Yes, this is me as a new bride in 1971. My sister is dropping a new, 1971 penny in my shoe for luck. I still have those shoes in a box somewhere. The penny is probably in the box, too. As best as I can remember, I only wore those shoes that one time. My homemade wedding dress is hanging in my closet yellowed by the 46 years that have passed.
The promise those two, crazy teenagers made to each other that rainy day in June has not yellowed, though. It was not put in a box and forgotten in a closet. Our relationship has been stretched but never broken. Our hearts still beat for one another. Our promise has been made stronger by the passing of years and parents.
I guess I am nostalgic because there is a new bride in our family. My sister’s GRANDDAUGHTER is getting married next week. Mercy me, time passes quickly! Can that little baby girl possibly be a college graduate and getting married?!? And so a new promise begins. This sacred promise that they will love each other above any other human being. My prayer for this new bride and groom is that they will have an unbreakable bond sealed with a sacred promise. A promise sealed with a wedding kiss.
Today I wear purple and remember the long goodbye on the longest day of the year. It is hard to look at this photo of my mom on her last birthday. My mother was beautiful, funny and smart. What I see in this photograph is my mom’s spirit caught in a Lewy Body brain. I hate dementia.
My brother and I are smiling for this picture because that is what you do in a photograph with your mom on her 85th birthday but, I assure you, we were dying a slow death right along with her on the inside. Neither of us wanted to go to the nursing home that October 14th. Not because we didn’t want to visit with our mom but because of the pain and hopelessness we felt when we did. It was one of those, “I’ll go if you will go with me” scenarios. Our older sister just couldn’t do it. It hurt too much. Be careful about judging family who rarely visits unless you have sat for one of these photos with someone you love dearly.
So, today we wear purple and remember all who have struggled with dementia like Gladys and George and those still on the journey like Martha and Ed. But, we also remember the loved ones in the photographs who are smiling on the outside.
Final Print Review. That is what the spine of the maroon binder says. The devotional that I wrote on assignment for my church is almost a real book. It is surreal. It has happened so fast. Now, I am scrambling to plan a marketing strategy.
My publisher said, “Read every page.” Final is, well, final. To this point, I have purposely NOT read every page again for fear that I would want to re-write every page. But, now I will. After all, this is the final edit.
I am so glad that God provides us with grace. There is so much brokenness. Mistakes happen. It is good to know that God gives us a chance to re-write a chapter of our life. Of course, the final review will come one day. Until then, we continue to search for our purpose in this crazy, broken world.
So, I have always wanted to write a book. Hasn’t everyone? It has been said that 80% of Americans have the desire to write a book. That’s 200 million people! Well, I finally did it!
I have been writing in some form since I was about 13. I won’t tell you how many years ago that was but some of you can do the math. For the past three years or so, I have been writing weekly study material for my church that is used by various small groups in our local congregation. This study material accompanies the weekly sermon. Last December, my pastor emailed me to ask if it would be possible for me to write a daily devotional type study to accompany his new 12-week series on the topic of broken which was starting in January. It was an interesting idea so I said, “Sure, let me see what I can do.” Over the next two weeks, I wrote twenty daily devotionals with Bible references and study questions. January’s four weeks were printed in the church office and was available for distribution to the congregation on Sunday, January 1. We were off and running!
What pastor didn’t know was that I had just lost about 75% of my self-employed income due to changes in the insurance market. I had plenty of time to write. With January finished, I went straight to work on February and March. As I dug deep into the topic of brokenness, I began to realize that it was just what I needed to minister to the brokenness that I was feeling. All my hard work and dreams for the future had been broken. I was scrambling to recover. My spirit needed healing and digging into God’s word was just what I needed to mend my brokenness.
I was really sad when my writing assignment ended. Then it occurred to me that in two months I had accomplished a lifelong dream — I had written a book. Friends and family started asking how they could get a copy of my Bible study. I checked into printing it at the local office supply — it was too thick and way too expensive. So, after much prayer and discussion, I called my writing guild friend who is a self-publisher to get it printed professionally like a real book. Well, my first book, BROKEN: Finding purpose from brokenness, is well underway and should be available the first of July. Exciting!
And, yes, I have another project underway. When you get into a habit of writing every day, you miss it so I had to start on book number two!