I did go on Saturday. However, by lunch, I had decided to skip the last publisher’s appointment. The first appointment went fine – she took both my book proposals. The second one went constructively, she was not interested in either but gave me helpful feedback. This was the third one. The Christian publishing mothership. And if I really did not want to do this, what was the point of going to talk to another publisher? While I sat in the prayer room willing myself to not go, my dear friend and prayer partner Amy later informed me she was in the other room “prayer blocking me!”
I went. The editor was crazy cool. A working mom herself, she understood the need to reach working moms unreached by churches who are often judged or criticized for their career choices. She told me there was no one in the Christian publishing world speaking about the issue right now. She said there was a hole and the hole had to be filled with a voice. (She did not say MY voice, just A voice.) She took my book proposal and one sheet and put me in contact with a new author she was publishing this fall who happened to live and teach in Houston.
I was a wreck. The only thing worse than thinking you might fail is thinking you might succeed. That afternoon was a roller coaster. I left the conference for almost an hour to sit on my bed and watch mindless t.v. When I returned, Amy reappeared to sit with me and walk through the drama even though she had just had her OWN three publishing appointments (which went well). I ended up confessing that I was terrified my ministry might grow, and then I would screw up and it would explode like my father’s had and end up turning people away from God. She told me I was nuts and there was only one source causing me to have a massive meltdown. We went to the next session, which happened to be on God-sized dreams, and the speakers rattled off a list of reasons that indicate you have a God-sized dream. You know what was near the top of that list? You are scared. If you are passionate about what you want to do but are suddenly terrified, you might just have yourself a God-sized dream. Ugh.
I was still going round and round on Sunday when an old college friend, who happened to be in Charlotte that weekend, wanted to meet to catch up. I was fried but didn’t want to say no. Turned out, not only was it a fabulous visit with her, but she came with her friend who does web design and offered to help me design a wordpress website and blog. Then, during my flight, a man struck up a conversation with me on the plane. He asked about a book I was reading that I had received at the conference. After he found out how I got it, he asked if I was a writer and asked for my card. Then he just opened up and shared that his sister-in-law had died the day before and had not really had any belief system. She was 53 and died from a yellowjacket sting. We began to talk about how his family was struggling and the importance of faith. I got off that airplane and heard God shouting, “I have CALLED you to MINISTER to people. GO. DO. IT.”
Repeatedly at the conference, speakers said, “He doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” I do not feel equipped. I do feel called.
Still hesitant Monday morning, I called my dad and told him I was terrified I would make mistakes like he had and my ministry would fall apart and wreak havoc in people’s lives who might have looked up to me. Instead of getting some touchy feely “you won’t make the same mistakes I did” response, he said, “You do not get to use me as an excuse. You don’t get to hide behind me.”
I didn’t want to hear it, but he was right. When I ran out of excuses on Saturday, I pulled this one out. It is ridiculous and from the devil. I have no idea what will happen with anything. A book. Speaking. The blog. Whatever. But even if it is just writing about my kids and sharing my faith to people hurting on an airplane, I don’t get to hide from that. It is unacceptable.
I John 4: 16-18: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.