On March 25th at around 4am I woke up. It had been one month since Jane passed away. I hadn’t been sleeping well for a month, so it wasn’t unusual to wake up from a poor night of sleep. I was tired and there were dried and fresh tears on my cheeks. As I looked vacantly at the wall in my quiet and dark room, I had the simplest idea for a story. I reached for my phone and started writing what would become Old and New Friends. I wrote the entire story, start to finish before 5am. I put my phone down and went back to sleep.
Later in the morning I told Robert about the story. “I wrote a short story for the kids. And myself too, if I’m being honest.” I went on to explain that our life felt vastly different than the life we had been living a month prior. The stark contrast, big emotions and confusion of it all felt overwhelming for me. I knew it was overwhelming for our children too. I desperately wanted to put words to feelings. I wanted things to be more easily understood. I wanted feelings acknowledged and validated. Most of all I wanted the reminder of who was at the center of our story and the power of his love. Robert read the story quietly and I could tell in that moment I had written the story for him too.
Over the next couple of days I asked friends and family the best way to make this story into a simple book for my children. I had no plan of publishing. God had different plans. The more people read the story, the more I received a similar response, “You should publish, this could be a wonderful book for others too”.
Honestly, I didn’t want to publish. It felt too personal. I knew the path of publishing is incredibly difficult. But I heard from people who had lost children of their own, people who had lost parents or grandparents, people that had gone through a divorce, people who were facing difficult health diagnoses and even some that admitted they had faced the loss of dreams and ideals that never came to fruition. The book resonated with them and encouraged them.
I knew that the idea, the story and the very words were all from the Lord. This is not my talent or fantastic creativity, it’s from the Father. I also knew that if he gave me the story to write I should let him use it in any way he saw fit, even if it meant publishing.
The story of Old and New Friends is a simple story about a family that loves to entertain and spend time with their friends. But when the family experiences a great loss their old friends, like Happiness and Comfort, stop coming over and they find that new friends, like Grief and Anger, start arriving. But no matter what friends are around the family finds that they can always count on their oldest, most faithful friend, Love.
It is my heart’s desire that this book would encourage and point many people to the love of Jesus. I never imagined I would write a children’s book, but I also never imagined to experience our profound loss either. It is our aim to suffer well and comfort those as we have been comforted. I truly believe this book is as much for the heart’s of grown ups that will read it to children as for the little hearts that will listen. In all situations that this book is read, may God be glorified.
This book has been a gift from the Lord, a labor of love and an enormous learning curve. I would love for you to share this with friends, family and anyone you think could be encouraged by this book.