Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV
Yesterday was a big day, according to my granddaughter Olive. Two events made it so: Number One, she lost another tooth. Number Two, her Ama (me) became “famous.” Her word. A text came through from my son Miles, showing Olive pointing to the space in her mouth with one hand and holding up my book with the other. Something inside of me settled when I saw it. I was at once humbled and set free.
So I wrote a book, I published the book and now I am telling you that you can buy the book here:
I started to write this book eight years ago. I knew God wanted me to write it because it is really His story. But He decided to use my son Spencer and me as the main characters. Try describing one of your children in a book! So I went to a Christian writers conference to learn some things and meet some other writers. Here’s how it went:
Lunch time. You grab your tray and move through the line, making small talk with others. Hey, we’re all Christians here, so the ambience is kind and non-competitive. Nice. I turn and look for a place to sit, inhaling and holding my breath as the room begins to spin a bit and my hands start to sweat. I remind myself this is not ballroom dancing class in sixth grade. There I stood pinned against a gymnasium wall while a wave of really short boys fanned out in front of me, picking all the short girls around me for the next waltz. I pick a table of middle-age ladies who are laughing.
“Sure! Come join us!” They scoot around the table to make room for me.
“Where are you from?” The conversation is light and fluffy.
“What are you writing?” The question makes its way around the table.
Amish romance, one woman reveals with a wink and a naughty glance around the table. Every head nods in approval as we dish more pasta salad into our mouths.
Nutrition and fitness according to the Old Testament, another woman pipes up. Did you know honey has healing properties? No, I smile. That’s so interesting. Heads bob up and down. Mmmm, yes!
What about you? All eyes are now turned to me. I inhale again.
I’m writing a memoir. Exhale. Oh! Although it’s more drawn out, like Ooooooohhhhh….then here it comes, my shoulders hunch up waiting, while I play with the noodles on my plate.
What’s it about?
Deep breath. It’s about my son’s murder. It’s about all of the amazing things God has done through my son’s life and death. It’s about forgiveness and how faithful God is, it’s about…
But I lost them, right after “my son’s murder.” I feel the air disappear, the forks resting on the plates, chairs squeaking. I look up but no one will look at me.
Oh, well that’s very interesting, someone will say, a brave person, and then the topic will switch to wondering what they have for dessert, although I really don’t need any! Laugh.
I came home and put the book high up on a metaphorical shelf for four years and blogged instead. And it was good. But I knew it was there, calling me. The voice was soft at first, like hearing a baby talking to himself, but then it got louder. Come pick me up! It was time to finish.
At the end of the book I acknowledge my brother Bob who humored me with pretend Writer’s Group (just Bob and me with our lap tops in a coffee shop, trying to look like writers do) and my sons, who reminded me of why I write. Jake, for being my best and most faithful blog fan. And it was Miles, last winter, during the peak of my anxiety over finally finishing the book and then what? suggested that maybe I’m writing for a great – great grandson who will need to hear the Story someday. I pictured an exasperated Brooklynn, my 9-year-old granddaughter, as a mother, or maybe grandmother, taking an old dog-eared paperback off her shelf and handing it to a scowling teenager. Here – this is God’s story, it is our story of deliverance and legacy.
What could matter more?
In Embracing Obscurity, the anonymous author makes this point: God intentionally calls us Nobodies, you and me, to be His vessels of honor, so that no one can boast in ourselves. That’s refreshing to me. This book is His gift to you that was poured out through me. For that, I won’t ever despise it. It is my offering, like your gift or work or motherhood, or straightening chairs in the sanctuary, or the time it takes to have coffee with someone who is struggling. Whatever gift He has chosen to place within you. It’s all pretty lame until God says, “Yep, I can use that.” The goods are His. Our purpose here, dear brothers and sisters, is to simply show others the way with whatever we have.
So, no press release or balloons. And if you want the book, you just click three times and it activates probably another three clicks somewhere in a huge warehouse on the west coast. A paperback book is spit out with my name on it. Enjoy!
As for me, I’m famous already – in the heart of a 7-year-old girl who carries her tooth in her pocket. I think Jesus would really love that. And if it’s good enough for Him, it’s surely good enough for me.
*** special thanks to Robert Lyon for the cover illustration and Paraclete Multi Media for the design. Well done!