On Friday I was surprised by an email from the Barnes & Noble in Saint Louis where I will be doing my first book signing with this incredible picture! There she is, my baby, on the shelves of an actual bookstore.
I literally gasped with tears of joy.
As I have come to expect of life, my life especially, there will always be joy right along with the struggle.
That night Chad and I attended our first class of a marriage seminar our church offered. I had requested to not be seated with couples who had young children for obvious reasons. We sat down and directly across from me was a woman who was about 6 months pregnant.
I looked at Chad and whispered, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Yep, I totally said that in church.
Then we learned the couple next to us was also expecting, 11 weeks along.
I took a breath, held back the tears, looked up, said a quiet prayer and said out loud, “Challenge accepted.”
It was a great first class, I learned so much about what a healthy, biblical marriage looks like. I also gained a better understanding of Ephesians 5; an understanding where I do not gag on the word submit.
Class ended and I knew I had to face the pregnant women again tomorrow and I would choose to be okay. When I turned my phone back on I was notified that the Thunderclap campaign went through. Thank God! Of course you can still sign up but since we had 100 people pledge a post it means that over 91,000 people will be notified of the Ever Upward launch on April 7th. When I turned my phone back on, I also was able to read one of the most amazing reviews someone had posted on Amazon!
The dark with the light, the joy with the struggle; this is what you get when you choose to live an engaged, wholehearted courageous life.
And it is worth every single second.
Saturday night Chad, my parents and my friend Lindsay ventured to the bookstore to see Ever Upward in person. We wandered together at first trying to find that beautiful orange breakaway monarch on the cover but eventually we split up.
“I found it!”
I had shouted way too loud for a bookstore.
I stood there by myself for just a few seconds in this moment of awe; overwhelmed by a completeness and yet, the sense that this is really just being the beginning.
I felt proud. I felt accomplished. I felt happy. I felt deserving. I felt excited.
In that moment I allowed myself to feel all the goodness.
But, along with all that goodness also comes the reminder of the journey I had to survive to get here, the losses that have forever scarred my heart and the part of me that will always be different.
I am learning this journey never ends. I will never be complete or at the end of it; or at least in how I expected. It will only be through my own work and recovery, through my connections and relationships and through my faith that I am okay.
Just as I sang in church today, “I stand in Him complete.” And so, even though I may never feel the completeness of finality, I know I can find it in Him. I know He has this; just as He has Maddie and my three never to be babies.
I know in Him I rise ever upward and therefore this is just the beginning.
I am so close to hitting 50 reviews on Amazon before the April 7th launch. If you have read Ever Upward please consider doing a review. Just click the Kindle version of the book, click the customer review link under the title, then click write my own review.