"You are a work of art in progress."
Yesterday, I was the happy recipient of a box of books titled Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. My two daughters (my son was at work) and husband were able to share in some of my excitement over the contents with me. My daughters breathed in the aroma of the pages, something I've taught them to do. There is nothing like the special scent of a newly-published book. Especially when your name is on the cover as the author.
Holding a copy of my devotional was a dream come true. I savored the feel of both the book and my heart. This book is compiled of forty devotions and a large piece of my broken heart.
In 1997 my son Daniel died after eight months of cancer treatments. He was four. I was thirty-six. I was angry with God for not healing him. The cancer hadn't killed him; it was the severe treatments that compromised his body. A staph infection took over and eventually his heart stopped. He died in my arms.
I was pregnant at the time. While my baby kicked inside the womb, my son gritted his teeth and left this earth. Three months to the day of his death, my fourth child, Elizabeth was born.
Getting out of bed each morning after Daniel's death was surreal. How could my son be gone? How could I still be alive? What was wrong with God? Why hadn't he saved my little boy from death? How would I live now? What was the point of going on?
I wrestled with questions, primarily to God. Why? How come? How could you? Why?
I wanted to die.
I didn't get to.
Instead, I put one foot in front of the other. And at the end of each day, I went to bed and woke to try again the next morning. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Deep breaths.
I would never ask God for anything again.
I knew too well that He could say, No.
Journaling was a lifeline. So was the support of the Wake County, North Carolina Compassionate Friends group. Some books helped. I wrote articles that made it into print magazines. I founded Daniel's House Publications and through it, compiled two cookbooks of recipes and memories in memory of children, who like my Daniel, had died way too soon. Slices of Sunlight came out in 1999 and two years later, Down the Cereal Aisle followed. I had an online newsletter.
I cried and missed my son. Birthdays came and I sent balloons up to him in Heaven. Christmases made me hollow and I was glad when the season ended.
I spoke at conferences. I taught on the benefits of writing through grief. I met some wonderful people---real people----the kind that know they are broken and that life is not for wimps.
I wanted to write a book on how God fit into my struggle. Believe me, I tried. I had agents and editors interested, but nothing stuck.
Until . . .
Last year, Leafwood Publishers said, Yes! This publisher took my fragile mother's heart and said, We believe in you. We read your words. You do have something to say.
I wrote Getting Out of Bed in the Morning to offer a morsel of hope to those without. I want to share with others that although they are weak and struggle, they aren't alone. God is the provider of the daily bread, the wisdom, the cup of cold water, the balm of healing, the hope of tomorrow. He has this awesome thing called sustaining grace. He supplies it. And He loves us, no matter how battered we might feel.
God is for the broken hearted.
God is for you.
To order an autographed copy of Getting Out of Bed in the Morning , head over to my Broken Psalms blog (join it, if you'd like) and visit the Rivers of Life Gift Shop.
[This post also appears on my Broken Psalms blog and my Writing the Heartache blog.]