Month: June 2019

096 – Why Writers Need Faith

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Why Writers Need Faith Write from the Deep podcast with Karen Ball and Erin Taylor YoungBelievers talk about faith all the time, but what is it REALLY? What does it look like in the writing life? And why is it crucial for a writer’s heart? You may be surprised at the answers!

When we start our work calls, we like to read from Streams in the Desert, and then pray. One day we read this:

“Faith does not say, ‘I see this is good for me; therefore God must have sent it.’ Instead, faith declares, ‘God sent it; therefore it must be good for me.’” (Phillips Brooks, from Streams in the Desert, May 1)

Is that faith?

Yes. It’s about perspective. In the first example we judge whether something is good, and then decide God must have sent it. That’s too easy. And problematic, because not everything that happens to us outwardly looks like a good thing. In the second phrase, “God sent it, therefore it must be good for me,” the perspective acknowledges God’s sovereign hand, and then we trust that He knows what He’s doing, and that He’ll use it for our good.

definitions of faith

From Merriam Webster:

“Allegiance or duty to a person: loyalty”

“Belief and trust in and loyalty to God”

So yes, in our reading, that was faith, because it’s trust in God.

A few more definitions from Webster’s:

“A firm belief in something for which there is no proof”

“Complete trust”

“Something that is believed especially with strong conviction”


The Bible gives us a definition of faith as well. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Paul echoes that in 2 Corinthians 5:7 when he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

What does that mean in our writing life? It means we can’t rely on our limited human sight and perspective as we navigate the writing life.

One of our big questions on our writing journey always seems to be: Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? And the way we typically try to answer that is by determining: Is this worth it? Am I seeing the benefit? Am I seeing a return on my investment of time and money? A return on what I’m doing that’s worth the cost of all the other things I could be doing that I’m not because I don’t have time now?

But that isn’t faith.

We can’t do that kind of cost analysis because that’s all about what we can see.  Remember, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

That’s why Paul also says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. In the context, he’s talking about hardships and difficulties, the “light and momentary troubles,” that are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” We as writers can totally relate to hardships and struggles. We can see those.

But walking by faith in the writing life means we can’t quantify the outcome of our efforts. We can’t say, “If I write a great book it will sell 50,000 copies.” It doesn’t work that way.

For some writers, we’ll have our writing read by others. Maybe hundreds, or thousands, or millions of others. But we can’t know that when we’re first learning the craft. We put huge amounts of time and energy into studying the craft— years— writing word after word, page after page, to become better writers over time. We don’t see the immediate results of that. It’s not like by page two we turn into Francine Rivers.

Then there’s years of pursuing knowledge about the industry, or learning about marketing. Years of building a platform bit by bit, never knowing if it will take off or if we’ll remain in relative obscurity.

Doing anything without seeing immediate results takes faith. And that glorifies God.

Think about the bigger picture here. You bring glory to God by walking in the path He told you to walk. The outcome is a better you. Even if no one ever reads your writing, you become a person, more conformed to the image of Christ by following Him in obedience. That’s a hope we can be sure of, like it said in Hebrews. That’s fixing our eyes on the unseen: on a vision of what we can be, but aren’t now.

One more practical thought about walking by faith not sight: If God gave us this task of writing, then we can’t be discouraged by what we can or can’t see. Don’t let your earthly vision dishearten you. God can do anything anytime, and most of the time we’re never going to see it coming.

But neither can we be distracted by what we can see.

Sometimes what you can see, and what you want to head for, isn’t where you should be going. We miss God’s direction because we think we know where we’re going. Walking by sight can get you where you’re not supposed to be.


We’ve talked about the definition of faith that’s found in Hebrews, but let’s go back to one of the dictionary definitions of faith: loyalty. How do we show loyalty to God?

It’s when we don’t give up on what He’s asked us to do, no matter what things look like, as we’ve said. It’s obedience, adherence.

But it’s also standing up for God. Speaking truth in the face of lies about Him, writing truth in a world full of darkness— worse, a world where people do what Isaiah warns about in 5:20:

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

We live in that world, and it’s our job to show loyalty to what God calls good, and the light of God’s truth, and the sweetness of what’s good for us in God’s eyes.

Loyalty means we conform to His image, and not the image of the world. And we assign Him the value and glory He’s due, no matter what the world says. And no matter what the world tempts us to do.

Faith in the writing life means we’re loyal to Him and what He wants in our life instead of betraying Him with unethical behavior, for example.

Remember when Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt, and he’s in Potiphar’s house, and Potiphar’s wife wants to sleep with him? How does he respond? He talks about how Potiphar made him responsible for everything and trusts him completely, but then in Genesis chapter 39, verse 9, he gets to the heart of his reason to resist: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”

That’s all about loyalty to God. And that didn’t come easy. It cost Joseph a great deal.

What about us? Are we willing to pay the cost? To do whatever it takes to be loyal? It’s easy to say yes, but harder to back it up with our actions.

Karen knew a best-selling author who’s had numerous companies option one of her most popular books for a movie. This book, made into a movie, will change lives. With each offer she prayed and sought God’s will.

Every option fell through. Some because the companies wanted to make changes to make the story more “palatable” to viewers. Some because they wanted to go a direction that would sensationalize the wrong things. Others because funding fell through. And on and on.

With each instance, she stayed focused on God, trusting that He was the one who made the deals not work. She’s now in negotiations with yet another company, and it may happen. But her stance is, “It’s in God’s hands. If He wants it to happen, it will.” She says her job is just to focus on Him and to be true to the story and message He gave her for the book.

two key components of faith

Action (doing)

Part of what faith means in the writer’s life is doing, acting, moving forward. It’s taking steps to go to that writers’ conference. To build relationships with readers and other writers. To get that book on craft and read it. To make time in your schedule to put your rear end in a chair and write. Then to write more. And to keep writing. To work for excellence. To keep submitting, keep publishing, no matter what the sales, no matter the rejections.

Keep doing until God says to stop, because all those things are your faith in action. Faith isn’t passive.

Look at the long list the writer of Hebrews gives us as examples of people acting in faith in chapter 11. Noah builds an ark, Abraham gets up and leaves his country, Rahab hides the spies who come to Jericho. They do all this because of their firm belief, trust, conviction, and loyalty, no matter what things look like.

Waiting (patience)

But there’s a flip side to all this doing, this action. It’s called waiting. That’s the second key component of faith. And we’re not talking about antsy, crabby, whiny waiting. We’re talking about waiting well. We call that patience. Patience is all about submitting to God’s timing.

Hebrews 11 covers that too. There’s a list of people who wait in hope, like Abraham and Sarah waiting for their promised child. And Abraham knowing he’d inherit the land one day, but never seeing it. Isaac and Jacob waiting for the same thing.

Waiting is good, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Waiting means we’re acknowledging our need for God to act on our behalf. And He does:

Isaiah 64:4 says “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.”

So how does waiting look in the writing life?

Let’s face it, nothing moves quickly in this industry. Sometimes it’s patience as you’re waiting for responses from your submissions, or for your cover designer, or your critique group.

Sometimes it’s waiting months, years, as your craft improves.

Sometimes it’s waiting for the right timing for something you’ve written to go to market. Maybe God has told you to put that manuscript in a drawer and wait, and you don’t even know why. Maybe it’s a story that needs a more seasoned hand and you’re not there yet. Maybe the right audience isn’t ready for it. Whatever.

That happened to a friend of Erin’s. She wrote a novel that was good enough to get her signed with an agent, but unfortunately the industry wasn’t at a place where that manuscript could succeed. Ultimately no publisher wanted to take it on.

But all this time, she’s been honing her craft, writing other books, selling them pretty well, and building an audience. Finally, recently, she felt it was time to pick that manuscript up again.

That’s when she saw it could be so much more than it was. She hired a macro editor, got a long revision letter, and now she’s steadily rewriting it. And when she’s done, it’s going to be a much better book. A book it couldn’t have been a few years ago.

But will it be time to take it to the market? She doesn’t have that answer yet. All she knows is that now is the time to make it better. Then she’ll see what God says next.

That’s waiting well, and it’s also doing well. And at the end of the day, that pleases God.

The Fruit of Faith

Pleasing God
Faith is crucial for us not just as writers, but as followers of Christ, because Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “…without faith, it is impossible to please [God]…”

Why did He set things up this way? One reason is to help us could get the roles right: He’s God, we’re not. He gets the glory. But we get a reward for our faith.

Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say, “…for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” He knows what’s best for us, and what He has in store for us is perfect.

Another fruit of faith is peace. When we have unswerving belief, complete trust, unshakable loyalty to our God, what do we have to worry about? He’s taking care of us. He’s in control.

Our job is to rest in that. To stop striving. To stop trying to make things happen in our own strength. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep working toward excellence in craft, marketing, and everything else. But it means we do these things with peace deep in our heart. And that trickles right back out: “…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” (Matthew 12:34 ESV). You want the words you share with the world to be filled with deep, inner, soul-healing peace.

What is faith in the writer’s life?

Ultimately it’s a mindset and a lifestyle. It’s living with deep down conviction of who God is. It’s an unwavering choice to trust. To lay down our ability—or, more to the point, our inability—to predict and control, to measure with our insufficient human standards.

But you don’t do this on your own. Faith is a gift from God. Ask Him to build your faith, and He will. Why is faith crucial? It glorifies God. It brings peace, rest, hope, and joy to us, and through us to the world.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 can help us focus our hearts and minds when we need to act in faith: “May the LORD direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” Dwelling on God‘s love for us helps us know and trust Him. So let’s focus on Him, on who He is, on how very much He loves us, and leave everything else to God.

we want to hear from you!

What do you think faith is? How does it play out for you in your writing life?


What is faith? And why does it matter in your writing life?

Thank you!

Thanks to all our patrons on Patreon! You help make this podcast possible!

Special thank you to our June sponsor of the month, Stacy McLain. Watch for her first book, Make Known His Path, a Christian speculative novel, to be released sometime this summer!

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!

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095 – The Spiritual Side of Agenting with Guest Cynthia Ruchti

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The Spiritual Side of Agenting with Guest Cynthia Ruchti Write from the Deep Podcast


We’ve all heard about agents, and how they guide us in our careers and fight for us with publishers. But did you realize that many agents cover everything they do in prayer? From reading proposals to deciding on clients to determining which publishers are a good fit to every aspect of their clients’ lives. Our guest, literary agent Cynthia Ruchti, joins us to share about an agent’s spiritual walk.

About Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in Hope through award-winning novels, nonfiction, devotions, and through speaking events for women and writers. As a literary agent with Books & Such Literary Management, she helps other authors fulfill their publishing goals. She and her grade school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin.

Thanks to our patrons on Patreon, we can now provide an edited transcript of our interview!

Karen: Hey everyone, welcome to the deep today. We’re so glad that you’re here and that you get to share time not just with us but with our amazing guest Cynthia Ruchti!

Erin: Yes, and I get to introduce her, everybody. I just want you all to know that! I met Cynthia Ruchti at a writers’ conference somewhere along the way. What impacted me the most was her heart for God. She was doing a short devotional, I think, and then she was leading a worship song. Let me tell you something. You can tell a lot about a person when they’re singing to God. And I knew she was a woman I wanted to get to know better.

Cynthia Ruchti draws on 33 years writing and producing an on air radio broadcast to tell stories hemmed in hope through her more then 25 award-winning books and her speaking. She’s the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers and, get this, since 2017, she’s also served as a literary agent with Books and Such Literary Management. Cynthia and her plot-tweaking husband—I love that—live in the heart of Wisconsin not far from their three children and five grandchildren. Cynthia, welcome!

Cynthia: Thank you so much. I’m going to have to change that bio a little, pretty soon, because we have a sixth grandchild. We don’t know if it’s a grandson or granddaughter, who will be born in August.

Karen: Congratulations!

Cynthia: We like changing our bios to have more books listed. We also like changing our bios to have more grandchildren listed.

Karen: The only thing I can list is when I get more dogs, so there you go.

Cynthia: More dogs also works!

Karen: Cynthia, as you know, we talk about the deep here on our podcast. Erin has her definition of the deep and I have mine. But we like to ask our guests when they’re here what that term, the deep, means to them. So, Cynthia, what does the deep mean to you?

Cynthia: For me, a lot of it has to do with getting beneath the surface. Whether that means going beneath the façade that we sometimes, not even intentionally, present to others, or going beneath the surface of the activity we are involved in, to get to the heart of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

But getting beyond the surface in our relationships, too. Primarily our relationship with God. We can do a lot of surface activity with God. But the deep, deep work with God often can have its painful moments. It has a depth of joy that can’t be shaken with what’s happening on the surface.

I ran into a passage of Scripture this morning. About the beginning of the year I’d asked God, as many others do, what’s my word for the year? Or my verse for the year? What is that? Am I going to have one this year or not? One year it was brave, and it turned out I needed bravery that whole year. One year it was rest, and I spent the whole year avoiding it.

And this past year I didn’t think I had a word that was going to carry through the year until I heard the word pilgrimage. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I really sensed that’s what He intended. You may have had experiences like that, too, where you weren’t even sure why He was saying that. Psalm 84 has a verse in the Bible that contains that word. I looked first to the Word because that’s the best place to go to figure out what God has in mind, and it was that verse about “happy are those whose hearts are always set on pilgrimage.”

I still didn’t know what that meant. And I still don’t. Here we are this far into the year, and I’m still not 100% sure about that. But I read that verse in another version, and that other version led me around to deep, which is kind of a skewed way of getting there. That verse in the Passion version said, “How enriched are those who find their strength in the Lord, within their hearts are the highways of holiness—or, that heart set on pilgrimage. Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain.”

That spoke to me as if to say, pilgrimage, yeah, that was just a means of getting you to that verse. It was the driving force to get you to that verse, which I’m still pondering on. But that is what we do. That is how God wants us to live. “Even when their paths wind through a dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain.”

Karen: That’s amazing.

Erin: The hard thing is we’re digging through that pain. We’re digging into that pain. It’s not like when we dig, it hurts less. I think it hurts more until we find that pool. And that is very counterintuitive. You have to trust that that pool of joy and of deep with God is going to be there.

Karen: Right.

Erin: one of the reasons why I was so interested to have you on the podcast, Cynthia, is because of a conversation you and I were having when we were at Mount Hermon. We were talking about you being an agent now for these past couple years. Tell us a little bit about that transition, when you went from author—and I know you’re still writing—and now you’re being an agent. How is that going for you?

Cynthia: I love every minute of it, even the hard parts, so you know that God’s presence is in the middle of it. And He’s teaching me things even in the difficulties that come with agenting. And there are always difficulties, because helping people get their books published is a winding, twisting path that sometimes has grave disappointments in it. And it’s always hard, it’s always difficult. It’s never easy or there wouldn’t be a need for an agent.

Erin: Wait, wait. You’re saying the agents actually feel disappointed, right? It’s not just the writers. There’s a revelation!

Cynthia: Can you imagine? Yes. There is often that! In fact, because we take on these clients as coming alongside them in their journey, we really are feeling what they feel. We have volunteered to feel what they feel when they’re going through all of this.

The transition part of it was, of course, a deep learning experience for me. Because as much as I thought I knew by being in the industry for a while, as much as I thought I knew from being on the author side of things, there was so much from the agent side of things.

One of the things that was a great joy to me was that I knew that Books and Such Literary Management—where I’m an agent—I knew it was a place of integrity. And there are several of those strong places of integrity and agencies within Christian publishing. And there are others where it’s not as visible or not as sure.

Erin: Right.

Cynthia: When I got behind the scenes with Books and Such and saw that that integrity ran deeper than I ever knew, that it wasn’t just a façade, that there was a depth to that level of integrity that ran way deep, even behind the scenes, that made me more sure than ever that the decision was a good one to become part of that team. And to root for other people’s projects with more ferocity even than my own.

Karen: I think that one of my greatest revelations while I was an agent was the fact that I, too, had been in the industry—I had led fiction programs for four of the major Christian publishers, I’d negotiated contracts from the publishers side—but it’s so different when you’re going not just as a negotiator but as an advocate. You’re trying to make sure that the marriage that you’re creating between publisher and client is one that will benefit both sides. And yet at times you have to be the tiger and fight for your client against people that you really love and trust. It’s learning how to be a champion, an advocate, and a warrior all in one fell swoop.

Cynthia: Karen, that is such a good description of it. And it really is true that we’re not an “us against them.”

Karen: No.

Cynthia: Really, who benefits is the reader. If we do our work well, and we make that good marriage, and we pair people’s projects with the best possible publisher for them, who benefits the most is the reader, who gets the opportunity to read that novel or to read that nonfiction and be moved and changed by it.

So it really is that we’re out for that win-win, for making sure we’re doing the best and the highest level of excellence both for our author and for the publishing house, knowing that the end result is the reader is matched with words from God’s heart.

Karen: So let’s talk some about how the spiritual side of things impacts all of that. I know that sometimes it’s a little hard for authors to see that agents are really just plain old people. You know the image that’s out there of a literary agent is a blood sucking person going to get everything they can out of the author.

That’s completely fallacious, especially where the Christian agents are concerned, the agencies like you talk about that have the integrity, like Books and Such, and the Steve Laube Agency, all of that. So talk about the spiritual side of things, because I think our listeners need to understand that agents steep things in prayer, and I’m not sure that they realize that.

Cynthia: I think that’s a good point. In fact Erin and I were talking about this also at one of the conferences that we attended. It’s probably not known, because it’s not necessarily visible, the depth and the level of prayer labor that we spend even in deciding if we’re going to represent a client or not.

We can have someone with a great story, great personality, a wonderful platform, and we still make it a matter of prayer. It’s not an automatic. Partly because it is that marriage, that care of a relationship. And we’re looking for an author who’ll have a career, that we can accompany them through that career through thick and thin. We’re looking into character. We’re looking to make sure, are we on the same page?

But we’re also needing and depending so heavily on the discerning of the Holy Spirit. If we are walking by the Spirit, that covers everything we do in the business and the relationship side of agenting as well. We are praying over things as we’re looking at a manuscript and looking at a potential client. We’re looking to strengthen the manuscript and to strengthen that client’s hand in God at the same time.

There are often times I’ll be looking at a project that looks good on the surface, and I’ll have just this hesitation. And I’m not sure even where the hesitation is coming from. As I pray about it and refuse to just react instantaneously from what looks like it might be a good business decision, or what looks like I might be able to offer something to that client, or what looks like it might be a good partnership, oftentimes I wait until I have the green light from the Lord. Clearly a green light from the Lord.

We can try to manipulate answers. We can try to manipulate relationships. That rarely works. We can try to massage something out of a message that isn’t there. That rarely works either. We want to make sure that we’re on the same page, so to speak, in all ways. That our hearts are pointed in the same direction.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that every client I represent is a duplicate of the kind of things I would write.

Karen: Right.

Cynthia: I’m often representing things that are very different from what I would want to write. Sometimes it’s even different from what I want to read. But I know as I pray about it that it’s something the readers need to see or hear or consider.

Karen: That will speak to somebody. That will speak to their hearts and their spirits in their own journey in Christ.

Cynthia: So true. I had a doctor when I was battling lyme disease back too many years ago to mention. It sounds like a completely different century. Oh yeah, it was a different century! It was a year and a half before my doctor figured out that it was lyme disease that I had. And it was eight doctors that I had been through in this search, of all different kinds. They told me at one time that if you have a disease with fourteen symptoms, they send you to the psych department automatically because no disease has fourteen symptoms. And I had thirteen, and one I didn’t want to tell them about.

Through all of that process we got to the end of it, and it was my doctor, my godly internal medicine doctor, who was the person who discovered the answer, and we could begin the treatment that lasted again forever because it had had such a hold in my life by that time, in my body by that time.

But I found out later in the game, his medical assistant took me aside and told me every time I came in to see the doctor—and it was sometimes once a month with a new symptom, yet another symptom, another round of tests—he would go back to his office after I left, put his head in his hands, and say, “God I know it’s something, I just don’t know what it is yet. Will you please reveal what it is?”

Even though it took that long, I’m so grateful that it was that man through whom God wanted to bring that answer. Probably because he may have been one of the only ones of all those physicians who was seeking his answer from God not just from the medical tests.

So I apply that in agenting and think that’s part of my role, too. I sit with my head in my hands, or figuratively on my knees to say God how can this best be used. How can this be tweaked. How can this be edited, or changed, or a new title or subtitle or something that will bring this to the place where it needs to be so that it can reach who it needs to reach. In addition to that, I know I’m talking a lot here…

Karen: No, that’s good!

Cynthia: In addition to that is the aspect that we pray and care about our clients. If our clients are going through something personally, we want to know about it, because we are a prayer advocate as well. It’s not just because they might not make their deadline. It’s because we really do care about our clients and spend a lot of time praying that their lives will be transformed through their writing as much as their writing will help transform others.

Erin: Right. It’s so interesting, Cynthia, I don’t know how many writers out there really understand the degree to which this partnership happens. There is so much that you’re doing in the background that might not be noticed. What do you think, though, is one of the biggest challenges spiritually to being an agent?

Cynthia: I think I’m new enough at this that I’m not battling pride like I might if I were further down the road. I had a big major spiritual breakthrough not long ago, though, when I negotiated for one of my clients a contract I would’ve loved to have had for myself. And then the next week there was another one, where I was able to secure for a different client a contract I would’ve loved to have had for myself with the publisher I would have loved to have worked for or with.

The interesting part of that was my heart was full of joy. It’s almost as if the Lord had to remind me, “You know, that’s one you would’ve loved to have had.” The reason he had to remind me was because he had been working so hard at getting me where I needed to be so that I would rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, where we as a body would celebrate each others’ victories with no thought to receiving anything in return. No thought as to what that might mean to us.

Those were some really sweet moments. I say them now, and say them out loud, publicly here, because that’s what I want to remain. I don’t want to ever get to a place where it’s all business. Or where I’m making decisions according to what it will mean for a paycheck. As most people know, an agent often works for years and years and years and makes nothing. This is what we signed up for. This is what we decided we would do. But I know and have observed other agents who seem like they’re—I don’t want this to be offensive to any person, or for any person to see themselves in this unless God intends them to…

Karen: You know who you are out there…

Cynthia: That they would just want to build clientele. Just build clientele. That they would want to reach certain sales goals for the sake of the money, as opposed to for the sake of the Kingdom or for the sake even of making sure that we’re doing everything with excellence, and pushing ourselves to raise the bar of excellence constantly in what we do.

So that was a real stark reminder to me. Thank you, Lord, that it was in a gentle way that You did it, to remind me that’s where I want my heart to be. That if I’m able to get contracts for my clients that caused my heart to sing, that’s the real beauty in at all.

Spiritually, the hard part of being an agent is oftentimes balancing time. For those of us like Karen, who’s been in a place where you’ve been agenting and authoring at the same time, we understand that balancing time or where or which is the biggest bonfire that we have to put out at the moment, or the needs never cease, and the workload isn’t logical. It’s not the kind where—I visited Denmark just a little bit ago and their intention is that the workday ends at four or 4:30 so that everyone can go be with their families for supper, and they locked their computers away in the workplace so that you’re not tempted to work in the evening, when your husband is say watching another baseball game.

Karen: Yeah.

Cynthia: Something like that. So that part of it is an issue that I’m wrestling with the Lord all the time about: “What do you want me to do at this moment? Not just what’s on my to-do list for the day, but at this moment, which is the thing I need to attend to, according to your will Lord, not my agenda?”

Erin: You mentioned something earlier about the deep. You talked a little bit about knowing your why, in a sense. Going deep enough to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’m curious, why did you decide to become an agent?

Cynthia: Like everything else in my life, God decided for me and left me no option. So I wrote and produced this radio broadcast for 33 years and prior to that I worked in a chemistry lab. I thought that was what I was going to do with my life. I retired from that to care for my toddler children when they were young. I took a correspondence course in creative writing just to keep my mind active with something other than caring for children, and dirty diapers, and the latest updates on which diaper is the best.

The last assignment for that particular course that I took, which happened to have been the Christian Writers Institute at the time, was to write a script for a 15-minute radio broadcast, which I thought was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of. I knew there were half hour hour and hour broadcasts. There were two minutes broadcasts, and I had no interest at all. At all.

So I procrastinated on that assignment for eight or nine months maybe. I finally did the assignment just so I could get my certificate to say I completed the course. Two weeks after I got my certificate a woman came to speak to the Christian women’s clubs in our area, the Stonecroft clubs, and they needed somebody to help her with her luggage and to sing in between her speaking points. I volunteered because they had already found a babysitter for my two-year old, so how could I say no. During that time the woman said she had just been given 15 minutes of free air time on a radio station that was about to go on the air. I said, “That’s very nice.”

Still had no interest. But at the end of our four days together, instead of her responding to my offer to search for some Scriptures that would go with her theme for the day, or perhaps look up some poems that would fit with what she was talking about, she handed me the address of the station and said, “Send the first program here.”

Erin: Wow.

Cynthia: And I had just told the Lord, “I’ll go wherever you want me to go. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” He said, “Did you mean it?”

So with no experience, and no training, and no equipment, and no anything, nine months later that radio station went on the air and our first broadcast went on the air, and it was on continuously for 33 years. At the end it was five days a week, Monday through Friday, of these scripted broadcasts. The first half was fiction, musical interlude. The second half was devotional thoughts about that slice of life scene from everyday life.

So when Janet Grant from Books and Such called me one day a couple years ago and said, “Have you ever considered being an agent?” I said, “Nope. Uh-uh. Nope. Nope. Oh dear, I think I’m going to have to pray about it.”

When I told my husband, I was sure his answer was going to be, “You’re not going to do one more thing.” Instead he said, “Don’t you think God has been grooming you for this?”

The end result of our praying together about it and talking about it was that I said yes to God because I know no other answer to give Him.

Karen: There’s no other answer that makes any sense because if you say no it’s a big mistake.

Cynthia: Big, big mistake. I’m smart enough to know that. So anyway that was it. And the adventure of it has been so wonderful. As I’ve said, I’ve not only loved it, but I love the people that I work with. I love the people in the industry.

I’ve had some opportunities over the past years to grow in deeply caring about retailers and publishers and editors and marketing people as well as the authors. I think God has used that all because He’s giving me an empathy for all sides in this mishmash called publishing.

Erin: Yeah.

Karen: Well, Cynthia, thank you so much for taking the time to spend with us and to share your experience and give us some insights into the spiritual walk that agents have. And also just into the ways that God deals with us no matter what career path we’re on. The ways that He leads us and guides us. I love how specific He is to speak into our lives His truth in the ways that we can hear, whether what we need is a gentle reprimand like you got, or if it’s something just a little bit harder for those of us who are maybe a little bit too strong-willed. I really appreciate the time that you spent with us and we look forward to maybe having you on again.

Erin: Yeah!

Cynthia: I would love that. Thank you so much.

Erin: Thanks, Cynthia.

Cynthia’s not just an agent, but an author as well! Here’s her latest release:

Miles from Where we Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Miles from Where we Started by Cynthia Ruchti

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Did you know many agents wrestle in prayer as they make decisions about your manuscript? What do you think about that?


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