I should have learned this lesson years ago: be careful when you decide to write a book about living your faith. God will expect you to “walk your talk”.
My first experience with this came with the writing of my very first book, The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. When I proposed a book about caring for yourself so that you could better care for others, I had a major deficit in my credibility. I hadn’t been to the doctor in years and my physical self-care was greatly neglected. So when I was diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer at the beginning of the writing process for the Handbook, God gave me the opportunity to live my message. I believe the book was better because I lived that journey.
Yesterday, my friend and Paraclete Press publicist Rachel McKendree sent me a wonderful gift: the picture above of my new book I’m a Saint in the Making and a private youtube video of her flipping through the pages of the book. The publication process is long and complex. Seeing the “finished product” of any project evokes in me feelings of joy and gratitude, but also– if I’m being honest–anxiety. Will the message we hoped to convey serve our readers? Will the book be well received? Will our work be for the glory of God? And… honestly… Will the book sell?
This little book has been living in my heart for years. When I began doing school visits for my Chime Travelers series in 2014, I began speaking with students about our universal call to be “saints in the making” and “God’s storytellers”. A two-book deal with Paraclete enabled me to take those talking points and turn them into lavishly illustrated children’s books.
The process of writing a picture book is such a partnership between author and illustrator. I’m so blessed with this book to have the joy of working alongside Katie Mitchell Broussard. When you hold this book in your hands, you’ll probably be most moved by what Katie has created. It’s as if she jumped into my soul with her art and brought it all to life!This week's update from @LisaHendey looks at how God calls us to walk our talk when we set out to live a life of faith. #ImASaintInTheMaking #SaintInTheMaking @ParacletePress Click To Tweet
But “launch” for I’m a Saint in the Making comes at a complex time in my life. For the past several weeks, I’ve been at my sister’s house in Chicago, trying to help in the aftermath of my brother-in-law’s sudden cardiac event. David continues to improve daily. He’s currently in a rehab facility, working to regain his physical strength so that he can come home to his family. David, to me, is the definition of a “saint in making” – a person who lives God’s calling to serve others with love, grace and his own unique personality. In this book, we remind children (and ourselves) that saints in the making are called to quietly, humbly and creatively be role models and prayer champions. We offer the examples of saints who lived this calling over the years. We invite children to walk this path and try, gently, to point to ways to do that.
So I shouldn’t be surprised that ten times a day, when I find myself overwhelmed by the current challenges of life trying to care for my parents and now Erin and David and their family, while physically separated from Greg and my work, that I have to remind myself I’m not in this journey alone. I have a host of saintly intercessors, I’m surrounded by other saints in the making, and the “little ways” I have of trying to help really do make a difference. When we can’t solve the big, scary problems of life, we need to remember that God affords each of us tiny opportunities to keep moving forward in trust and faith.
So as I look at my undone “to do” list for the launch of I’m a Saint in the Making, I need to gently remind myself to focus on the “in the making” part of this equation. God has a plan for all things. You and I are a part of that plan. Things are going to go the way they will go. All will be well.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say in this little update, but I guess it’s just a peek inside what’s happening in my brain today. I’m grateful to those of you who have already pre-ordered a copy of the book. If you haven’t yet, taking a few moments now would be a great gift to this work. You can pre-order at Paraclete Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or walk into your local Catholic retailer and ask them to carry the book. If you don’t have small children in your life, please consider a purchase of the book for your parish, your local school or your public library.
Now, more than ever, we need saints in the making to help heal and encourage and love our world. Despite the challenges life throws at us, we’re each called to this mission. Together, one day at a time, we’ll get there!
A question for you: How is God calling you to be a “saint in the making”?