top of page

There's This Award Named After Me

Have you ever heard of the Strong Award? I hadn't either. Because my friends made it up.

Last weekend, I attended the IdaHope Christian Writers' Conference and enjoyed every minute. IdaHope is the group I founded over fifteen years ago, and I love that it's still going. This is exactly the kind of writing community I'd been hoping to create, but I can't take any of the credit. See, the year after it started, I became a single mom and didn't have any more time or energy to offer. I basically abandoned the group.

Imagine my surprise Saturday when President Hilarey Johnson announced they had a new award to present and called me up to the podium with her. She shared how I was one of the first authors to ask about her writing and really care. My award isn't for writing. It's for supporting, guiding, and encouraging. The Strong Award will be given out every year at the annual conference, and one of the coolest things about it is that you don't even have to be a good writer to win. You could be a big, fat failure like me.

Obviously feeling undeserving of such an award, I hugged Hilarey and cried. I said thank you, but I didn't know if I was supposed to say anything else. On my way back to my seat, someone shouted, "Speech!" Then someone else argued, "She's crying."

I wasn't going to return up front because I was too overwhelmed. So right where I was at, I said something like, "I'm thrilled by all the wonderful people who have kept IdaHope going, and it's an honor to share your writing journeys."

When I sat down, my friend Trish whispered, "It's a good thing your last name is Strong, and not something like Weak. You wouldn't want them to give out the Weak Award every year."

I laughed, knowing there are many times when the name Weak would fit me better...

I once attended a retreat where members of this writing group prayed for a project with me. And they were still there when said project fell through.

I've also cried through a whole critique group because I felt God wanted me to write something I was too scared to write. They listened, and they continued listening even when that manuscript tanked, as well.

I could go on and on about all the ways I've failed, but my writing group doesn't see me as a failure. In fact, they made up an award and gave it me at a conference focused on learning to write bravely.

I read a quote yesterday that fits this theme. "Don't wait until you do it well before you start. Start so that you can do it well."

It was in an article on a runner who had a horrible finish time at her first marathon, but now she's one of the top competitors. And I'm reminded that the Bible says we're all supposed to run in such a way that we'll win the prize. You can't win if you don't start.

Back to my conference. It began with worship and a song that included lyrics about how God cheers us. The word "cheer" was probably supposed to mean that God gives us joy when we're down, but in my head, I pictured Him cheering for us like a parent at the finish line. Not only did God cheer me on, but He gave me friends who would pick up the baton when I dropped it and pull me onto the winner's pedestal with them.

Whether you dream of running or writing or anything in between, I want to encourage you to be brave enough to try. Brave enough to fail. And brave enough to support your teammates along the way.

The Strong Award isn't my award. It's our award. Because we're stronger together.

1 Comment

May 05

Beautifully said ❤️

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page