Sometimes I take the stairs, but not today. I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t need to take them. I had been sitting for hours; sitting and waiting. And with random people handing out free dessert, I needed the stairs today more than ever. Yes, there were times I stood, only to sit right back down again. I was greeting friends, old and new. Standing is almost exercise. And what about anticipation? Anticipation does excite the heart. Yes, we waited with much anticipation this morning; anticipation and joy. Joy was the other sweet treat distributed freely among us.
“Is she coming? Is it time?” “Almost. It’s taking a little longer than we expected,” he said. “It’s worth the wait,” I thought. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything!” I clutched my gift bag and smiled at the contents. Laughter and stories were shared; and then finally it was time.
“Are your cameras ready? Someone needs to get a video of this moment!” Someone? How about all of us?! With iCameras in hand, we silently huddled together straining for a glimpse of her. First came the husband in white and then her caregivers in blue. Then we saw her! “Yay!” we yelled. She almost didn’t see us. Her eyes were focused on one thing. She had been waiting for this moment. None of us will ever know how much. A few instructions were given and then she grabbed the rope; and moving it swiftly from side to side, she rang the bell! Yes. We heard it. We were standing there with her. But oh how it must have reverberated inside her. There were tears, of course. Tears of joy. Streams of victory and breaths of sweet release. Then one by one she hugged us all. She showed us her certificate of completion and her memorial bell. It didn’t ring very loudly- something she was determined to correct later. Then with one last look at her surroundings, in solidarity we walked toward the shiny, silver doors. All of us. And placing her in the center next to her little loves, we closed the doors, literally and figuratively; and ate cookies in the elevator.
On December 13, 2022, my very first children’s book was released. It’s called, Pages of Sunbeams: Joyful, Singable Rhymes To Brighten Your Day.
I just wrote that sentence and I feel as though it couldn’t possibly be true. I was so calm when I wrote it too. Maybe that’s because I have been in the this process since August. I’ve been working with a publisher, having conversations about it with friends and family and scoping out opportunities to promote the book and the purpose behind it. I often talk about it on video, sharing on social media with friends and followers. I even talk about it to people I have just met. This dream has literally become my reality!
It’s Christmas time and I’m honestly too tired to write about this or anything else; but it’s been a while since I’ve written and I want you to know I’m still here. I want you to know, the process of writing and publishing my first book has been life-changing in many ways. I am not being flippant about the term, “life-changing” either. I am serious. I have learned a few things about myself that surprised me. I’ve learned some surprising things about others too. I don’t want to randomly throw words on a page so I won’t share those things today. I’m just giving you heads-up. A longer, revealing post is coming. Until then, enjoy this beautiful season!
Behind his horn-rimmed glasses were eyes that resembled mine. I don’t really look like my dad. I’ve never even met him. But I do have a slightly worn, wallet-sized copy of his senior picture. My mom gave it to me at some point during my impressionable years. My mom also told me my dad was a doctor.
I honestly don’t know how old I was when she gave me that picture; or how I was able to hold on to it all these years amidst several moves in three states. But like that picture, the thought of my intelligent, responsible, admirable, doctor-father stayed with me far into adulthood.
I had no plans to write about this. Most of the time, I wake up and ask the Lord, “What am I writing about today?” (That is, if He doesn’t bring it up first.) Today when I asked Him, that old picture came to mind.
I spent some time this past week reconstructing the timeline of my childhood. I’m working on a dream project right now- publishing my very first book. God has given me a vision for some things I am to do once I have that book in my hands. I’m covering those things in prayer right now, or as my friend likes to say, “praying into those things.” To pray into something means, when God gives you an idea or a specific assignment, talk to Him about it. Spend time with Him. Let Him map out those things and give you specific strategies to accomplish what He has called you to do.
“Getting saved” is literally only the beginning of the relationship God wants to have with us. There is infinitely more. Think about the closest, healthiest, most loving relationship you have with someone. I promise you, that relationship pales in comparison to the relationship God wants to have with you.
I didn’t always know that.
To reconstruct my childhood timeline, I sorted through report cards, memorabilia and photographs. I googled places I’ve lived to cross-reference my memory. All of this took time and there are many years that don’t exist tangibly. Even so, I took notes based on what I have. I am preparing to tell my story alongside the stories that are in my first book. Even now, I am not privy to everything God is gently and lovingly pulling out of me.
This is where my bio dad comes in. I came across his picture this week. I picked it up and studied it. Apparently the picture has been exchanged a few times. Not only is it old and worn, but on the back of the photo there is cursive handwriting written with pencil and on top of that is my dad’s name printed with pen. Maybe the picture was given to a family member by his mother as school portraits often are. Maybe he himself gave the photo to a classmate. Maybe his sister gave the photo to one of her friends hoping they would think he was handsome. Maybe that friend was my mother. I’m too tired to explore the intrigue today. All I know is, at some point it became my mom’s possession and she entrusted it to me.
God used that photo and the story that came with it to establish a heritage in my life. From that point on, no matter what happened and no matter what was spoken over me, I stood firmly on the image and character of my father. I didn’t have to follow in anyone else’s muddy footsteps. I didn’t have to believe hateful, belittling lies. I knew who I was.
Do you know where I’m going with this? Do you see the parallel? God has established a heritage in our lives. If you don’t know what that is, you can find it in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, our heritage and our lineage is laid out before us. Life before Jesus is like life before that picture of my dad. Before that time I felt inferior and poor, lonely and broken. I had no reason to believe I was anything more than what people said I was. I had no reason to believe I could live a life that was any different than what I saw around me. I lived in fear of tragedy and wondered what tragic event would end my life or the lives of those I loved.
If you identify with any of this, I encourage you to talk to God and read the Bible. The New Living Translation is one of the easiest to understand. It’s the version I read. I also use study books from a group called, She Reads Truth. If you want to know more about how to start a relationship with Jesus or have questions, feel free to email me.