I had a fantastic signing at Half Price Books last Saturday, but to be honest, I didn’t want to go. I struggled with sleep the night before, feeling anxious and disturbed, and even questioning if I could continue doing this. For a brief moment, I considered calling to cancel.
Why? Well, unfortunately, some people do not understand healthy social and communication boundaries…especially when it comes to a married woman with small children. As I’ve said before, I have a history with stalker issues…even to the point of having a man tell me he’d figure out what hospital I’d be delivering my baby at, find me, and then take her. I won’t go into all the details, but the bottom line is that I’ve been in a season of dealing with this. And I won’t lie, it’s been incredibly hard.
So back to Half Price Books. Going to that signing made me feel incredibly vulnerable, but I just couldn’t cancel. And I’m glad I didn’t!
From the moment I arrived I was visited by multiple friends who gave such comfort without even realizing the anxiety I was inwardly dealing with. Thank you for your care and support!
But in addition to that, I met some incredible people!
It started with two families who purchased both The Girl Who Once Thrived and The Unexpected Chosen for their teen daughters within the first five minutes of the signing. There’s something extremely special about a family purchase. Both parents were involved and supportive of their children reading stories of hope and community, and it encouraged my heart!
There were multiple ladies I met. Two of them were so sweet and told me of how they enjoy supporting local authors and continued that support toward me!
I met another psych clinician and am looking forward to the possibility of guests posts from her!
One lady purchased a set for a secret pal at her church. Apparently, she was told the secret pal loved to read Christian fiction. Although my books are not Christian books, they are filled with truth and hope and community, so it fit! She then came back moments later and purchased another set for her niece! (Thanks, Kenneth, for the free promotion work, ha!)
Friends and family stopped in throughout the signing, and I found myself filled with joy during a time I thought would be so difficult.
But then the final moment happened. A moment I’ll NEVER forget. A young lady stopped by my table just as I began packing up and purchased The Girl Who Once Thrived. We didn’t have much of a conversation, but I was excited to give her that story.
Once my table was clear and my hands were wrapped around the basket of books, another young lady rushed over hoping she could grab her own copies before I left. As she explained to me how she’d just read the first few pages of The Girl Who Once Thrived (her friend was the one who had purchased it moments before) her voice cracked and tears began to pour. She related to the character; she felt the same emotions written at the beginning of the book.
An apology came, probably feeling a bit embarrassed at breaking down in front of a stranger. But the truth is, I knew this girl. I knew how she felt. I knew she was broken. I knew she was hurting and confused and angry and desperate for answers. I knew, because as she began to share the details of what she is currently facing in life, she became me. Not me now, but the me at seventeen years of age. The Lacy that faced a season of life that forever changed who I was, that broke me, that devastated me.
And in that moment, I knew it didn’t matter how much anxiety I felt the night before. It didn’t matter how many people I would face at signings who would make me feel uncomfortable or push boundaries. Because in that short moment I was able to tell her that those words she could relate to were written from the same brokenness she is currently dealing with. I was able to point her to hope. I was able to look at her and say that years ago I was in her shoes, BUT… I… SURVIVED. I was healed. I was brought out of the brokenness. And then, I was able to hug her.
Y’all, boundaries are extremely healthy. Please hear me when I say that I will not compromise, and I will hold to strict communication guidelines from now on. But it was beyond humbling to know that my fear could have kept me from meeting this young lady, from simply giving her a few minutes of hope. It was not an accident that I met her.
I will work this writing career with wisdom and discernment, not allowing anyone to cross lines going forward. But I also will not allow others to take away the chance to reach those who are in need. Sometimes, vulnerability leads to healing for others. And when I get a chance to love on someone the way I did on Saturday, you better believe I will.
Sometimes, we have to go into the darkness, we have to face places we are fearful of so that we can reach those who are hurting. Stand firm in what you’re doing! Be brave! Have faith! And go rescue people, even when they are in a place of darkness.
I hope your day is filled with grace and joy! Fight for your purpose!