It's book release day for Save the Date. It's also a day when I'm looking out my window from the comfort of my home and seeing snow falling like crazy, knowing I won't be in school for days, smiling at the sight of my neighbor kids weathering the harsh winds and biting flakes, and just feeling all warm and giddy at God's beautiful snow shower. So giddy I keep returning to my back door and opening it just so I can hear the sounds, smell the air, and think what a gift today is.
It makes me remember times from long ago– the crunch of the snow, my face turned toward the sky as the flakes hit my pink cheeks, and the joy in my heart when my mother would pull on her black and faux-wooly snow boots, load my brother and me on the wooden sled, and run us around town and to my grandparents. I think of that sometimes–running. On icy, snow packed roads. Pulling two children on a sled. Somehow without falling. Now that is love. And coordination.
My brother and I would be bundled up in a way that declared. “Mom was here. No cold may enter.” I would always feel a little bit squirmy, silently overwrought when one of my triple layers of socks would bunch up or a sleeve would be shoved up to my elbow beneath a sweatshirt which was beneath a coat. I loved snow, sled, and symmetry of clothing.
I still do.
Today, as Save the Date, officially releases, my heart is full of beauty and wonder and thankfulness. My favorite part of a book to write is the acknowledgments. To think on the people who helped during the long process of the writing is an honor. To call out their names in print so that the “thank you; it mattered” lives forever.
This book was a lot of things– my first big girl romance not written under a six week time line, my first attempt at writing in third person, my first time to rewrite a book, not once, but about six times, my first time to have the thought, “I totally understand why people have nervous breakdowns.”
This book did not come together beautifully or magically. The Holy Spirit did not impart all 90 thousand words into my heart in one sitting. I did not sit down at my computer, where the lines and characters spoke themselves aloud, where all I could do was type as fast as my human fingers would allow. This book took over a year to make. This book kicked my butt. This book made me consider talking to my friendly loan officer so I could repay the advance, tell everyone, “I'd just rather not” and walk away. This book had me fasting, praying, eye crossing, cussing, waiting, rewriting, binge eating, verse claiming, God questioning, crying, deleting, shredding, restarting, questioning, wondering, wallowing, perspiring, quitting, restarting, quitting, restarting, file crashing, couch molding, weight gaining, hygiene lacking, personality foregoing, temper flaring and tired.
And things got so crazy on my end, I forgot to include three in the acknowledgments: the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
So, not that this makes for entertaining blog material, but let me do this now. Because I am here because of God. I write, whether that's secular material or Christian material, because of God. This book exists because of God. The friends who prayed me through are because of God. The big red editing mark that changed the whole book–because of God. My family who encouraged and occasionally fed me, God. My working with a girl from the real Saving Grace before it was ever a fictional glimmer in my eye, God.
This book is more than three hundred pages. It's more than humor, characters, plot, and romance. It's more than the cute cover and the discussion questions at the back.
For me it was a lesson in faith, a lesson in providence, and an outpouring of a Holy Father who always provides, always comforts, always shows up right on time. Though usually when I'm dangling from a mountain's ledge, holding on to some twig my a fingernail and counting the seconds til I fall.
No matter what the reviews praise or pan, no matter the sales, I believe in this book. Because of where it brought me, because of who brought me through it.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 1:6, NASB