The Lengthy Process of Writing a Book

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Five years ago I felt like God asked me to write a book. It wasn’t something I’d ever planned on doing, but I was up for the challenge. Or so I thought. I had no idea how long of a process this would be, how many disappointments I would face, how discouraged I would get, or how much my book would change over the years.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that I used to post about it often. Lately, not so much…

Originally I wanted to write the story of how I found the real Jesus (or rather how He found me) in the midst of cultic, legalistic Christianity. I was heartbroken over the many people who grew up like me, but chose to reject God.

I’m honestly glad that first book didn’t get written, because there was a prideful ring to it…kind of like, “I survived and still love Jesus. What’s your problem?” Blech!

My book changed genres over the years from Memoir to Christian Living to Cultural Commentary. I went to multiple writers conferences and even worked with a few agents unofficially. My finished book proposal still told my story, but wove it together with similar lies I saw in normal Western Christianity. It was a better book, but I still didn’t love it.

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Then I got broken. About two years ago my husband and I began going through some excruciating conflict at the church where he was a youth pastor. He ended up being asked to resign and we walked away from people and a ministry that we loved dearly. I’d never experienced pain like that…not even growing up in my cult. It nearly destroyed us. But God never lost control.

Broken myself, I began to read other people’s stories of being broken by Christianity. I was willing to hear from them, even when I didn’t agree with their conclusions. The more I read, and talked, and processed, the more I realized that the enemy wasn’t just legalism. People were being burned by normal churches and ministries just as much as they were by ultra-conservative ones. I began to see patterns emerge.

Behavior based, religious Christianity is what destroys people. The unconditional love of God gets replaced with lists of acceptable actions. People feel shame and condemnation when they fail. Hearts are ignored. The real Jesus is missing along with His scandalous grace and unconditional love. Legalistic Christianity, like I experienced in my teens, is just a piece of a bigger issue.

Church people across denominational lines hold little god-boxes filled with tradition, religious practices, and our ideas of God. We work religiously to appease these gods-in-a-box. But the real God, powerful, incomprehensible, and definitively not boxed-sized, gets forgotten.

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God PUT my husband and I in our current church. There’s no other way to explain it. We landed there broken and hurting, and we met Jesus. I didn’t know churches like this existed. Real people, being real about themselves, and living fully in the grace and love of a real God. We weren’t condemned, or pushed to have answers, or even encouraged to get it together. We were just accepted brokenness and all. The Jesus I encountered blew my mind! And it made me think…

What if God isn’t who we think He is? What if He is much closer and much more real that we can imagine? What if all He really wants is our hearts? What if He wants us to flourish with abundant life?

If my heart longs for this kind of God, then I know that other people are longing for Him too! With this in mind, I began to rewrite my book. I’m still sharing my story, but I’m asking a lot more questions. I’m inviting my readers to join me on a quest so that we can search together for the real Jesus.

I love this new book of mine! I’ve never felt like that before.

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Typically I’m a very temperamental writer. But I can literally be having the most terrible day, and sit down at a coffee shop with my book, read where I left off, and start excitedly writing again. I’ve cried over each chapter.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I’m going back to a local writers conference in a couple of weekends. There will be agents and editors to meet with again, and I will have my new book proposal. And then…who knows? I’ve been at this place many times before, and nothings happened. But that’s okay! Here we go again. 🙂

And I need your help!

  • First by praying. Please pray for me as I finished tweeking my proposal and one page (mini proposal). Pray as I go to the conference that God will guide my steps and interactions.
  • And secondly by sharing. Publishers want platform…which means numbers on social media and such. I’ve come a long way since the beginning, but still have a large distance to go. You can help in a couple of ways.
    1. Share one of my blog posts that you enjoy and ask your friends to check out my blog.
    2. Like my Facebook writer page and share it with your friends.
    3. Invite your friends to like my Facebook writer page.
    4. Sign up for my email list (there is a link on my home page).

Thanks!! 🙂

Ultimately, I don’t really care if now is the time for this book to be published or not. I know that God is totally in control and that His timing is perfect. I’m excited about where I am at right now with Jesus…working through things and sorting out the junk. I’m loving sharing what I discover with you. It’s a great place to be!

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The Secret of the Miracle of the Christian Life

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I slipped into the bathroom stall and closed my eyes, cherishing the momentary quiet. “Holy Spirit, I have nothing left.” The words came out more of a sigh than a prayer. But, as soon as they left my mouth, I felt Him speak to my heart.

“It’s okay, Christy. I never run out.”

There it was: truth that made me smile and shake my head, and put tears in my eyes.

As believers in Jesus, the Bible tells us that we have the very God of the Universe living inside of us, able to give us strength, energy, love, life, everything! (Seriously, take some time to read Ephesians 1:13-14; 3:14-21. It’s amazing!)

We just finished our first week of Freddie’s Friends camp. Almost seventy special needs campers spent four days and three nights with us. Not only do most of the campers have medications, most of them are on multiple medications. We had two health officers this week, one for the guys and one for the girls, and it was still overwhelming!

We did a lot of serving this week! Lots of care giving, not always the most glamorous kind. Our cabin leaders pushed wheelchairs, gave sponge baths, wiped adult bottoms, and cut up food. It was not easy for any of us, but it was good. We were able to love people our culture discounts. We served like Jesus, but we weren’t alone!

Something amazing happens when you get to the end of yourself and watch Jesus carry you the rest of the way. I’m sure you could work Freddie’s Friends week in your own strength, but it would be miserable…exhausting, irritating, frustrating, nearly impossible. But when Jesus (the Holy Spirit) is living through you, there is joy even when you are helping with showers, peace that doesn’t make any sense, and energy despite limited sleep.

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A selfie with one of my favorite campers.

“The secret of the miracle of the Christian life.” That’s what I once heard it called, when Jesus lives through us. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never experienced it before. Paul even had a hard time. He touches on this concept all the way through Romans 6,7, and 8 and finally says this:

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you…” Romans 8:13-14

Why is this such a secret? Why aren’t more of us living this way? How do we get there, to that place where the Spirit gives us life? I think it starts by recognizing our own weakness. This is easier when we actually FEEL weak (like during Freddie’s Friends)! It takes humility to admit our weakness, and it is hard. We have to be able to say, “I can’t do it” and ask for help.

But how do we actually walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:4)? How does this miracle of the Christian life happen?

I’m pretty sure it’s by faith! I don’t really know how to explain it, but I know how it happens for me.

Coming to the end of myself is like reaching the edge of a cliff. It is impossible to reach the other side alone. Jesus says, “Trust me. Step off the edge; I will carry you.” I know I cannot do it by myself, so I choose to believe Him, and I let go. Inexplicably, instead of falling, I fly. 🙂 Not in my own strength or power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know it works like this, because I have experienced it over and over.

If we really have the Spirit of God living inside of us, why do we often wait until we are empty to ask Him to fill us?

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Why do we do anything in our own strength? I truly believe that there is SO MUCH more to be had than the boring, work filled, religious Christianity that we accept as normal. What if we all stopped trying to live in our own power, and allowed the Spirit of Jesus to fill us, carry us, and flow out of us to a lost and dying world?

Maybe ANYTHING would be possible!