I am at a place of contentment with my life that I can’t say I have felt in ages. I don’t know exactly what it is, and Todd and I are constantly talking about how we feel like there is so much on our plates and our calendars but we feel peace about it. We have been shifting things as we feel led to make sure we are keeping our priorities in check, but we feel like the Lord has given us extraordinary favor in being able to do what we love. I have noticed that so many times I read (and write) prayer requests and feel like I overwhelm you all with the things that are just hard. That’s definitely a part of being in community, but also, there is a time for praise to the Father who has given us all these good things. This is my public thank you to Him for allowing me to be a writer, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. To imagine that He saw me even then, sitting on my bed and trying to think of things that rhymed so that I could run in and show my dad my latest masterpiece….and He knew that even now I would be smiling the same way.
I don’t take it for granted, Lord. None of it. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a steward of this great treasure…I pray I always bring Your name honor with my words.
To that end, today is a day of celebration!!!!!
A few hours ago I signed a new contract with Broadman & Holman Publishing for another 3 book deal!!! I cried and cried and cried because it was such a blessing. More than that I cried because Jennifer (my editor) told me that she was so proud of me and honored to work with me, but that she knew the truth and that she understood that my name on that paper was bittersweet. She wanted me to know she would rather have Audrey back too, and that all of this celebration has a pain that will never disappear. It’s okay. I don’t want it too. She is woven into every message I will ever be called to give. But to hear that the publisher who you are working with wants to be sensitive and aware of it? That is a gift of unspeakable honor.
I have a lot of writer friends here in Nashville, and we spend time at the pool, at coffee houses, at parties, and we talk about what is going on in the fickle world of all things music/creativity/writing etc where the market is so sketchy. But here’s what I love, and what spurred me on to write this post.
Several weeks ago we found out that our dear friend and neighbor Jon Acuff’s book Quitter had made it onto the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List. His amazing wife Jenny (who I go to the pool with every day and never ever get sick of. This is saying a lot). put up signs all over their yard for him for people to honk for a bestselling author and so all day long you could just hear this honking and it was so fabulous. We bought him a cake and had a twilight cake party poolside while telling him how proud we were of him. Then he and Todd posed for a picture with the very pink-looking cake and it didn’t turn out with the manly vibe they were going for so we didn’t post it. But I have it in the event I should need it.
Well, fast-forward a few weeks. Jon and Jenny know I am negotiating a book deal and know the details of it and all the concerns I have etc. They are praying with us and asking if we have heard anything. So one day we grab some whole foods for dinner and have too much so they swing by and eat with us (and then we go to the pool-sensing a pattern?). While we are eating I tell them I am about to sign the deal and they both screamed at the top of their lungs as if I had told them that they had won the lottery. They don’t know this but later that night I cried because it was so sincere, and I knew what it felt like to have someone genuinely celebrate you and have no sense of competition or insecurity…just LOVE.
Well, I had no idea that they were just starting. The next day they got a plan together and at 10:30 at night I saw a tweet with a picture of my front yard….they had pulled the ultimate summer caper. I waited to take pictures until the next morning, and this is what my lawn looked like…
So all day long there was honking and screaming and it just make me so happy. I think I was more excited about the feeling of community and what love really looks like than I was about the actual book deal (sorry B&H, you know what I mean :)) It was just so special.
At Easter the Whittaker’s had kicked it off with a 11pm adventure by planting Easter eggs in all of our yards and having all the kids come out and find them.
It’s the coolest thing-to be a part of a community that lives life together in their jammies and with the kind of love that spends time showing the world how we are called to love one another.
It’s been a summer of redemption and healing for me in some difficult areas. I wasn’t expecting the radiant love that was waiting for me here, and I thank the Lord for it. Here is a picture of a group of us from last night…celebrating sweet Heather’s birthday.
That’s Jenny Acuff on the left, then Chris Alexander, Jacinda (Heather’s bff from CA), Heather Whittaker, Me, Ally Bergstrom, Marla Parker, Keely Scott and in front Jackie Brewster, Laura Morris, and Brandi Wilson.
May God bless you all with friends who celebrate with you, weep with you, and remind you of the sweetness of fellowship.
With so much love and fullness of heart,