Summer Check-In + Book 3 Changes
It's been a while since I typed into this blog-o-sphere. I took June off to focus on other things. A part of me feels like I need one more month, because the "month off" was definitely still full, just full of other things.
I know you all know what I speak of: (insert giant smile emoji here)
We were blessed to go on vacation and soak up more sun than rain--an answer to prayer!
I've been posting pictures over here about the trip. Did you go anywhere in June?
Some other pieces I wrote recently:
Rooted Peace was set to publish July 2nd, 2019 (oh yeah--today!) ^_^
Alas, it did not happen. There are a few brutal-truth reasons and please, I pray you accept my apologies, for those of you who pre-ordered.
We came back from vacation, and our kids got sick, then our mower broke, then a small host of otherlys unfolded.
First off, I was concerned about some of the book's contents upsetting some Christians, and the more I began to read the responses to my question about this--the more scared I became.
I was so confident the whole time that my voice is for the inspirational genre. Now I am wondering if it's contemporary romance with faith, but I have freedom to categorize each book. *Except with Amazon, once you choose your paperback title, you are stuck with it. So if I put "inspy" and it's not inspy--readers could get frustrated.
I never set out do this, of course. I merely wrote the story the way it came to me. The characters are who they are, flawed and searching for something, as we all are, some of us further along that path than others.
What's inside Rooted Peace to make you doubt, Meghan?
The story is about a cheeky but independent city girl with a sense of humor I do not hide, and a wounded warrior who has left the war, but the war hasn't left him.
There are a couple mentions of the word "hell" but is only a descriptor of how he feels/what he's been through. He does not "cuss at others." This isn't his character.
There's alcohol use once, but nothing bad happens.
The gal accidentally gets mooned. It's a funny scene, non-crude leaning and she turns on her heel straight outta' there.
*And I forgot to even mention that last one in my email and in the reader poll in the group. You write thousands of words and forget some things, haha!
*There is no sex ever in my books because I just can't go there. I am not called to write that, I know for sure.
"If I read that, I'm going to put it down." The words made me shake in my swivel chair. My eyes got big. I was doing something a Christian disagreed with?
*When did I ever get to the point where I thought all Christians should agree on everything? #HandMeTheCoffeePlease
I hadn't yet read Rachel Evans's words, "Unity doesn't equal uniformity."
"Maybe I don't belong here," I thought, a tale as old as time, the familiar voice of confusion linking back to other areas of my life.
Pre-Launch Week Weakness
Pre-launch week was grueling to my soul. I battled, I flopped, I cried. Oh man, I cried.
"God, why would you have me write this stuff just for me to get rejected by my very people?"
Disclaimer: Not everyone has disagreed. Keep reading anyways!
I was in torment, tossing about in bed, unable to sleep, nightmare upon nightmare in a row.
Thursday evening in a drive-through, right by the window, the car began to smoke like crazy. I shut the car off, my son and I hopped out and I grabbed my chest, trying to breathe.
With the help of a fireman and some workers, we got the car to the parking lot, but not before it almost wheeled into the middle of the street due to locked-up brakes.
The entire thing just shut down. For a minute, so did I.
It was like the cherry on top of a weary post-vacay week (not complaining I promise) so at the last moment, I delayed the publication date for Rooted Peace so I could have peace of mind during release rather than be frazzled.
The car is still in the shop, and praise God we just found out today that the part IS covered under the extended warranty!
Things are working out, just not how I thought they would.
So how does this relate to the book, my personal story, and the family of God?
To have rooted peace--like actual rooted peace, I had to let go of my idea of what success looked like. This whole process since book one has me fighting to surrender and learning afterward, it was much better His way.
The new release date is Aug. 1st.
I figured if I'm going to get penalized, may as well give myself as long as they'll let me. HA!
If I could put a giant disclaimer anywhere, I'd put it on my back and forehead for all the world to read: I am a very real mess with a very real need for a Savior. Daily.
Getting to the ROOT of it.
God spoke to my heart that I was taking these reader-rejections personally, as if they were rejecting me. But the truth is, even if these folks saw my messy life and did in fact decide I was unfriendable, it would still be okay. Because I am loved. Jesus himself was there too. He became a walking rejection to the point of death, for you and I.
By His example, He showed us that rejection on earth doesn't mean rejection eternally.
I don't think Rooted Peace mars God's name at all, and I hope you won't either, but I always will appreciate feedback where I can grow, I am just beginning to wonder if since I am a people-pleaser, if I need to trust in the Lord and walk in faith more with all this.
Which means, asking for opinions less, since I am prone to wanting to rewrite a story to keep the p-e-a-c-e. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
Sharing characters who don't necessarily portray every belief or habit we have, doesn't mean we are going against the Word; the Bible, which is constructed of poems, songs, records, retellings and accounts full of murderers, drunks, and other realities we sometimes shutter at.
It's interesting to create people who have struggles of their own, and yet, find a way through them--to the hope; the light. I love that about this job!
Now...to translate this enthusiasm into the publishing process. #BabyStepsMeghan
Everyone's Real Looks Different
Tricia Goyer's words to me, that I am not the first Christian author who wants to write very real, flawed characters and honor God with it, help.
The encouraging emails and texts, help.
When I doubt my writing I need to remember Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.
The gal worked at a brothel, and was shown unconditional love. It's a story portraying God's love to His people, but through way of a historical novel. It was a story I read at the age of nineteen, one I think would do our modern church good as required reading right along with the Gospels. Now there's an idea.
We lived on a military base and had stopped going to church, but visited a couple, and a lady from one of them invited us into their home for a monthly Bible study and meal.
She had no clue I felt dirty and unworthy to be there around these good looking Christian couples. My husband may not have felt the way I did that day, but I felt ashamed, yucky, and wanted to hide from all that was good for me because I didn't think it was for me.
One day she handed me this book. I think I was at work (at the mall) that day, if I remember right. I just remember feeling so far away from God at that time in my life. I longed for Him deep down, but it felt like I kept getting further from Him.
Redeeming Love was a novel that sparked something in my soul. There aren't even proper words for it, only that it was the rebeginning of finding my way back to true Love.
Because I'd striven for love in all the wrong places. I lived it.
Ultimately this is why I want to write romance that glorifies God. So people can feel they are not alone. So they can feel understood.
So they can see there's One who loves them more than all the pain, dark, and wrong-way streets.
Sure I don't "have" to mention a cuss word, or make that character look "that" way to be real (says a person), but whose real?
Our reals differ.
What they see from day to day, may not be what another witnesses from day to day.
I think more often than not--and we were talking about this in youth class--that God uses the things the world despises, to confuse the wise (1 Corinth. 1:28).
I used to think "the wise" were just some really wise people who thought they knew it all, but I am wondering if some of those "wise" folk are also made up of people who think they know God and his ways so much that they are shut off from anymore learning, shut off from opening their arms, or shut off from looking past the dark to see the person standing in it.
We are so afraid of toxic people, we build businesses around the idea that it's better to shut them all out and let someone else "deal" with them.
And I get that it's okay to not want to read about the hard stuff when we just want an outlet. I do. I like to curl up with a good book. I'm a reader for life.
But in pondering where my work fits into the world and kingdom, I am wondering if maybe I don't fit into the "lighthearted" slot. At least for this time in my life.
My Heart These Days
These are raw thoughts, in a raw season. For someone who doesn't like to churn the waters, I am learning it's okay to be honest when it comes to speaking Truth we know is from Holy Spirit, and know is the right time to voice.
And even then--sometimes we may get it wrong, yet there's still grace.
I am learning new levels of intimacy this year as was spoken over my year last fall. And what baffles me is that my church family still loves me even when I am awkward as all get out.
I either say nothing, or too much.
I'm either joking or dying. There's no in between.
I've been doing a particular YouVersion Plan called Living with Doubt.
The doubt looms when I know how much I love God yet still feel broken inside everyday, no matter how hard I try, or how much faith I speak forth.
"But Meghan, you are 33 and got saved at 7?"
Me: Yes, and I am learning how to hand myself over to Him, mess and all--still.
I tend to ask myself, "What am I doing wrong?"
People say, "Have more faith," or "confess your sins," but what if all those have been done yet you live with what seems to be a mental debilitation beyond your control, at times?
One that knocks you flat on your back.
It happens, and usually there are no quick fixes, only food, a dark room, prayer and sleep.
Alia Joy talks some about this in her book, Glorious Weakness which I will be sharing a review of on the blog tonight. Her story resonated with me. I shared my doubt-invasions because I struggle with fatigue, headaches, and the challenges of being wired meloncholy which tend to make 4's think we are a problem; sometimes even too big of one for the One who made us. #NotSo #GottaSpreadTheTruthAboutThis #DearEmosImComingForYou
Christian rapper Andy Mineo went through doubt of his own and says, "I started from scratch in the scripture and saw all kinds of people in there shaking their fist at God and being like, 'Yo, wussup?'"
He was talking about how he finally got real with God. That getting real part isn't typically pretty. I did this very thing at church recently, turning into all puddles.
But people stayed. And prayed. And lingered. And it's what was needed.
I don't want to get so familiar with God's Word that I get unfamiliar with those who don't know Him (as well as I *think* I do). It can be tempting to raise a brow at a different language, different customs, different apparel, and differently placed jewelry.
It can become easy to point out in others what we think needs changing, but really, pointing at all isn't Christlike if we are getting Biblical. When he did turn the tables, it wasn't on those outside the temple (if I recall right, correct me if I am wrong).
.The fact is, we who know Truth are not more loved than those who do not yet know they are loved too.
We get in this place where our good deeds and obedience can create the illusion we are not as in need, but we are all in need of Truth, daily.
What's the Verdict Meg?
If I am going to try and eloquently tie this all together which is not my strong suit, I will end by saying my God-given feels have stated their case loud and clear:
To follow my conviction of writing for the one out there who needs it, I am willing to risk my reputation.
*I don't even know what my reputation looks like. Maybe it's really dependable, except for her newsletters.
Or maybe it's nice and wise? People at church say a lot, "You're sincere."
I just know I'm not about to skip over the hard stuff to the Happily Ever After because that isn't real life. I want to write those hard beginnings, messy middles, and twisty ends.
We've all had them, and what makes a good story is seeing the hope despite the darkness.
We have Heaven to look forward to, and if you are in a hard place right now, I must say I can't wait to hug you in our forever home--happy and free from the pain and tears that weight us down on this side.
You are loved. Never give up.
Moral of today's story: My reputation doesn't define my salvation. Book Three (or this series for that matter) doesn't define my whole writing career. And it is okay if not every person of faith enjoys my books.
This truth is freeing, and I thought I knew it--until this specific delay happened firsthand!
I know this was long but I hope you've gotten something out of it.
I love you and appreciate you.
Writers, link up below and encourage one another!!!
If you want to be on my book team, email firstname.lastname@example.org ~
I am a newb still. Just saying. We're learning together, right? xoxo Meg