how humbly Far Below Human Eyes began to fully understand the reason it made it to bookstores. So here is a sample of the beginning for you:) (also, I didn’t really know what brandy was when I was 12, so just skip over that part eheheheheee).
Harold’s alarm had strung three notes before he pounced out of his bed, ready for the exiting day that lay ahead of him.
His senses were keen that morning, despite his constant allergies. He could smell baked mushrooms, dew-washed berries, soft-n-roasted corn kernels, Acorn petites, and just faintly he could smell the slightest hint of wheat-brandy brewing. All these wonderful smells were wafting from the academy kitchen. Harold had been living there all his life; It was really all he knew.
Harold pulled himself out of his not-so-comfortable bed, and began ruffling his bright green hair. Today was a very big day, he must look his best.
Pulling on his better emrald cloak and acorn helmet, he gazed around his dormitory. Some boys had already left, and still some were snoozing. Harold’s best friend, Carnis, was amonge them. With an annoyed “thunk,” Harold knocked Carnis’ head with his swordsman stick. Carnis woke in confusion.
“Carnis, up already. It’s riding day! You know, when we all try out our first dragonflies?” Harold was very excited about picking his first dragonfly. He had been since the day he arrived. It had really been the only thing he had been exited about when he arrived. His family had ditched him, and there wasn’t much more to do with it than that.
“Oh…Ugghh…” Carnis didn’t share Harold’s enthusiazm. “Where did you see… Oh, here.” Carnis reached for his green cloak. It was tied in a knot under his bed. Carnis was an untidy person under every sircomstance.
“I’m going for breakfast, care to join?” Harold’s patience was very thin that morning.
“Oh, Alright, then! Hold on a sec. I don’t want to look like a decrepid snail going to training, now do I?”
Carnis strained for his reed-sewn boots. They were a typical brown, while Harold’s were a beautiful green. He always envied Harold in that way.
Despite waking up early, it really was a beautiful morning. The rising sun glinted on the little green houses made of sticks and grass that lined the pond’s banks. A deer that looked to be the size of a mountain galloped east across the fields. You might have noticed now, but Harold and the whole villiage of The Thing were…erm…of unusual size. Let’s say…er…small.
And yes, the villiage is called The Thing. The Thing’s finest academy for Young & Small learners was where Harold and Carnis lived.
Pretty rough, I know! I laugh every time I read it. But it reminds me of the reason it’s come so far from being so low.
When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to get published. It was my dream. I pretended I was an author, told stories all the time, even made little paper books with “Written and illustrated by Annabelle Healy” on the front.
I remember praying that I would get published every night. Getting on my knees and begging God to speed up the process. “It would be so cool,” I reasoned, looking up at the ceiling before I went to bed. “God, surely you understand.”
But my story stayed stagnant. I didn’t get a publishing deal, I didn’t find an agent, and not many people were interested in Harold and Swiftless at the time.
I became frustrated with God. “Come on, God. I know Harold’s story needs to be heard. Don’t you want me to be successful? Please, please, please.”
As I started high school, my prayers to God weren’t quite so selfish, but they were still motivated by a relentless selfishness that consumed me. I wanted to get published for me. I wanted to be successful at a young age for me. I put all my hopes and dreams into that one fantasy, the fantasy of being an author.
The older I got, the more rejection I faced. At the time, I was just frustrated. But I didn’t see that God was teaching me a lesson.
Finally, when I was 16, I was ready to submit to a formal publisher. But from experience, I knew the chances for rejection again were high.
I remember thinking back on my writing journey then. I don’t know what caused me to think back on the years, on what wasn’t working, but I did. And God showed me how selfish I was.
Everything I did was for me. Every word I wrote was for me. Everything I worked towards was in pursuit of my dream and my success.
And I stopped and got on my knees.
“God, thank you for bringing me so far. You know how much I want to be an author. I think I’ve made it pretty clear. But–“
And these were some of the hardest words I’ve ever prayed–
“But, if it’s not your will for me to be an author, don’t let me be one. Let your will be done. And if it is, I’ll be super happy and excited. But if I’m not supposed to be an author, help me to be okay with that.”
I sent off Far Below Human Eyes and a few weeks later, I received an email saying I was accepted into Morgan James Publishing. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
You see, the only reason Far Below Human Eyes is going to be in bookstores is because of God! I can’t stress this enough. He blessed me with the ability to write, the love to write. He helped me persevere through rejection. He opened my eyes to how selfish I was and still am. He forgives me every day. And He is the reason I’ve come so far.
If you want something, give it to God. He knows how much you want it. But He also knows how much you need it, and sometimes, those are entirely different things.
This week, when Far Below Human Eyes finally joins the ranks on bookshelves nationwide, I know the true reason I’m here.
Psalm 98:4 ~ “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!”
We are children of God before we are anything else. And when we realize that, big things happen.
This song helps me to realign my heart with God’s plan. “Thy will be done.” Always + forever.