Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Celebrate! by Joy Massenburge

I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Ps 119:16 NKJV

July 8, 2019, release day of “A Heart Surrendered,” should have been the happiest day of my life. Maybe it would have been if I hadn’t replayed all the things that needed to happen over the next thirty days—get blog post material out on time—promote the book signing events—get fifty reviews as soon as possible for the Amazon algorithm—the book is at #15, stimulate a buzz to get it to #1.

Instead of climbing, the numbers fell. Maybe Harambee Press, the new African American Christian Fiction imprint for Lighthouse of the Carolinas, should have chosen a more experienced writer to be their first release. What if I’ve hindered their vision to unite the ethnic voices so underrepresented in the Christian market? On and on my days fill with what ifs, maybes, should’ves and would’ves. Where writing had always been my delight, it became a burden.

“Joy, when are you going to celebrate?” My husband asked three weeks later.

It was then he reminded me how far I’d come since July 2015, when I first decided I’d leave my job at the end of that year, giving myself two years to focus on the craft of writing. July 2019, my dream of being a hybrid author, independently and traditionally published, came true. Although “A Heart Surrendered” hasn’t reached #1, Amazon describes the book as “Tops in African American Christian Fiction, Kindle Store and Books.” There are currently 25 Amazon reviews, 4.7 out of 5 stars. One reviewer boasted:

“I loved it. Romantic and convicting with well-rounded, characters facing real world problems. Tugged at me on a spiritual level. Well done!”

Creating word pictures, provoking Christ centered thoughts, and evoking hope in readers is all I was ever called to do. So focused on the results, I forgot my why. I had so many things to be thankful for, yet, where was my praise?

Warning to all writers! Stop. Take the time to celebrate what God has done. Celebrate your stories. “The End” is a big deal. Celebrate the readers you reach. Every best seller began with one reader. Celebrate every milestone, every step of the way and let His name be exalted.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

So focused on the results, I forgot my why. #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Joy crafts the love stories of pastors and their kids. She was born the sixth child of a pastor. She married a football player turned pastor…they raised pastor’s kids; a son and two daughters.

During the week, she works as an assistant to Jacob George, CPA, PC. She serves as American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW-East Texas) chapter’s Founding President. When she’s not writing or recording audio books, she is speaking at retreats and conferences throughout the East Texas area.

She resides near Tyler, Texas. You can find her curled up on her back-porch swing reading a good book with her grandchildren, caretaking for two donkeys and a dog, or filling her five-acre country home with fifty-plus people for a Blue Bell ice cream party.