People said I should celebrate. But really, I was petrified.
It was out there now, and it made me feel scared, vulnerable in some way.
What if no one noticed? What if no one read them? What if they were just… insignificant?
So when my publisher told me, “Your books are on Amazon now,” I felt a surreal sense of gratitude. Gratitude, from knowing how long this journey has been. But it also me made me scared.
Recently at Hopkins, my Program Director asked me to consider giving a talk on my experiences, at the intersection of art, philanthropy, and global health. Some friends egged me on, encouraging me to share it through a talk.
” Talk about- How do you write? How do you publish? What do you do?”
But I was dumbfounded- what would I say?
Of all the experiences I’ve had around the world, perhaps the closest analogy I’ve had to this journey has been carrying our baby to term.
All through those ten months, I had no part to play in her creation… her fingers like flower petals and hair like the rain, her toes like sweetpeas and her heart like the sea… and yet, when I delivered her, I claimed a preposterous amount of congratulatory wishes, as if I myself had performed the grand miracle of breathing divine life into being, a life of glorious creation which I had no part in, but merely to hold and carry and pray over faithfully, as a vessel.
Like all the dreams He gave to me, those that birthed into fruition, were those I carried… as I did Sarah-Faith.
I did not need to compete or contend, strive or strain. God gave the seed, I carried it through prayer, and the birth was the result of travail.
Would that be content for a talk perhaps? I wondered.
No one knows, that over the past 12 years, I was told repeatedly that people would not read these books: my publishers told me they were difficult to market- they looked like children books and yet were not. Commercial bookstores would not take them- they fit neither in the fiction nor non-fiction section, neither in the kids nor adult section.
They were right.
And still more people told me: You should market yourself. You should network. You should sell your products. You should do. Do more. Do, do, do.
Products? Since when were they “products”?
Just a little while ago, I lost myself momentarily, in between the clouds. Caught up in the glamour of big international partners related to Hopkins and mesmerized by the potential opportunities, I went with people who counseled me to dream big, think bigger. You did Kitesong. You can do it again- bigger this time.
I believed it.
I met someone whom I shared my journey on a personal, intimate level with. At the end of the conversation, he called me “fluffy.”
“You really should think about working in the UN and put your gifts to better use.”
That made me angry.
Still another said, “Setting up a social venture through your books to help the underprivileged is a really, really fluffy idea.”
I felt I had something to prove, that I was positively, absolutely, undeniably un-fluffy.
One day while listening to a message, about the story of the tower of Babel being built to the sky, God gripped my heart.
I realized, that all this while, while I was busy being angry and striving to feel and look and be and do something significant, I forgot what “Kitesong” really stood for.
Twelve years ago when “Kitesong” was first published and a $100,000 was raised to build a Children’s Home to change the lives of girls of a generation, I forgot, that it had nothing to do with my gifts or talents, but everything to do with an awkward, depressed 18-year old who did not know how to paint, who had no reason for anyone to believe in her dream, who had nothing but her hands and knees on the ground, and a tear-stained face, with tenuous faith in a God she was not even sure would hear her.
It was then that I decided to let go, and let my dream of Kitesong Ministries, a social venture to help the underprivileged, be His, not mine.
Just as how Sarah-Faith was never truly mine to begin with but God’s child for me to steward, I surrendered the dream.
Instead of striving and knocking on more doors, I decided to do the foolish thing- pray. Oswald Chambers once said, that prayer is the work, and I started to believe that again.
It was then that I heard God’s still small voice, that the books would go round the world in different languages.
I laughed out loud. How? All these months I had knocked on doors and strived and contended, strained and competed. No doors opened. I was at Hopkins- this was unbelieveable.
But I forgot, that perhaps, all that God requires is for us to be still, and simply, be the faithful vessel to carry His dreams to term, in His ways and in His time.
As I let go and let God, that was when miracles started to happen.
Six days after that divine encounter, a woman living almost 10,000 miles from me whom I had never met before contacted me.
A linguist by training, she said that for years she had followed my blog and had been burdened to write to me but could not find the courage. That week, she said the burden was so heavy within her that she had no choice but to write to me, to ask if she could translate and print my books for literacy programs for the needy. “Your books are not just children’s books,” she said. “There is so much more to them than I could explain.”
And just days later, after a long hiatus of delays and obstacles, my publisher successfully put the books on Amazon.
I admit, a part of me keeps worrying if anyone will read them. I worry if this whole Amazon thing is just “fluff,” if my books are “just children books,” nothing of significance.
I admit, a part of me wants to lap up all the advice I’ve been given, to partner with the big NGOs, hire videographers, web designers, marketers, revamp the website, go big, go global.
But as I remember the mind-boggling nature of God and His ways, I am amazed by how He brings His promises to pass, how He does things in His time when we stop trying to do them for Him.
I remember how when I carried Sarah-Faith to term, there was such a peace and rest in the process, even though the most amazing miracles were taking place within me, hushedly, ceaselessly, away from the eyes of the world. All I had to do was to sow my life in prayer, wholeheartedly, authentically, and be faithful to carry her through.
Carry her through every day, minute by minute through those ten long months, with the faith that it would all be worth it, even when I wanted it to end sooner.
And when the time, His time, came to birth her at home under that starlit winter sky, though the travail was not painless, what a birth into the world that was- an unstoppable event of combustible energy enthused with a Power far greater than I could ever imagine.
I gave into that Power, and she was born- the greatest miracle I had ever seen.
So if you ask me how I “did” it, how I “made Amazon happen,” perhaps it would be truthful to say, “It happened like how Sarah-Faith was birthed- not by contending, but through carrying a seed of faith to fruition through prayer.”
Thank you all for journeying with us. For those of you who have loved the books, we would so appreciate yr support. Please feel free to spread the word- we hope they will bless your friends and family around the world this Christmas. All the royalties go to supporting those in need. https://www.amazon.com/author/waijia
Finally, if God places a burden on your heart to be a part of Kitesong in any way, we would so appreciate your prayers- we are praying for a global team. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would so appreciate hearing from you.