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—On Publishing, Prayers and Healing in My Second Chapter

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed and filled with self doubt when I do my query searches for agents and publishers I feel like Dorothy in the field of the poppies. Oh, it can be discouraging and draining.

Never is there a time that I breeze through it without thoughts of giving up.

Forever I will be grateful for a plan greater than anything I could come ever up with.

When someone tells you never try to write two books at the same time, pay attention. They are offering you sound advice.

There was a time I was glad to be able to go back and forth between the two manuscripts.

There was a time I liked the challenge. The thought of not following others and doing things my way gave me strength.

Now there is only one way, and it’s not my way.

I had a meeting with my developmental editor Laurie Scheer this week to put the final touches on my proposal for Just Along for the Ride. The book about my friends Dr. Marc and Nancy Erickson’s God Story. I just have to say right off here that this book was not about writing a book, but about a writer, this writer, needing to hear their story about the beauty, love and adventure in life when you choose to follow God’s Way.

It was all about the two of them walking along beside me—as they have been doing with people all around the world their entire lives together—during what I would call the dark night of my soul. I needed them and God knew I needed them way before I knew.

If I’m being really honest, I know a part of me still needed to prove my worth when we started the project one fine fall day when I felt the Spirit’s nudge during Nancy’s Bible study as we were studying Psalm 63, which always reminds me of my mom’s last seven days on earth. And it was on her Memorial Day of all days, November 6 in 2020.

But still, wouldn’t writing another book seal it for me (in people’s eyes)? And not just any book. A book about two remarkable people who were deeply entwined in my own family history. A book that could slide me into the slot that was missing when I went missing. A book that, yes, would prove my faithful heart once and for all, forever.

Marc and my brother Ed were the best of friends, not to mention the decades long friendships between Marc and Nancy and my parents. And my Mom worked together with Marc overseeing worship, the caring ministry and other things, while he preached and traveled around the world with Nancy, as missionaries for many, many years. My dad helped with city missions which Marc said was really everybody’s job; and helped out a little in Somalia and other things. There are so many other things between our families, too many to mention here.

However. God had something else in mind. Like my heart. And my ability to love people. And myself. Not to mention Him.

It wasn’t too long after Nancy had invited me out to lunch that the three of us started meeting together on Monday afternoons. A lunch where I’d felt safe enough to confess I was sick. I’d kept that pretty much a secret. I also confessed that I didn’t love people anymore. “They scare me,” I said. “I don’t trust them.” Things were kind of hard at work. I felt like a literal failure with the people I loved and spent the most time with. It was the hardest time.

“Well, we’re going to have to pray about,” Nancy said. And she did. My life changed. I changed. Everything changed.

When you have trouble loving and accepting yourself how can you truly love anyone else? I thought I could, but honestly, trying to do that too much in my own strength eventually made me sick.

I’m much better now and I thank the Lord, who I still sometimes forget to acknowledge. But He’s quick to remind me.

Just this month, following a recurrence last summer, I noticed one morning how much better I was doing and said as much. “I’m better!” I said to Todd. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next day, the disease poked at my skin. I happened to have a followup appointment already scheduled with my doctor the next day. Is that a coincidence? No.

When I told Dr. Oelke I found it interesting that the reoccurrence happened two summers in a row, right after I’d realized how much better I was and said as much, “I’m better!” that it came back. Now I was facing an increased dose of my usual low dose chemo.

As he recommended the increase, he thought for a moment, then looked at me, “Do you think It might have anything to do to with your acknowledgment of God in your healing?” He asked.

(Or lack of…?)

Well, it felt like the floor literally dropped out from beneath me. “Why…oh my goodness, Dr. Oelke, yes…I do. I think you’re right.” How could I claim my miraculous healing without honoring and acknowledging my Precious Lord? Because it was. I was told the best the chemo could do was keep the from progressing, maybe for the rest of my life. How could mine have regressed to the point of oblivion without all the prayers? Without a miracle?

“Don’t misunderstand me,” he said. “You’re one of the most sensitively aware persons of God’s Presence I know.”

“No, I think you’re exactly right. Your words are exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your honesty.”

And it’s in moments like that, of his forthrightness with his care, that I feel my illness has been worth it just to know such an amazing doctor who cares about more than the disease in my body and examines the dis-ease in my sometimes lonely little heart. And that’s what Dr. Marc would say is the mark of the greatest of physicians.

I went home that day, different. And believe me, I had a real tear-jerker of a devotion time the next morning. And guess what? The reoccurrence disappeared. By the next day. I wrote to tell Dr. Oelke, and to let him know I would plan to stay at my current dose until further notice.

Miracles abound in my life so why would I let the question of publication get me down? God has a plan, I’m sure of it, and it’s the only plan I want to be a part of.

Following that meeting with my editor/writing coach/greatest encourager, Laurie, I told Todd I was going to independently publish through a friend in the small group I was a part of with Marc and Nancy all throughout the time of writing the book. He has offered his experience and expertise.

Oh, my goodness, there have been prayers along the way. I can’t forget that. And there still are. I can’t forget that either. This book is not about me. It’s all about a God Who uses ordinary people to do His extraordinary things. That’s Marc and Nancy’s theme song. And now it’s mine, too. So the journey continues.

So, this is where I want to say that I don’t know what you might be going through, but don’t get discouraged. God’s plans are good and I believe there are good things ahead for you and me.

“All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing will be well.” (Julian of Norwich.)

I did work on a new publisher’s proposal I came across yesterday, thanks to Laurie (each one is so different, it’s like writing a grant, my friend author/grant writer Christal says, and you do it for the cause.) I’ll be sending it off asap.

It went well. It really did! I’m forever grateful.

Nancy’s Bible study prayer warriors

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