Today marks the one year anniversary of my book hitting the book selling world. As of today, you’ve been able to buy my book at Barnes and Nobles and obviously Amazon and a few local bookstores in my hometown of Nacogdoches ( the only place I bothered to pursue selling it, because approaching a bookstore owner is like a job interview and its NOT FUN, but more fun with self-doubt coming later) for exactly one year.
And here’s what I’ve learned:
Bonus: Now when people ask me what I do I can legitimately say that I’m “an author” or a “writer” or something that sounds fancy..but is really just me being a mom in yoga pants 99.9% of the time. So that’s nice.
But that’s probably the least important thing I could tell you about what I learned this year. For the most part this year taught me about humility.
Imagine giving of yourself for 5 years, pouring out your heart. Slaving over details of the hardest moments of your life, then working hard to make those moments true but also filled with the redemption that so clearly ran through our story of loss and miracles. Imagine, editing ( which is the worst) and pouring over words and punctuation (ew) and having to cut things out because they didn’t help the story ( “but I loved that paragraph!!” “But that chapter was so good!”-Nope, sorry! They’ve got to go!), imagine praying innumerable prayers as you cried and cried about this book. And then it goes out into the world to make, not a splash, but a small drop in the bucket of modern day publishing.
And if I’m totally honest with you, like every other author anywhere, ever, I wanted my book to just be read. I wanted it to be talked about and passed from hand to hand. I wanted Oprah to put it on her book list and for Good Morning America to call….wait, that’s a bit much! Haha! Nope, truer would be that I wanted the Mommy-Christian podcasts that I listen to and love to call me and ask me to come on and talk about loss and about hope. I wanted people to write articles waxing eloquent about my book. I wanted to speak at Women’s retreats ( I’m still holding out for this one! finger crossed! Because who doesn’t love a women’s retreat?! ). But really, I did absolutely nothing to make any of that happen. Zero publicity. Zero advertising.
Before my book even came out I felt strongly that the Lord told me to wait on all that kind of self-publicity and so while all of that would have been nice, something entirely different happened. Something so much more personal and special.
I’d wake up in the morning thinking about my book and how I’d sold zero copies in several weeks, I’d get desperate and pray to the Lord about it. And then later that same day someone would email me about how they’d gotten the book for Christmas, how they’d lost a child, how they were struggling. How my book had helped. And so I’d cry and remember that even though I wrote the book, the story and the message were His. And this would happen again and again…for 12 straight months! The circumstances would change! Sometimes I would just inexplicably sell a copy ( What?! Who are you, person?! How did you hear about my little book?! What a miracle!)
But then days would pass and I’d start to feel all desperate again. I’d see that yet another Instagram person with 100k following is writing a book and I’d feel defeated. I’d let the lies start to creep in. But the Lord was ALWAYS faithful. His word would ring true. He would remind me that a drink offering poured out before the Lord is sacred because it cannot be scooped up! You can’t “recycle” that offering like, say, the meat offerings ( that then the priests might get to feast on later etc.)- No, we pour out our offerings before the Lord not to get anything in return.
I realized that I’d started to believe a lie that my daughter, Priscilla had died for a reason, that somehow with every book that I sold it would cover one of the tears I cried for her. I envisioned that her story would change the world. In harsh reality, her life may have only touched ours, it may not impact anyone else-but the glorious truth?! SHE STILL MATTERED. Her life and death did a miracle in our hearts and our Lord and Savior cares so deeply for us that He’s willing to go to great lengths to reveal Himself to His children. In the same way, my book could sell no more copies. Today it could get only awful reviews ( Incidentally, book reviews on Amazon MAKE. MY. DAY!) and everyone could go out and re-sells their signed copies. All that could happen and it would still be exactly what the Lord wanted from me.
So, I’d feel the gentle truth of the Spirit, reminding me yet again:
“We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:10
And so my little drink offering has been out in the world for a year. About 200 people have purchased copies. Many sweet souls have passed on their own read copies to others so they, too, can read it. I’ve gotten 28 reviews on Amazon ( thank you to each of you) and I’ve received sweet Facebook, Instagram and email messages filled with your own stories and the things that the Lord has shown you through waiting and loss and hope and faith. I’m thankful that my book has brought other women into my life who are going through the ringer of grief, and that I’ve had the honor to walk beside them in seasons of mourning.
So, as I celebrate this auspicious first anniversary this October, I honor October as Infant and Pregnancy Loss awareness month. I hope my little book has brought help and truth to the sweet ladies whom I dedicated it to, and above all I hope that my little drink offering will continue to quench the parched souls of those in days between.