I Will Step Up, I Will Be Faithful–I Will Even Stay Home

HOME-E-O-STAY-SIS — We will not be using the typical spelling or implied definition of the word. (Just didn’t want you to think the editor had lost her marbles!)

My first royalty check on the second book, Beyond Belief: Jesus Saved You, Now What? was less that $15. When they tell you that being an author is not lucrative–take them seriously. Of course there are exceptions; I’m not one of them. And perhaps that’s in part, or mostly my own fault. Let me start back at the beginning.

When my second book came I out, I was tired of writing. I felt God leading me toward editing (which I love) and He opened wide several doors. I stepped through with enthusiasm and God has blessed my new endeavors. So I quietly allowed the door to close behind me, effectively closing the chapter on my books.

To be quite honest, I hate promoting my books. I think every author does really, but I simply decided not to do it. Other than requesting a few reviews and a handful of comments on Facebook, I left that job to my agent.

Suddenly, I was swamped with discontentment and insecurity. I lay in bed Monday night and felt a familiar wash of melancholy and panic: What am I doing with my life? What if I don’t receive any more clients for editing? What if my books really go nowhere? What was the point of writing? Maybe I shouldn’t even call myself a writer. I can’t even come up with blog posts anymore. Maybe I should go back to school. Maybe I should get an outside job. Maybe my life is just pathetic. What am I here for, Lord?

All I do is stay home and keep myself busy with what–work that maybe doesn’t even matter? Suddenly, my contentment at home, my home-eo-stay-sis was interrupted. 

Forlornly, I took my tears the the Father the next morning. Gently, as He always does, he layered answers from His word with sermons and affirmation from friends.

I listened to a sermon from Elevation Church the other day, a guest sermon by the author of Through The Eyes of a Lion. 

I won’t give it away, but his comments about focus, vision and sticking with it–doing the same things a new way–instead of “calling envy” and longing for a more important, significant calling, struck me. 

Then, God’s Word in Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work … will complete it.” God doesn’t stop halfway. And Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.“–Don’t give up! And then the clincher that tells me I am expected to be faithful too: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Next, in Bible study this morning, a sweet friend confessed to feeling the same way recently. That night as she prayed with her husband, he voluntarily closed the prayer (which apparently, he rarely does.) His words: “Thank you for my wife, thank you that she is such a good friend.”

Her heart soared. No matter how low she felt in the eyes of the world, no matter how small her calling felt at home, her husband’s affirmation that she was his friend confirmed to her that she is smack in the center of her calling. And it encouraged my heart as well. That’s why I stay home–for the sake of my marriage, for the sake of my home, because this is the first and highest calling God has given me. Everything else that He’s blessed me to do falls neatly under that banner of wife, homemaker … friend.

Finally, God prodded my heart concerning faithfulness to the good work I began–faithfulness to work diligently to put the books He wrote through me into the hands of as many people as possible. A crazy idea occurred to me, and mustering my courage, I grabbed a copy of my book and marched into a local, Christian-owned coffee shop.

“Hi! I recently wrote a Bible study and I was wondering if you would permit me to place a few copies in your coffee shop for free. I’d like to put a business card in them in case readers would like to buy some. But would you permit me to simply offer a few free books to your customers?”

Their response was overwhelming. First of all, the only people working that shift were the owners (exactly who I needed to talk to). Then, not only did they agree to let me place some books in their store, but they offered to host a book signing. A women’s Bible study group meets there every Thursday night: “Would you want to have a book signing on a Thursday evening? You could start before they arrive and then you’d have an audience that is exactly suited to your book … ”

The rest of the conversation was equally uplifting. We briefly shared our stories, our desires to further God’s kingdom and our understanding of His call on our lives.

Only God could have suggested that idea to me and then prepared the way for my request to be received and blessed.

Oh! and one more thing. Out of the blue a wonderful Christian radio host asked me to do an interview with her this Saturday on Beyond Belief! (Details to come!)

So, I will step up. I will be faithful. I will be content in my home, diligent in and proud of my calling.

4 Questions, 3 Authors and a Blog Hop

Ever heard of blog hopping? Yeah, me neither 🙂

But, thanks to the incomparable Megan Cyruleski, I’m trying my hand at this!

The long and the short:
I give you the answers to four questions about my work as a writer and author. Then, like a chain letter (in a good kind of way) I “tag” three more blogger/authors and then they do the same. Fitting that I was tagged by Megan 🙂 the generous ambition behind her blog is to support other authors. Shout out and a hardy thanks to Megan Cyruleski–and you HAVE to read her book, Who Am I?

And up next…

Heather LettoHeather Letto

You’re in for a treat! I’m halfway through an advance copy of Heather’s first book, Impervious, and it’s incredible! Think Hunger Games mixed with the creation story. In this book Heather skillfully portrays the consequences of sin and the beauty of redemption. Her book will be available in May 2014!

walk in freedom

Brenna Kate Simonds

I first met Brenna Kate when she wrote a guest post for FINDINGbalance. Brenna’s guts and grace blew me away. When I found out that she was in the final stages of publishing her book, Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps, I begged her to let me read and review it. If you’re stuck, mired in addiction–of any kind–this book is for you. 

Yojary Moreno

Yojary Lozano

Yojary Lozano’s book, Family Baggage, is waiting in the wings. Because we are represented by the same wonderful agent, Vanessa Grossett, I was given the opportunity to read her book before the rest of you. (Lucky me, just you wait!)
Yojary’s book is unlike any I’ve read before. Growing up in poverty, in the jungles of Columbia was the least of her challenges. Her story mines the depths love, determination, true grit, pain and forgiveness.

Now for the four questions:

What am I working on? The bloody (not really, just pretending I’m British) painful and ubiquitous art of publicity. There is forever another opportunity to promote a book. The constant fear is whether I’m doing it right. Thankfully, the same God who healed me from anorexia, prompted me to write the book and then gave me words and energy to do so, will do this for me as well. On top of that, I continue to write for a number of Christian publications. And my husband and I fast approaching our next military move.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? My book goes beyond the fairly familiar story of: eating disorder, counseling, recovery. Few other books take the reader inside a treatment center and show the daily details–in a positive way. Also, my book spans almost two decades, vulnerably showing how the eating disorder wounded my nuclear family and also how it affected my marriage. My book is unapologetically Christian. In that way, I feel it offers a stronger hope than many books who leave the reader still wondering “will what they did work for me?”

Why do I write what I do? A few weeks ago, a friend from high school messaged me and said that she remembered me saying way back then that someday I wanted to write a book. In high school, I had already been through treatment once and was still living in the hell of anorexia. I knew that there was no point in the suffering if I couldn’t reach out someday to lift others up from that pit. That’s why I write–to be evidence that Jesus saves.

How does your writing process work? Hmm…I’m still trying to figure that one out myself 🙂
It depends on the day. Since my husband and I don’t have children and I don’t work outside the home, I’m pretty flexible with my schedule. My dog and I volunteer with Pet Parters visiting local schools, nursing homes and hospitals on a regular basis, so that takes some time away from the keyboard.

Usually, my ideas germinate during my Bible study in the early morning. They sprout while Brave (my dog) and I walk around the lake, during my workout and laundry, dishes, dusting, etc. Finally, when the thoughts are bursting from my brain, I sit (or sometimes stand at the kitchen bar) and spew them on the page. After the draft is done, I leave the house. Anything, something–just to get away from words. When I come home, I edit for a while. If it’s short, the piece might be polished in a day–or not. 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting me here today! I hope you’ll visit each author I mentioned above and READ THEIR BOOKS!