The only way to write a book on humility {part 1}

Most writers have big plans to write books. I struggle to even call myself a writer. If you asked me about my “dreams” I would talk about women’s ministry or speaking. But God has a different plan.

God decided I should write a book.

I’m just coming to grips with His idea. This post should have been written 6 months ago. But back then I thought keeping the news secret was the humble thing to do.

Now I realize it was actually my pride keeping the news amongst a select few. I didn’t want to tell you about writing a book, because what if a book was never published. Then I would have to write a follow-up post: “Nevermind. God didn’t really want to me to write a book.”

But you know what? At Allume I was smacked over the head with truth: the calling to write a book has nothing to do with me. Yes, I have to physically type out the words. But it is 100% God’s message. He has orchestrated details in ways I never imagined (just wait…you will see what I mean). It’s my job to follow where He is working. Stop sitting around. I’m failing by not following. 

So here’s the story of how God decided I should write a book.

The Message…

In the Spring of 2011, while sharing my humbling journey of motherhood to my local MOPS group, God gave me the “God-centered” message of this blog. For the past year or so I’ve chronicled that journey here. Little did I know when I started “God-centered mom” how much further I would be humbled. This message of “replacing me with He” was never mine. It has always been God’s repeated voice in my head to share with others.

The agent…

This past April (2012), we unloaded all the boys from the car after a Sunday night Yancy Nancy concert at church. Given the “later than normal” bedtime, there were tears and gnashing of teeth, from both me & the kids. To escape from the crazy, I pulled out my iPhone to check my email (it’s a sickness I’m working on).

Typically opening my inbox on a Sunday night I’d find maybe an email from Gap offering 30% today “only” (an email I get every other day). Usually there is nothing important or interesting waiting for me, despite my frequent, obsessive checking.

But that night I found an email from an unknown address. I opened it to see these words:

Heather, I am Ann Voskamp’s literary agent, along with others of course, but I see you list her book as a favorite so I thought I would name drop. 🙂 Have you ever thought about book publishing? If so would you like to talk about how it all works? Grace and peace, Bill

Wouldn’t you know my first thought was skepticism? It must be spam. Then, instead of googling: “Who is Ann Voskamp’s literary agent?”.  I sent Ann a direct message on Twitter. Seriously. In my shocked state I simply said, “I know your life is full. Just got an email from a Bill Jensen. Is he your agent? Any information you have I would greatly appreciate.”

Within 20 minutes I received a personal email from Ann. She shared how Bill was in fact her agent, how he was amazing to work with, how he lives gospel, and how he views it as his ministry to help Christians publish the message God has given them. My favorite line (which in only Ann could write): “I am smiling, beautiful friend…God goes before you.”

Then I just sat in silence. Instead of joy, gratitude, and honor, I felt a mixture of shock, disbelief, and fear. I began to project myself as a book author. A pit in my stomach began to form because I had a two-month old baby. Everyone knows moms of newborns don’t write books.

The next day I shared the news with a close friend. Asked for her thoughts on what I should do. She brought be back down to earth. She reminded me how Bill wasn’t asking me to write a book, he just asked if I had questions about publishing. She gave me the wise advice to do “the next right thing.”

The next right thing was to schedule a time to talk with Bill. In classic, new-mom-mush-brain, I arranged our first phone call during the baby’s 2 month doctor’s appointment. But Bill was gracious and we scheduled for another time. While the boys were at school and the baby slept, he and I exchanged our stories and became acquainted.

He told me he loved how God-centered my writing was. He also said he never would have contacted me if he knew I had a newborn, because that is, “cruel and unusual punishment”. Reflecting back, I trust God was present even in this. It wasn’t me who impressed Bill, it was God. Like Ann said, “God goes before me…”

After our conversation the next right thing was to speak again. In that conversation Bill extended me a contract. And I signed it. But again in my publication ignorance I just filled in my name online and emailed it back to him. (forehead slap). Again Bill was gracious. (I took this picture with the hard copy I finally mailed in…unsure if anyone else would ever see it).

Just as he promised, Bill sent me sample book proposals. The next right thing was to study the proposals and begin to write my own.  However, the week after signing the contract to work with an agent towards a book on humility in mothering…I broke my foot. That event launched me into the most humbling season of my life.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good & what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

To be continued

“the only way to write a book on humility {part 2}–click here

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27 thoughts on “The only way to write a book on humility {part 1}

  1. Humility has been the theme for me (as in, what I need developed in me!) for the past year and an half – so I am thrilled to read this book!! I really think it is not just me, but it’s time for the body as a whole embrace it. xo

  2. Friend, Only God could write this story! I’m so grateful you shared…it’s encouraging and very exciting. I can’t wait to read whatever you and God write. Go GIRL!

  3. I’m so thrilled and happy for you! I feel as though I’ve share in a SMALL part of this journey and PRAISE HIM along with you. You have a voice that needs to be heard.
    Love you!

  4. Wow, how truly awesome! Even from our brief time in the same hello mornings group, you came across as very encouraging and kind. Don’t worry about failing or living up to some unattainable standard. God brought you to this point; He’ll see you through the end.

  5. I have recently started following & reading your blog (about a few months now), and I enjoy it so! I recently birthed my 3rd child (he’s 4 months now) & this blog couldn’t have fallen into my lap at a better time!! You are amazing & I can relate to so much! Even the Gap emails! Haha! Just want you to know I’m following & wishing you the most success & the best in everything 🙂 thanks for writing. Fellow mama soldier 😉 Melanie Carroll

    • thank you for your sweet, sweet words Melanie! Welcome to the God Centered Mom community!! We are the real deal here. We are a mess & we love Jesus! Congrats on your 3rd baby! 4 months is such a huge milestone. I’m finding 8 months to be another great time!

  6. Pingback: The only way to write a book on humility {part 2} | God centered mom

  7. Pingback: The only way to write a book on humility {part 2} | God centered mom

  8. Yea Heather! God is in this, and He will provide the words, the time, and the energy in his timing. I’m so excited for you – this totally makes sense for you, and I’m thrilled. I’ll be your African distributor! 😉

  9. Pingback: The only way to write a book on humility {part 3} | God centered mom

  10. Pingback: The Words that Carried Me in 2012 | God centered mom

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