goldmedallionI got some exciting news this week. My second full-length, Appalachian novel, Until the Harvest, has been nominated for a 2016 Christian Book Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). One of five novels in the fiction category.

This is wonderful and astonishing news!

On Facebook, there was a flurry of well-wishing that I will confess to wallowing in. Just a little bit. In that flurry, several folks made comments along the lines of, “You deserve it!” or “Well-deserved!”

Which is lovely and kind and to each and every one of those folks I say, “Thank you!”

But a line from the Clint Eastwood movie, Unforgiven, kept running through my mind. In the movie, Clint plays retired outlaw Bill Munny who plans to do one last job to earn enough money to take care of his children. Gene Hackman plays Little Bill Daggett, the sheriff who just wants to retire and build a house but has to deal with these dang outlaws coming into town to avenge a prostitute scarred by a drunk cowboy.

The two Bills are, of course, at cross purposes.

(Spoiler alert.) Outlaw Bill shoots Sheriff Little Bill. But before he does there’s a moment when Clint aims his gun at Gene and Gene says, “I don’t deserve to die like this.” Clint, in the way only he can, answers, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”

And that’s what I kept thinking on Tuesday.

I like to think my hard work, persistence, and talent have earned me a spot on an awards list. But then I look around. And there are SO MANY hard working, persistent, talented writers publishing today. There are even some in that category who haven’t been published, but should be.

No. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.

This is more like an undeserved blessing and maybe even a responsibility. And the question is–what will I do with it? Does God have some bigger plan than a nice pat on the back?

I’m pretty sure he does. (He always does!)

Luke 12:48From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

I’m excited about this honor. And I pray that I’m equipped for whatever God has planned next.