I had every intention of writing this last night, but it turned out that God had other plans and He made them very clear to me. I understand know why He wanted my attention to be focused on Him alone, and I spend a good part of the evening in prayers of gratitude.
Sometimes He is so clear in His intentions, and last night was one of those times. My fingers would have been paralyzed if I had tried to type, because it would have been in disobedience. As it turns out, I had an amazing time just telling Him what I was feeling and reading through scripture, marveling at His ability to weave a story. We are all woven into that story, and last night was a night of humbling myself before Him.
Let’s back up a little.
I got an email a few weeks back from a very sweet woman in the publishing business, but truth be told, there wasn’t really a business feeling in her words. She made it clear that she was interested in being a part of telling Audrey’s story, but the focus was not on a “deal.” It was on my sweet baby, and the way she had become personally invested in her, and how she loved her story and what it had done for her.
It was a letter from a friend.
It started like this:
It is such an honor to write you. I have read your blog and am overwhelmed by the true power of God’s grace in your story– even as I write that the words feel so trite compared to how strongly I mean it. I could go on and on, but know you have much to do and don’t want to keep you too long…
She loves my little girl, and she wants to tell her story.
You might imagine that because of the way the blog kind of “took on a life of it’s own,” so to speak, I have been approached by many wonderful publishers, and had begun to fret about it a little. That sounds silly, but it isn’t. Todd and I made a promise to each other before Audrey was born that if a book was ever to come of her story, we would not have initiated it. I prayed that I would not have to make “business decisions” that involved my Audrey. I begged Him to do it, and to reveal His will in such an amazing way that it could not be denied. If nothing ever came of it, well, then that was His decision. Once I really surrendered to that, and believed Him, a great peace came over me.
Because I needed to be reminded of a little detail, and He was not unclear in reminding me of it.
It is My story, and I have simply chosen you to tell it.
We have kept our end of the deal, and have never contacted a single person/company/publisher etc. We just asked God to lead the way.
When I got that email, I was choked up because I sensed something in her that was different, and I felt a tenderness that surprised me. We wrote back and forth a few times, and the easiest way to say it is that it just fit.
I had a speaking engagement last week and she came to meet me. As soon as she introduced herself, I (literally) attacked/hugged her. And the best part was that she didn’t think it was weird, in fact, I think anything other than that would have been weird.
After that night, I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me in a different way, and when Todd and I talked, I told him I wanted to work with her. I just knew she was the one who could do justice to this sweet baby of ours.
I prayed and prayed about it, and the day the proposal was to be sent to multiple publishers, my agent started with her. He told me we would send them out and wait a few weeks to hear back, so I settled into that mode.
15 minutes later he called to tell me that we would have our first offer that afternoon. He had not even had the chance to send it to other publishers.
Well hello, God. Good to see you.
True to her word, we did receive the offer that afternoon, and it was humbling to say the least. God chose her to be a part of this story, no question. And there it was, in black and white.
Speechless. Humbled. Overwhelmed by the love of a Father Who loves to remind us Who the author is. He knows me too well to present me with decisions over something so sacred, so He just laid it down and told me to pick it up.
And I did.
I am honored beyond words to tell you that I will be signing paperwork shortly to make it “official,” but the bottom line is that Audrey’s story will be published by B&H (Broadman and Holman…they are Lifeway’s book publishing division). Jennifer Lyell is my editor, but really, she is a friend who God allowed to walk with me.
Which only makes it slightly surprising that although we had never met, she attends my church as well. And only slightly odd that she accidentally overslept this past Sunday and missed the early service, and walked in at the exact same time as us, so we all sat together and worshipped.
After I told them that I had accepted, I received an email from Jennifer, and this is what it said:
I don’t know when I’ve been this thankful to the Lord for the job I have. Praying that we will all stay in step to the story He is weaving as you tell Audrey’s story. I’m here 24×7 for anything you need along the way.
Praying that today you will know His joy and peace upon you and the power of the resurrection all the way to the core of your being– and praying that it is a sweet day in the Smith household with much assurance of His love, protection, and guidance…
Business? Nope. Just the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has and will continue to sustain me in the coming months as I write.
You’ll never guess who also writes for B&H. I may have mentioned her once or twice on here (or, quite possibly, an embarrassingly amount of times)…and by the way, if you haven’t done her newest study Esther, YOU NEED TO. I think it’s my favorite, but I say that every time I do a new one so don’t hold me to it.
I thought about trying to write something into my contract about getting my picture taken with Beth Moore, but that seemed, umm, inappropriate. There didn’t appear to be a box for that one.
So, Sundays, I want to beseech you, and it’s going to start with something that was whispered to me last night. I was kneeling on the bed, face down, and Todd literally covered me with his body and put both hands on my head as he prayed for me. I am going to ask you to do a strange thing, and I know it feels strange, because it would be the first thing that would come to my mind too.
In your comments, please don’t focus on congratulating me.
It would take away attention from the one Who truly deserves it. I covet your prayers desperately, and there is thanks to be given. He has made a way for this story to reach people, to bring hope, and to make His name known.
I’m not saying these things to be falsely humble, and trust me, I am honored that I get to do this. But that isn’t what it is about, and I want my life (and my words) to reflect that.
I did do a happy dance, though, I’m not gonna lie.
It may have included some loud spurts of shouting and jumping. It was short, and I think it alarmed the children (keeping it real here, folks…) but let’s keep our eyes on HIM. That’s what matters. Let’s praise Him together for this amazing opportunity.
Secondly, I have had a desire to do something for months, but I haven’t brought it up to Todd lately. When we asked about the possibility originally, we did not receive very good feedback, and had kind of decided to let it go. The other day, I told him that I wanted to have Audrey moved. It is complicated and it’s not cheap, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
I want her to be right next to Luke.
There wasn’t a way to do that when Luke was buried, but the Lord has opened a door in His graciousness, and so in the next few weeks (with a portion of the money that will come from my book advance, thank you Jesus), she will lay right beside her cousin. There has always been one baby separating them, but I wanted them to be side by side, and now there is an opening on the other side of sweet Lukey. I know they aren’t really in there, but when I visit, I can’t help but think that it would feel better to have them next to each other.
I want to thank you for the support you have shown me up until this point, and thank you in advance for the way you will continue to do so. You know as well as I do that there are a lot of good writers and a lot of great stories.
He did this, and I fully, whole-heartedly (and with tears streaming like rain down my face…) believe that He will receive the glory for my daughter’s life.
And one day, face to face, I will tell Him those words.
But until then, let’s all say it here and now as a reminder that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my fumbling fingers have managed to spill truth into your heart because of Him.
Lord, keep me soaked in humility and hungry for what brings You glory. Mold me in spirit and deed to be more like You until the day you call me home . I miss her, Father, and you know what my human, broken heart feels right now, even as I type these words…I would give it all back to see her again…
Father, in your mercy and for Your sake, would You allow me to be a part of the mending? I love you and need You desperately. She is safe with you, Jesus. I rest in that. May Your name be lifted high in everything You call me to do, and may I never walk where You have not led me. Thank you, Lover of my soul, you have blessed me with favor I do not deserve.
P.S. Jennifer is the one who donated the extra tickets for the concert, so if you won them, I will make sure and arrange an opportunity for you to attack-hug her….:)