RIDDLE: What is the similarity between a car and watch?
ANSWER: You don’t realize how often you need it until it’s not there!
If you read my last post, New Year and Angels, you’ll know we were suddenly and drastically without wheels two days before Christmas.
We have Wheels
What a relief! After a full month, we got the car back on Monday. Thank You Lord for Your provision. It’s wonderful to have wheels once more.
I have to say we have been blessed with great neighbors who offered to take us wherever we needed to go, but we tried to only take them up on their offers when we needed to. It’s great to now be able to pop into the car when convenient – like this afternoon. It’s blowing a true Port Elizabeth gale, and we need to get a couple of things from the shops. We hung onto one another on our walk back from church so we didn’t get blown over! We decided shopping could wait until later, and we would go by car.
Books on Cancer
I ended the last post by saying I was planning on writing a second devotional book on cancer due to my inability to get Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer here in South Africa. Every few weeks, someone asks me for a copy and I have none. So I decided to write another book and this time publish it here in South Africa so I have control over pricing and availability.
I had no sooner made the decision, when CUM, the Christian bookstore in South Africa that initially stocked the book and with whom I still have an author account, contacted me after many months of silence. Yes, they could get me the book, and how many did I want?
Really? What took so long?
After I heard the price, I nearly backed out. Then I decided to see what other similar books there were in the shops, and perhaps make a note of their titles and authors, so I could simply refer people looking for my book to an alternate suggestion.
So my husband and I did a tour of the local big bookstores, asking about devotional books on breast cancer. None available. Okay, how about devotional books about any cancer? None available. The saleslady in the biggest Christian store earnestly assured me “There are no such books. People don’t write that sort of book.” I equally earnestly assured her that “Oh yes, they do. I know several such authors, and in fact I have written one myself which you used to stock in this shop.”
That ended the discussion.
However, after we had confirmed there were actually no books covering people’s cancer experiences, even if not devotional or Christian, in any of these shops, I had my answer. I need to write one, and make it available even if I have to sell it myself.
In the meantime I need to have something available, so with a big gulp and a leap of faith that I was doing the right thing, I ordered six copies of Strength Renewed. I will never be able to sell them at the recommended retail price, and I’ll probably have to sell them at almost what I pay for them. But at least I’ll be able to encourage folk in need of the book until the next one is available.
Not an Easy Book
So, as I mentioned, my initial working title is Rise and Soar, 90 Days with God in the Cancer Valley. However, since I wrote that on the previous post, several things have happened.
Having confirmed the need for the book, I wrote the first three chapters and sent them to my critique partner. She made a remark that she was praying for me as I tackled this project as it wasn’t going to be an easy book to write. That stopped me in my tracks. I was finding it an emotional journey as I replayed the events of twenty-two years ago in my mind. Am I really up to this? Do I want to do this?
I am writing the story as I went through it during my year of treatment, curtailing it to 90 chapters. There’s no way I can turn this into a “sweet easy read” book. It is going to be real and at times emotional. Will anyone read it?
Then came Church
This morning, during our church service, we had a lady (I think from Cape Town) giving her testimony. Her beautiful 38-year-old daughter, also called Shirley, died a few years ago after a tough battle with bone cancer. As Shirley accepted her disease was terminal, she asked her mother, “Mum, please will you help me to die?”
When I heard those words, they reminded me of how, a few years ago, I walked a spiritual walk with a friend whose husband was dying, also of cancer. His request was that we would pray that even as he had lived well, he would now be able to die well. Shirley’s desire was to die in a way that would bring glory to God.
One week before she died, she took herself off her Morphine at great cost to herself, in order to have her testimony recorded. She saw this as “one last thing I can do to glorify God.”
Some time after she went to her heavenly home, her mother, Thy Cameron, had a vivid dream. Her daughter was running a relay race. She stuck out the batten, and handed it to her mother.
When Thy awoke, she knew God wanted to take Shirley’s story and continue to pass on the story. And so she wrote her very first book from a position of grieving and personal pain. Not an easy book to write.
The book is called, Mum, Please Help Me to Die. It is available in paperback and in e-format through Amazon.
I spent a few minutes chatting to Thy after the service, and both of us had the initial sense that God was bringing us together for a purpose. We have exchanged email and web addresses, and we’ll be in touch.
Rise and Soar?
As soon as I got home, I downloaded the book onto my Kindle and have already made a start to it. From Thy’s words as well as what I’ve read so far, I am encouraged. No, this will not be an “easy” book to read, although the story is already drawing me in. And my book will not be an “easy” book to write. But there is nothing “easy” about a cancer journey either. In both cases, these books are needed. There are people out there who need to read them, and to know that, despite the trauma, pain, and emotional upheaval, of a cancer journey, God’s grace is available to carry us through.
So I end this post with another question. Is Rise and Soar going to be the final title for my next book? All the way through Thy’s testimony, and also throughout our pastor’s sermon based on Jonah in the belly of the massive sea creature, I kept hearing the words, “God’s grace.” Is this meant to be part of the title of my next book?
[stextbox id=’alert’]What do you think? Any words that come to your mind that should be included in my title? [/stextbox] Please leave it in a comment.
Since completing my first three chapters, I’ve been through a valley of self-doubt and questioning. But I’ve come out the valley. Tomorrow I’ll be tackling chapter four with a new confidence that this book is God’s plan for my next project.
I do love the title God’s Grace. May God give you an abundance of it, Shirley, as you write this book for his glory.
Thank you, Marion, for this. I am thinking of God’s Grace – 90 Days in the Cancer Valley to tie in with God in Africa.