The Making of a Book, part 1
Years ago, I made one of the more difficult transitions of my life.
I enjoyed so many things about my life in radio. I enjoyed being the program director at a highly successful station. I enjoyed being on air in the afternoons. And, I particularly enjoyed having the contacts I needed in Nashville to facilitate my transition from radio to professional songwriting. But that didn't end up being the transition I made.
Rather than writing music, I have spent almost two decades writing sermons and leading churches to find our mission and purpose in Jesus. Now, I'm at the start of another transition.
It's time for me to move from pastoral leadership in a church setting to presenting the hope of Jesus though writing and social media. And it all happened because of a book.
In the aftermath of the death of my first wife, Barbara, in 2015, many people began to encourage me to tell her story, and to share the things I'd learned. It became therapuetic to pour it all as the book began to take form. But there's a long road between writing and publishing.
In the summer of 2017, I remarried. My new wife, Lisa, and my ever growing family have been so beautifully supportive of me in my journey to bring this highly emotional story to print. My daughter Jackie has also been indispensable in the process. I could not have come this far without her.
There has always been the question of how to tell the story. Should I make the entire book about Barbara? As I struggled with that, I found the prospect of such a biography to be a bit overwhelming to my senses. Plus, I was certain that the best way of honoring her legacy was to use the story of her struggles and pain to teach others.
At some point in the last year or two of her life, she told me that God had spoken to her. She was praying for total healing, as were we all. We realized that the very fact that she was still alive and able to do all the things she did was a miracle in itself. What God asked of her was this, "Are you willing to walk this road with me, just as you are now, if it can be used to bring me glory?" She said yes. And when she shared this revelation with me, it also made my journey more bearable. It was never easy, but it was always good.
And so, I realized her story was much more than just the effects of illness, but it was more about the results of following Jesus, wherever He leads.
As I pondered this, I recalled my years of searching for a book that spoke to the heart of someone who comes along beside a suffering person. There were many books for the one who suffers, but I came up empty when I looked for encouragement and helpful thinking for the caregiver.
So, I decided to write that book. It's far from perfect, and I still see many changes I would make. But there comes a point at which you need to release it and let it fly. And so, "I Will Walk With You: Following Jesus to the Side of Those Who Suffer" was born.
And now, it's in the final stages of being ready for publishing. What a strange, stressful, and sometimes funny journey this has been. I'll tell you more about that the next time.
Soon, I'll share my joy at opening up the first proof and seeing this work in its fruition. I may cry just a bit on that day.
Taking the bold step to do this has changed me. It's inspired me. It's called me to something new. Book number two is underway, and the journey will continue. I'll tell you more about that later as well.
I remember sitting at Barbara's bedside as she laid in a coma, wondering how things would end. I've never forgotten that feeling, and I'm experiencing a fresh version of it wondering where God will lead me in this new life he's orchestrating. It won't be easy, I'm quite sure. But, it will be good.