Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Jesus had been tugging at my heart to write this book for YEARS. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I never started writing because the story didn’t feel like it was complete. If I didn’t have an “ending” then how could I know where the story is heading and guide the reader there? Where the heck do I start? And if it doesn't feel complete to me, how will it feel complete to my audience?
I had REALLY been thinking about writing for a few days, though, when I got this message from a church friend on Instagram.
Did you know Jesus uses Instagram to kick my butt in gear? Well, that day He sure did! I didn’t wait. By that night I had the Intro and Chapter 1 done. I kept writing and a week and a half later I had a solid first draft in my hands. Writing. Editing. Talking it through with friends. More writing. More editing. Fresh eyes on it again. Somewhere in there I added 10,000 words! The cycle of editing is a tedious one! Then there’s still the issue of publishing. Do I query an agent? Shoot for traditional publishing or self-publish? There’s quite a bit to consider and the options/ opinions of others on the subject are plentiful. I needed some time to sit with Jesus and find out what road He wanted me to take.
"I feel like you should write a book..."
So, the last couple of weeks I’ve taken a bit of a breather in working on publishing the book. What started out as a sprint, definitely became more of a marathon, but for all the right reasons. I picked it back up last night and read my own words start to finish in one sitting. The struggles of my marriage and divorce, the obvious lessons Jesus used other relationships to teach me, and the vulnerable heartache I allowed myself to share have not left me knocked down… in fact, it’s so apparent that Jesus was equipping my heart so He could plant my feet in the right places. And I hope, as others read through my book, I communicated that well.
In the past, I’ve had a habit of filling up my schedule with too many things. Not bad things… just things. I spend my days off of work meeting with friends for coffee, grocery shopping, house cleaning, and whatever hobby I’m currently attached to. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t do those things. They are, in their own way, self–care for my soul. But this past two weeks, life has asked me to slow down and listen for His direction. It’s challenged me to create some breathing room and lean into what God is doing. He blew the doors of my life wide open and spoke peace into its narrative. I wasn’t really expecting that!
A Landing Place.
"Maybe your story of hope will not end...but it will land."
I went through a tough break–up several months ago and two weeks into the heartache I wrote the book. More than anything, it was an abrupt loss of a comforting friendship, but its absence didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at the time. I made a choice not to allow myself to just brush it off, though. I tend to brush off the pain of breakups, somehow believing that it makes me strong to do so. Resilient. Unscathed. But this time I really took a step back, gave myself permission to feel, and allowed Jesus to lead. To be honest, the breakup was just the push I needed to get my words and story of hope written. As much as I hurt, I knew Jesus was right in the middle of my mess teaching me something that I would need.
He asked me to sit in the mess of brokenness. The last couple chapters in the book are about this season, and I wrote them from the broken places. It wasn’t so much that a break–up left me hurting. It was that Jesus asked me to hang out in the brokenness so He could do the work I’d avoided before without even realizing it. It took all the months of editing the book and praying to really see what it was Jesus was teaching me, but all the sudden the fog of heartbreak lifted and joy barged in. Not just any joy, either. Joy became my landing place and peace surrounded me.
Hope Fully, hopefully soon.
"It's like a dam waiting to be let down!! I can feel it!"
I’m not sitting in the brokenness anymore. A big part of me wants to toss out those chapters where I tell you that I’m still crying at the drop of a hat or still sitting in it the broken places, because I’m not there now. But I wrote them from where I was in the moment months ago. It’s always mattered to me that I let you into the hard things. So as you read, I hope you don’t feel so alone in your own. I feel the most vulnerable about those chapters staying in the book, but they are staying. I will probably be calling a couple girlfriends to come over when I hit that publish button on Amazon, though, so I don’t chicken out. (Taiko, by “girlfriends” you know I mean you, right?)
So far, the book has had several set of eyes on it and is currently living with a sweet couple from church who are providing me with the best feedback as they read. I’ve rewritten several parts based on their suggestions and feel awfully indebted to them at this point. While I started this endeavor not believing the story had an ending, I moved forward with writing it in faith. And the ending came, not necessarily in the way I expected, but in the best way. After this round of edits… I can (mostly) confidently say the book is DONE and I’ll go ahead with publishing it myself. Shooting for an early fall release.
The cover design is about done, although the back of the book text is still up for debate. LOL. I'm just waiting to get an ISBN number and barcode, and arrive at a final page count so I'm sure the dimensions are right. It was FUN to design, though! I love that this endeavor has used all of my professional experience... photography, design, teaching English (although I needed a grammar refresher for sure!)... and, of course, keeping myself caffeinated in the process!
Here's the current working cover design... would love to hear your thoughts!
That’s the update! Thank you for taking this journey with me. I already knew Jesus was good, that He was faithful… but now I’m overwhelmed by the depth of it all. I have the best people in my corner, including this fun crew…
P.S. This was my 40th birthday. We rode our beach cruisers downtown for a coffee & lunch date! We clearly love repping our favorite local coffee spot. :)
Lunch at Quesadilla Gorilla...
Such a good day!