One year ago this week, my first (and maybe only!) book was published by CrossBooks. I knew the book was due to be published sometime in mid-November, 2013, but did not know it was actually “out there” on line until I received an email from my son, Dan, sending me a link to my book he had found on the CrossBooks website. That email was quickly followed by another email from him excitedly proclaiming: “Mom! Your book is all over out there on a number of websites!”
My heart began to beat with anticipation as I clicked on the Crossbook.com link Dan had sent me …and there it was! The book popped up before me with its bold and eye-grabbing title and cover: It I Tell You I’m Gay, Will You Still Love Me? One Mother’s journey of Truth and Grace.
My initial excitement was immediately followed with overflowing praise and gratitude to God for his faithfulness and very evident sovereignty and provision in bringing the writing and publication of the book to reality.
The journey to publication had been long, and not without its discouragements, frustrations and delays, but through it all, God continued to manifest his provision, his enabling, and his placing special people in my life at just the right time to keep me encouraged and moving ahead.
The journey began in June, 2007, when I was invited to give a “parent” testimony at the annual Exodus Conference in Irvine, California. Later that day I was approached by Nick Harrison, the acquisition editor of Harvest Publishing House asking me if I had ever thought about writing a book. That initial contact and subsequent conversations turned out to be one of God’s divine appointments and the impetus I needed to launch me on a seemingly overwhelming task.
I knew my first step had to be to ask my son’s permission to write and hopefully publish a book, detailing in a very personal way our journey together through uncharted waters. To my immense relief, Dan readily agreed for me to write the book and continued to give his strong support all along the way. His personal reasoning was: “Other Christian parents need to know it’s okay to love their gay kid.”
Another important beginning step was to take a course in Creative Writing at a local university. Although the course was designed for fictional writing, I gained much information that proved to be very helpful. Nick continued to give practical information, guidance and encouragement. He saw the need and value of such a book — the personal sharing of the journey of a Christian mother discovering her only remaining child is gay, and involved in a homosexual relationship.
The actual writing of the book began January, 2009, and was not completed and ready to submit to possible publishers until early 2011. Because Nick believed so strongly in the book, when his company decided not to publish the book, he graciously introduced me to a number of other acquisition editors, asking them to consider the book.
I thought the writing of the book was tedious and difficult, but learned that the publication process was even more difficult. In March, 2012, when I had not been successful in securing an editor to accept the book for publication, Nick strongly encouraged me to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in California. God graciously worked out all the details for me to attend and it was literally a “mountain top” experience — both physically and spiritually! There were so many evidences of God’s provision, divine appointments, encouragement and acquiring of valuable information. I came home with renewed vigor to pursue getting the book published.
But in spite of pursuing editors who had expressed interest at the conference in my book, another year passed by without any definite offers of publication. When discouragement threatened to engulf me and derail me from pursuing further with publication, my faithful Father would always provide encouragement to “press on” or to wait upon him and trust his timing. God’s Word was my rock, that I could claim for a secure place to climb up on. I could see his fingerprints so obviously all along this journey; I knew that I just needed to continue to trust him and his timing.
I was learning first hand how difficult it was for a first-time author, with no name recognition or public “platform” to break into the publishing world. About this time, from a number of sources, I was receiving encouragement to think about self-publishing. At first that didn’t seem a viable option because of the cost involved. I was hesitant at this point in my life to take what savings I had (I called it my “nursing home money”) and invest it in self-publishing with no assurance books sales would return the investment. But the more I prayed about it, and the more people I respected were encouraging me in that direction, I knew I needed to at least consider self publishing. I begin to check out and compare several of the large, well-known traditional Christian publishers who had a self-publishing division. One of those was CrossBooks, the self-publishing Division of LifeWay, the very large publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Lord brought several things to pass which began to confirm my decision to pursue self-publishing. One day, I was talking to one of the ministerial staff at my church and he asked how the book was coming along,and then encouraged me to think about self-publishing. He reached back to his credenza and picked up a business card from CrossBooks and recommended that I check then out. A few days later, very unexpectedly, I received in the mail a check from long-time friends for $1,500 — with a note saying they had been putting money aside for some time ear-marked to help me with expenses I might have in publishing the book! About that same time, I received an email from CrossBooks offering a special and attractive discount on their publishing packages. I believed the Lord was more and more confirming I should go with CrossBooks self-publishing.
I called Crossbooks to get more information on the special discount offer, and learned the offer was good until the end of May. Without going into all the explicit details, by the end of May, when I had to place the order, and without my telling people I had decided to self-publish or revealing the cost — unless they specifically asked to know the cost — the Lord had sent in personal financial gifts totaling $3,500 —the exact cost of the publishing package! What a confirmation! And what a demonstration of how God would be faithful, his own way, to provide what was needed for what He was purposing.
One of God’s very needed provisions was the assistance volunteered by a good friend, Carol Eighmey, who was skilled and experienced in editing. She literally gave hours/days of her time to help with all the editing and re-editing that had to be done. We began to call the book — “our
There is not time or space to share in detail the rest of the journey. There were times of obvious spiritual warfare and the Enemy attempting to prevent the manuscript getting to the publisher. There were unexpected developments that created the need to make last minute changes in the manuscript. But God was faithful to work through all the hindrances the enemy tried to raise to prevent the publishing of the book. All this was just more proof of the importance and of the book and the need for it to be published. God had purposes he was going to accomplish through this book, and Satan could not hinder that.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, since the publication and availability of the book, the Lord has done some amazing things in promoting the book, often through others who have contacts I would not have. In February, a lengthy interview and the front cover of my book cover was featured in The Pathway, a semi-monthly publication of the Missouri Southern Baptist Convention. On the 28th of February, a review of my book by Nathan Collins was posted on the website of The Gospel Coalition, through the efforts of a Bob Smith, a Christian brother who has strongly supported the book. Early this fall, through contacts of my good friend, Christine Sneeringer, I was interviewed for an article published in The GoodNews Christian newspaper in Fort Lauderdale. There have been a number of opportunities for book signings. But perhaps what has been the most encouraging has been the opportunities the Lord has provided for me to meet and talk with individuals who had family member who were gay. For some, it was the first opportunity for them to be able to talk openly with someone about this issue.
This has been just a glimpse into all the Lord has done and is doing in regard to the book, , but I wanted to publicly acknowledge the faithfulness of my Father and his mercy and goodness to me as I recognize this 1st anniversary of If I Tell You I’m Gay, Will You Still Love Me? One Mother’s Journey to Truth and Grace. I want all glory and praise to go to my Father to whom it rightly belongs!
My prayer has not been for large book sales, but that God would use the book for his purposes — that people would be encouraged, informed, given hope, challenged and changed. And God is doing that.
Books available at: Crossbooks.com (bookstore), Amazon.com,
He is faithfully answering my prayer and that is the best “payment” I could ever receive.