A funny thing happens when you are writing a book. You can't read anyone else's.
It's not just me. Other authors have written about this. Here's what happens: you're writing away in your kitchen or cubicle or a table at a Starbucks and every day you fight the demon that says, "Every one already knows this." Or, "Someone else has already written this. Give up!" You begin to kind of dislike anyone on the best sellers' list, and at the same time, also want to be their best friend -- selfishly -- so they can help you. (If any of you have a personal relationship with Jen Hatmaker, please introduce me. Just saying.)
So, for the last several years (I wrote two books and sold one), I've tunnel vision. It was just me and God, a few choice resources, my girlfriends coming through in text message, and my laptop. Looking too much outward or side to side made me feel either discouraged or -- I admit it! -- competitive.
But now the book is at the publisher being edited, and I look up and realize that while I was writing All My Friends Have Issues, my friends were becoming more and more awesome.
All my friends are awesome! All of them have been learning and teaching incredible things, and many are launching some exciting ministries. I feel God calling me to sing their praises and to encourage them however I can. Even though I haven't yet "made it," I'm feeling a strong, joyful pull to help other women make it!
For example, there's Jen (not Hatmaker), who is in meetings with her church women's ministry and marriage ministry. I can't wait to see how she will bless that church with her life story, as she recently did our 12-step recovery ministry. (Coming soon to my website, Jen's awesome menu of recovery talks.)
There's Gina, who has decided to finally start her blog on her family's journey to "unschooling" and the generational patterns that are being broken by living out the freedom to which her family is called.
There's Josie, back from over a decade in the mission field and settled in Southern California, now beginning to write her stories to share with young mothers. Her journey into motherhood while living in a foreign country and experiencing multiple miscarriages has taught her how to equip moms to find their own unique mothering style, and also mourn their losses in communion with Christ. (I made her this coffee cozy because she loves Wonder Woman.)
There's Kirsten, who's been faithfully bringing recovery messages to the women (and men) of our church for years. Her Blooming Faith Ministries invites women into experiential activities where they feel the love, nurturing, truth and grace of Jesus.
There's Michele, who has faithfully taught women to rediscover the joy and beauty of prayer at Mariners for the last five years, and who, I believe, is going to publish her beautiful book on the subject. She'll be joining my recommended speakers page too.
I'm also being blessed by Jodi, finding a new career and new ways to overcome the challenges of a chronic illness, all while growing in her faith and loving her husband and daughters well. By Jill, my intrepid single mom neighbor and dance partner (in our kitchens only, so far) who encourages high school students in her classroom by day, and loves her own kids so well morning, noon and night. By Jenny, my other neighbor, who is a college teacher, baseball mom, room mom and neighborhood activities director, who always makes me think hard and laugh harder. By Jana, who started a new career at a Christian school and is also one of the most intentional moms I know.
There's a lot in life I haven't figured out yet. I've got issues for sure. But as I finished writing my book on building remarkable relationships, I look around and realize I'm kind of qualified. I'm surrounded by my Wonder Women, who embody authenticity, encouragement and accountability to the higher purposes of my life, who give me their strength daily. Let's hope this blog gives them a little back. And I hope you will get to know them too in the future. They are the best thing I have to offer you!