This time last year I was at our diocesan retreat center at the annual retreat with people discerning calls to Episcopal priesthood or diaconal service. The two-day event has been one of the highlights of my own ministry. It is one of the activities that my stroke forced me to drop this year.
God closes one door and opens another.
This year I found myself doing the same ministry in a different way. I was home at my computer working to help my sister-in-law publish her first book.
It would get tedious to recite Renee’s ridiculously long list of credentials. (Read them here if you would like to be awed.) One of the few ways in which I could be of any practical help to her is sharing what her sister, Melanie, and I have learned about independent publishing the last couple of years.
For several weeks I had been working on formatting e-book and paperback versions of Renee’s book On To The Prize. Although my task was simply to prepare the manuscript to be in suitable shape for the formats, I kept being drawn into what Renee had to teach. Her book is a series of short studies and applications from life and the Bible to help the Christian end the race of life well. Again and again I found myself stopping to ponder the insights she was sharing so clearly and effectively. I learned things reading her book that cleared up matters that had puzzled me in the Bible. I hope and expect the book will be a blessing to all who find it.
Earlier this week we got the e-book edition online world-wide. (Click the links earlier in this post to find it.) The last 24 hours I turned my attention to finishing up details for the paperback edition. (For about a month I have been struggling to get the pages to show proper page numbers!) By late afternoon today we were finally ready to upload the file and order the review copy for final editing. I expect the paperback will be ready for official sale and distribution before Renee heads home to Michigan for the summer next month.
She joins her sister and brother in the remarkable new markets for self-published authors. (We helped Melanie’s brother Brucie publish his poetry a couple of years ago and Melanie’s books can be found at her blog – or just Google their names!) The help we were able to offer them is similar to what I was part of when praying with candidates for ministry. The thought comforted me as I faced the changes in my life today.
Toward the end of her book, Renee tells the story of watching a young child on an airline flight. The parents had trained the child well and he was very well behaved. He was happy to follow any instructions his parents gave him.
Renee ended her meditation by turning t0 tw0 scriptures.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
I realized I am grateful to be part of the discernment process that helps open the door for other servants to fulfill the call of God on their lives, no matter what the circumstances.