Warning, narrative ahead.
That’s the only word I could think of to describe how I felt yesterday afternoon as I sat in my car in the Post Office parking lot, tears streaming down my face. See, a lot has been leading up to this week. And I had pretty great expectations. And I fell short of them.
I have found something that I love to do. I never dreamt I would be a writer. I loved the idea of it, but couldn’t think of anything that I would have a strong enough passion to write about, to devote the necessary time and dedication.
That is, until blogging came along and showed me that I have a capacity for it. That, generally speaking, I’m not that bad. And writing about faith? I loved that the most.
I wanted to create something. I wanted to put my passion into action. And so I did; I begin writing. The idea of a devotional was instant, the time frame was instant, the title was instant. I knew it. I knew what it would be, I knew what I wanted it to be. And so I began.
And it knocked me off my feet. I was challenged to write in a way that I have never explored before. I was challenged to use words in a way that I didn’t understand. I was challenged to think beyond my simplistic view. And I struggled. But I fought. And I prayed. And I prayed some more. And I begged that the Lord make it what he wanted it to be. Which was, truthfully, the scariest part of all.
And then I published it. Later than I intended, without as much time for preparation as I had hoped. But I wanted it out. So I crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” that I could find, and published it. In the best way that I knew how. In a way that wouldn’t be an upfront cost, in a way that would get it into hands right away. I might have been hasty, but I wanted it out before January, that much I was sure.
Before it was published, my goal was to find a way to make a paper copy, at least for one or two people in my life. Snapfish or Vistaprint were always in my mind as the way in which I would accomplish that. After publishing, I realized that formating it through one of those companies would not be doing the devotional justice, and would not make it into what I wanted.
So I looked into actual publishing – if I wanted to make a print version, how would I go about doing so without paying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars right away? And after researching quite a bit, I stumbled upon a way that just might be possible… with little to no upfront cost. This got me thinking of what I would need to perfect, what this would change, what else I would need to include if I reach this new level.
I happened to be going to a local Christian bookstore for a gift that afternoon, and decided to browse the devotionals to see their size and what they had that I might need. When I opened the front cover of one, the words hit me like a load of bricks.
Copyright… Used by permission… Permission.
The Bible? Copyrighted? This didn’t even cross my mind. I’ve used verses so many times, I’ve seen them used so many times. I never would have thought about needing permission. But I should have. That was my mistake.
And I went to the Harper Collins website, and it appeared that I did, in fact, need written permission. Which would take 6 to 8 weeks. Which would push Heartbeat back until late January at the earliest. Which would mean that the devotionals I intentionally planned to accompany the seasons and times of the year would be off. Which meant my intense work to finish within the time frame I gave myself would be for naught. Which meant that the very essence of this devotional was on the line. Because I didn’t just use one or two translations, I used 23. I wanted you to be able to read the verses right there in the text. They are part of the text.
And this feeling of accomplishment? This feeling of excitement for having achieved my goal, for trusting the Lord to use me? It was crushed. I felt the enemy in a way that I rarely ever have. It felt like I was standing on the mountain top after having climbed the rocky path up only to have the wind harshly knock me tumbling down. Like I said, defeated.
It was ironic; this work that I put forth hoping to be something the Lord would use was being withheld – I don’t know how to explain what I felt. It was like a frustration at the very thing that made my devotional a devotional. I was frustrated with myself for overlooking this. I was so down-heartened by the consequences that this would have. And oh, did I cry.
When you put so much into something, your enjoyment is tied to it. It thrives, you thrive. And as I drove home, letting myself slowly fall apart and accept the repercussions, I kept thinking, “Emily. You wrote about this. You know the answer to this. You know the enemy wants to stop you. You know the Lord has won. You know he will use you however he plans to. You know that his will be done.” I was having to eat my own words – to accept what I preached as my own reality despite what I felt at the time.
I don’t know when I can release Heartbeat again. I’m mad at myself for not catching this, but I’m going to make sure I do this right. I’m contacting publishers, seeing what I need to do. I’m triple checking all copyrights and formatting. I’m making adjustments as needed. But I’m doing it woundedly; publishing it alone was terrifying. These complications and hardships? They just make my heart heavy.
It’s scary, friends, to have your emotions so deeply tied to something. But that’s faith. Trusting that whatever is thrown your way is what you can handle with the help of your Lord. Because things will be thrown your way that you can’t handle. That’s why you need him. I couldn’t handle all these emotions I’m feeling right now without him. Following him? It has the power to hurt you. You’re putting a red label on your face that says “Pick me! I love the Lord, see if you can knock me down!” And truth be told, that sucks. But y’all, it’s worth it. It’s going to be worth it. Because the times when we do reach all the way up the climb? We get to feel things others don’t. We get to reach a height that surpasses our own dreams. We get to see his glory shine rather than our own.
I’m pretty sure this is my longest post ever, but I write when my heart is weighted, when I need it off my chest. And sharing what I write? I just hope that you can use it too. Because I know I’m not the only one the enemy attacks, and maybe you need to know that, too. The Lord believes you can handle this. He wouldn’t give it to you otherwise.
Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to get this devotional on more Kindles than just mine. Hopefully I’ll be able to order print copies. Hopefully, I’ll stop running into problems every day. Hopefully, I’ll find a little bit of peace, and I’ll trust the Lord a little more.