Thursday, March 14, 2019

Surrendering Our Loaves and Fishes

I'm pleased to introduce you to Cheryll Snow today! Cheryll's debut novel Sea Horses recently released, and as you'll see below, the cover is just gorgeous. I hope you'll be inspired by her insight into the account of Jesus feeding the 5000. (See John 6 if you'd like to read the account first.) 
  

by Cheryll Snow
Most Christians have read the story of the loaves and the fishes. In sermons and Bible studies, the emphasis is usually on the miracle itself – how five loaves of bread and two fishes could feed a multitude of people. If you read closely, it says the people were not just fed but full, and that twelve baskets of leftovers were collected.

Imagine! An amazing story, to be sure. But I’ve always wondered about the person or persons who gave up their lunch.

Who are you talking about, you ask? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. It only refers to the giver as “a boy.” But I think it’s an integral part of the story. The boy who donated his food had to have known it wouldn’t go far.
I can see him peering down at the meager contents in his basket and thinking, “What good will this little bit do?” Maybe he looked around at the crowd and felt foolish at the mere thought of such a small contribution. But he gave anyway. And God turned a little of something into a whole lot.

That’s what I believe God wants us to do with whatever talents or abilities He has given us. We may not even be aware we have them! Then we look around one day and discover them – words on a page, a knack for painting, a pot of homemade soup – and we ask, “Lord, can You use this?”


My writing journey has been unconventional. A voracious reader from a very young age, I didn’t start writing until my late thirties. I was spinning my wheels as a registered nurse, stuck in a rut but with no desire to further my education in my field. Eager to try something new, I decided to take a creative writing class.

I discovered my passion and my therapy. A survivor of childhood abuse, I struggle with depression and anxiety. Writing does for me what no amount of Prozac can ever do. I can’t explain how my mind blooms like a rose as the words flow across the page. Writing helps me release my pain and unleash my inner child to come out and play.

My stories are quiet. I write about real people who are hurting. And yes, many of them are Christians. There are a lot of us out there.

When I felt God leading me to write Sea Horses, I had no idea what I was doing! But I knew I had a story to tell and I worked hard at improving my craft. I joined critique groups. I went to conferences. I soaked up tips and wisdom from other writers, and I slowly built my platform. I published articles and short stories. I designed a website and started a blog. And over the course of several years, I worked on my novel.

When I thought my manuscript was ready, I sent it out to dozens of agents. I had a few nibbles but no bites. Then, a year later, I received a wake-up call from another author who has written more than 100 books over the course of his career. He knew about my manuscript but hadn’t read it.

“Getting an agent or publishing house can be really hard these days,” he told me. “Your book needs to be the best it can possibly be before you send it out. Have you considered a professional editor?”

He gave me the name of someone he had worked with before, and I contacted her. Thus began one of the most painful but exciting periods of my writing career. Kristen said I had the nugget of a great story, but it needed a lot of polishing. I had problems with point of view, flow, and character development.

Over the next several months, we worked on my manuscript. She asked hard questions and made me delve deeper into my characters. I rewrote pivotal scenes. I deleted huge chunks that took away from my story. I unraveled a messy ball of string until I found the golden thread of hope, which is the essence of my book.

Fast forward two years later. I received wonderful feedback on my novel and came very close to landing an agent, but I was growing tired of the waiting process. Frustrated and disappointed, I told my husband, “It’s just not happening for me right now.”

Searching for alternatives to the traditional route, I did some research on self-publishing with Amazon/Kindle. I knew it would be a lot of work on my part. I wouldn’t have a publishing house or a marketing team working behind the scenes to get my book out there. I began to doubt what I should do.

Then one Sunday our pastor spoke about the loaves and the fishes story. What were the loaves and fishes in our own lives? Then he asked, “Is there something that you’ve been trying and trying and trying to do, but it’s just not happening?” I froze in my seat. Those were the exact words I had used with my husband.

“Have you really given it over to the Lord?” he asked. “If you know it’s of God, then start with what you have, no matter how small. Take those loaves and fishes and give them over to Him. He can do great things with very little.”

God clearly has a different plan for this book. I’m starting small – my loaves and fishes – but I have complete peace about what I’m doing. Like the old praise song says, little is much when God is in it.

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About Cheryll

I'm an internationally published author, but I'm no genius! I'm just a wife, mother, grandmother, and RN who has a passion for writing. An avid reader from a young age, I didn’t start writing until my late thirties. I’ve dedicated the last several years to finding my voice and honing my craft.

My goal as an inspirational fiction writer isn’t to preach, but demonstrate the themes of love, family, faith, and redemption via real-life characters that everyday people can relate to. I also like to have a little fun along the way. I enjoy gardening, travel, jigsaw puzzles, birdwatching, photography, and projects that stretch my creative boundaries.

My work has appeared in numerous publications, including five stories with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I'm also a frequent contributor to Lady Literary Magazine. "Sea Horses" is my first novel.

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About Sea Horses


Eighty-year-old Jack Dozier stands barefoot on a chair with a rope around his neck when a call comes in from a woman claiming to be his granddaughter. Her mother, Helen Price, is searching for her biological father and thinks it might be Jack.

A physician diagnosed with a terminal illness, Helen is determined to spend whatever time she has left in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her family. She also has a final wish, one that revolves around her lifelong love of antique carousels.

The short time Jack spends with Helen creates unexpected bonds and reveals haunting secrets that force Jack to rethink both his past and his future.

Set against the scenic backdrop of Hatteras and Ocracoke Island, with glimpses of war-torn South Korea, Sea Horses is a heartwarming story of redemption, faith, and those indelible family ties that bind us all.

Visit Cheryll on her website, Amazon, or Goodreads.




Photos by Roman Kraft, Bruno Theth, and Ales Krivec on Unsplash. Graphics designed on Canva.com.

"Lord, can you use this?" - Author Cheryll Snow shares how God showed her no talent or offering is too small when we give it to #Jesus. A guest post on @emilyrconrad's blog.
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PS - The winner of the ecopy of Justice from last week's post is Katie! Congrats!

7 comments:

Gail Pallotta said...


Hi Cheryll,

Congratulations on your book! And, thank you for sharing this inspirational post.

Gail Pallotta said...


Hi Cheryll,

Congratulations on your book! And, thank you for sharing this inspirational post.

Mary Felkins said...

Love this quote: "Writing helps me release my pain and unleash my inner child to come out and play." And I'd never considered what the boy might have been thinking with what was literally a meager, impossibly insufficient amount of food. Still he offered it. Great post!

Emily Conrad said...

Thanks for reading, Gail!

Yes, Mary, isn't that a great point? Sometimes what we have to offer just seems so insignificant, but God can use everything we give! Thanks for joining the conversation.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Love this!

I always say... despise not small beginnings. :-)

Good luck and God's blessings Ladies

PamT

Emily Conrad said...

I should start saying that more often, too, Pam. If the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, so should we! Thanks for stopping by!

Cheryll Snow said...

To Gail, Mary, and Pamela: Thanks so much for your encouraging words and comments! God bless!

Cheryll Snow