Last fall when the RITA contest opened for entries, my family suffered the most terrible time of our lives. First, my son was diagnosed with “untreatable, incurable” stage four cancer. A few weeks later my brother, worried about his sister and nephew, decided to drive to my house for Thanksgiving. Two hours out of Atlanta, he died in a car accident. My sister-in-law was critically injured.
Needless to say, the last thing on my mind was entering a contest. By the time I remembered, the contest had closed. So I signed on to judge the inspirational category instead.
Fast forward and a packet of books arrived for judging but none were inspirational. I emailed RWA and mentioned that I’d still be willing to judge inspies if needed. Within five minutes, my phone rang. Carol of RWA explained that I could not judge the category because I was entered.
Shock ran through me, followed by tears as she told this story. A Love Inspired author who remains anonymous knew about my personal heartache. That precious sister in Christ contacted RWA and did the most incredibly unselfish thing. She withdrew HER beautiful book from the contest and replaced it with mine. Then she purchased the five required copies of THE CHRISTMAS CHILD and mailed them in to RWA. Entering the RITA is expensive. Books and shipping aren’t cheap. But this amazing woman chose to give up her slot, her money, and her opportunity to bless a hurting sister.
When the RITA calls went out in March and I learned that THE CHRISTMAS CHILD had finaled, I cried most of the day. I’m crying still as I tell the story. Not just because my book was a finalist. Of course I’m delighted, but the final itself seems less important at this point. Rather, I weep with joy for the gift of love and compassion someone gave at the time I needed it most.
God works in the most wonderful ways through his amazing people.