I always assumed that when a person released a book that she wrote, it would feel like having a baby. But no – not really. This is what I’ve learned while preparing to birth Prayer PathWay:
The writing/editing/revising/editing/writing part certainly is like carrying a baby. I’ve borne five children, three grew within me; all five grew in my heart. Each of those gestations had it’s own joys, strains, struggles, fears, hopes. Each one was carried in prayer – by me and my husband and others. But once the child had been born to me (whether in a hospital or in a hotel), my feelings were stunningly the similar. No more wondering about what he/she would look like, feel like, smell like, be like – of course he/she would be just like this! Yesterday I could only imagine this child – but today he/she is real to me. Oh, the wonder of a new child!
How interesting that Jesus knew this experience of women. He put it this way: “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. (John 16:21 – ESV)” For the anticipated joy, the pain was endured.
Well – the emotional and physical demands of writing and publishing are like those of gestation. But, after birth, there is only the parent’s unabashed desire to display the child’s beauty to whomever is available to take it in! The new parent typically has not the least concern that anyone else will not find her new one to be every bit as amazing and perfect as she already knows him/her to be. She just looks to those around her to confirm the obvious.
But with the release of a book, at least for me, there’s a strange hesitation – a cringing – even fear! Fear that the aesthetic of the book isn’t quite right. Fear that the layout is awkward. Fear that the phrasing is too sentimental. Fear that something is theologically skewed. Even with the earnest oversight, the experienced editorial work, and the gentle midwifery of P&R Publishing, this book is largely mine. It is my DNA, my heart’s pulse, my soul’s fiber.
So – that said, I breathe – and humbly present Prayer PathWay: Journeying in a Life of Prayer. It is my deepest desire that my labor will birth sweet, Godward habits of prayer in other sojourners in the daily journey of life.
The incomparable Robert Southey had better words (and poetic ones!) for this moment:
Go forth, little book, from this my solitude:
I cast thee on the waters,–go thy ways;
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
the world will find thee after many days.
Be it with thee according to thy worth;
Go, little book, in faith I send thee forth.
– Robert Southey (The Poetical Works of Robert Southey. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1845. p. 765.)