Many people assume I am a “successful” author simply because I am published by a traditional, well-known and respected publishing company. What they don’t realize is that I am not a bestselling author; I do not get a huge audience for my books; and I’ve never won any accolades or awards from the Catholic publishing industry.
Even more, I am struggling to find the right “home” for three of my finished manuscripts, two of which have been completed within the last year. So far I’ve been “rejected” by 5 publishing companies.
All the while, I battle deep and serious doubts about this call to write. I know so many authors now who are soaring and sailing to new heights, many of whom are (deservedly) receiving high achievements and bestselling statuses. Some have landed their own radio shows or TV appearances on Shalom, EWTN, and the like. They travel across the country to speak to audiences exceeding thousands.
So when nothing like this transpires for me, I get discouraged. Then I unexpectedly received an invitation to speak to a Daughters of Isabelle Circle in Elkhart this past April. Very pregnant at the time and on the cusp of a major move out of town, I accepted. I knew it was a small group, but I was delighted and truly filled with joy to be invited.
And God, of course, did not disappoint. After my talk was completed, every one of the women who attended had very honest, encouraging, and affirming words to say about my writing and speaking. Each bought at least one book of mine. I was floored! Such a small group, and yet they all rallied with me for a shower of support I did not expect.
One woman approached me in tears, stating that she realized she “needed to be at the talk” that night because of a serious prenatal diagnosis she had only recently received. Again, I marveled at God’s ways and His providence at something I could never foresee or plan.
My plans were foiled, but His were fulfilled. As I drove home that evening, I pondered in amazement how powerful God can be in such a small group of faithful and faith-filled women. Quizzically, I wondered why He chose me to be His instrument that evening, but I was flooded with unsurpassed peace and joy as I thanked Him for my oasis in the midst of a very dry spell of doubt.
Sometimes, I am learning, the biggest impact we make in the world happens in very small, invisible, and often unacknowledged increments of encounter. My dream has been to become a bestselling Catholic author and well-sought speaker. God’s dream just may be different than mine, but it is infinitely better. Why? Because I am able to reach people one-on-one. That individual connection makes the relationships so enriching and worthwhile.
Despite the fact that people tell me how much my writing has inspired, encouraged, or renewed their hope in God, I am always, by far, more humbled and touched by their words and by the power of how God continues to choose me in my incredible weakness for the greater good of souls and for His glory.
Here was the testimonial from Vicki Kalil, Daughters of Isabella circle member who invited me to speak about the gift of generosity and generativity:
Jeannie has a way of connecting with all those that are present. From her own personal experience, she helps us understand the joys and sorrows of this life. But most important helps us know how to cope with those sorrows and turn them into joy. She allows the Holy Spirit to work through her, therefore creating an opportunity for others to understand how God is always present with us in ALL things.Jeannie spoke to our group on The Gift of Generosity. She shared her own journey to acceptance of the generosity of others and encouraged us not to deny others the ability to be generous to us. That requires great humility from us. Her talk included many new approaches to generosity, that I had not considered. Her words will challenge me to be aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit and surrender to His timing. I hope to also look inside for any indication of judgement as I consent to being generous to others.Jeannie was very organized and included a Power Point of her talk. She was prompt and prepared when she arrived. She is gifted in speaking to everyday people on our daily walk with the Lord.