Updated: Jun 17, 2020
And 'Go' marks the point when we're taught to take off and labor to win the race, win the game, or at least make our mark by giving it everything we have. But some of the worst failures in my life have come when following this model. It is when operating in my own strength that I fail most miserably. I am by no means suggesting that we give our chosen endeavors less than our best effort, I am simply saying that my effort is better served by following a different model.
Christ, God's son, God incarnate, didn't arrive on earth, grow up a perfect child, work as a carpenter, engage in ministry, get arrested, die, and finely rise again, in a vacuum. After God said 'go', Christ didn't just take off for the finish line, all alone, in His own strength. Rather He followed the model I'm about to share. My model, well, it's not mine at all, it belongs to God, involves a few more steps. Instead of Ready, Set, Go, it’s Ready, Set, Go, Stop, Breathe, PRAY, Go further, Stop, breathe, PRAY, Go further! Repeat as necessary, especially as you approach the finish line. My model also begins with PRAY and if we consider prayer communing with God the Father, then the model followed by Christ also begins that way.
What does this have to with Boundary Waters Search and Rescue-Beyond Belief, you may be asking. My only answer to you is EVERYTHING! Last January I was praying one afternoon about what God would have me do with my life. He’d blessed me with so much, my faith, a home, a husband, a great education, wonderful friends and family. But He’d also allowed health challenges into my life such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic migraine and most challenging, at least at present, Fibromyalgia. Before I go any further, I know am not alone, everyone has challenges in life. That afternoon I was seeking God’s way of responding, because left to myself, I whine too much. 😊
The next week, I woke up from a sound sleep with Beyond Belief written on my heart. I couldn’t wait to pray and start keyboarding. Microsoft Word was my friend. I prayed and wrote some more. Some days I wrote without first praying. Those were the first sections of my book to be re-written. At first, I wrote for me, never planning anything beyond finishing the story and maybe taking it to a copy store to have it comb bound. Then mom asked what I was doing with my time and I told her. She offered to proof read it for me. My husband did the same. They both did so, and both shared their thoughts and corrections. They encouraged me on to the finish line.
I told a friend who happened to be a professional editor about what I was doing, sharing a little bit about the project. She offered to do the initial edit of, what was then, a 275-page book, as a gift to me. The magnitude of that gift brought tears, because I knew that her spirituality was different than the one given center stage in the manuscript and, although we both loved to read, I didn’t think romance was her thing. I also know that her skills are much in demand by um, paying customers. Still, I accepted her very generous gift, knowing I would learn so much. I prayed and prayed and prayed during this time. I honed my manuscript, changing things based upon suggestions I’d received and upon God’s prompting. By now, God had put into my mind the idea of actually publishing this work.
I knew I didn’t want to publish a poor story or a poorly written story. My editor had polished my work with both copy and line edits and I felt pretty good about it, but I still didn’t know if it was a story anyone would want to read. I prayed. Then, I did something totally out of my comfort zone, I asked several others, friends, acquaintances who I respected, and two of my sister-in-loves, if they would beta read for me, offering the same compensation I had to my editor, a signed copy of my finished book, published or unpublished depending on what the future held. Those who I asked, accepted.
In the end, some who offered to read ended up not having the time or the inclination to finish. I understood, especially since change was upon us all thanks to Covid-19 and change is often frightening and time consuming. In spite of everything, several of my readers (including my editor) finished the race and shared their corrections, comments and enthusiasm for my characters. Their generosity was amazing both in terms of their thoroughness and in the sheer amount of time that they'd selflessly poured into my project. They made a story that had begun with God so much better than I alone could manage.
Taking one step at a time, I next published a book proposal on Christian Book Proposals https://christianbookproposals.com/ and, almost immediately, started receiving inquiries from every kind of publisher imaginable. (And believe me, there are a lot of different kinds of publishers out there at many different levels of integrity, cost, control over characters, and technical knowledge required) By this time I’d completed Beyond Belief-I knew it was my best work, thanks in great part to those who had walked beside me as this project evolved. This time I hired my amazing editor to do the final edit, because I also know that editing my own work is a recipe for disaster.
I need to thank both God and my poor husband as we went through the final stages of this process. God because He was faithful as we prayed for guidance and my husband because I went from a single spiral bound copy shop manuscript for our bookshelf to perusing contracts for publication in the space of a few short weeks. He had a fistful of his own concerns, namely that he’d been furloughed for Covid-19 related issues. We knew that it wouldn’t be good stewardship of our resources to invest thousands in an unknown proposition, yet he also knew the origin of this book, he’d seen me working on it, sometime for 7-8 hours a day. I prayed, we talked and prayed, then I told him that I would follow his guidance in this. He has always been wiser than I with financial decisions. I gave him the information for both (Christian) publishers that we’d narrowed it down to, and asked him to choose whether we should pick one of those two, self-publish though Kindle or Amazon, or just back away and wait. I meant what I said to him. I felt no angst or resentment as I waited for him to think and pray. For those of you who know me and my stubbornness, you know that for the miracle it was, a miracle of God’s grace. We were in a season of STOP & PRAY.
To be continued….