One of my favourite passages in all of Scripture speaks of the acceptable time.
In the acceptable time things come.
In the acceptable time God hears.
Waiting is the middling discipline, the centring discipline.
In my senior year at Baylor, in a whirlwind of happenstance, I got a book contract for a still being hammered out book about reading Scripture and the world as enchanted. They were a small publisher. New.
It was happening. The big dream was happening.
And for a year I worked, thought through, processed, but nothing much came out. It was that season in which God was gone. Absent. Removed.
I wrote what I knew--I knew Absence, so I wrote Absence.
Slowly a new book took shape. A book about that Absence, a memoir of God found, lost, and found again.
When you grow up evangelical in the South, you hear God speak all the time.
That was my dream of a book, a book of learning to journey in and through, of what it means to come out on the other side.
And then I suspected my publisher wasn't legitimate and my then-agent got me out of my contract.
And then my once publisher closed its doors and went bankrupt.
And then my once agent and I had creative differences.
And then it was just me, a manuscript chapter, two years of maybes and somedays and what ifs? and a late evening in early March on the Scottish hills.
When I found out, I stood in a field for awhile and tried to find my breath again.
If you've been here for any length of time, you know how much I have wanted this. How many times its fallen through. How many times you said to keep going. To trust. That you would want to read the book that someday might be.
And then it was.
That's the way of these things, I think. You become so accustomed to the possibility of it not working out that, when it does, you need a moment before the charitableness of reality can form in the palm of your hand, before you can accept it, before you can offer back thanks.
In March of this year, I had dinner with John and Debby Topliff. Someday, I'll tell you more about them. For now, what you need to know is that they are a people of tables and grace and baking it out and, well, if you've been around here for a few times over, you know exactly what that means.
John used to work in publishing and offered to look at my book proposal.
Then John sent out my book proposal.
Then John was my agent.
Then John was texting me late at night last week asking if I could meet him for breakfast to discuss news.
Then if I could make a mid-day conference call on Wednesday.
Then John and I were shaking hands and laughing and dizzy with the outrageousness of it all. Because it had been March and now it's the end of April and the whole thing took about six weeks.
But God's like that.
(Particularly, I have found God is very good at making sure I never confuse any good thing as being solely of my own doing.)
Last wek, I accepted an offer from Zondervan to publish two books over the next few years with John Sloan as my editor. While the second title is to be determined, the first is confirmed as my spiritual memoir, Tables in the Wilderness, which is tentatively due out autumn 2014.
We're negotiating the nitty-gritty now, but I am honoured to be a part of their house, their team of wise and gracious editors and publishers who made me feel like I had a place at their table, and a people who were willing to dream big along with me.
They loved my writing. Not my platform. Not my social media numbers. My writing.
I remain convinced, as I have said before, that platform building is a cheap and fruitless endeavour. I believe in writing well and in doing good, in being generous with our spaces and others, and from that seeing what grows.
And we've grown some pretty neat stuff here, you and I. I look forward to the days ahead.
I made a little teaser introducing some of the concepts of the book below (watch it in HD!), but, for now, pass the champagne? And please, sit down here with me, have a glass yourself! I've made a few pies and there's some fresh cream to dump over the slices. Let's toast us as much as the wildness of God.
I am here, in so many ways, because of you. Don't you forget it. I haven't. Your names are carried in my heart. Your challenges and laughter and grace have storied my thoughts.
Now it's time to write.