Archive | March, 2014

Fear and the Answered Prayers

10 Mar

Fear and the Answered Prayers.

Fear and the Answered Prayers

10 Mar

photo 1 (2)This blog post is dedicated to a special friend who had the courage to admit she is afraid to fail.

Most of my readers know that I’ve spent the better part of a year formulating, writing and now launching a book. Many of them also know that I’ve struggled emotionally and spiritually to keep moving forward at times. I would feel really good one day and really scared the next. I’m sure that I am no different than anyone else chasing a dream or goal, doing my best to move forward every day. Some days I made huge progress, and some days I made none at all.

In the past year, in addition to blogging and writing the book, I started an online radio show, created an email list and started a website. Most days I had no idea if I was doing the right thing. I just followed the advice of the teachers in the classes I took about writing books and marketing them. Some days I felt confident and inspired and some I felt ridiculously stupid and woefully behind the times, especially technologically. One day, I was feeling so overwhelmed, I prayed desperately for confirmation from the Divine to show me in a very clear way that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. This was one of those days I wondered if the true reason for the book was getting overshadowed by all the marketing necessary to get the word out that there actually is a book. I asked God to show me very clearly that I was on the right path and doing what I should be to get this book to the public.

Anyone who feels called to do something knows what it’s like to be “in the zone”. There are moments that time seems to expand and you know exactly what to do. Your mind and your body work together. You lose all sense of time, and you just know you are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing for the right outcome. Whether you call it “in the zone” or a Zen moment or being at one with God or the universe, if you’ve experienced it, it’s a place you want to visit frequently. That’s how the book 101 Parenting Tips, Tricks and Bits of Wisdom came to be. The experiences illustrated in the book are from my life. The words on the page were written and then typed by my hands, but how they were written and why they were written came from a very different place. The outline of the book was written while sitting on the highway for about an hour in a traffic jam. The words and concepts flowed completely without effort on my part or my husband’s. The book was written in less time than I thought possible, and sat unpublished for more months than I care to think about because when I hit the marketing phase of the process I also ran into every fear I’ve ever had.

The odd thing about that is that normally I am impatient about finishing things. I like to move quickly, sometimes too quickly, so I can get to the next thing. This time, I wasn’t in a hurry. Fear and perfectionism reared their ugly heads in a big way. Having been out of the working world for the past two decades, I had a steep learning curve, and I got frustrated with myself for not knowing more. I got so frustrated in fact that I told the Divine that I needed someone to help me get through this technical stuff or I was going to quit. Out of the blue, or so it seemed, a friend e-mailed me offering to tutor me on a website she noticed I was using. She said she wished someone would have shown her things she had learned over the past few months navigating the same website. You would think that would be enough, but it wasn’t.

One of my biggest fears was whether the content of the book was really going to help anyone or if anyone would even care enough to buy it. If they didn’t, it would mean I was a failure as a writer, right? To test the waters, I gave some advance copies to friends and family to see what their reaction would be. I was surprised that some of the people I thought would be most supportive didn’t even take the time to read the book. I started questioning myself and wondering if the people who supposedly cared about me most weren’t interested in reading what I had written, why would anyone else be? So I said another prayer. This time I prayed to be shown in a very clear way that I was supposed to keep moving forward. I needed to know in a very real way that everything I was going through was what I needed to be going through.

I got my answer. I received a letter from a young woman I had given the book to as part of a Christmas gift. I didn’t expect her to read it, and if she did read it, she had been raised so differently, I wasn’t sure she would even relate to what I’ve written. I care very much for her, but we don’t run the same circles. Our children are different ages and other than her youngest child, they are different sexes as well. We see each other maybe once or twice each year. We don’t send cards or gifts to one another or even talk on the phone, not because we don’t care but rather because our lives just take us in different directions, so receiving a letter from her was more than a little unusual. I opened the letter and read it, and it changed my life. This young woman who is a single mom and who struggles with the medical condition said she not only read the book, but that the concepts she started using were working and were helping her and her children. She told me she didn’t read any books other than the Bible and that she read mine cover to cover. Not only that, but she also kept it with her Bible so that she could refer to it when she needed to. This is someone who struggles mightily and someone I never thought would read the book let alone write to me about it. She said it changed the way she parented and that her family would never be the same. How’s that for Divine kick in the pants?

I’ve heard authors say before that if they could help just one person it would be enough. I always thought that was a load of BS, but at that moment I understood that more than I ever thought I would. The fact that this young woman took the time to write to me and tell me how my book improved her life is more than I ever could have hoped for. It gives me chills to think about what she said and how the Divine used my gift to help her and her children. It impressed me even more that a confirmation I so desperately needed came from somewhere so completely unexpected. I felt blessed beyond measure, and thought if I don’t sell a single book, every moment I had put into the process had been absolutely worth it.

So what has happened with my book sales? In the eyes of the world, so far, I failed. If you saw my sales reports, you would know that I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold. There’s a part of me that feels the sting of that. No one wants to see a discouraging number of book sales, especially for the number of hours spent on the blasted marketing. On the other hand, though, there is the letter that lets me know I have changed at least four lives for the better. On my most discouraging days that is what I hold onto because success isn’t measured in dollars earned. It is measured in lives touched and people helped along the way. It’s measured in feeling afraid but moving forward anyway. It’s putting your fears, insecurities and anxieties in the care of an entity much stronger than you and being willing to use your God given gifts to serve others. Since then, other people have told me 101 Parenting Tips, Tricks and Bits of Wisdom is of value, and I appreciate their input so much, but whenever I think of the success of this book, I will always think of that letter and it inspires me to keep writing, to keep speaking and to keep helping as much as I can. Below are the links to order the book on Amazon and join the email list if you would like to know more about the radio show and website. Currently, if you purchase the print version, you can download the Kindle version for free. It is a privilege to share it all with my growing community. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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