Courage comes in steps, you know?
No one does a hard thing all at once. Life’s big dreams are rarely fulfilled in giant leaps.
In the early months of 2011, I started to get a hunch that I wanted to write a book.
A hard thing. A seemingly impossible thing. Me, an author? Who would believe that?
I wasn’t so sure I had the discipline to pound out all those words on the screen. I wasn’t sure I had the savvy to convince a publisher to take me, a young pastor, on. Or, even that I had the guts to tell the truth the way I admired it in the works of others.
Not only this but . . .
I wanted to write a book about the one thing I didn’t want anyone to know about me at the time: the I word.
Through the lens of “Elizabeth the infertile” pastor, I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the intense physical and emotional pain of miscarriage, child loss all while being a solo pastor.
I knew I wanted to tell the truth about all of the unwanted side effects of such a struggle: depression, loss of friendships and ugly marriage moments.
I knew I wanted to tell the truth about the great mysteries of God, how hope finds us through friendship, second chances and prayer.
Most of all, I wanted to be a resource for other women, other couples or other spiritual seekers who like me faced their “dark night of the soul” by telling my story– that even when the worst possible things happened (and kept happening) to us I was still ok. And maybe even more than ok sometimes too.
So with all of this true: I only had one choice. Write the book.
In the wisdom of Anne Lamott this was my plan: “Keep your butt in the chair.” (Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.) And I did! But, life is often more complicated than our intentions.
And the best things, I believe take time to unfold, especially when it comes to writing and even more when you’re writing about your own life!
I completed the manuscript for this infertility memoir back in April 2013.
80,000 words on a page. My goodness, I was proud!
I thought that 2013 was my time to show it to the world. But it wasn’t. And this fact was SO difficult to accept on top of so many other failures. “Jesus, you’re killing me . . .” was my prayer back then. (And maybe he was but that’s another story for later!)
Yet, in the early months of 2014 with new inspiration, I decided I needed to re-write the draft from scratch. Yes, THE. WHOLE. THING! I even blogged about why here. I’ll tell you it’s no small thing to start over, but I did and loved the new framework.
But then, life got hard. Real hard. My courage went away. Infertility and adoption failure came to bite my husband and me in the ass (again).
So the manuscript goes to live on a shelf to live for 15 months. I could not bear to look at it. It was all I could do to get out of bed each morning and try to connect with other meaningful work and people.
I might not even complete this project after all . . .
But, thank goodness for stones of help along the way. Voices who said, “Don’t give up!”
Thank goodness for friends who read a draft last April and told me “The world needs your story. You must share it.”
And most of all thank goodness for this good news I have to share with you today.
I am happy to announce that my manuscript (tentatively titled) Unsilencing the Grief: A Pastor’s Fertile Infertility Story is now under CONTRACT with Chalice Press, due out by February 2017.
I couldn’t be happier to have found a publishing home with Chalice: a respected and forward thinking press committed to giving the church and spiritual seekers resources for the joys and sorrows of real life (my kind of people!).
I would be lying if I didn’t say there’s a part of me still nervous to be sharing such a personal story with the world, but I couldn’t be more excited either. I’m tired of this manuscript being a computer file on my computer.
For, I want those of you who’ve faced seasons of deep disappointment, pain and anger to know you have a soul sister in me!
Stay tuned for updates about publication but for now, join me in saying “Thanks be to God!” that such a joyous day has come.
January 13, 2016 goes down in our household as a very good day! Let the editing begin.