Happy birthday, Birthed! One year ago-- December 6, 2016, my first book was birthed into the world! Oh happy day.

I can remember the emotions of that week so clearly. Friends and family who'd heard me talk about "that book project" for years finally held their hands on a real life copy. All of my worst marriage moments, darkest nights of doubt and depression and failed attempts to get and stay pregnant now belonged to every reader who picked it up-- not just me (a bit scary!) And all the while, I felt jazzed up about marketing and promotion with a strong belief that I could sell books if I gave it my best effort (and I did!).

In the 12 months since that launch, I've lived into what it means to birth and be birthed. Like any watershed moment in life, I've learned so much.

I've learned the best book events happen when you are hosted by those who believe in your words and seek to create experiences for those in their circles of influence. One of my favorite book gatherings happened around this beautiful table in Birmingham, AL at my friend April's house. She even bought each dinner guest of hers a book-- how amazing!  I've learned that infertility is still a topic that we don't want to talk about in our churches, mom's groups or even in our families. I can't tell you how many times I've asked to connect with a church or a group about Birthed and heard, "Oh we can't talk about that here." (Deep sigh).

I've learned that your book's success is not based on the number of copies you sell (honestly I avoid knowing because I don't want to obsess) but on emails you get from readers who say, "Thank you. Your story is my story. I'm so glad you wrote it." But the truth be told, publishing is HARD and NOT for the faint of heart. There are parts of me that feel really sad about how the book has been received. But I move on.

I've learned that publishing opens up speaking opportunities in the most unexpected places-- like this time this spring I got to speak to a group of Marriage and Family Studies students at Samford University. Who knew that college students and professors would want to talk about my book and plan to use it as required reading? 

Most of all, I've learned I want to write and publish again. The kind of ministry I was able to do as result of publishing Birthed, (ministry like leading retreats, speaking to groups and hosting round-table heart-to-heart discussions among groups of friends) IS the work I see myself doing long-term.

And this writing more will look like another memoir-- a book on the topic of orphan care and my own journey of adoption-- that I've been drafting since 2015 as well as a spiritual formation resource for congregations (I hope) as a guide on how to talk about other hard topics. So keep hanging with me for the ride. I promise I've got more in me.

But, there's one more thing I need to tell you about this birthing day . . .

It's also the day that we "officially" became parents forevermore to our baby girl. On the day the book about our struggle toward parenthood was published, our adoption was finalized as well. The court just assigned us the date. I don't want to believe this fact is coincidence. Can you feel my goose bumps?

For you see, as much as Birthed: Finding Grace Through Infertility is a story of grief, loss and hope, so is adoption. Adoption is a beautiful and pain-filled occasion all rolled into one. Our girl lost her first family before she became a part of ours. December 6, 2016-- oh the birthing day, you were!

And I wouldn't take anything for my journey now.