You might wonder why I decided to write my first book on such a complicated theme. To be honest, I never intended to write a book on this subject. In fact, this topic was the farthest from my mind.
As a side note, writing a book has been a dream of mine since I was eleven years old. But life and bad choices kept me from fulfilling that dream. Interestingly, those same bad choices and life circumstances led me into many twists and turns that could keep any author busy for decades. The tough decision was which part of my life story did I want to tell first? Secondly, what element from my life was most imperative to be told. More clearly, what lessons had I learned that I could pass on to others?
In February of 2015, I sat at my computer praying for guidance and writing in my online prayer journal. I asked the Lord to reveal to me what He wanted me to write about.
As I wrote and prayed, I found myself typing words relating to the content of this book. I sat back and look at what I had written. Those words did not resemble anything that I had ever imagined writing. They were the furthest thing from my conscious mind.
I stared at the screen for the longest time. Then I began to argue with the Lord.
“I am NOT writing about that!” I declared.
A soft Voice questioned, “Why Not?”
“Because I can’t. I won’t.” I protested. “Nothing good can come from me writing about that. Besides I’m not qualified.”
“Yes you are qualified.” was the reply.
I continued to protest and I continued to receive affirmation that I was perfectly qualified to accomplish this task.
After a good thirty minutes of my protests going nowhere, I finally stated, “Well God, it this is what you want me to write about, You will have to give me the guidance and direction that I need to accomplish it. Because honestly—in my own wisdom—this is an impossible task.”
And God replied, “Just start writing.”
And so I turned the page and started writing down the words that came to me.
About six months later, I had completed the first phase of what I thought would become the draft of my first book. Dutifully, I sent it out to an editor. She reviewed it, and sent it back with a reply that the book was “redeemable.” In other words, it sucked…big time. I worked on it some more and sent it out to someone else that I trusted who also gave me a chastising rebuke.
What could be wrong? I thought I had written what God had asked me to write. I was stumped.
At that point, I pushed the manuscript aside and announced to my husband that it was time for a vacation. I needed a serious break. A change of pace, a new location, some fresh seafood, new discoveries…with no opportunity to think of writing—something that would help me to refocus and start over.
After the vacation, I picked up the manuscript again. I reread it and then I saw what was wrong. The entire book smacked of a negative, self-serving attitude. It shook me like a thunderbolt. The problem wasn’t really the book topic. What needed to change was me! Because I hadn’t wanted to write the book in the first place, I was writing from a position of rebellion and resentment.
When I realized where I was wrong, I bowed in humiliation and repentance. After that I prayed, “Well Lord. If You want me to write about this subject, then help me to do it in the way that You want me to. I will write it because it’s what You want me to do, not what I want to do. Just give me the guidance and direction that I need.”
In Numbers 22 we read an intriguing story of this man called Balaam and a talking donkey. The King wanted Balaam to curse the people of Israel. God told him to bless Israel. Balaam repeatedly asked God to clarify his request. In essence, he wanted the reward offered by the King and he thought perhaps—with enough begging—he might be able to convince God to change His mind. Despite God’s direct orders, he went anyway. God intervened with an angel and talking donkey. Balaam pretended to make all the right moves. But God saw his heart and knew that it was the money and reputation that motivated him, not God’s will. Balaam created a lot of stress for himself by putting his pride in the way of God’s will.
In my situation, it took nine long months for me to get past thinking that I was being obedient by writing something that God wanted me to write, with the false belief that I was doing God’s will. But with a resentful and unwilling attitude, I put pride over obedience—achieving nothing. That awful book that was never read by another person.
After this experience I started over, this time with the better attitude and willingness of heart. Nine months later, I had another book, the one you are reading today.
I admit my spiritual growth during this process of writing was phenomenal. Writing a bad book encouraged me to open my mind and write from a different perspective—and I learned a lot about writing! Personally, the growth in my Christian life also helped me to become a more loving wife and a better person. As I began to look at my husband from God’s perspective instead of my own—our marriage improved. I saw my own flaws—my own ways of dealing with our interpersonal issues—that needed healing. I saw him as the sanctified spouse that God is molding and shaping—just as He is doing with me. I became patient and more understanding, more thoughtful and more accepting of others.
Today, I offer my experience to you—my readers—as a book in completion that God inspired in me—despite my objection. I truly hope that you will find peace, comfort and hope in this pages that you can share with others.
I leave you with this thought for 2018. What is the one thing in your life that you can change that will help you to have a more positive relationship with those around you?
Can you make that your goal for this year?
May 2018 bring you blessings beyond anything that you could hope for. May your relationships be encouraged and inspired to new heights.