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The Magic: It’s the People

I had a meeting scheduled with a woman to talk about her writing. I’d never met her before. I was stressed and having a rough week, and I’d considered postponing the meeting until a time when I could have more brain space. But it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

So as I was getting ready for the meeting, I prayed that God would show me how I could be a blessing to this writer. But then I realized I could really use some blessing, too. (Rough week, remember.) So I prayed something I usually don’t: Let her be a blessing to me, too.

When I got to the meeting and sat down and we started talking, I immediately felt a kinship with her. I was fascinated by her story, loved her writing, really heard her heart. We started finding little connections between us—small things, but significant.

She told me she liked the writing in my blogs, which I found amazing—I’d really needed to hear it because the book project I’d been working on had convinced me I’m a terrible writer. Her comment gave my confidence a badly needed boost. I told her I thought the same of her talents, that I was impressed with her writing and would consider it a privilege to work with her.

We talked a long time and when I had to leave, I didn’t want to.

I told her that she’d been a blessing to me, and that I had specifically prayed for that because I’d really needed it. She told me she’d been discussing our upcoming meeting with a friend, and the last thing her friend had said on the phone was, “Be a blessing to her.” (That is, to me.) Wow.

That’s the magic. It’s when I get to meet people like this, writers who bless my life regardless of what business we ever do (or not). It’s when we know we’ve met for reasons beyond us and bigger than us. It’s when we know this is a relationship business, but the business is secondary. The magic of this business is the people, and our God who brings us together.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

26 Comments

  1. Gina Conroy on April 29, 2008 at 4:01 PM

    >After a long day of tedious editing and questioning why in the world I put myself through this writing torture and self doubt, you reminded me it’s partly because of the people, the wonderful community of writers and the blessing they’ve been in my life!



  2. Misti Sandefur, Novelist/Freelance Writer on April 10, 2008 at 5:34 AM

    >”She told me she’d been discussing our upcoming meeting with a friend, and the last thing her friend had said on the phone was, “Be a blessing to her.” This just proves God does work in mysterious ways. 🙂



  3. Rachelle on April 9, 2008 at 9:19 PM

    >THANKS everyone for your kind comments. You are all a blessing to me.



  4. Melanie on April 9, 2008 at 9:11 PM

    >Borrowing a phrase from C.S. Lewis, what a great patch of God light, both your experience, and the fact that you shared.

    You shine a light daily. You are a blessing.

    Melanie



  5. Debbie on April 9, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    >Rachelle,

    I’m with Matthew and Katy! They nailed it.

    After a longggg day, I almost skipped reading your blog tonight. I am SO glad I didn’t. Your prayer, your blog, your LIFE is a blessing to all of us.

    Debbie



  6. cballan on April 9, 2008 at 5:36 PM

    >I’m loosely paraphrasing here, but my daughter received this quote (I think by Oswald Chambers) from her youth minister years ago:

    We’re born into this world and we may never know to whose prayer our life is the answer.



  7. Rebecca LuElla Miller on April 9, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    >I love that God went before you and answered your prayer even before you asked by having that woman’s friend counsel her to be a blessing to you.

    What an amazing God we have!

    Thanks for giving us one more evidence of His gracious, sustaining love.

    Becky



  8. Heather@Mommymonk on April 9, 2008 at 1:08 PM

    >Such great comments here today. Don’t we all need to be reminded that our passion to write is for a reason (and it isn’t the business). We’re in this because we love people.

    Didn’t you once say, “Editors are people too”? I want to have the heart of your new writer-to seek for the opportunity to be a blessing to whoever crosses my path.



  9. R4C on April 9, 2008 at 12:21 PM

    >Rachelle, I love it when a God plan comes together. Your post gave me chills.

    Pam, I have struggled with that envy thing too. I have been writing for decades (even longer but we won’t talk about that) and a man I worked with in ministry decided to write a book. I knew he had the platform (our shared ministry) and immediately I got very jealous. Not fair.. I thought. I really struggled with that and asked God to help me with my jealously. I hate that. After several attempts to write the book (and miserably, God love him) he asked me to ghost write it. I know I didn’t deserve that at all after my awful thoughts about his writing. I was glad he finally realized he needed help though.

    Dealing with that green eyed bug is an on-going struggle that only lots of grace and mercy will help us overcome.



  10. Myra Johnson on April 9, 2008 at 10:21 AM

    >Sorry, I goofed and had to start over. Just wanted to say your post reminded me of my experiences at the 2007 ACFW Conference, a time when I really needed some encouragement and God provided. Also, the subject of “divine connections” happens to be today’s topic over in Seekerville



  11. Robbie Iobst on April 9, 2008 at 10:13 AM

    >Rachelle, Yesterday someone told me that they pray each day, “Father, make me an answer to someone’s prayer.” I love that! When we humble ourselve before our Lord and just be who we are, He uses us in each other’s lives in a beautiful tapestry kinda way. Love it! Thank you for your blog!



  12. Melissa Marsh on April 9, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    >As my mom would say, your meeting was “definitely a God thing.” I’m so glad you were able to bless each other in just the right way. 🙂



  13. Matthew C Jones on April 9, 2008 at 9:27 AM

    >Rachelle,

    I imagine it’s becoming clear to you from all of the posts above just how much of a blessing you are to all of us. And I would venture to say that it’s not the wealth of insight into publishing that draws us, it’s the fact that you make yourself so transparent and real that you’re easy to trust and fun to hang with.

    So, get it in your spirit: you are a blessing! God likes you and favors you highly and so do we.

    Grace to you,
    Matt



  14. LAUREN at Faith Fuel on April 9, 2008 at 8:54 AM

    >I so understand what happened to you in that meeting with the writer. I just got back from speaking at a women’s retreat, and the two weeks leading up to it had been a draining, stressful time for me. Somehow, God made it so that I poured my heart out to the women, didn’t sleep a wink the two nights I was there, and yet I came home refreshed, smiling, and ready to tackle another mountain.



  15. Katy McKenna on April 9, 2008 at 8:44 AM

    >Rachelle–It has NEVER occurred to me to ask that another person would be a blessing to me, but I sense God’s anointing all over your prayer. I am going to begin praying it myself. It sure beats, “Lord, I pray so-and-so would drain the life right out of me…” Ha.

    You are a joy!

    Katy McKenna http://www.fallible.com



  16. XDPaul on April 9, 2008 at 8:28 AM

    >I’m so glad to hear this story, and hope the blessings go on and ever on.

    I would say one thing though: consider asking for blessings as regularly as you ask to be a blessing. God welcomes, and rewards, that sort of well-placed greed. [I hope it goes without saying, but I don’t mean this in “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” sort of way. I’m talking about the same thing you are: blessings to the spirit.]



  17. Pam Halter on April 9, 2008 at 7:32 AM

    >Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been burdened lately with the fact that we Christian writers are in competition with each other. When friends and strangers announce they got a contract, what’s the first thing we feel? Envy.

    This should not be. I think we should celebrate every accomplishment our brothers and sisters have.

    God is, indeed, good … no matter what happens. Whether we get blessed or not today. It’s more blessed to give, right? Let’s all bless someone today!



  18. Richard Mabry on April 9, 2008 at 7:18 AM

    >Rachelle,
    Thanks for sharing this story. I’ve become acutely aware of the “divine appointments” that dot my life. They are a part of the way God blesses us in unexpected ways and uses us to do the same for others. It’s good to be reminded.

    Your blog is a daily “must-read” for a lot of folks. We probably need to tell you more often how you not only educate us and inspire us–you bless us.



  19. Tiffany Stuart on April 9, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    >I loved reading this post. So glad you felt blessed by a new writer relationship after a hard week. You need encouragement just like you give to us. You need to know you have many gifts and you are using them every day to bless others. God is blessing you back with HIS magic.

    I pray for you, Rachelle.



  20. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 at 6:24 AM

    >Awesome. God is awesome and he works mysteriously. When I decided to visit this blog site I had never been on a blog site nor did I know much about it or the publishing business. But now every day I get on this blog site and every day I learn something, I grow and I am inspired in some way. I have asked God to make me a blessing to others and I hope and pray that I have been because so many others have been a blessing to me. It is a beautiful cycle and one that I will always remain a part of. To God be the Glory.

    Sincerely,
    Rhonda(Rkh)



  21. Catherine West on April 9, 2008 at 5:52 AM

    >This is very true. God has a really neat way of connecting us with the right people at the right time, whether we know we need them or not.
    Sometimes we don’t see His purpose right away, but looking back I can see so clearly all the wonderful people He’s used to encourage, strengthen and draw me closer to Him over the years. I think all of us in the Christian writing industry feel that kinship because of who we are in Him.
    Interesting side thought though- I don’t think I’ve ever asked to be a blessing to anyone. But maybe He has used me in ways I don’t know about. That would be cool.
    He is an awesome God!



  22. Catherine Downen on April 9, 2008 at 5:09 AM

    >Amen! God is so good. He knows our needs and offers encouragement at just the right times. Rachelle, I’ve been so encouraged and blessed by your blog. I’m learning a lot, but I’m also just enjoying the feeling of connection to the writing community. As you say in today’s blog post, “The magic of this business is the people, and our God who brings us together.” I feel that is happening within the community forming around your blog, and I’m thankful for and blessed by it.



  23. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 at 4:45 AM

    >Still anonymous from above. I wanted to add that I have been dealing with a chronic health issue that has flared, and trying to do so with spotty prayer and steely resolve. Just coming out and saying, as I did in my typed prayer, “I’m tired Lord; I need a blessing today” felt healing. It felt good.

    That, specifically, is what I was trying not-very-articulately to thank you for, Rachelle. 🙂



  24. Anonymous on April 9, 2008 at 4:29 AM

    >Rachelle,

    I’d like to thank you for reminding me that, as God’s child, I can ask for and receive forgiveness, but I can also cast my cares, every one, on Him and ask for help (a “blessing”, in your eloquent words).

    I forget that a lot. I cower. I beg for forgiveness. I wallow in my shortcomings, in all the reasons why I can’t accept or don’t deserve the blessing, as if I could earn it anyway, as if it isn’t freely given.

    Not today though. A writer, I sometimes type my prayers. Yes, crazy…I know. Today I typed God for a blessing after reading your blog, and I know I shall receive it in some small (or even big, who knows) way. I’m excited about this day now, because I’m on the lookout not only to be a blessing but to receive one.

    Thank you for your powerful and timely words. Thank you for reminding me of who I am in Christ.

    God bless YOU today, as well.



  25. Kim Kasch on April 9, 2008 at 1:18 AM

    >Like Patrick Swayze said in Ghost, “Ditto.” I enjoy your blog so much – it’s addictive.

    And I always tell my kids, it’s only the relationships we make that matter.



  26. julie on April 9, 2008 at 12:36 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    Your blog is part of the magic for me. Through it, I feel I’ve gained access to something very special. Your honesty, insights, contests, encouragement–as well as the interesting and informative comments of others–have blessed my life. Thanks.

    Oh, by the way, have you ever shared who your favorite Idol contestant is? I have two faves: David (Archuleta) and Brooke.

    Julie Johnson



I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

I sell. I negotiate. I coach. I brainstorm.

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