Deep in a tiny corner of the United States lived a young fourth grade girl. She had been raised in a Christian home and was attending a Christian school. Her faith in God was sound, but she didn’t quite understand what it meant to live a life of sacrifice for Him. Her knowledge of her relationship with God really only went as far as what people told her it was, and she was content with that.
One day, this girl found that her school was holding a special event for the fourth graders. Her friend told her that she knew the man who was coming to talk to the class: an author who wrote stories about dragons. The girl was intrigued, as her older siblings’ love for Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia had brought her to love fantasy worlds from a young age. She listened to the author with interest, and begged her friend if she could borrow the first book in his series the next day.
Sure enough, the very next day, Raising Dragons was in her hands. It looked a little daunting at first, with its big pages and thick spine, but the girl loved to read, and she was ready for this challenge. However, it proved not to be a challenge at all. The girl devoured the book, finishing it within a day or two. It was the best book she had ever read, and she could hardly put it down.
The girl eagerly awaited each book that came after in the series. She would zip through each book, cover to cover, each time in only a few days or less. In The Candlestone, she especially felt close to Bonnie, who would from then on be her hero. Often at night, when she was alone and frightened of the dark, she would fall asleep singing Bonnie’s prayers. She admired Bonnie’s never-ceasing trust in God, and wanted to be able to trust God with everything. She began to realize that there was more to her life as a Christian than just believing in God, and she admired the examples of sacrifice she found all throughout the Dragons in our Midst series.
The girl grew into a young woman in middle school. Still in a Christian school, her faith in God remained firm. But oftentimes, sadness overtook her. She wasn’t quite sure why, but despite the waves of depression she tried to remain strong and still shine her light. The Oracles of Fire series began, and the young woman found another role model in Sapphira Adi, a girl who had been through so much suffering and pain and didn’t think that she was worthy to know Elohim. And yet, she danced with Him, a scene which made the young woman cry as she read. It was then that she realized that God was near, and always had been. The young woman clung to Him, and her light grew brighter.
Then the young woman entered high school, a time that would bring many good memories but also many hardships. She still looked forward to each new Oracle of Fire book that would come out, staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish each book and then send an email about how much she loved it to her favorite author. These books began to show her how strong the love of God really is; she began to realize that she should live her life as a living sacrifice to God. She began to understand more about her Creator and her relationship with Him became more intimate.
One day, sitting on her bed, the young woman cried as she closed The Bones of Makaidos. She couldn’t believe that these wonderful stories were at an end, the stories which had literally helped shape who she was, the stories that she had grown up with. Though she read and loved Bryan Davis’ other fantastic works, the ending of the Dragons in our Midst story world was like closing a chapter on her own life. But she decided that it wasn’t an end. It was a beginning.
The stories had inspired her in more ways than just spiritual. She realized that she loved to create stories, and began filling notebooks upon notebooks with stories that almost all centered around dragons. Soon she transferred the notes on paper to Microsoft Word, and her stories expanded until she had too many ideas to keep up with.
On a normal day, on her way home from school, the young woman got an email on her phone. When she saw that it was the Bryan Davis newsletter, she eagerly clicked her email app and read the first headline in the email. She screamed and her brother and mother turned, instantly worried. But then the young woman laughed and couldn’t stop smiling. Her favorite story world was coming back. All her favorite characters: Bonnie, Billy, Ashley, Walter, Sapphira, and all the others…they were coming back. She counted the days until The Song of the Ovulum was released, and when it was, she was so excited that she stayed up into the night to finish it after she got it. She loved how music was a big part of the storyline, as she was musician herself.
It was around this time that the young woman went to go see Bryan Davis speak to a small gathering of fans for the umpteenth time. Even if he told the same stories or shared the same knowledge several times, she never got tired of it. She listened to his personal story about the dime and two pennies, loving the story just as much as she had loved it the first time she had heard it. But this time, something resonated inside of her at the end of the story. Mr. Davis went on to talk about Ashley’s sacrifice and about her “two pennies.” And then he asked the group, “What are your two pennies?” The words stuck in the girl’s mind, words that she would never forget.
As obvious as it seemed, the girl had never thought about this before. Yet, as soon as Mr. Davis asked the question, the answer became obvious, like the Holy Spirit was speaking it into her heart: music and writing. Two gifts that God had given her that she loved and that she could use to transform other people’s lives. She no longer had to ponder the dreaded question, “What will you major in when you’re in college?” She knew.
The other Children of the Bard books were fantastic, as the books always were, and the young woman was still amazed at the examples of sacrifice, love, and faith that her favorite characters displayed. They continued to inspire her as she enrolled at a college and graduated from high school. She matured into a woman, ready to face the world.
The woman went through her first semester at college firm in her faith. She knew who she was in Christ, and she didn’t waver. But, on the inside, her faith remained stagnant. From being raised be Christians and being in a Christian school her whole life, she wondered if there was really anything else to learn about God. She found herself devoting time to other trivial things and spending little time with God.
Then Omega Dragon arrived. The woman was afraid to open it because she knew once she started, she wouldn’t be able to stop. And she didn’t want to get to the end. She didn’t think she was ready for that.
But she couldn’t resist. She began, and found herself dragged into an incredible story, the culmination of all 12 books in the story world. She couldn’t believe how masterfully it had all been brought together. Like usual, she laughed out loud and cried as well, especially when Sapphira and Elam sacrificed themselves. She remembered how much Sapphira’s character had meant to her in those dark middle school times, and was sad that she was gone.
However, the woman was overjoyed at the ending of the book. She thought of the song “After the Last Tear Falls” by Andrew Peterson as she read about all the characters being joyful in Second Eden. All the references to the story’s beginnings made her begin to tear up. It was absolutely perfect, and she was touched by Bonnie’s last words, which made her feel as if her favorite character was speaking to her. She was already crying buckets when she read “Amen,” and she hasn’t really stopped crying since.
This is the story of how your books made an impact on my life, and let me tell you, it has been huge. Even now, after finishing that book, I know what I have to do. Once again, your characters have reminded me that my life is a living sacrifice to God and that I need to live a life of love. I’ve been living my life for myself for a while, but I’ve realized again that it’s not about me. It’s about others. It’s about unconditional love. And I know that I still have a long way to go before I have enough faith to completely trust God with everything.
I wish I knew exactly how to thank you for these books that have made up my entire life so far and that have been such a huge part of me. They will always be very dear to my heart, and I know I’ll read them over and over again for the rest of my life. I can only hope that this email shows at least a little bit of how much gratitude I have for you and your decision to write these books. God has used you in such an incredible way. Thank you for listening to Him.
As you keep writing, I’ll keep reading, and I pray that God blesses you as you continue to follow Him.