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Sacred Ground or 7 Things I learned in my 17 Year Journey to Publication

Sacred Ground or 7 Things I learned in my 17 Year Journey to Publication

by Ginny L. Yttrup

Author GInny Yttrup

When I step onto the grounds of Mount Hermon this spring for the annual Christian Writers Conference, I’ll do so knowing I’m treading on sacred ground. It isn’t just the rich history of Christian ministry that’s taken place there over the last 100+ years—nor is it the grandeur of creation—the redwoods standing as sentries declaring the glory of God. Those are simply the backdrops against which God fulfills dreams dreamt in accordance with His will. And that, in my mind, is sacred territory.

20 years ago, I was a shy, insecure 30 year old with a husband and two toddlers back at home. I’d barely graduated from high school and hadn’t attended college, instead choosing to marry at 19. All I brought with me to that first writers conference was a dream. Lord, I’d love to be a writer, I’d confessed earlier that year.

Year after year, I returned to the conference. And year after year, my knowledge increased. Everything I now know about writing, I learned through the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference—knowledge garnered through the many workshops I attended or through the relationships I built.

When I reached 47 years of age, I was still dreaming the same dream. But now, the husband was gone, the toddlers were grown, and for the first time in my adult life I was staring at the daunting task of having to provide for myself, and my future. I was dependent on God as never before—which is a frightening, and oh so glorious position. It’s also sacred ground.

Two weeks into my new adventure with God, I received an email from my agent, Steve Laube, who I’d met through the conference. The email simply said, Call me. I was in transition, with my life crashing around me, and I’d neglected to give Steve my new phone number. I picked up the phone that morning and heard the news that God was finally fulfilling my dream. But not only fulfilling it, He was exceeding it.

By the time I hung up the phone, I’d verbally accepted a three-book offer with B&H Publishing Group. Not one book, but three, with advances, actual money, attached to each book. And, I’d be working with my dream editor, Karen Ball.

Just remembering that morning leaves me speechless all over again.

Last December, I signed a second three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group. While we all know writers don’t make enough to live on, I’ve lived the last two years working as a full-time author. I’m not sure how that’s worked, but I choose not to look at the numbers too often and instead trust that God is again exceeding my expectations.

Speaking of numbers, yes, it was 17 years before God fulfilled my dream. But those were not wasted years.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1)   If God has planted the seed of a dream in your heart, it will take root and flourish.

2)   God will equip and prepare you for the fulfillment of your dream.

3)   At some point, God will ask you to surrender your dream to Him. For the dream is never more important than the One who planted the dream.

4)   God acts in His time and His way, always with your best in mind.

5)   If you are chasing the will of God, you will encounter obstacles. Perseverance isn’t optional.

6)   God is in the business of doing exceedingly abundantly more than we expect.

7)   Exceedingly and Abundantly are ly adverbs and using ly adverbs breaks the rules of writing. It has something to do with telling versus showing.


Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory…

Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV


I hope to see you walking the sacred ground of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference this spring.

Ginny L. Yttrup is the author of Words and Lost and Found, both of which released to rave reviews. She is working to complete her third novel with B&H Publishing Group, and is contracted for three more after that. She is a child of God, mother, friend, and obsessive pet-lover. She attended her first Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference 20 years ago, when she was just 5 years old. 🙂


View Comments (16)
  • Thank you…. this was perfect. I have that dream, I write in all my spare time. I have been given a story that I simply must share, but the task seems so difficult, so tedious. The world tells me it will never work, but I believe in a God who is bigger. He gave me a promise several years ago, and reaffirmed that promise yesterday. This just continues to confirm that dream within. Thank you for the encouragement 🙂

    • Kaitlyn, I’m grateful you sensed God’s affirmation again yesterday and His encouragement today. You’re right, He ways are different than the ways of the world. I hope our paths will cross at Mount Hermon.

  • Thank you for your transparency and encouragement, Ginny. You are a testimony of God’s power, grace, and perfect timing.

    Your heart for God and His people, and your willingness to submit to His will and persevere in His strength, inspires me.

    As a newbie at Mount Hermon, last year, I discovered this conference is just as much a spiritual experience as it is a learning opportunity. Mount Hermon provides a safe place to grow as we seek God and bend to His leading.

    I praise God for the ministry of Mount Hermon and for how He is using you to minister to His people in genuine love.

  • Ginny, I so needed to read this! I’m in “transition” right now, facing the “daunting task of providing for myself” (and my two sons). This post reminded me of God’s ability to go above and beyond.

    It’ll be wonderful to see you. And thanks for signing up to be a buddy!


    • Oh, Jeanette…He will do exceedingly abundantly more than you can imagine. Keeping you in prayer, my friend. See you soon…

  • Ginny,

    As always….you inspire & remind me that God has a plan for His call on my life. I can trust that & move forward in confidence. I’m ready!

  • The first time I attended a Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, I knew I was “home.”

    And it’s a home I return to as often as I can.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Ginny. May God continue to pour His love and grace through you into the hearts of your readers. We are all blessed by what you have learned at Mount Hermon.

  • Ginny —

    I read Words in one day and loved every “word” of it! I’m taking Lost and Found a little slower, but I’m anxious to finish it. Thank you so much for persevering to share God’s gifts and message to/through you!

    I’m longing to be at Mt. Hermon this year, but I’m in charge of my father’s 80th birthday party to throw that weekend. I’m going to learn and write my heart out over the next year and pray to be a Mt. Hermon newbie in 2013!

    In His Delight,


  • Ginny:

    Your spiritual insight was so inspiring and definitely words from God for me in this crazy time in my life. Your beginning journey has some similarities to my experience. I attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference last year for the first time with twin toddlers at home. I was pregnant with our third child while at the conference. I work full-time as an editor in the high-stress environment of educational publishing. I contract at a crime lab on the side and have written my first novel–a Christian forensic mystery/suspense. I am just starting to get a platform going, but feel like my head is spinning off at times trying to figure out how in the world to get the platform to where it needs to be while continuing to write and do everything else well that I need to do such as being a good wife and mom. Anyway, all of that to say that so many times I’ve come so close to quitting (with the writing) because I feel that despite having a very unique genre, no editors are biting and my life is so busy. So many times I look at the writing and wonder if it’s worth the effort but your blog post reminded me that yes, I do feel that God put this in my heart and He will continue to prepare me and sharpen my writing skills to be where they need to be in the necessary time frame. Thank you and my God continue to bless your writing!

  • Kristy, thanks so much for sharing a portion of your own journey. God’s timing is perfect. Praying for you as you persevere.

  • Ginny,

    Mount Hermon was my beginning too. I wish I’d met you there. So encouraged to hear what God has done in your writer-life. Knowing your tender heart personally makes your books that much more precious to me.

    I won’t be at Mount Hermon with Inspire this year. But, I promise to pray!

    In His Love,


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