But then a reader reaches out and shares their own story (I've abbreviated the following to remove anything that would identify the woman who sent it to me):
I am an avid reader and have been for many years, but I've never contacted an author before. But I wanted to share how the book Beyond the Shadows changed my life ... When I read your book in May, I did so with sobs. I didn't quite realize why I could identify with the main character, her husband being an alcoholic, mine just angry. I felt hopeless and for the first time could relate to someone, even if it was just a fictional book ... [She gave a description of a troubled marriage and the reconciliation and healing that has happened since last May] ... Throughout this process many people have asked me what made me seek change, and I say, God sent me a little fictional book that desperately made me want to get beyond the shadows of the emotional pain. So, I want to say how grateful I am. I'll always remember your book and the pain I felt when reading it, but now it's only a Remembrance. God has provided a miracle for us.An email like the above gives me an enormous boost of morale. It reminds me that I am doing what God called me to do, and that I must look beyond the discouragement and persevere. I never know how God will use the words I write. My job is to be obedient. The end results are up to Him. And I need those reminders.
So here are my thanks to you, the readers, who take a moment to let a writer know how God has used one of her stories in your life. Trust me, kind words like those go a long way in encouraging someone who spends her life staring at a computer screen.