In preparation for an upcoming interview about my book, Chasing My Father, I have a list of questions that I’ve been asked, and I’ll be sharing my responses here on my blog.
Question #2. Why did you decide to write a book?
I completed cancer treatment and went through an emotionally and financially devastating divorce in 2008. In July 2009, I packed up 12 of my favorite books and went to the Abbey of The Genesee in upstate New York for a private, silent retreat for four days. The Abbey is a Trappist monastery where I prayed and worshiped, and copied passages from each of the 12 books that were comforting to me. At the end of the four days, I realized that I was drawn to questions about two aspects of my life: my relationship with God, and my human relationships.
When I returned to Nashville, I met with Fr. Tim Jones who was a priest at St. George’s. He encouraged me to keep writing and to consider sharing it. The next summer, a good friend in the publishing business here in Nashville read it and offered an important comment.
She said, “You’ve got good information on contemporary issues like solitude, submission, forgiveness, and spiritual disciplines. You’ve told me what the answers are, but you haven’t told me the questions. What were you facing that forgiveness was important to you? Where did submission play a role in your life? How were you physically and emotionally healed?
“You can leave it as a nice book of devotional material, or you can reveal the broken parts of your life and ask people to take the journey with you. The choice isn’t just yours; ask God what he wants you to do with your writing.”
So, it started out in 2009 as a form of therapy as I struggled with some of the painful episodes in my life. As the book went through a transformation into my story, I talked with friends about my writing, and found that many had similar experiences: they had been touched by cancer, survived a painful divorce, struggled with finances, or had no relatives. People related to the chapter when I’m angry with God, or when I’m struggling to love a family member addicted to alcohol. Apparently, some of my recent dating experiences aren’t that uncommon, either. By publishing the book, I’m hoping to start a dialogue and encourage people to begin their own journey toward a new life.
It’s true that this is my story, but everyone has a story to tell. We all play a starring role in the bigger story that is God’s. I hope everyone is encouraged by the book to take time to look for evidence of God’s kingdom in our everyday lives, and to record what they see in a journal. It might just become a best seller and help others to see God, too!
A Note to My Readers: Have you read Chasing My Father? If you have a question, please enter it in the “comments” below. Click on this link for ordering information for the book.
(click below for MP3 file of this post)