As I’ve marched into the publication process, surprises have occurred all along the way. When I finished my first novel, which I then didn’t realize was only a rough draft, I envisioned tying it neatly with a ribbon and mailing it off to a publisher. It would be received with open arms.
Blissfully, I would then continue on with my life, taking up all the tasks I had left unfinished while I wrote. The publisher would do all the work. Then my book would arrive in the mail, like a scene from Little Women.
Here I pause to throw back my head and laugh. That’s not how it happens.
Four years later, the novel is now at the publisher to be edited before they pass it back to me, and I’m gearing up for marketing. This week we have a creative call about cover design. Koehler Books is collaborative in all parts of the process—one of the reasons I’m delighted to work with them. Next we plot our marketing strategy. Today writers have many tasks to complete.
Meanwhile, all my regular work is still there waiting, and my house is in serious need of cleaning. While this process plays out, my mother-in-law lingers, and we are strung out by death. I am completely at the end of myself. I feel like I’m running through wet sand.
Since I’m a workaholic from pioneer stock, this is how God prunes. He lets me struggle along until I realize I’m at the end of me. And then he lifts my burden.
Naively, I had assumed I could keep all my tasks and simply add to my list publishing fiction traditionally and self-publishing bible study material. As a result, I’ve overextended myself. I’m getting less than five hours of sleep a night. Stress is affecting my body. But, as I’m focused on death and editing, God has gotten out the pruning shears.
Amazing women have stepped in to fill my shoes. God is doing the work of moving me into an advisory role as I shepherd the women at our church. These younger women have gone above and beyond, and God has built his church stronger and his ministry even more beautiful as a result. He did it. I see him lifting tasks from my shoulders. The women taking them up surpass me, and I am glad.
I also now recognize that doors will be closing. Since 1984 I have been a part of the homeschooling world. Though my six children are now adults, this year I continued to lead a bible study at the homeschooling co-op. This is my home. This is what I know. But I feel God tugging me away.
There are only twenty-four hours in a day. I can’t be a published author and keep all the tasks I had before he gave me a new one. I have to let go.
What else will he prune? I’m yielding. If he places his ax at the root, I’ll watch the branches fall, weeping sometimes, but letting go of what he severs. He knows the purpose of this plant. He knows the fruit he wants me to bear. He is the Gardner.
How is God pruning you?
Photos #2: Free Digital Photos