“I’d rather feed rabid alligators. Bare handed.”
That’s a direct quote from the summer of 2010. I said it. And I said it to God. About Freefall. Because I was convinced I was done. A fraud. Incompetent and incapable. It’s a moment I vividly remember, because I was on the floor beside my bed, face buried in the carpet, begging God to release me from this whole writing ministry. It. Was. Too. Hard.
It was hard because the first half of the book hummed along well. I had my husband by my side, helping me plot, telling me when I messed up my protocol, helping with the kiddo when I needed to write… And then, he was gone, off to do the job he does best. When that happens, your heart goes right along for the ride. Apparently, so does your creativity, because without him, something in my writer’s self froze right up.
After two months of wrestling words to the ground with much sweat and tears, I got on my face in front of God and told Him this was too hard. I was too ashamed and scared to tell anyone–especially my agent–that I was hurting, that I needed encouragement. (When I told her later, she basically said, “Duh. That’s exactly when you need to call your agent!”) Stubborn me wanted to do this all on my own. And God said, “This will be your first published book.”
To which I had the audacity to say, “Still can’t do it.”
To the credit of God’s obviously eternal patience with me, He didn’t hit me with a lighting bolt for that little bit of ingratitude. Instead, He said, “I made you to do this. And if you quit, you’re not disappointing yourself, your husband, or your agent. You’re disappointing Me.”
Wow. Message received. I actually laid there a few more minutes, more than a little bit petulant because He was actually going to make me work. Can you imagine? I finally took a breath, sunk deeper into the floor, and said, “Help me.” See, I hadn’t done that yet. I’d been working on sheer willpower, sheer “I can do this all by myself” power.
Within the week, I had an email from an amazing suspense writer. She had no idea the ledge I was standing on, no idea the questions I had or how lost I felt. But she’d heard from my mentor that I was struggling, and with one Facebook message, she said absolutely everything I needed to hear. Everything. She even unlocked knots in my plot… and she had no idea what my plot even was. To this day, I will tell you Ramona Richards heard straight from God when she wrote those words.
Here’s the thing… I can’t say I wrote this book. Not one word of it is mine. It came out of a Jacob-style wrestling match with God. And I will tell you, 100%, that every letter is His, not mine. I’m glad it wasn’t easy, because that’s the proof it’s His. And that’s what I need more than anything.