I’ve had some queries lately from some folks who have tried to purchase or download a copy of my book, Grace in the Middle, in the last few months and were informed it was no longer available. And a few weeks ago, I got this screenshot in a text from a friend.
So I guess it’s time to explain.
I have some news.
We’ve had some developments over the past six months or so that, frankly, I’ve been hesitant to share with anyone because, … well … it just sort of felt like bragging, which I loathe. I’ve been so uncomfortable with the privilege and so humbled by this opportunity that I just didn’t want to talk about it too much. But my husband reminded me a few days ago that this has all happened in large part because of the help and support of lots of people–many of whom have read these blog posts–and so this news belongs to you who read my words as much as it belongs to me.
So here’s the deal: Grace in the Middle has been picked up by a publisher — a real, live, legit publishing house — and will be rereleased in a couple of weeks. I know, I know–I keep asking the same thing: how many lives will this thing live? This will be the third edition of my book, which seems ridiculous, right? And honestly, after the great response we got from the story this past fall, I was really kinda ready to move on. But for some reason, God keeps opening the doors for this story and the only response I know is to keep walking through them.
It all kind of happened by accident. I wasn’t even looking for a publisher. In October I won a free ticket on Facebook to a blogger’s conference in Greenville, SC called Allume. Honestly, I didn’t even really know what it was I was going to. For two days I listened to excellent speakers and sat in seminars with writers and bloggers and marketing experts, and drank water out of a fire hydrant flowing with all things literary. I’m working on a second book, so I took it all in thinking I’d use this new information for the next project. But everybody at these conferences wants to know what you’ve written, so I had to tell about Grace in the Middle about a hundred times and by Saturday morning my brain was flooded not only with new information but also with a fresh desire to encourage others with our story. Maneuvering through traffic down I-85 south to the last session of the conference, I prayed this prayer:
God, I’m not sure what I’m doing here. I don’t know what you want me to do next, but whatever it is, I’ll do it. I just need you to make it clear what to do.
I listened to Sarah Dubbledam, the editor of Darling magazine, speak that morning about being light in darkness, about being intentional in bringing a message of hope to people who don’t even know they need it. Then I walked outside the banquet hall doors to go to the next session, passing about a thousand vendor tables displaying homespun scarves made in India and hand-crafted jewelry from the Congo on my way, and just as I turned left to go into the conference room, I spotted a table of books and, as usual, had to take a second look.
At that table I met Tim Lowry of Ambassador International Publishing House. He asked me what I was doing at the conference; I told him I’d written a book and didn’t know what to do with it, and he asked me if I had a copy, which I did. Two days later I got an email then a call asking me if I’d be interested in revising the book and publishing it for national distribution.
So now it’s July, and after about a million hours of hard work and writing new chapters and editing like crazy all spring, the third–and last–edition of Grace in the Middle will be released in bookstores on August 1.
A few things I need you to know:
- I have not been able to bring myself to market this thing. For the love of sweet mercy, this is the third edition of a book by a no-name author! Everybody I know has already read it or knows the story, and those of you who know me personally know that publicity and attention for myself is the absolutely worst and most uncomfortable thing I can imagine. This is THE WORST part of writing a book. So I have prayed my guts out over this, and asked God to help me share HIS story with integrity and humility and wisdom because I HATE THIS PART. And here’s what He’s been clear about: there are people who are hurting, and He’s given me a story and a way–an almost impossible opportunity–to tell the story. And if it’s HIS story, and it’s for the good of others, and He’s set this in motion…well, what choice do I have, really?
- I have no ambition to be a famous author or to make money off of this story. And it turns out, authors don’t really make money, unless they write about sex or vampires or murder mysteries, which I don’t. So here are my goals for this book:
- To give hope and encouragement to families who are in health crises and other tumultuous seasons in their lives. I vividly remember the long hours sitting in the waiting room of the Cancer Treatment Center or the lab or watching machines beep in a hospital room holding my newborn…feeling very alone, exhausted, scared and suffocating under the weight of life. My only real ambition for the continued distribution of this book is to speak life into people who are sitting in those same seats–that the words I’ve dredged up from my own dark memories and hammered out with my fingertips and painstakingly edited over and over again will reach out from the page and wrap around the broken heart of a mom or dad, a sibling, a grandparent, a son or daughter and speak life, hope: you are not alone. Don’t give up. God is here, He is here. There is a kind of wild beauty in the middle of despair.
- To bring awareness to the needs of patients and families in medical crises. There is no more vulnerable or desperate season of life than in the midst of a family health crisis. We can all do something to help, and part of God’s drawing me to Himself was through the kindness of others during that dark time. I also hope the book will bring light and thoughtfulness to the relationship between patients, doctors, and healthcare professionals. People in this line of work have tremendous potential for good or for harm. I had a doctor who told me he had read the book and felt like he was a better doctor now; that seeing things through our eyes helped give him perspective about how he treated and talked to patients. That’s a big deal to me.
- To give God a microphone to sing His love over hurting people. God made His way to me through operating rooms and chemo drips and long, dark nights watching my newborn baby breathe. He will make His way to you no matter what. We are so loved. This message: this is the goal.
So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got.
Ambassador International has been great to work with, by the way. They redesigned the cover (because they are the professionals, and I am not), we’ve added a couple of chapters, and Savannah has written one all by herself and from her perspective. And you know what?…she’s funny. I laughed out loud reading her chapter. And she’s got some brains, too, that one. So I’m excited for you to get to hear from my girl, too. Here’s a little sneak peak:
This announcement is going first to those who subscribe to my blog. You’re the ones who follow my everyday foolishness, or my seasons of silence while I work things out in my head (or take on too much to have time to write…) You’re the ones who offer steady support and encouragement, so I wanted to announce this to you first. And now you’re the first to see the new cover and to be able to order the book online!
And this is the icing on the cake: a group of ladies at a local church pre-ordered the first copies to be donated to local hospitals and treatment centers…Savannah and I will sign all of them, and they will be delivered in the next week or two to a cancer treatment facility who’ve requested reading material for their chemo patients during treatments. These ladies bought copies to put into those patients’ hands! I am stoked at the possibility of partnering with other people to share hope with others. This was never my story.
So we are setting up a sponsorship game plan to find companies or organizations that would be interested in purchasing books to put into facilities where hurting people are just barely hanging on to hope. This is my dream: to take our story of brokenness and restoration and somehow come alongside the brokenhearted, to give them just enough hope to hold on.
If you’d be interested in or know of someone who might want to help sponsor these to go out to hospitals, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks for the encouragement and support in this crazy journey. And Happy Independence Day!