Lord…that our desire would be to make every act an act of worship, give us a broken heart, but give us one that refuses to be impressed by impossible circumstances.
Last fall arrived as an empty handed messenger… “The income we’d hoped to see remains the income we hope to see eventually. Until then, we’ve stopped paying our mortgage in order to cover essentials. Better to face foreclosure in the next few months than to face the next few weeks without food and utilities.” -October 2011
And so we did… but the weeks evaporated like inch deep water in the heat of our circumstance, leaving us nothing but tears – tears I buried in the pillows of my couch. There I sat with my beautiful wife beside me like an angry passenger. She’d been watching faithfully for months – watching me do nothing with my days but pray and attempt to write – write when our children are decking the halls of a home they’re bound to lose – write when the lawsuits are ushered to our door by an armed official, and write when there is little food left in the pantry and no way to buy more. “Kevin, I can’t live like this – we can’t live like this – it’s insane!”
That empty handed messenger had us both by the seat of the pants but we were moving in opposite directions. “Write for me and I will provide for your family.” The words God planted in my heart were not a secret but they were no match for the voice of reason. I looked at her as she looked at the empty pantry and choked on their utter foolishness. Still, they hung in my gut like poison “I can’t explain it Holly – I just know that I have to do this.” She was in tears, not because we were suffering but because she was carrying a much bigger burden – the burden of having to trust that a man like me had truly heard from God – easier said than done when her children are asking why that pantry is so empty. It’s the moment of truth when spouses grab their children and run for safety. I deserved nothing less.
The hours passed slowly. My words and prayers stuck to the floor like penny gum with little memory of God’s sweetness. There was nothing I could do – nothing but wait and wonder aloud if God is still generous and wonder silently what a generous God might do with such an extravagant fool. And like any fool on the worst day of his life, I gave up. But like any faithful wife with a fool for a husband, she did not. She didn’t leave because by faith she had the courage to make a different choice – to lift my head and boldly voice: “Kevin I’m terrified… but I am always with you – I’m with you no matter what.”
Within an hour, barely long enough for our tears to dry, I received a note from a new friend “I have a surprise for you. My editor is interested in your story and I’d like to introduce the two of you – can we talk?” Forty eight hours later a door swung open without a single knock or push from my hand. Behind it were carefully placed words – words filled with kindness and backed by authority. But the words that stood on the shoulders of all the others were these “Kevin, write me a book”.
That same afternoon I received yet another call, this one from a client who needed help with a large project – a project held hostage for months by budget constraints. Not only had it been approved but it came with an offer to pay a portion of my fee in advance. That’s right…two big doors opened by two big empty hands in a single day – Halleluiah! The work took several months to complete and left no time for writing. But by Spring, God had provided enough income for me to pursue the other opportunity – to write my story.
I suppose that when God’s hands appear to be empty it is because they aren’t meant to carry a thing. But instead meant to open the doors of opportunity and then applaud the infant steps of faith that carried us to them. Funny, I never considered myself a writer until God removed all the worldly obstacles. Now it’s the only thing I can imagine – though it is still very tough to do well. Creativity and consistency have little attraction for one another. Someone recently asked my daughter what kind of work her dad does. After giving it some thought she said “Well…He types words on his computer… and then deletes them.”
In all that typing and deleting other things have suffered. My yard is a mess, my house is a mess and most days my life is a mess. There are moments that pass before us where things are less than a mess but most of the time we pass from one mess to another. So it has occurred to me of late that life is not a mess but a series of things designed to teach us that we are less than we thought – less than our one time accomplishments, less than our brave steps of faith and even less than the wisdom we think we’ve gained. But God is more than we hope, more than we believe and always more than we can see.
As we reach the fourth anniversary of losing our livelihood and begin the journey of cleaning it all up, we are now able to see what we’ve always missed, we are indeed a mess but at least we are God’s mess.
While the income has sustained us for a time, we still feel the tremendous weight of our debts. And while today is full of peaceful but unpaid labor the voice of tomorrow is never silent about the bondage that unpaid labor can bring. Some call it foolishness. We call it faith – a life of learning to live by the sound of God’s voice, the only true provider. Please continue to pray for us.
With the encouragement of a world class publisher and a top notch agent, I’ve been learning the skill of writing – a difficult but worthy endeavor. With that in mind, I’ve decided to dedicate the remainder of this year to sharing how it all unfolds – the next phase of my faith journey.
Will you come along and see what happens?