It really was terrible timing. I tried to tell God that.
Perhaps not so boldly as with straight out words of defiance. But with the doubts crowding my heart and mind, leaving little room for His idea to take root there, oh He knew. I wasn’t exactly sure this was a good plan. Not with a three-year-old, one-year-old, and another baby boy on the way.
Not to mention that although I enjoyed writing and had kept a hobby blog for a couple of years at that point, I knew nothing about the publishing industry, or how to get a book out into the world.
Still He persisted, until our prayers seemed rather pointless. He had made Himself clear, and so I began writing.
I can still feel the chill of those winter mornings, as I would start the car in the dark of the night, the sun yearning for a few more minutes of sleep. Me, too. I would shiver as I pulled out of the driveway, holding the car door open just an inch. If I closed it before I got to the stop sign at the end of our block, my son might hear it from his bedroom, pop his little blonde head of hair up in his window, and begin crying hysterically as he watched me pull away at five in the morning.
It was mornings like those that made me feel absolutely hypocritical, leaving my children to go write a book about investing our time in our children.
So how exactly did this thing look? Writing a book while raising three (going on four) children? How did this project keep on when the words were compiling with no sign of a literary agent or publisher? How did I manage nursing our newborn boy between meeting with publishers at my first writers conference? What had to give when that book contract did come, and the time demands of manuscript deadlines along with raising three small children seemed too much?
When the circumstances of life begin to cloud out the once romantic dream that God laid on our hearts, how do we continue?
How did we press on when we lost our fourth baby to a miscarriage, and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at that writing desk? How did I manage manuscripts and morning sickness at the same time? And what did it feel like when I pulled into the post office, which is actually the airport, on Orcas Island, Washington, where we were living for a month and where I had typed out the final edit to that manuscript, and handed it over to the postmaster with prayers that it would find its way to Bethany House Publishers in Minneapolis?
Somewhere in the midst of this all, in a quiet place along this path, He showed me that I am not responsible for the outcome. Graciously He invites us into His work, into His grand plan. He calls us not to produce something beautiful, that is His role. Instead, He asks only that we show up ready and faithful each day, for whatever He has for us that day. We show up, and He does something marvelous.
Over these past three years, God has taken my family on quite a journey. I can look back from this point to November 7, 2014 where it all began, and see traces of God’s hand, those God moments that, had He not stepped in, this book would have never been. All along the way He has whispered this in my heart, “I will make time for the work I invite you into.”
That promise has kept me going on those chilly dark mornings, on those late nights, on the ferry to and from islands on the Puget Sound as I read and reread that manuscript, and in the deepest seas of doubt when I wondered if anyone would ever read the words I was laboring over.
Yes, there were so many practical steps we had to take to make this doable (while keeping our sanity). Many mornings I would rise before the sun, set up my laptop at a coffee shop, and write for two hours before heading home in time for my husband to leave for work. For a season he took one morning a week off to stay home while I went out to write. As we neared the book deadline, we hired a wonderful nanny to care for our boys a couple of times a week while I finished the manuscript. I had to learn how to make my dream, the one God had laid on my heart and affirmed in my husband, a priority, even when we never knew what the end would look like. And every time I stared at those jars of 936 pennies, wondering if I was investing my time well as I devoted so much of it to this book, He reminded me again, “I will make time for the work I invite you into.”
He reminded me of this, “Now may the God of peace… equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
All that He calls us to, He equips us for. Whatever that dream is on your heart, whatever work He is inviting you into, if it is His plan, He will make a way. He will make the time. He will align the tiniest of details so that down the road you can look back and proclaim, “That was only Him.”
I wish I could go into more of this journey with you. I wish I could share all of those awesome God Moments He gave me along the way. Over the following weeks I will. But for now, friends, we have a book launch approaching! In forty-one days, 936 Pennies will hit the bookstores! And I would be honored to have you as a part of the 936 Pennies Book Launch Team. If you would like to receive a free pre-release copy of 936 Pennies, and help promote it through online book reviews, social media, and word-of-mouth recommendations, please fill out the form below to join the team. Seriously, we would love to have you.
To all of those who have followed this journey and encouraged my family from the very beginning, and to all of those just learning about the 936 Pennies message—thank you. Thank you for journeying with us.
Join the 936 Pennies Launch Team!