Author Karen Ball

Oh, What a Time I’ve Had

There are so many things about being an agent that I love. Finding new writers whose work resonated with, and moved, me. Building relationships with my amazing clients. The joy of working with them on their projects. Playing “matchmaker” and finding just the right publisher for them. Seeing publishers treat these wonderful writers with such enthusiasm and respect. Working with Steve, Tamela, and Dan. Oh my gosh, you guys! These people are so very smart and talented. And so passionate about serving the Lord and their clients. I savor our video meetings, where we share and laugh and work together to better understand this crazy world of Christian publishing. And, every once in awhile, commiserate. And the times we meet in person? We laugh so hard that I often have trouble breathing! And what an honor to be part of this team. So many blessings and lessons and opportunities to grow.

And yet…

When my dad died in September 2016, something happened within me. Actually, I think it had been happening for quite awhile, but I was too busy with working and caring for Dad to listen to it. But after Dad slipped the bonds of time, I found myself being quiet and just…sitting. Listening. Watching. For what, I wasn’t sure. I just knew I’d been missing something.

And, as He’s done so often, God spoke into the silence. Whispered into my spirit words I’d so often spoken to others. Words He now directed back to me: Karen, what is your real passion? What do you feel born to do? What have I asked you to do, daughter?

As I pondered all this, understanding dawned. My passion? Writing. Speaking. Editing. Ministering to and encouraging writers.

And even as I realized this, God whispered again…

Then why, my child, aren’t those things your focus?

Ouch. You know, I love when God speaks truth. To others. But this time? It was hard to admit that while I loved working with my agenting clients, and while I adored being mentored by and working with Steve, being an agent really isn’t my truest passion.

And so I prayed. And talked with Don, my hubby. And I called Steve, as I often do when I have a hard decision to make because I always receive honest, wise counsel from him. He and Don both echoed God’s whispers:

“You have to do what God is calling you to.”

“You have a gift as a writer, and you haven’t used it to write books for a long time. That’s not right.”

“You need to focus on the passions God has breathed into you.”

I confess, it took a long time for me to really embrace all that. I didn’t want to let my clients down. I didn’t want them to feel abandoned. I didn’t want to let Steve or the team down. I didn’t want to quit something I’d committed to. I didn’t want…

Yeah, you see the problem? All my objections were about what I didn’t want to do. But God was calling me to what He knew I not only wanted to do, but needed to do. So finally, I got it.

Two weeks ago (I told you it took a long time) when Steve called to see how I was doing, I told him I’d finally made a decision: It was time for me to step away from being an agent. To let go of the good so I could embrace the best.

And now, as I prepare to step onto the new path, I want to say thanks:

To Steve, my dear friend and mentor, for giving me the opportunity to join him in his remarkable work as an agent. For extending more grace and patience to me than I could ever deserve. For always, always making me laugh. I’m blessed—and I mean BLESSED—to have you as my friend and my agent. I want all of you reading this to know you will not find a man, let alone an agent, more grounded in God’s Truth and in wisdom than Steve. Nor one with a better sense of humor. So thank you, Steve, with all my heart, for everything.

Thank you Dan and Tamela, for sharing your experiences, knowledge, and laughter with me. I will miss our meetings—and you. A lot.

Thank you, my dear, dear clients, for bringing me such joy. For being so kind and gracious as we walked this path. You are all so very gifted. May God bless you in abundance in every word you write for Him. And thank you that our friendships will continue beyond our business relationships. What a gift you are, one and all.

Thank you, friend editors, for giving my wonderful clients a chance, for giving us guidance and feedback on proposals, and for being a resource for me as a new agent. You are the best in the biz. Really and truly.

Thanks to all of you reading this blog. For being a part of this leg of my journey and for sharing your hearts with me here. God has used you to encourage and refine me, not just in my work, but in my faith.

Thank you, Don, for being the most tolerant and patient of husbands. For listening to me vacillate for all this time, and for speaking truth in love.

Most of all, thank you, Father, for opening the doors and, as You so often have to do, pushing me through them. For loving me so deeply and tenderly, and using me for Your purposes. Can’t wait to see what this new path will bring.

Oh, and speaking of the new path, here’s what I’ll be doing after today:

I’ll continue working as a freelance editor. Editing is a part of the fabric of who I am, and I’ll be partnering with writers, helping them bring out the power of their words, as long as God allows.

I’m also going back to something I haven’t been doing for 10 years—writing books. I’ve already got both novels and nonfiction rolling around in my brain, and can’t wait to bring them to the page. (And yes, Steve, I’ll get you a proposal. I promise!)

Last but certainly not least, I’m putting more focus and time into the From the Deep ministries that God moved Erin Taylor Young and me to start. I’m so looking forward to going deeper into the passion we share to encourage others in the deep places of faith. Actually, Erin and I are at the Oregon coast even as I’m writing this, planning where we’re going with this ministry. We’ve had such a great response to our podcasts and website that we know we’re on the right track. But there’s more we can do. So please pray God will guide us. Oh, and if you miss my blogs, never fear! I’ll be blogging in our From the Deep newsletter. So here’s the link to come join us: http://eepurl.com/bsmpBP

May God bless you, friends, as you seek to serve Him through your writing. And may He make your truest passion clear to you.

In His love,

Karen

[on Monday July 10th Steve Laube will make an announcement about the agency and their future plans. Look for it!]

 

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