I had a great birthday week! Lots of celebrating!! Funny that I wished for 3 things in my last blog and on my birthday the waiter brought out 3 large candles! I heard some of you made my wishes come true!! Thank you to those who donated blood and donated to the AFE Foundation!
During my birthday week, I received the proof of my book to look over and approve. What a gift! Holding it my hands was amazing! I must say, when it arrived, I screamed and jumped up and down quite a few times all around the house! I had a proofing party which consisted of my mom, husband and friend, Brooke. (Pictured here).
I did end up making a few more corrections to the proof, so now I will be getting another proof to read through this week. Please pray that there are no more changes that need to be made. If the proof looks good, the book will be published next week! I am more than excited to share this story with the world!
Before I was married, I wrote a chapter for the book, I Choose God: Stories from Young Catholics and other than that, I have no other published work. Actually, I have written a few books about modesty, chastity and relationships. I never published them because there would come a time while writing them when I would feel blocked—unable to finish. I prayed for the Lord to lead me in what to do with them, and I always heard the Lord say, “Now is not the time for these books to be published—wait.” Those books sitting on my computer were about my head knowledge of the faith and of the Lord, but this book, the one that I have written about the great miracle that has taken place in my life, is about my heart’s knowledge of the Lord—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What the other’s lacked is what the Lord desired most, and what is revealed in my new book—that God is powerful, mighty and the center of all good things. My book has many themes present, but more than anything it speaks about how the Lord can work through tragedy and suffering to provide hope and healing.
The book is also about family, relationships and marriage. My family’s accounts are in there which makes it that much more real and powerful!
As I mentioned in a previous blog, my mother came to take care of the children and me for the first three months of my recovery. My friends would come and give her breaks, so I had around the clock care. I was never alone. I was weak and had no desire to write—that is until one day, I was sitting on the couch where I had been laying faithfully for the past four months and this incredible desire to write this book came over me. I could hear the Lord saying, “Now is the time Melanie. I want you to write a book about what has happened in your life.”
The excitement rushed over me until I realized the reality of my situation. It was November; I was into my fourth month of recovery. At this time, no one was coming to help me with the children. I was on my own with an (almost) three-year old and a four month old. I questioned the Lord, “Now Lord, now? How will I have the time? I am all by myself to take care of the children.” He replied, “Now.”
I told my husband I felt called to write and of course, he was very supportive. I told Doug that it would probably take me six months to write as I would probably have little time. Oh, how I forgot that God is the God who can wake the dead—surely he could carve out some time for me to write if he so desired. And, so , God did. A miracle in itself; my boy who never took naps began napping again for periods of three to four hours a day and my newborn was in sync with Brady’s sleeping schedule.
I also thought the book would take a long time to write because I wanted to include accounts from those family members present during the incident since I had no recollection of what happened. I wanted my readers to have firsthand accounts. Trying to rally my family and friends to write their accounts for me would take many months, so I thought.
I wrote, they wrote, I received their writing, compiled everything into a book and wrote more about the aftermath of coming home from the hospital after such a traumatic event. The words (and some tears) poured onto the computer, and after three weeks, my book was complete, so I thought!
Then I went on EWTN’s Life on the Rock where I shared some of the story. Afterward, my inbox was flooded with people who wrote me about their own suffering. I began to see my audience and as I read other people’s stories, I realized the book was not complete. Their stories became part of my story and my ability to cope with what had happened in my own life.
Then another amazing thing happened just when I began feeling overwhelmed in the book writing process. I really needed direction. Of course, if God can wake the dead and allow me to write a book in such a short time, then He surely would place the right people in my life to guide me! One day, I was on Facebook and on the side of the page there was a notification that said Patrick Madrid and I have 40 friends in common and would I like to request him as a friend. Funny, I rarely click those suggestions, but this time, I clicked it without thought. Patrick Madrid (author and speaker) wrote a book that inspired me during my own conversion when I was in high school. I thought when I saw his name, that I was joining his support page—one of those pages where the public figure really doesn’t respond. Boy, was I wrong. Two minutes after sending the request, he not only accepted my friendship, but wrote me a message. I was stunned. He said, “Dear Melanie, How are you doing?! You had us all very worried about you not too long ago. I hope you’re back to 100%. Thanks for your friend request.”
My jaw was on the ground. “What? He prayed for me? Patrick Madrid knows who I am?” My heart was filled with awe at the fact this stranger—stranger whose book series, Surprised by Truth, helped my own conversion—prayed for me—little old me–what? I was so humbled.
I wrote him back and thanked him for his prayers and told him how I was doing. We exchanged a few e-mails, and then he asked if I would write an article about my story for the magazine he started called Envoy Magazine. I said, yes, and then told him I had written a book. From then on, he has helped me in every way possible with suggestions, guidance and encouragement. I know without a doubt the Lord sent him into my life! What a blessing he has been, and so generous with his time! I asked him to write the foreword to my book. He agreed! I chose him because he is my audience. He is the stranger that prayed for me. When I first set out to write the book, my motivation was to write it for my daughter, Ella, to tell her about her birth, for me, to help me piece together everything, and also for those stranger who prayed for me who I hold so dear to my heart. Patrick was a stranger who prayed for me and the Lord brought us together to forge a little friendship. This has happened with several people I have come across who I never knew before but have come to know well since my incident because they prayed for me. The Lord is beautiful in the way he can bring people together!
Patrick, along with my long-time friend Mark Hart (author of the Ask the Bible Geek books and Blessed are the Bored in Spirit) have truly helped me in these final stages of completing the book.
I am nervous and excited all at once to get the book out! Thank you to those who have been asking about it and wanting a copy! Thank you for your patience! I know the Lord will use what He has done in my life to touch others. I cannot wait to get the full story in your hands!
The first place it will be distributed through is an online store called Create Space, which has the early release selling rights. You can view the book (and see the COVER!!!) there since the book’s page is all set up. https://www.createspace.com/3620239. Buying from Create Space will benefit my family the most along with purchasing from Refuge Clothing (my t-shirt company’s site). I won’t be selling it on my own site for a few weeks. Amazon will be the next to carry it a few days after Create Space. Shortly after, it will be available on the Kindle and other e-readers. Then as time goes on it will be available in other places like bookstores.
I will let you all know when it is officially out! Of course, I won’t be able to contain my joy! For those who do read it, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and feedback!
Please pray for me this weekend! One of my dreams is coming true! I will share more about that next week!