A Secret Wish

 

ohAmanda Robin Jones Gunn.jpg

I met Robin Jones Gunn yesterday.

If that doesn’t put a little pitter-patter in your heart, it’s because you haven’t read any of her books. Robin Jones Gunn is one of my legitimate heroes and long-distance mentors (which means, she didn’t even know that I was on the planet, but she’s mentored me through her books and online presence).

As I drove to Atlanta for a luncheon of authors and book-ish people, I made myself cry thinking I might get to meet or actually talk to Robin Jones Gunn. I prepped myself for what I’d say if I did get to meet her or what I’d feel like if I didn’t.

I was twenty minutes early and as I meandered down the street looking for parking, I saw her. She was walking down the street alone and I started to cry. (Big surprise.) I thought, “This is it! I’m early, she’s early. I’m going to get to talk to her!”

I paid for parking and walked down the street, ran into two more folks attending the lunch and then it was just the four of us standing in front of the restaurant door. I looked at Robin and said, “I’m Amanda White. I’m ohAmanda online.” And she knew me! She gave me a hug and said she recognized my face from my little profile pics (as well she should as I constantly berate her with @ replies on twitter and instagram) and of course, from the many times I’ve blogged about her.

Well, this of course made me cry again. I told her, “I said I was going to cry when I met you and here I am!” One of the other ladies with us said, “How do you know each other?” and as Robin explained that I’ve been stalking her online for years we chat online sometimes, I said, “Well, I’m one of Robin’s biggest fans.”

And although she tried to protest, I said, “It’s true. Can I give you a little monologue? I have to tell you this.”

So, I told her what her words have meant to me.

That in 8th grade I started reading her Christy Miller books. And it changed not only how I saw boys and dating but how I saw God and my attitude and my relationships.

How when I read her devotional Take Flight and her story about being passed over for mission work and then “accidentally” becoming a writer of teen fiction that has led thousands of girls to Christ, I became aware of God’s hand blessing me in and out of ministry roles.

I told her how she’s influenced me as a mother with Mrs. Rosey Posey and Gentle Passages. That I have learned to lead my kids to Jesus with gentleness and creativity with her example.

I gushed about the her Sisterchicks books and how they have changed me as a friend. That the simple “sisterchicks” title has given my best friends a circle to hang on to, a place to come back to.

I let her know her other fiction books have influenced me as a wife and God-lover. Her book, Victim of Grace taught me about writing, working-at-home and following Jesus.

I said thank you. Thank you for being obedient to get up in the “cobwebby hours” of the day to write words that no one would leave a comment on, that might not be tweeted or shared.  Thank you for writing down the words God gave you, so He could speak to me, too.

Then I cried. And she cried. And then I ate lunch with her. And it was pretty much one of my favorite days ever. It felt like one of those little God-things where all the little small pieces of something fun ties up into a beautiful bow.

So, if you’re a writer: a blogger, an author, a note-giver, a letter-writer, an encourager online or a journal-filler-upper, be faithful with the words God has given you. Don’t keep them inside. Just as God breathed His Words into authors to give us the Bible, He will breathe thoughts and words into you. Don’t wonder if someone wants to read, if you’re good enough or if they’ll ever get past the end of your pen.

There may be some little girl who will one day corner you with tears and say, “Thank you. Thank you for sharing your words.”

Thank you, Robin. Thank you for letting me cry all over you, share my grits and sit next to you as a friend and peer. I feel like I’ve met my favorite camp counselor again after all these years. Aloha.

Who’s your hero? Who has influenced you across the years so much you’d cry on their shoulder if you met?

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See some of my favorite posts inspired by Robin Jones Gunn’s words (including fun crafts for your kids)!

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Comments

  1. I would love to meet her, too! I had a serious obsession with her Christy books…I’ve reread them in my 30s :)

    I do have to say, that the title of your blog post kinda sounds like the title of one of her books!

  2. Wah, I love a good fan story :)

    Can you believe I have read not even one of her books. *ducks* I know you and Jessie talk about them so much I need to just read one already.

    As a blogger, this was so encouraging though to think that maybe your words really do matter. Sometimes it feels like I’m talking into a vacuum but there are moments along the way, like this one, where I’m encouraged to continue!

    As a Christian, I love this because there are so many people that have helped me like this in my faith journey and I love that you got to meet your mentor!

    • AMY! HOW ARE WE FRIENDS?!! Just kidding. Start with Victim of Grace her non-fiction to get to know her. Then try some of her fiction—or grab the Christy Miller to get ready for your girls. (How old is your oldest, again?)

      About writing into a vacuum—I was just thinking how lonely being a published author would have been years ago. The only time you heard feedback was from an honest-to-goodness letter. As bloggers, we get INSTANT affirmation on what we do. (And even THAT can seem lonely.) Anyway. Yes, keep writing, you don’t know who’s reading!

      Love you, friend!
      a

      • My oldest will be 12 in November. Maybe another year?

        Whew, thinking of being a published author years ago is almost frightening. Although, don’t you think a lot more people would write, maybe? Today it seems rare but maybe because we do have blogs and social media? Still, you are right, it is certainly not instant gratification.

        • Christy Miller is 14 in the book. And she gets her first kiss at the end. So…maybe just buy it so when you need to give it to her you’ll have it! ;)

  3. Ok, I seriously loooooooove this…what an awesome day! :) I’m so happy for you! And just so you know, I’m 35 and just started reading through the Christy Miller books for about the 50th time. ;) Love them and her! WooHoo for a sweet day that only God could have designed! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Loved this. I haven’t read any of her books either, but just put in a request for one from the library. ;)

    But I have to say that I got to meet one of my childhood heroes last year {Dr. Ben Carson}. I am NOT a gushy kind of person, but I seriously gushed and shamelessly asked him to sign my well-worn copy of Gifted Hands and had my picture taken with him. So I can just imagine how amazing it must have been to not only meet, but have lunch with her!

    • Oh, Heather! Of course your hero is a neurosurgeon and mine writes teen fiction! LOL! You are so smart! :)

      But isn’t it cool to meet someone who has influenced you for years–someone you have known (even if they don’t know you) since you were a kid?!

      (Altho’ on a completely weird and different level, my mom has always been a Regis Philbin fan and a few years ago, went to one of his book signings in Atlanta. She was SO excited and when she finally got up to him she was all giddy and he looked at her completely blank without any recognition (obviously) and it made her sad b/c he didn’t know her. Which of course she knew, but seeing that someone you feel like you know and have spent hours laughing w/or whatever is BLANK when they see you was so weird–and also a commentary on how wrapped up we (universal we) get with fame. Anywhoo. That makes everything I just said in the post seem moot. LOL. But at least you can see my famous-person-stalking skills come honestly. Aren’t you glad I wrote this long comment?!!!)

      a

      • Oh this made me literally laugh out loud. I’m so glad you still like me, despite all of my nerdiness! :) Ha, the brain makes me happy, what can I say. My childhood dream was to be a missionary doctor. And now I’m a missionary momma, neighbor, etc and on the side I do the one thing I despised growing up – writing. God has a great sense of humor.

        Confession >> on a related note to your post, I’ll admit that this gushy part of me wanted to explode out when I finally got to meet you last year. It’s fun to meet people who you first knew only through their writing. And better yet when you like them even more in person!

  5. Amanda, I really, really needed to hear this today. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with what on earth I can add to all the lovely and talented voices on the internet.

    When I met Tom Davis for the first time, I felt tongue-tied and awkward, because his books Fields of the Fatherless and Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds shepherded my heart when it was breaking open about orphans, HIV, and extreme poverty.

    As for lately, I keep picturing getting to talk with Lisa-Jo Baker, because her beautiful book has undone me in all the best ways. It was also very cool to meet YOU in person at Allume last year. :)

  6. Julie Reynolds says:

    This is probably one of my favorite posts yet! I love Robin Jones Gunn and you so I loved the two of you together! So glad you were able to have this day!

  7. This makes me so happy!!! I have read several of her books per your recommendation and I am just thrilled for you and with you (and I look forward to sharing the Christy books with my girl!).
    I felt this way at Allume 2 years ago- meeting bloggers who I had come to admire online and who I thought had no idea who I was. You were one of them and you were so gracious when you met me!! Thanks for that!!

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