My New Hero
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. (James 4:14, NLT)
Once in a while, you meet somebody who impacts your life in such a way that you’re never quite the same. I had such an experience last month at the Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC) when I met fellow children’s author Paige Snedeker.
Just to come to the conference, Paige needed an entire team of support–her mom, her nurses and her best friend. You see, Paige suffers from a rare neuromuscular disease that has progressively claimed the use of her arms and legs, as well as her eyesight, hearing and the ability to breathe without a trach.
This same disease took the life of one of her brothers, but it hasn’t taken Paige’s sweet spirit, immense talent or intense desire to serve God through her writing and painting. She is amazing.
At only 20, Paige has the wisdom of someone much older, which she conveys so beautifully through her creativity. No surprise to me, her book Sofia and Her Morningstar won an award at the 2014 FCWC for its powerful message and frame-worthy paintings. It features a lovely flower named Sofia and a friendly butterfly named Morningstar. As the story progresses, Sofia realizes that her time on Earth is short, and she longs to fly on the wings of Morningstar and see the gorgeous world that God has created. As Sofia’s color fades and winter draws near, she shares her desire with Morningstar, who agrees to fly Sofia high in the sky, showing her all of the sensational sights she has always wanted to see. Their adventure treats readers to pictures of fuzzy bear cubs, majestic mountains, tropical birds, brilliant waterfalls, colorful fish and happy dolphins jumping in the waves.
In a bit more than four months, Paige created the vibrant pictures using a paintbrush between her teeth and her tablet. For added fun, she also included Camo the Gecko in every picture. (Kids love trying to find Camo!)
It’s such a bright, colorful, happy book, yet its message brought me to tears–in a good way. After two days of exploring God’s beautiful world, “Morningstar picked up her dying friend and flew up, up, up into the sky. When she let go, Sofia kept floating up, higher and higher until Morningstar could no longer see her... Goodbye, my sweet, beautiful Sofia, until I see you again in Heaven!”
Paige’s book certainly made me stop and remember that our time here is short and that we should be thankful every morning we wake up with the gift of a new day. We shouldn’t waste even one day being mad, hurt, bitter or too busy to appreciate the beauty all around us. And we should make the most of every single day, walking in love, encouraging one another and blooming where we’re planted. That’s what Paige Snedeker is doing, and she’s my new hero.
I can’t wait to read Paige’s next children’s book, which she is working on right now. I have a signed copy of Sofia and her Morningstar that I will forever treasure and use as inspiration whenever I begin to lose sight of what’s really important in life. I hope you’ll do the same.