2014 was a year of personal pain, heartache, and joy, a period of jubilation over goals achieved and distress over illusions shattered. Refuge was published, and my blog readership grew, so it was also a year of reaching a wider audience with the message of God’s mercy.

Welcome, new readers!

Simultaneously, my autoimmune disorder worsened. The pain has increased, and I can no longer ignore it. Jesus uses this to draw me nearer.

With these facts in place, I must make decisions. How can I serve God and my family, use my gifts to write to encourage you, and live with a debilitating illness? Short answer: by God’s grace.

(282/365) The darkness insideCreative Commons License Sarah via Compfight

Long answer: Living out God’s grace in the new year calls for a manifesto.

Resolved: I will listen to my wise husband.

He supports me financially, emotionally, and physically, so I can write and serve. He wants me to take care of my health, keep our family first, use my gifts, write more, market less, and enjoy life….

Resolved: And so, I will seek more balance in my life as a writer.

I can’t do everything by myself. Of course, you know that, but I usually don’t. This lesson is always difficult for me.

Marketing is a slippery beast. I’ve been striving to understand it since I attended my first jaw-dropping writers’ conference. The mystery: Books are now crowd-sourced, -promoted, and -marketed. It took me a while to wrap my mind around that.

In short, it means that you’re now part of the sales process. You probably had no idea the publishing industry had assigned you a position! But there are now eight million books on Amazon. When you love a book, a tangible response is required. And so….

Resolved: My physical restraints now force me to learn to ask for help.

Drats! I’m not very good at this! But this market requires your participation for me to keep writing, so I am asking for your help. Every post you share multiplies my efforts. Every review you write puts Refuge into more hands.

In turn, because the publishing industry is relying on you and none of us got a say in that, I will seek to publish in ways that lower your purchase prices. It only seems fair! And I will make it as easy as possible.

Resolved: My priorities will be ordered by God. I will listen to him.

I’m not very balanced, but the Lord is teaching me. I usually put my health behind everything else, but I can’t anymore. To care for my family and you and my writing, I must prioritize my health, and so my focus won’t be on the financial side of writing. This will teach me to trust the Lord to multiply my marketing efforts and to inspire you, my readers, to help spread the word.

A heartfelt thank you to those of you who already are! You uplift my heart!

Resolved: When I have a story to tell, success will be measured by reader response.

If I have reached a wider audience with a story of God’s mercy and they have responded as you have to Refuge, that is success! Thank you! There’s nothing ignoble about attempting to add income to the family coffers, and I have added income. But my publishing decisions will be made to best meet your needs.

Resolved: I will care for my mental, physical, and spiritual health. In short, I will smell the roses.

When I began writing stories, even though the publishing industry was collapsing and every single aspect of getting books to readers was changing, I wasn’t choosing to lose my good humor, my sanity, or my health. Then everything changed.

Since choices must now be made, I know the Lord wants me to keep my family, my health, and you as first priorities. I can live with that.

Word of the year: Balance

More on Friday….

Colorful Blur mbgrigby via Compfight