Some people are numbers people. Some people are not. I fall in the “not’ category. It’s not that I got bad grades in math. It was just that I had to work so, so hard at it. I did not enjoy it, and I would never have spent my free time playing with numbers.
In contrast, I love words. My mom used to joke that I never took a pacifier as a baby because I was too busy babbling. Not only do I enjoy chatting with others, but I would happily spend my free time playing with words. Sure, there are days when writing feels hard. There are projects that are not always fun. Still, I find joy in the creative pursuit of writing, especially when it is for the Lord.
It wasn’t until I went to Haiti a few years ago that I first felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to write a book. It was so clear. I got home, and I felt this overwhelming need to write about my experience. Fiction is not my strong suit, but I decided to take a stab at it when challenged by a friend.
“Write a chapter,” she said. “Then, see if you can write another one.”
I wrote that chapter, and then another. In a short amount of very hyper-focused time, I wrote an entire middle-grade fiction book. It may never see the light of day, though my son loves it and still begs for a sequel. Maybe I will revisit the project, improve it, and someday write a sequel. Still, I felt like God used that time to show me I am capable. As strongly as I felt His direction to write after that trip to Haiti, I felt Him saying to wait on his timing.
Then, this past summer I began to feel that nudging of the Holy Spirit to write once again. I wasn’t quite sure what the topic would be, but I started thinking and waiting. It became clearer when the kids in my Sunday school class seemed to have weekly questions about heaven. It is not often that the curriculum focuses on heaven. My first thought was to write a short Bible study or curriculum to teach my class on the topic.
“I have this idea,” I told them. “Help me out and ask me whatever you have wondered about heaven.”
For 15 solid minutes, they asked me questions. I ran out of paper and started writing on scraps. It blew me away. As I drove home, I kept thinking about the question, “Do you have to take showers in heaven?” and I decided that was the title of what would be a book of questions and answers.
Still, I worried. Who am I to be an expert on this topic? Then God gently reminded me He equips those He calls. I had His word sitting right in front of me. I had resources available to me. I had the questions. All I needed to do was point kids back to scripture.
“But couldn’t someone else do it better?” I found myself asking.
Again and again, I kept coming back to Scripture that emphasized how God calls specific people to do specific things for a specific purpose. Even if this was yet another book that only my kids (and maybe my Sunday school kids) enjoyed, I needed to be obedient to the call God placed on my heart.
I truly felt like the Holy Spirit not only inspired those questions, but He also helped me to answer them. It was such a joyful experience. I started with one chapter. Then, I worked on another. Eventually, I got to the final question and my brother said, “You have 51 questions. Make it 52 so families could read one a week for a year if they wanted to.”
So, I split up one question that was honestly too long anyway, and there it was: 52 chapters. I know I am not a numbers person, but I can appreciate that God certainly worked that out nicely for me. Speaking of numbers, I can’t even begin to count the hours spent editing and rewriting. Thank you to my loyal proofreaders!
Despite all the support, I still might have allowed doubts to discourage me from moving forward had my husband not encouraged me to take the leap and to trust God with the results. I won’t be able to see how many books have sold so far until the publishing company sends me a report in early summer, but as I have said, numbers aren’t my jam anyway. What I love are words. I am loving hearing stories about reluctant readers picking up the book to read without prompting. I love the stories of friends spreading the word on their travels, in their churches, and in their friend circles. I love that friends requested the book from the library, and many copies have been ordered. Think about how many kids will get their hands on a book placed on a library shelf! How exciting!
Words cannot express how grateful I am to everyone who has helped (and is still helping) me on this journey. I count you all as blessings!