As you can tell from the title, my publishing dream came true! My new book, Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, will hit the shelves this October. How did this happen? How did this dream finally come true? I will tell you. I hope that those of you writing your own books will be greatly encouraged and full of hope after reading this post.
First of all, let me tell you about this dream that began when I was a little girl writing. A little girl writing sits in her bedroom and dreams about the books she will write one day. She throws pennies into wishing wells; she blows out birthday candles; she prays and hopes and bargains about this one dream: to publish books. Perhaps other children dream of riding horses or singing or becoming a doctor. I dreamed of books. Always books. Maybe you are a little girl writing like me.
But the dream wasn't coming true. For 15 years, manuscripts in hand, I read rejection letter after rejection letter. So, as you know, I self-published. I listened to the main point of the rejections: I wasn't famous enough and nobody wanted to take a chance on an unknown author.
Then, this past October (the significance of this month isn't lost on me; my book releases this October), I wrote a surrender letter to God. In this letter, I let the dream die completely. I gave my little girl writing heart to God and agreed to write in all those small ways--blogging, lessons plans, letters--and I settled the issue in my heart that the book writing dream was over. I was at peace, seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and ready for the other good works He had prepared for me that didn't include writing. It was a wonderful moment of knowing that I didn't need writing to prove myself, to feel important, to be somebody, or to be accepted. I could enjoy Jesus and the life He ordained for me, even if it didn't include my dream coming true.
What I didn't know is that my agent never gave up on my dream. I didn't know that he was still working, still submitting my manuscript, and still hoping for the perfect publisher for my book on being seated with Christ.
And God still held my dream safely in His hands.
One cold winter night, I received a message that Moody Publishers in Chicago was very interested in my book. Very interested.
"What book? What are you talking about?" This was how dead the dream was. This was how long forgotten it was. I had to remind myself that there was this book on being seated with Christ that I had tried to publish but was never famous enough. . .
An acquisitions editor would call me the next Tuesday. Moody Publishers would offer to buy my manuscript. They didn't care about fame. They cared that I had written an honest and biblical book. And because everyone loved it so much and thought it was so powerful, they wanted to accelerate the process, secure the manuscript by April 15, and aim for an October release. God is funny. God's timing is perfect. God guards our dreams. He's not a trickster, a cruel God, or a distant one. He listens and knows.
I learned a whole new vocabulary of contracts, editors, design teams, publicity teams, fonts, callouts, first pages, final pages. Suddenly--and I mean suddenly--I found myself sitting in fancy Chicago restaurants and seeing my dream unfold in ways that were "immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine." I've been having more fun than you can realize. It's been the life I've always wanted but didn't know. It's like something stuck in me became unstuck.
And I was myself--the real me--living in the reality of being seated in Christ and not needing the book contract to make me somebody special. Oh, the irony!
Along the way, some incredible things have happened. One is that I never forgot the words from Joni Eareckson Tada that she'd rather be seated in her wheelchair knowing Jesus than be given the chance to walk without Him. When my amazing editor--who is now one of my dear friends--asked if there was one person in the world I might ask to write the foreword to my book, I said, "Joni Eareckson Tada." And guess what? She did. She wrote the most beautiful foreword for me. God can do anything.
I hope this book blesses you beyond measure.
So that is the story of how it all happened. Thank you for reading! I will update you more with exciting book news in blogs to come. Thank you for supporting my writing on this blog these past years. I love you all.