In 2005, my sister Mary and I began talking about writing a book together. Our children were mostly grown, some married with children themselves. They were asking for advice, and we wondered if sharing our mothering experiences might make a helpful book. It wouldn’t be a compilation of quotes from experts or the experiences of other moms but simply what worked and what didn’t in raising our 14 kids.
(17 first cousins: Mary’s 7 — my 7 — our brother Tom’s 3)
After months of discussion, our first official meeting finally took place on September 27, 2006, during which we spent time praying over our book idea and recording names of women who might pray along with us. We created a statement of purpose and began making notes.
But life got in the way. My family moved from our home of 29 years to a much smaller place and had to focus on eliminating and concentrating. Shortly thereafter, Nate got sick, and in a whirlwind of upheaval and grief, he passed away.
While we were still reeling, Mary and Bervin’s home of 40 years sold, and they too were eliminating and concentrating to make a move. Then shortly after that, Mary learned of her pancreatic cancer and began treatment with major surgery and 6 months of chemo. During these same years, the two of us greeted 19 new grandchildren and 6 new in-law children. Our book was firmly stuck on the back burner.
But now, 10 years after our first book-discussion, God suddenly began giving me a repeated prompt: “How about that book on mothering?”
Since my book of prayers for widows is in its final editing stage, I began praying extensively about resurrecting Mary’s and my book. “Lord, should we really try to do it?” But as always, he was way ahead of me and was all set with his answer.
Two weeks ago, I was listening to a sermon while readying for the day, glancing at my open Bible now and then. When the preacher referenced Proverbs 4:23, I turned there and found brackets and a star at that exact verse. I’d also written a note there, 8 years ago:
“Whatever my assignment from God, I must focus intently on it and do it without distractions, gazed fixed, looking directly ahead. 11/07 (Mary’s and my book).”
What were the odds I’d hear that particular sermon referencing that particular verse after that particular week of prayer about the book? What were the chances I’d have even chosen that particular Bible to use that day, of the many I own? No other Bible had that particular note in it.
Immediately I thought about the Lord watching me write in that margin in 2007 while knowing he was going to impact me with it in 2015. Only God…
And so I stepped into his directive, “gazed fixed on the book,” and talked to Mary. These days she is feeling tip-top, another fact that defies all odds. But with God, who believes in odds? She shared my excitement about revisiting our book and was all for walking through the door God had re-opened.
So… as we move forward “looking directly ahead,” I will be the writer; Mary will be the organizer, fact-checker, side-bar creator, and brains behind the words. In order to find new writing time, though, I’ll need to dial-back on blog posts for a while. Though I may blog occasionally, it will no longer be 5 posts a week.
This decision was a difficult one, since I feel attached to you readers and look forward to blogging each day. But I’ll continue to pray for you, and you’ll be on my mind daily. Also, I promise that if anything changes with Mary’s health, I will immediately resume regular blogging. Meanwhile, concerning Mary, you can assume that NO news will always be GOOD news!
As for our book? Stay tuned….
“Show me your ways, Lord…. Guide me in your truth and teach me….” (Psalm 25:4,5)