by B.J. Young
On my tenth birthday, my grandmother gave me a gift I still hold in my hands, fifty years later. She gave me my first book. The rose colored cover is now tattered and discolored. The title, Heidi, is barely legible.
The old gift is worth $8.99 on E-bay, it’s priceless to me.
For a little girl who had very few friends and lived in a low income home with no television, my new book was a treasure. I read it at least a dozen times in the next few years, and Heidi became a cherished friend, one who took me away from my tiny world and introduced me to a vast new one I dreamed of experiencing.
In the years after 1962, Grandma used the wages she earned as a cook, to buy me a whole collection of the classics. When she gave Little Women to me, she said, “Maybe you’ll grow up to be like Jo.” You may remember, Jo was the sister who became a writer.
Over the past fifty years, I’ve read hundreds of other books. Many were best sellers written by extraordinary writers. But the ones that impacted my life the most, were the ones that did not become best sellers. It was as if they were written, just for me.
As a teenager, I read Not My Will and recognized the importance of seeking God’s will for my life. As a young mother, I read A Lantern in Her Hand and wept as Abby gave up all her dreams, only to see them come true through her children. As a stressed out mother of teenagers, I read The Blessing, and recognized the truly important things I could give my children.
Three years ago, after almost forty years as a nurse and writer of journals, I began to feel “a need” to write for publication. I purchased and read every “how to write” book I could find, and I learned a lot. But, when I put my fingers on my computer to write my first story, my prayer was not to write a flawlessly, it was for God to use the words I would write to make a positive impact on just one person’s life.
This past December, I had the honor of having one of my stories published in Guidepost magazine. Soon after that, the story was picked up by the Huffington Post. In the comments that followed the story, I saw my prayer answered in an extraordinary way.
As I reflect back on my life, I recognize God’s faithfulness to me. Not only has He blessed me tremendously, but He’s been my strength during the difficult times of life. He has taught me some valuable lessons, and I write today, to share those with others.
I pray now, that my debut novel, A Portrait of Dawn, will touch someone’s life…like Heidi touched mine.
©2013 B. J. Young
Brenda Young is a retired nurse whose writing reflects her life as a child of God. She writes devotional and health columns for two magazines and is a contributing writer to Guidepost and Angels on Earth magazines. Her writing can be found in Love Is a Verb Devotions and Falling in Love with You. She and her husband live in Ohio, where she enjoys her children and grandchildren. Her debut novel, A Portrait of Dawn was published in February and she is working on its sequel.