The Summer of 1976 was the summer I vowed never to swim in the ocean and the Summer of 2017 was the summer I wrote a book. I'm all in. No throwing the transcript away and quietly moving on with my life. No slithering back in the shadows.
Although the stigma of self-publishing is not what it used to be, I confess the world of Christian publishing is so far out of my comfort zone, I have major comfort jet lag. I need Google Translator to add ‘publishing’ as a language to help me navigate this new world.
So here I go. As I move forward with publishing my book, I’m asking God to bring freedom, wholeness and healing to all those in the waiting. I understand all too well that you may be tired and exhausted and weary and limping. While you are waiting it’s difficult to find solid footing. While you are in the dark space between the already and the not yet, here is my message: He is with you.
I once prayed an audacious prayer for my son. I was tempted to pray the small, reasonable prayers of “please help him get back on the rails, and “please help him live a law-abiding life,” and “please break unhealthy relationships when he is released from jail.” Instead I prayed for miraculous transformation. I prayed he would be an over the top, unrecognizable extension of the severely courageous, Godly young man I once knew. I prayed he would renew his passion for changing the world. I prayed that he would step into his unique God-given purpose and potential. That he would run wholeheartedly into who God created him to be. I prayed that something would emerge both recognizable and renewed. My prayers were more than a wishful plea that restoration would be possible, but for something even better than existed before.
It came to pass. Slowly. Excruciating amounts of slow. But it came to pass. God is slow, careful and compassionate. He is unanxious about quick-fixes in the lives of your children.
My prodigal child is home.
Remember, as He is bringing your child home, He is working in you and in the life of your child. He is maturing you and growing you through the homecoming season. He is conforming you to the image of his son, Jesus. He is actively at work in your heart.
Parenting a wayward child doesn’t have to be the end of your story. God still wants to use your life to lift and lead others to Himself.
God will make possible what was impossible with man. Give God room to show Himself faithful. When I see his life, living abundantly in his God given purpose, I want to pinch myself. God has done a remarkable, stunning work.
Hold tight. Be patient. Every moment of anxiety, worry, suffering and humiliation is worth it. God is accomplishing something great in you. Look to the cross. Then, look again.
Jesus never wearies or tires of our strugglings. The steadfast love of the Lord endures. He is paying attention. He is leaning in to your brokenness with his compassion. His promises are true. He is stepping into your space saying, “Hang in there. Don’t let go. I never will.”
While I walk the publishing road, I am still fearful of the ocean because of the summer of 1976, but here I am, saying goodbye to the summer of 2017, confident in Jesus and extending this very real comfort to you, dear friends.