This morning I find myself at the beginning of another book publishing journey, and this is an enormous-to-me event. To my humble amazement, Les Stobbe, agent extraordinaire, responded warmly and positively to my email asking whether he might possibly consider becoming my literary agent. Less than two weeks after I listed my novel with a manuscript screening service that by its own admission places only 3% of its submissions with book publishing contracts, I have a well-known Christian literary agent and a pending book contract with a well-respected Christian publisher, Ambassador International.
The door to these blessings was opened because I obeyed the Lord when He asked me to release something very important to me in order to do work that is very important to Him.
I really struggled with the decision to obey Him.
When my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's she was still so high-functioning that putting her in a nursing home wasn't really an option. She couldn't live by herself any longer, and so we took her into our home. The next school year I had the opportunity to cut my teaching job to half time. This took away my status as a classroom teacher and began the weaning process from the school that had been the center of my career and the focus of my ministry to children for all of my adult life. The Lord was very gentle with me as He narrowed the path before me.
Still, it was hard.
When my special half time position was discontinued, I had the opportunity to accept a new job description and to continue on as a teacher, but I knew the Lord wanted me to place my trust in Him and to retire early so that I could write and provide care for my mother. I did not stride forth with faith and confidence. I took tiny, baby steps, weeping and wailing, clinging to the past and mourning; pretty much discrediting the Lord who had guided me safely thus far and had promised not to drop me now.
He stood by me anyway.
When my first book contract netted a grand total of $164 over three years of royalty proceedings, I thought at first that I was on the wrong track, that I'd heard the Lord incorrectly. But God doesn't measure success as the world does. About that time Amazon.com came out with Author Central, which posts a map showing where in the United States an author's books have sold. As I looked at that map and saw that the fifty some odd books my publisher had sold through Amazon had been distributed all over the country, I realized that the Lord had made a way for a retired school teacher from Kansas to touch fifty lives with the guidance God had graciously provided her. I saw that I'd been blessed indeed. And meantime, against all odds, the Lord has provided us health insurance (think about two fifty-some-year-old people trying to find health insurance in this day and age...but the Lord provided us a way) and adequate income (even though we are farmers and have faced two drought years back to back).
My mother's condition is deteriorating and I am afraid. I am ashamed to admit that I can't let her go. I cannot release her calmly and with sure faith in the One who hasn't dropped me yet. I will weep and wail, cling to the past and mourn, and will risk discrediting the Lord who has been so gracious to me on every step of our journey through my mother's Alzheimer's.
He'll stand by me anyway.
The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watchedover your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything (Deuteronomy 2:7).