On the same afternoon our first publishing contract came through, we received a phone call from my Dad: “This could be bad. I may have leukemia.”
That one call took us from an extreme high to an extreme low in the span of an hour. The hard work of the three previous years all faded away when we learned my Dad, “Cowboy Rick” (as he is affectionately known) had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of T-cell leukemia- PLL. We knew we had an uphill battle when social media couldn’t even help us find another survivor of this terrible disease.
I began writing in 2001, but did not start actively pursuing publication until just a few years ago. I believe more than anything that God’s timing was perfect, and Adele’s story in my debut novel, The Butterfly and the Violin, was to come alive during this very difficult time in my life.
Part of this book was edited at our local cancer center, during my Dad’s chemo treatments. We all sat together in the room, listening to him play the dulcimer and guitar for the patients and staff. The remaining portions of editing were completed shortly after he went on to be with the Lord. So, dear friends, you might think this is a sad story. (True, it was the most difficult valley-walking we’ve ever had…) But, ah… how the Son of God changes all things! How close Jesus was to our weary, broken, fearful, uncertain, trusting, shaken, open, and wounded hearts. We spent thirteen days in ICU before we were given a peaceful goodbye, and I had enough time to dedicate my first book to my Dad.
If you’re hurting today, I’d share Romans Chapter 8 with you. (I read it aloud at a special bedside once.)
I’d also share Psalm 139, so you’d know that you’re loved, beautifully crafted by the Master’s hands, wanted, hemmed-in, and so valuable in His eyes.
And if you’re at the start of a journey (you may be frightened like our family was) – I’d tell you to write Joshua 1:9 on a scrap of paper and keep it with you everywhere you go. I’ve read these scriptures many times since those days in the hospital. And though we will have troubles in this life, WE ARE NOT ALONE. The hurts are cleansed. The sin redeemed. The failures covered. The hearts healed –and yes, we will be made whole again (James 1:4-5).
With JOY in the Journey,