I still remember the day my best friend looked at me from the back of her mom’s station wagon and said with wide open eyes, “You’re going to write books – lots of them!” We couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old at the time, and to this day, I’m not exactly sure where that comment came from or why she said it. But it’s a comment I’ve carried with me in my heart through a lot of long years of waiting. Most of the time, I thought she misspoke. I’m turning 40 this year, and book writing isn’t something I have listed on my resume. It’s hard for me to sit down to write a blog much less a book. But more than time, I think it’s been fear that has held me back. What if I don’t have anything to say? What if no one wants to read it? What if I fail and this is a total flop? What if it’s not perfect? (That’s a statement I have to push past in my head many moment of many days.) But finally, this fall, I did it. I pulled the trigger, contacted a publishing company, and started the process of putting my book, Waiting on the Lord, into print. It’s been an exciting process, but it’s also been a tough process. I’ve had to face, head on, my fears about perfection, about writing in the margin of my life being enough, about my loathing and feelings of absolute intimidation of all things related to social media. It’s just one more avenue where I can fail, fall flat on my face, not keep up, stay up, or put up the right things or the right words or respond in a timely way. So on my desk, on top of my book edits, sits a sticky note with these words from GK Chesterton: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” I’m still not totally sure it’s true, but it sure has helped when I want to avoid the computer because I don’t feel the “perfect” words coming on or the “perfect” time to write in front of me. And Waiting on the Lord certainly won’t be a perfect book or Biblestudy. The final manuscript is due on Monday, and I am still thinking in my head about all the things I would like to rewrite.
But I’ll tell you what helped me pull the trigger and finally just go for it. First of all, I’m not getting any younger. I know, I know. 40 isn’t old by any stretch of the imagination (in fact, the older I get the younger it seems :), but the fact is, time is running out. Every day, I am one day closer to when I have to stand before the Lord and give an account for the gifts He gave me and how they were used. Perfectly or imperfectly.
The second thing is, Jason and I have a friend, Ralph Borde, who heads up a ministry called As Our Own. As Our Own is in the business of rescuing little girls out of the red light district in a large city in India and raising them as their own daughters. The girls’ mothers are sex slaves in the booming sex slave industry and trapped in prostitution. But their little girls aren’t. Not until after the age of three anyway. So Ralph and his co-workers do everything they can to build relationships with the moms, let them know they have a safe place where their daughters can be raised, and those mommas do the bravest thing a momma on planet earth can do. They give their daughters to another so they can experience freedom in a way the mom herself never can. They trust the raising of their girls to someone who promises to raise them as their own. And Ralph makes good on that promise. His ministry provides one caretaker for every two or three children, hands on training for their caretakers at a Masters Degree level on how to love and connect to children from traumatic backgrounds and places, and gives the girls not only a loving, Christ-centered community in which they are raised but a stellar education in a country where education is everything. Basket weaving and jewelry making is not an option for these girls. But engineering, seminary, and medical school is. They are given the exact same opportunity as your very own children are. And Ralph’s heart is to transform orphan care not just in his community, his city, but all across India.
Three years ago, I had the opportunity to go to visit Faith Home and Grace Home in India where these little girls are growing up, and the fact is, some of these girls aren’t so little anymore. They are graduating from high school and going to college with high honors. And Ralph is a dad to over seventy girls, girls who have questions about waiting, about marriage, about healing, about becoming a parent one day. And he came to me and asked if I would please put into a published form that he and his staff could use with the girls to help them wait on the Lord.
Well…at that point, imperfections and objections and feelings of imminent failure fly out the window. Yes, I will give you what I have. Yes, I will publish Waiting on the Lord. Yes, I will get over myself. Yes, yes, and yes. Anything to help your beautiful girls.
So while I worked on edits in the fall, I actually taught the Biblestudy this past Spring. My friend, Jenny Venghaus, opened her home, and about forty of us packed into her living room on Wednesday mornings for nine weeks to learn about waiting on the Lord together. I was able to use audio equipment to record the lessons that Ralph will be able to use in India and will also be available on this website to go along with the book.
I’ve waited a long time for this to happen. Ever since Holly uttered those words in the back of her mom’s car so many years ago. But, as always, God’s timing is perfect. If I had published a book when I wanted to so many years ago, I would have been so full of self, so full of pride, of no use to anyone but myself, much less the Lord. And He waited until I was over myself, over thinking in order to be someone great, I had to be of great use to God. Oswald Chambers says it this way in My Utmost for His Highest: “We have to get rid of this notion – ‘Am I of any use?’ and make up our mind that we are not, and we may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time” (February 21st). Slowly, slowly, God worked on rounding out the rough, wounded places in my heart, showing me my value was in the fact that I was known by Him, not because I was of any great use to Him. And out of that process of rounding, smoothing, loving, and patiently waiting, the Lord transferred my significance from the things I accomplished or did to deep, satisfying relationship with Him. And out of the relationship, Waiting on the Lord was finally ready to be turned loose into the Hands of the One who holds it all.
Over the next few months, as Waiting on the Lord is in its final stages of the publishing process, please pray that this study is used to glorify God and heal many wounded hearts in India. Pray that God gets it into the hands and hearts of the women He wants it to encourage and heal here in the United States, and in other places around the world. Please pray for courage for me to face my imperfections and risk doing something badly if it means doing something obediently. And pray about doing the study yourself when it comes out in the fall. My heart is to see women’s hearts changed, healed, and transformed in some of the most painful places and paths we walk through so that we are equipped to go out into a broken, hurting world that needs the beauty of Jesus through the hands, heart, and feet of the women He loves. Thank you for waiting and patiently walking with me through this journey of Waiting on the Lord. I look so forward to walking the path ahead, wherever God leads.