"I WROTE A BOOK!" Shouts the little girl inside of me, twirling around and around in my heart!
I want to show everyone! (Even though, the book I carry with me is just a proof copy). Plus, I find I need to cry. So, I do. Tears, and more tears, spill out of me! I am an author! A real, live author!
Yes, I blog. Yes, I have a few pieces in the books of special friends. And yes, last year, I was honored to co-author a book, with two dozen other amazing writers. Still, as I hold in my hands a copy of the book with my name on the cover, and my words filling the pages, it is like welcoming a new born babe. OMGoodness!
Now comes the most difficult part. Marketing and promoting my new book-baby, that will be hard for me.
I confess, writing this post is, partially, for spreading the news. But, more importantly, I am writing because I want you, dear reader, to know that there is a bigger story! A much, much bigger God story!
I want to tell you the story of how this book even became a book. And, truly, my heartfelt prayer is this blog post will show and encourage you, my friend, that God is at work in our every day lives! All the time! In big ways, and in small ones! God is weaving together our day to day, little stories into a bigger story. A story He intends not only to benefit us, but to bless and benefit others!
So here it is, the great big God story which birthed my first book-baby.
It was April,1997, the day they arrived in my mailbox, two notes from girlfriends who had recently moved away.
Grabbing my tea, I sat down at our dining room table, excited to read how my friends were adapting to their new communities. Nothing could have prepared me for the content of those letters. They were written by two young mommies. Moms who had never met each other. One who had moved to the northwest. The other whose new home was on the east coast. And each one had penned nearly the exact same message:
Dear Cathy... I think of you so often. How great you are at being a Godly Mommie!... We are expecting again... "Help" Cathy, how do you do it? I need your wisdom and knowledge...
Hi!...I am writing to you to get some parenting advice...I really admire what I saw in your house...Do you have any words of wisdom your could pass on to me...
This could not be a coincidence! You see, those letters arrived on the seventh day of a ten day fast from certain foods, which I felt the Lord had called me to. That week, God had clearly showed me where I was running ahead of Him and where I was dragging behind. So, I knew those two letters, from my two friends, each asking me the same question, had to be a God thing.
Yet, as I read those letters again, I called out to God in tears, "Lord, why are they asking me? What could I possibly have to share with them?"
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a grey-colored legal pad and a pen, lying on the table beside me. I thought of all the parenting mistakes I had made. Still, I grabbed the pen, and I began to write down ideas and titles on that grey paper for possible messages from the many lessons God had taught me, as I continually called out to Him, over the years, to be a better mommy!
Those notes and titles became more than a dozen letters which I wrote over the next year and a half, to my friends and their friends, and a hundred other moms. Eventually, life got crazy and my letter writing stopped, forgotten for a season. Until, one day, I printed off a box full of copies, stapled them together with a cover letter, and brought them with me to hand out when I spoke at MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) and other moms groups. (Remember, this was before blogs, when the internet was newish and unfamiliar to me).
Several times, I attempted to edit them into a proper book. Yet, each time I did, they lost their integrity, somehow. I guess they were just old letters, meant only to be read as letters. Occasionally, I would remember them, and I would share them with a weary mom. One of my daughter-in-law's even asked to read them. I can still hear her voice, when afterwards she exclaimed, "Well, that explains a lot!"
The letters grew dusty in their box, as I continued to speak and teach, and I began to blog. Until, one day, I received this email in September, 2017. "Hi Cathy, My email records tell me it has been 5 years since I last emailed you, but God continues to use you in my life! Two weeks ago I was at my wit's end with my (family) and cried out to God saying, 'I have tried everything to tolerate this situation... and I am out of patience--please intervene and give me wisdom and your patience! I need your ideas and creativity for how to handle this situation.' The next day I just happened to come across that pack of letters you sent me after (my baby) was born. What a treasure those letters are!... I want to thank you again for sending those letters 6 years ago when (my baby) was born. I knew I'd return to them when (my baby) was older and God has brought your sensitive support and maternal wisdom back to me at precisely the right moment. What a gift!"
Okay, I admit, there were more tears. A lot more tears. What a gracious gift from God to show me He was still using the letters written, for two desperate mommies, all those years ago. So, I dusted off the box and gave out a few more letter packs, while I started to work on writing a book on marriage.
Then, one day, as I was running errands and praying about my marriage book, I distinctly heard the still, small voice of God, "You know you already have a book." And, I knew. It was the letters.
There is a whole other blog post I can write to explain how an amazing group of precious family, and friends, gathered around me to get this book published. But for now, I will end my God-sized story with this; my friend, cheerleader, author, evangelist, marketing expert extraordinaire, and new fellow grammy, Kathleen D. Mailer, coined the phrase, "A Book Is Never A Book." And, as I prayed about the title of this post, I knew that her slogan was it.
It is my profound hope you will see that my new book, Letters From A Mother's Heart, is a much bigger story than me deciding to write a book. Looking back, I am convinced this book was God's idea, long before it was mine. And, I wrote this post, because my prayer is that you too will catch a glimpse of the bigger story God is writing in your life. Not only in obvious, big ways, but in the smaller, day-to-day, subtle details, like letters arriving in the mailbox or emails on your computer.
May God show you that the story He is writing about your life is big and full and wonderful! And, if you happen to know of someone who might be blessed by my new book or even by this blog post, would you share the news? Thank you very, very much! God bless you, dear friend!