Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In case you were wondering #MotherhoodUnexpected

Those of you who have following me for a while (or those of you who might check the "posts" column to the far right) may have noticed that my posts this year have been way down. I even took off an entire month during the summer. No posts-- silence.

Now we are nearing the last few days of this year of low posts, and I am only weeks away finally getting to share with you why.

Yes, it has been a busy year as Eli grew from newborn to emerging toddler, Addison began attending more school, and Carter turned from stubborn toddler to a little man-- but my silence has been about more than simply being busy in motherhood. (Those of you who know how addicted I am to writing probably already guessed this.)

To explain, I need to back up just a touch.

I have accepted Addison's diagnosis. I love her dearly. I love our little family just the way it is. But something still bothered me.

Seeing and hearing the following things:

"The scan revealed no abnormalities. God is good!"

"We prayed for him to be born healthy, and he was. God is so good to us!"

"The doctors thought something might be wrong, but they were wrong! Isn't God just so good?"

cut deep inside my heart, and I couldn't figure out why. 

I realized that the health of these other babies had absolutely nothing to do with me or my babies, but my mind jumped into a dangerous place before I could stop it. And it hurt. Did this mean that if the situation had been reversed, that God wasn't good? If the scan had abnormalities, would "God is so good to us!" still be tacked onto the announcement? And did this mean that when well-meaning people looked at Addison, did they honestly that God would have been MORE good if he had allowed her to be born without Down syndrome? If he had "cured" her? If our prayers had been answered in the way that we wanted?

I couldn't sort this out in my heart. The answers seemed simple, but my heart wouldn't accept them.

So I started on this crazy project called "Motherhood Unexpected" during the wee hours of 2014. I needed to write through this in a deeper way than a short blog post. I needed to dive into this hurt and write through it. I needed to find peace so that when I saw these announcements, I didn't feel hurt-- so that I could separate my emotions from this in a healthy way because I had a deeper understanding of God's goodness to me in giving me a child with Down syndrome. Not as a mistake, or a lesser choice-- as GOOD.

Some of you know that I spent two-and-a-half years working on a different novel. I have since chalked that novel up to my "practice hours" as a writer. This new novel is NOT the novel that I posted about a few years ago. This is a fresh outpouring from my heart.

This novel is a byproduct of studying countless craft books (after learning from mistakes made on my first novel) so that I could "work smarter not harder" with my limited writing time. 

This novel was my creative refuge during this past year of constant diaper changing. This novel was the place spiritual warfare for my heart as I struggled through these concepts for myself. 

This novel is all the things that I want to say as I stare into the fresh grief of a mother's eyes who just received a diagnosis for her child and who is honestly wondering where the goodness of God is now?

Why a novel? Why not nonfiction? I don't know about you, but I love drama. I LOVE a really good story that just won't let me go. So I wrote what I love.

On my fb/IG announcement, I said it was my first "published" novel. Does this mean I am working with a publisher? Well yes, but not in the traditional sense. I didn't write that to be misleading. I wrote that to differentiate this new novel from my old novel-- which I did not, and will not be publishing. This one will be published on Amazon, available both as an ebook (but is far different from the smaller ebooks that I have previously published) and paperback. I chose the nontraditional publishing route for many reasons (for a different post!), and I am so thankful that this one will be available in paperback as well. I know this will make it so much easier for some of you to read it.

Over the past year, I have had a critique team, an edit team, a review team, and a fabulous editor and PR person who have all been amazing as together we whittled my dream into a product worthy of your time. (Yes, the acknowledgements page is quite long. So many people made this book possible!)

I am so grateful to the Lord for grace and strength to finish this book. My heart is so much more at peace after being able to write through this. I needed this in ways that I can't even explain to you (after you read it, I think you will understand).

My work has been wrapped up for a few weeks now (after a very long ping-pong manuscript game with my awesome editor).  Now I am simply waiting to hear back from different teams as they are reading to help me polish off the last of the edges, and yet I haven't returned to regular posting because I feel emotionally drained. Writing through this exhausted me in a way I have never been before. Struggling anew with the characters, writing through important truths, finding acceptance, realizing what I was missing when it came to God's goodness-- this took everything from me.

I'm hoping to be back up and running as usual soon. This rest time has been important for me.

If all goes as planned-- Motherhood Unexpected will be available for sale (on Amazon) the week of January 15th. 

I am hoping that you will read it. It is my labor of love to you. I am hoping that you will share it with your friends. It delves with painful detail into the experience of Unexpected Motherhood (in regards to having a child with a disability) that I think can really help others understand the experience of becoming a special needs parent (at least one version of this experience).

And last but not least-- thank you. Thank you for your patience with me here as I stepped away from the blog this last year. Thank you for your encouragement and support. Thank you for giving me the courage to write Motherhood Unexpected. Yes, that is in the acknowledgments too. (-;

I hope you have a very Happy New Year! I can't wait to start blogging afresh.

To conclude, here is my most popular picture this year (for obvious reasons):

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