“For everything that happens in life—there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
That is probably an appropriate passage to begin with. March was a right time for many things, but blogging was not one of them. You could say, “There is a time to blog and a time to publish books.”
Well, almost publish them. As I write this, I await another pdf from my formatter. We are so very close to being able to order another proof. If that proof looks perfect (and I mean perfect) I will release my new book to the world. Wow.
This is the chapter of Ecclesiastes I should’ve been studying in March, but as I mark the beginning of April today, all I have done is dwell on chapter two. And that’s okay. It was an extremely full month for me with the final touches of writing and illustrating Always Plenty, having it edited and formatted and now the process of self-publication. In the meantime, our real-life protagonist, Eddie, and her husband, both had serious health scares. The publication was temporarily put on hold while I waited to hear from her and prayed for their recoveries.
Then my deadline whizzed by as Easter rose and fell, my parents flying to Maui on Resurrection Sunday. Since then, Jeweliet and I have been co-mothering the tribe. Homeschooling is no joke. I switch back and forth from trying to hurry them along so my whole day isn’t sucked away, to wishing they would slow down so I could catch up with my checking, grading, correcting and re-working. But for everything there is a time.
I paid an outrageous price for expedited shipping on the proof and then found out it wouldn’t arrive until my parents were in Hawaii. Had I realized that, I wouldn’t have expedited it quite so much. I could’ve cried. I so wanted them to be here when my very first book arrived “in the flesh.” Being here for the entire pregnancy and not for the delivery would be sad indeed. But to everything there is a season. Like many babies, the book arrived much earlier than predicted. My whole family gathered around as I opened the box and presented the paperback results of my labor. They oohed and ahhed and teared up and hugged and it was a happy, home-birth.
Of course, you have to wait a while before you can show your baby off to friends and extended family. You must make sure everything is in working order first, or someone will catch a bug! I will gleefully announce when Always Plenty is available to purchase!
Having a book published has been a lifelong dream of mine. The release date is like a gift I’m not allowed to open until Christmas. It’s already wrapped and under the tree, but I cannot fully enjoy it until the proper time. I have dreamt of being a published author and illustrator for what seems like “forever.” It’s tempting to allow this accomplishment not to go to my head, but to to my heart. It’s tempting to revel in the glory of fulfilling a lifelong goal, to try to satisfy myself with it.
But verse 11 tells me, “God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of God.” Even if I feel God asked me to create this book (and, audaciously, I do!) I know my book will scarcely live longer than I myself will. The things we create are temporary, but “everything God does endures for all time.” (vs. 14.)
Without giving too much away, there is a small part in Always Plenty about a missionary from an African country. He is building a new church for Christians there. I like to wonder what an impact that church building might have had on the church in his country. The building is definitely temporary, but salvation is eternal. Eddie was fourteen when the story took place, but now she is in her eighties. She has an incredible ninety-four descendants already. We will not always have our grandmothers, but they can leave an impact on the world that lasts much longer. Further more, we can leave a impact on eternity, as Eddie certainly has done.
While studying the book of Revelation this semester, I have learned about the splendid wedding gown the bride wears to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. I have seen some dazzling wedding gowns over the years, but this one could surpass them all. The Bible tells us it is “bright and pure, woven from the righteous deeds of the saints.”
I am reminded anew of the life I want to live. It will, first of all, be very short and then very long. It will be full of accomplishment and failure. But most of all, I want my life on earth boast of righteous deeds, and when I do these deeds, I want to imagine I am weaving a thread into my wedding gown, bright and pure. I want to see that dress one day and note the various hands which stitched it. The lovely embroidery of the saints and disciples and martyrs before and after me. I want to see the threads of Eddie’s good deeds and of my parents who raised me to be Christ’s bride, and of my own hand.
As usual, I have rambled and there is so much more to mine from Solomon’s words than I could do justice to herein. I really hope you read along with me this year and take the time to read his eyes and God’s purpose for including his words. This chapter closes with Solomon saying, “So I realized there is nothing better for us than to find joy in the work we do, for work is its own reward. For who will bring us back to see what will be after we are gone?” (vs.22.)
In March, 2016, I have found joy in the work that I do and been encouraged to keep working as long as I am under the sun. And thereafter.