In which I get fired, and God redeems

I’m 36 and still not entirely adjusted to being an adult.

A number of months ago, a much older friend asked me to help her as she wrote a book.  I eagerly agreed, but my availability (not much) didn’t meet with her need (which was great).  In a very tense moment, she fired me.

Actually, that “moment” was dragged out for a couple of weeks.  She’d leave a message on my phone, and I’d think, “I’ll return her call after I get _________ done with her manuscript.  I can carve out an hour this evening!  I don’t want to talk with her until I have something really meaty to share.”  But, that planned hour would be interrupted by something else, then a day would pass… then another few days… She — for obvious and understandable reasons — didn’t appreciate my lack of communication.

She’s not the kind who avoids confrontation and, by golly, she confronted me!  It wasn’t comfortable.  Not at all.  But, I apologized, she forgave, and she went on with her book, using three other people to do the work that I had previously (sort of) been doing.

A few weeks ago, she called me to ask my opinion on something regarding the book.  It was a lovely Sunday early evening, and I took my phone out with my baby in her stroller, and had a lovely, long walk, talking the while with my dear older friend, both about that “opinion” thing, and a few other things.  The short version of what I told her was that I think that, rather than going the self-publishing route, she should at least try to get her book published the “traditional” way, rather than assuming that no publisher would want it.  I also alerted her to the Christian Writer’s Market both as a resource for publishing sources, and for instruction on how to navigate the process.

It was a really good conversation.  After that, I felt like peace between us had really been restored.

She asked me to review the now-finished manuscript, which she mailed to me.  I spent just a couple of hours on it.  We were going to discuss it at church on Sunday, but our responsibilities didn’t allow for any time together, so we ended up talking on the phone today.

We did talk about the book.  The shortish version of our book discussion is that I told her I think the book is ready to be shopped to a publisher with the understanding that if they did accept it, it would be given a thorough going-over by one or more editors to correct the small problems that remain — mostly punctuation, paragraph breaks, some spelling issues, etc.  And, that they would likely have more and different suggestions that would need further work.  But, as far as I was concerned, the scope and sequence of book was great, the content of the book itself, the “art” of how it was told, etc. were all good.  There are no longer any gaping holes in the manuscript.  But that if she elected to go through a self-publisher, the book was NOT ready, because there remained quite a number of small errors.  In other words, the book isn’t ready for publication, but it’s close.

Then… we ended up talking about a host of other things.  I can’t begin to go into what we discussed; it’s personal, and the specifics aren’t really important here.  What DID strike me, though, is the thought — yet again — of the amazing dynamics of the Body of Christ:  how odd it is that a 36yo “kid” can advise, encourage, gently prod, enlighten, etc., a woman twice her age.  This woman is a lady mature in her Christianity, as well as her years.  But, the places where she needed some building up?  Well, I had just the tools she needed.  The places where she doubts?  I have great faith.  The things that are bringing her to tears?  Well, I could only — literally — laugh with joy because she is just SO precious to me, and so tender, and I could see God’s hand truly working in her life and heart, even through her tears.  I really believe God gave me words to speak to her.  Several times, I stopped myself — sometimes in my thoughts, and sometimes with the confession to my friend, “I think maybe this is too bold” but I would just forge ahead, or she would spur me on.  We both ended in tears — GOOD tears — sensing the Holy Spirit, encouraged in each other, twined together just a bit more in relationship, each blessed with the love of the other.

This whole dynamic was amazing to me.  Not to her, though.  She scoffed, “Does age really matter?  In Christ, does it matter?”  I think the older I get, the less age does matter, yet many times, I still feel like an immature kid who needs to keep her mouth sealed in the presence of her elders.

And to think:  if the enemy would have had his way, our relationship would have dissolved in hurt and offense a couple of months ago.

But, our God is a redemptive God.  He takes what the enemy means for our destruction, and turns it into the VERY bulwarks of strength in our lives.  To what the world says, “Forget that.  Chalk that up as a waste of time,” He says, “I will NOT forget it.  Let me re-work it, recreate it, to be a thing of blessing not only to you, but to those around you.  Let me redeem the time.”

I don’t know why I’m always so amazed at His… effectiveness as God.  Still, I am.  Maybe, though, that’s a good thing.  The whole episode — both the good parts and the bad — just bring the reality of God the Father closer to me.  I can know x, y, and z about God in my head, but when it plays out, and when He really shows up, it captures my heart.

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 10, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I am a natural childbirth advocate and an erstwhile birthing class instructor. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on December 10, 2009, in Character Development, Christian Living, Christianity, Encouragement, Friendships, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Incredible that your conflict was resolved and your friendship strengthened! That’s neat. Praise God!

    I had been wondering how the editing was going. Maybe this post will intrest her http://forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/2009/11/five-top-reasons-why-aspiring-novelists.html

    I’ve also been looking into the in’s and out of publishing etc. I know almost nothing but I’ve been attending a writing critique in which several published authors participate. They encouraged me to pursue publication on a short story I took yesterday. Now what?? 🙂

    The Christian Fiction Online Mag. is a great resource. As well as this website http://www.writersconferenceguidelines.com

    I know your post wasn’t mainly about publishing but it has been on my mind.

    Also one thing to pass along. I read a book recently by a friend of my husband that was self published. It is creative, fun, etc but I kept thinking, “gee, I wish he’d had a better editor!” Some things like paragraphing and punctuation distracted me from the overall quality.

    • Jess, do you have a copy of the 2010 Christian Writer’s Market (or the “regular” one)?

      Your last comment is right in line with my thoughts: I want her work to be EXCELLENT, beyond reproach of both non-Christian potential detractors, and Christians like — you, me, others — who would get distracted from the meat of her book by the non-essentials, if done poorly.

      • I do not have a copy. Ages ago I attended a writers conference and had all that stuff but it is out of date now.

        I’ve been working on a novel (my testimony) but was surprised to have the suggestion to publish my short shories. That’s a whole different ball of wax and I’m not sure even where to start. Who would want that stuff? The one they were talking about was a re-telling of Jonah.

        Yes, “beyond reproach” a good editor can help her get her point across and let God shine.

  2. p.s. I should quit blogging and go make those cookies! 😉 or maybe that should be a weekend project instead.

  3. Oh man, yeah! I totally feel like I’m 12 sometimes. Why is anyone letting me to anything?!? Don’t they know how clueless I am!? [smile]

    And I’m constantly surprised… overwhelmed by redemption as well. …which is a good thing. Redemption is one of the main things that sets God apart from other religious traditions. Redemption is the thing that Hollywood just can’t seem to get into movies. Redemption is what makes hope meaningful.

    Thank you for that reminder today!

    Great post!

    ~Luke

  4. A very dumb question, but did she use Word cause there is spell checker and puctuation police? Helps me turn in acceptable papers. Won’t fix gaping holes in thought, tho. Maybe she just typed it. I dunno.

    • I’m sure she did! They were the kinds of misspellings that spell checker wouldn’t catch — like “exiting” instead of “exciting” and several people’s names.

  5. great post! thanks for sharing!

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