Man, this week has been something else.
I’m not sure how Completely Ordinary and Totally Crazy and Unexpected Surprises meet, but they did.
In between my blog going down on release day, reviews coming in, and all the normal happenings of my day-to-day job and life, one moment stands out above the rest:
I’m not sure how God speaks to you, but He tends to speak to me through repeated occurrences. Because, well… probably because I’m not always paying attention.
Last June I was rinsing and slicing strawberries when this thought caught me by surprise and held on:
I really enjoy this.
It was simple and ordinary and certainly nothing to write home about. It wasn’t a moment for a viral blog post or to share on a stage, but it was beautiful for my soul. Two months later, as I struggled to find the words for chapter five, titled small & seen, my mind flashed back to the colander full of strawberries.
Fact: In 73 days I wrote 37 blog posts and my book, Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between.
(This is insane and I advise that you do not follow my example.)
Fact: I took two weeks off somewhere in there to live life because before you write it, you’ve got to live it.
Fact: Chapters 1-4 flew out and were written in a matter of days. But then it was time to write chapter five. For three weeks I was completely stuck but then I remembered that June afternoon.
If you pick up a copy of Even If Not, you’ll find the full story in chapter five. You can read an excerpt in my post, How to Find Quiet in a Swirling World. To sum it up, something shifted long before that afternoon and yet slicing strawberries became the picture of what God had spent years teaching me.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, just two days before the book release. While wandering around Publix, I discovered that strawberries just happened to be on sale. I grabbed a carton, returned home, and stuck them in the fridge before making dinner. I planned to wash and rinse and slice the following morning, but Monday was a total Monday and also the day before release so basically, it was crazy.
Tuesday night, after the blog broke and I posted on Instagram a lot and Even If Not became available worldwide, I watched an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S (as one does) and pulled out the colander. I ended the day by slicing strawberries and it was perfect.
It was simple and unseen and yet I felt deeply known and loved.
I won’t pretend to know how God works out the timing of a million moving puzzle pieces, but I believe that on that June afternoon He already saw me struggling for words in September, knew the story that would unlock chapter five, and saw that I would end one of the biggest days of my life right back at the kitchen sink, slowly and methodically rinsing and washing and laughing at His continued goodness.
There’s no way that I’ll forget the kind words and text messages from friends or the joy of pulling up a page on Amazon and seeing the Order button by my book, but that moment in the dark of night was the sweetest of the entire day.
Sure, you can order the book and read chapter five – and I hope you will – but this is what I’ve landed on:
He knows us deeply and loves us fully, in the middle of the most mundane tasks of ordinary days and in the joy-filled celebration of a big moment. He is always present and always good.
Life today looks almost entirely like life before February 23rd. I’ve added the word author to my bio and Netflix has returned to my life, and so that’s pretty fantastic. But other than that, it feels mostly the same.
Except that this morning I started receiving pictures from my real-life people holding a book with my name on the cover and I immediately started crying.
I haven’t been emotional in the slightest this week – probably because I’ve hit a new level of tired – but when the people who have shaped you and walked with you hold the book that holds your story, it does something to you.
They have seen me live out the words printed in ink upon those pages, and so while life looks mainly the same, it is also joy-full and incredible.
In full disclosure, I’m already fielding questions like “Will you write another book?” and “Can you tell me how to self-publish?” and “What will you do now that the book is out?”
Right now, I don’t know. For today, I’m just going to celebrate with my people and stare at those pictures just a little bit longer.
And I might buy another carton of strawberries.
1. This moment? It was also completely unexpected. Thank you for clicking over and purchasing, sharing on social media, and all the things!
2. If you haven’t already, make sure to enter the huge Even If Not DaySpring giveaway before it ends on Monday night!
3. Starting on March 1st, I’ll be walking through one chapter of Even If Not every Tuesday. There will be videos, printables, book excerpts and even a giveaway or two. I hope you’ll join me each Tuesday and read along as we go!
4. For those who order the book before March 23 (or preordered the book), forward your email receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive these two exclusive printables:
5. This past Tuesday my first podcast ever went live! (Adding that to my bucket list and crossing it right off.) To listen in and hear more about my brain tumor diagnosis/ journey + how/why I decided to write the book, click here.
6. All 9 prints from the book are available (for zero dollars) to blog subscribers. You can sign up here if you’d like.
7. The hashtag for the book is #EvenIfNotBook so if you snap a picture, tag me or add the hashtag! Seeing the book in mailboxes around the country? It is the coolest.
Affiliate links used in this post.