Tuesday, February 23, 2016

All pieces of the puzzle

This morning, I’ve felt an overwhelming need to write a book about my breast cancer journey and as I prayed, I felt God saying I needed to do this so others would know about His faithfulness. I’ve wanted to write a book for some time, but had no idea where to begin. My love of writing began when I was a young child. My mother tells me often how she used to find scraps of paper all over the house with my thoughts scribbled on them. She would often tease me that no one could leave a piece of paper anywhere in the house because if I found it, I would be writing something on it. And it was true! As long as I can remember, I’ve had an urgent desire to write. English and Creative Writing were my favorite subjects in school. But why did I feel compelled to write? It was a huge puzzle to me. I was compassionate about writing and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t understand why I felt I HAD to write.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I began blogging as a way to chronicle my journey. It was also a cathartic way to deal with my feelings. Jotting down daily events helped me keep an accurate record of what was happening at the time. I hoped it would be a blessing to others beginning their own journey through breast cancer. At the end of 2014, I had my blog printed into a lovely soft cover book. Today, as I was pondering the prospect of writing and publishing a “real” book about my experience with breast cancer; I picked up my printed blog and began to read back through it. I realized as I read that I had more than enough material to compile a book. The pieces to the puzzle were finally beginning to make sense. But where did I begin?

It was important to me to find a Christian publisher. I looked online and found two Christian self publishing companies. The first one was Xulon Press. They’ve been around a while and have been highly publicized as being the place to publish your own work. The other publishing company I found was a subsidiary of Thomas Nelson Publishing Group and was called Westbow Publishing. Both of these companies offer comparable self publishing packages. Both of their packages start at just under $2000.00. That’s a lot of money for someone to shell out to have a book published, especially for someone living on a very tight budget and one income.

So I am in the contemplation stage of book writing. I’m considering going forward but I need God’s clear go ahead first. I know He wouldn’t have placed this longing in my heart if it weren’t for a reason. I just want to be sure it’s His will and not just my desire to accomplish this goal.

My book would be helpful to others just starting out on their own breast cancer journey. If I had been able to have a very practical, helpful guide to read as I began my own journey, it would have made my life much easier. It would have been very helpful to have been able to follow along with someone as they progressed through each stage of breast cancer treatment, etc. and it would have been very meaningful if the person I’d been following had been a Christian. But, like most breast cancer patients, we’re left to figure things out on our own. We learn to struggle through things and make our own way. If we’re blessed to have a “mentor” help us through, we don’t have to make silly mistakes through trial and error. Not many breast cancer patients are afforded that luxury and the medical staff doesn’t offer much in the way of practical advice. Being given spiritual encouragement is an even more rare event.

My journey through breast cancer is not over but my journey thus far has been one of faith. God has tested me, refined me, and grown me over the past 19 months. I know the experiences I’ve gone through could help others. There’s a verse in the Bible that sums it up well:

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

My intention in writing a book will be to share my journey with others and hopefully allow them to see how a Christian perseveres even in the face of adversity. Would you join me in praying for God to reveal His will in this area of my life? If He continues to impress upon my heart the desire to write a book, I know He’ll equip me to do so. I also know He’ll provide a way for me to meet the financial obligation that comes along with it.

It’s exciting to think I may have a book in the works soon. It’s even more exciting to know my experience may impact someone else’s life and help them to lean more firmly into Christ. I’ll keep you posted in the days ahead. In the meantime, please pray for me as God brings me to mind. Thank you!

© bonnie annis all rights reserved

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