I cried driving home from Publix today.
Tell Your Heart To Beat Again had just come on the radio when I realized something for the very first time.
As I write this, it is the day of the in between – the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
I have a lot of thoughts about today, especially for the ones who feel like their life is currently one long, silent Saturday. But that isn’t why I started crying as the sun slipped behind the mountains and we all turned on our car lights while driving down 280.
For the first time, it hit me: Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between started on the ultimate In Between Day.
This timeline could get a little bit confusing, but I’ll do my best to be as clear as possible because although this was the best accident for me, oh man… God doesn’t do anything by accident.
In the fall of 2015, I spent 73 days writing and editing Even If Not. I began in August and finished the final edits on Halloween. Somewhere in those 73 days I took two weeks “off” to travel and live life — and I also wrote 37 blog posts for the Three Little Words 31 Day blog series because I actually lost my mind. (This is probably why I wanted to write approximately zero more words for many months.) (Also, this is extremely fast for writing and editing… it wasn’t me, it was all Jesus. Promise.)
I haven’t shared a ton here about the book writing process, although perhaps I will down the road. But if you knew me in college, it should be no surprise to you that I wrote the book entirely in order — from beginning to end.
In late September, I began chapter seven — darkness & light. It’s the story of my battle with spiritual warfare, depression, and my tattoo. As I began writing, I reflected on Easter weekend… how Good Friday and Easter Sunday are the epitome of darkness and light. I remembered writing something about Good Friday back in April, but when I tried to post the words right after writing them, I felt a tug inside to stay quiet. They just didn’t fit and I couldn’t figure out why.
When I reread the piece on that September day, I realized that the words from April were never meant for the blog — they were meant for a book.
The draft is still saved on my blog, but the words are now printed in ink and have been held by hundreds of hands around the world.
By this point I was almost home from the store and Danny Gokey was singing the second verse, so perfectly matching my thoughts on darkness & light:
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun
And then I realized.
It hit me so suddenly that the tears came before I knew what was happening.
Even If Not began on the in between of Easter, right there in the middle of darkness and light. I didn’t know it then, but God was birthing something in me that wouldn’t be realized for several months.
The truth is that I wrote the words that found their way to chapter seven with a lump in my throat. I had returned from Haiti the week before and combined with the darkness of Good Friday, I was desperate for any glimpse of light. A friend and I went to my favorite coffee shop (the same one where I began and finished the book in August/October because I am 100% all about tradition) and I wrote what felt like the most important blog post yet, all while sitting at a table under the biggest window I could find. The light soon faded and sheets of rain came down so fast and furious that the entire coffee shop stopped to watch the storm rage.
What was outside the window reflected the inside of my heart but I just kept writing and sighing and writing a little bit more. At one point I closed my eyes and just sat there, my friend reaching out and rubbing my back for just a moment. I turned to her and quietly said “this just feels so heavy.”
I had no idea the weight of those words or what they were beginning. I simply knew that they had to be written, that I needed to show up in the darkness, look for the light, and write about what it felt like in between.
I had no idea, but He did. He knew that I was beginning something that I hadn’t even dreamed of, and from the very beginning the words were all His.
The stoplight turned red and both hands went up because this, just this — in every moment heaven’s working everything for your good.
Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good