The story behind Heartmending
For years, I fantasized about writing a book. In 2015, I sat down and started page one of a novel. After a few chapters, I hit a wall, worse than writer's block...it was absolute nothingness. Then I got a new idea for a different novel, and the same thing happened. Four attempted novels later, I heard God's whisper. Not that, not now. I want you to write about how I healed you. Don't hoard your healing.
What, Lord? You can't be serious. I tried to ignore it. I didn't want to write a book about such a heavy topic. It didn't sound as fun as writing a novel! As the weeks passed, an almost imperceptible turning occurred in my heart. I began to think of all that God had taught me, and what joy it would be to share it with others who need healing.
I finally said yes to Jesus. And the floodgates opened. I'd wake up at 2AM, run to my computer, and type like a madwoman. Or I'd sit at my desk, wondering what to write, but after some time in the Word and asking God what HE wanted me to say, words flowed. It took one year to have what's fondly called a "vomit draft" in the writing world: just getting it all out and onto the page. During that time, I discovered FlourishWriters, a phenomenal Christian writing academy that provided coaching, teaching, and cheerleading.
That year of writing (2021) was fraught with bouts of weeping and learning the meaning of soul care. The spiritual warfare was intense. The prince of darkness didn't want me to offer hope or healing to others trapped in their trauma, no sirree. I'd spiral into discouragement at times, but the Spirit carried me along. My prayer team--God bless 'em--went to battle for me.
At every turn, God had surprises in store. Counselors who agreed to be interviewed. My pastor who poured hours into evaluating my theology. Several awesome beta readers who provided excellent feedback. A developmental editor, herself a sexual abuse survivor, who strengthened my work with her unique perspective and invaluable insights. A copyeditor who practically has the Chicago Manual of Style memorized. Spirit-led writing sessions that left me in awe.
My favorite story of God's provision unfolded two years after He gave me a vision of what the book cover should be. I had learned about kintsugi art--the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold powder and resin--and the spiritual significance took my breath away. The image of a red kintsugi heart on my book cover popped into my head and stuck with me for two years. When it came time to find that exact picture on the internet, I came up empty. I spent dozens of hours searching. Graphic artists quoted fees outside my budget and couldn't assure me that it would meet my desired goal.
I prayed, "Lord, if it's out there, You know where it is. Help me find it!" Within a couple days, another internet search led me to a painting by a Swiss artlst named Sara, and I gasped when I saw the precise red kintsugi heart that was in my head! I emailed her and she returned a joyful YES to me putting her art on my book cover. But the real mind-blowing thing was discovering that she had painted the heart as an expression of her healing...from sexual abuse. At about the same time that God gave me the picture in my head, Sara was painting. WOW. Only God could've orchestrated that.
In mid-2022 and into early 2023, the long, arduous process began of self-editing, professional editing, finding a cover designer and formatter, and learning how to build a website and start a monthly newsletter. Oh, the tech! I gained more gray hairs! It was essentially a six-month crash course in self-publishing---a roller coaster of tears, victory shouts to heaven, yelling at the computer, and happy-dances. Until the day I clicked "publish" on Amazon, it was just a dream that became reality a week later when I held Heartmending in my hands.
Out of curiosity, I recently tallied the number of hours I spent on research, prayer, classes, YouTube tutorials, and deep-diving into the Word from February 2021-2023: about 2000 hours. Would I call it fun? Not really. Better than that! Richly rewarding. Soul-nourishing. I drew closer to Jesus than I'd ever been; He even accomplished more layers of healing in me as I wrote. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Heartmending is the culmination of my decades-long journey of healing, and it is my joy now to get it into the hands of as many sexual abuse survivors as possible so they can find hope, freedom, and healing through Christ.
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