Monday, October 5, 2009

My First Nonfiction - Stay Tuned...

Today is Monday, October 5, 2009, and I'm going to try as much as possible to abbreviate this blog entry. There is so much to be said. This date marks the fourteen-year anniversary of the death of my beloved first husband. I've rarely put anything in writing about the life and legacy of Jimmy Lee Holmes. He was an outgoing, fun-loving, God-fearing man who was loved and respected by most. In addition to being a devoted husband, father, and friend, he was a highly gifted singer and preacher and served in the capacity of choir director, youth pastor, and ultimately as senior pastor. Until now, nearly all of my written referencing of him has been in the brief accolades that I've dedicated to him on the acknowledgements pages of each of my fictional novels. For most, this is the first time a visual image of him has been seen (see photo). So why, after so many years, have I now decided to write about him? The truth of the matter is that it wasn't necessarily my decision to make. God has said that now is the time, and I am finally adhering to His will.
On this day, I am actively embarking upon the challenge of writing my first nonfiction. Doing this wasn't an overnight decision. It's been a very long time coming. Even before Jimmy's death back in 1995, I had begun writing somewhat of a documentary that was based upon his life. I never had any intention to publish those notations, I was just recording them (with his input) as a way to have a written legacy for our daughters to read and keep close at heart. Something that would insure that no matter how many years passed, they would never forget their doting daddy. Unfortunately, Jimmy passed away before we could finish the project, and my zeal to write it died right along with him. In 1999 (I'd remarried by this time), my current husband bought me a new computer, and I sat down and began writing again. I remember opening a new document and the first words I typed were "I Shall Not Die" which was the title of the last sermon that Jimmy preached. Those words began a painful purging process that ended 125 pages later. I'm sure that I cried more during the weeks that it took me to write out those thoughts than in all the years of my life combined. Once again, those where private writings that I never intended to publish, and when I placed the period on the last sentence of those pages, I thought that all had been said and done.
Little did I know that God wasn't through. A private journal couldn't bless anyone but me, and God wanted to use Jimmy's life to touch the masses. It was a year later, the year that would mark the fifth anniversary of Jimmy's death, that the Lord began nudging me to pick up a pen and begin the process again. By that time, I'd begun writing Christian fiction manuscripts which were beginning to form a small pile behind my bed. There were still no publishing endeavors. I was writing for the therapeutic value only; I found that writing fiction stories was relaxing and liberating. Writing them brought me joy, unlike the experience of writing the "I Shall Not Die" memoirs. When I continued to feel the divine nudging to write a fiction piece based on Jimmy's life, I procrastinated. In this case, that's a nice way of saying that I refused. To a degree, I tuned out God's voice. I told Him that I would begin to write it before the end of that year, but I can't honestly say that I ever had any intention of following through with it. Thank God for His longsuffering and forgiveness.
From that point on, the call to write an "I Shall Not Die" project for publishing purposes never ceased. After reneging to obey within the fifth year, I began saying that I'd wait until the tenth year. By then, I reasoned, I'd be in a better position both mentally and spiritually to write Jimmy's and my full story; to go back and reopen the painful wounds of losing someone so dear so that I could expand upon the 125 pages that had been written in 1999. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the ten year anniversary (2005) rolled in and out without me even so much as writing one word of the book that had been ordered by God years earlier. I have been abundantly blessed that even in my procrastination/disobedience, God has shown much favor to the Christian fiction novels that I have written and began publishing in 2002. But now I can't help but wonder where my career might be today had I been obedient from the start. Hmmmm....
At any rate, let's fast forward to the year 2009. This year, God made it clear that my five-year increments of procrastination were over. The well of His grace was running dry. October 5, 2010 will mark fifteen years since Jimmy's death, and the Lord said that October 2009 was the time to start writing, and October 2010 was the month of release. His unmistakable order began manifesting itself early in the year. I didn't realize at the time that it was His doing, but God allowed me to be hurt by people that I'd done nothing but helped. It was His way of revealing to me who my true friends and supporters were because only those who were true to the core needed to be in my circle once this journey began taking wings. Seeds of what was inevitably to come began being planted in me this year by people who had no prior knowledge of my past life with Jimmy or the charge to write this book that was initially given in the year 2000. The insight they had could have only come from God. The most prominent eye-opener for me was made during my April 2009 visit to Hamden, Connecticut where I had gone to meet with Genesis Book Club to celebrate the release of The Lyons Den. The day after the book release event, I visited Love Center Deliverance Ministries, and the co-pastor, Dr. Kim Carmichael was speaking. As she began praying for and prophesying to the people, she suddenly turned to me and told me that eyes had not yet seen nor had ears heard what the Lord was going to do in my writing ministry. At the closing of her prophesy, she said, "There's a book inside of you that you haven't written yet. God says that you know what that book is, and He says when you write it, you're going to see Him bless you on an international level. You will become a household name." My tears overflowed because I immediately knew that the book she was referencing was I Shall Not Die. In emotional contrast, I had to laugh recently when I went back home to speak at my father's church, and as he held a copy of one of my other novels in his hand, he turned to me and asked, "When am I going to see a picture of you on the front of one of your books? I keep seeing a picture of you on the front cover." I knew immediately that the book he was "seeing" was I Shall Not Die.
So the time is indeed now. As soon as I gave up the losing battle and told God yes, doors began to open (for speaking engagements) that will serve as preludes to the platform of my newly expanded empowerment ministry. Additionally, when I moved out of the way and allowed God to have His way, I found out that this process wasn't going to be the painful punishment that I'd been needlessly running away from. If I had just allowed God to finish speaking to me all those years ago instead of basically tuning Him out, I would have known that the manner in which He was directing me to write this ministerial tool would not bring on the intense pain that my fallible mind had concluded that it would. Writing it will not bring grief to me, neither will reading it bring grief to others. Instead, it will offer hope and equip God's people for such a time as this. I Shall Not Die is going to allow me to encourage people to live, and now, for the first time in fourteen years, the zeal to write it has returned.
My first nonfiction entitled, I Shall Not Die: Living A Psalm 118:17 Existence will make its debut in October of 2010. I have never been so excited about the writing of or the pending release of a book as I am this one. Stay tuned!

23 comments:

Joey Pinkney said...

Wow. What a powerful story. You were not running away from what is to be; it had to properly mature. You knew it was coming. This writing endeavor had to come at the right time. You are so attuned with the voice of God, you can recognize the summons to complete what was given to you so many years prior.

Thank you for sharing. More authors need to write, not for money, but for God's ever-working plans.

From Tia's Pen said...

Such a powerful testimony...and I'm sure the written words will be just as powerful!

Brittney Holmes said...

I cannot wait until this release. You know I'm going to be over your shoulder trying to see what you're writing!!

It's hard to believe it's been 15 years [Geez, I'm getting old...and you...older =)] I'll always miss Daddy, but it's great to know he's in a better place (probably singing to God and Jesus, or telling some jokes or something...lol).

Linda Beed said...

Kendra I commend you for sharing such intimate thoughts with others. I believe it will be a blessing and ministry tool beyond what you can imagine.

Linda!
www.lindabeed.com

Ty said...

This is awesome! There was a lesson in here just reading your testimony. I know your story and words will bless many! God's strength and blessings to you as you prepare to write. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

Cynthia Norman Slappy said...

It's about time, sis! This project has just been simmering like tea bags in water over a flame. Now it's time to add the sugar and stir!

I'd love to be among the first to read your manuscript. Jimmy was one of the most remarkable people I've ever had the privilege to know, and everyone who knew him would have to say the same. 15 years later, his spirit has never gone away. You can see him in Brittney's smile, hear him in a gospel song, feel him in the lives and laughter of the many loved ones he left behind. My husband has said more than once that he wishes he had gotten the chance to meet him.

Jimmy's message was never more timely than today, and your testimony is one that every woman, man, and teenager needs to hear. Girl, you might as well get ready, cuz you're just getting started!

myra said...

Kendra,

This is going to be such a blessing. And I do believe that God is about to lift you to a higher level.

You are a strong woman of God!

myra said...

You are such a strong woman in faith!

Biddy said...

As always your writings leaves me fighting to hold back the tears I did not know you or your husband then but I am sure that you have wonderful memories. I cannot wait for the book to come out please keep me posted I definitly will pre order one. Not just because you wrote it but because I feel there is something in it that God wants me to know.Keep writing and I will keep reading. You know I love you and will support anything you do. Sorry about the loss but God knew what He had planned for such a time as this.May the Grace of God and the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit rest,rule and abide with You henceforth and forevermore.
Love ya Sis,
Biddy

jjmichael444@gmail.com said...

Dear Kendra,

Thank you already for your inspiration. When my son passed in 2001, I started to write his story, but stopped. Through the years, I have tried only to end of crying. So, I have set all the notes aside until God tells me that it now time. Your story only confirms what I knew in my heart. Again thanking for sharing and I wish you continuous success and blessings.

JJMichael
www.jjmichael.com
www.pathtotruth.wordpress.com

bbrown said...

Kendra,
What can I say? I believe that everything has it's own season to fruition. Nonetheless, you have been going through a process that has enabled you to pour out your spirit into a great work. I can't wait until it is published. I remember you giving me a wedding picture of you and Jimmy years ago. I saw then what I see now a strong woman of God. Today, I can say a "Queen Esther". God has truly blessed you and your family.

Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to step out and move to the next level.

Can't wait to read the book.

Wanda B. Campbell

Anonymous said...

wow! KendraI'm excited for you-can't wait to read the book my chest is full just reading your blog about the bookOMG:)

vivian webb

PatriciaW said...

I'm touched by your testimony. I look forward to reading I Shall Not Die next year.

Renee said...

Hi Kendra,

I pray that your writing about the love for your first husband helps others in similar situations. I know about hearing God's voice and not listening, but rest assured if you don't do it then, it's coming back around. So, I am happy that you've decided to obey and pour your heart out into your first non-fiction book.

I pray your continued success as you remain obedient to God's unchanging word. Thanks for sharing.

~Renee

Cyncere Sister said...

WOW! Moved by your testimony

October, 2010 -- good year and good month!

Wonderful! Looking forward to it!

LaCricia A`ngelle said...

This is awesome Kendra. I pray God's choice blessings upon you as you continue to fulfill your destiny.

LaCricia

CATEYES said...

Okay Kendra, What can I say. You had me going gurl... Real bad to where I could not see the words anymore. I had to pause for the cause, regroup and get my self together. I am so touched by your powerful words. I am so ready for the book to be finished so I can read it. I will have my box of tissue ready gurl....u know me... can't hold water....Wishing you continued success in your writings. Luv You!

Precious Gems said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki Austin said...

Kendra,
you are such an inspiration Woman of God! Truly God has blessed you to be a blessing...and you are just that.Not only to myself but to so so many others. As I read your words, my heart was moved beyond expression of words and I had to choke back tears and refocus. I already know that there is something in 'I shall Not Die' that is going to bless me! Through fiction you have managed to uplift and empower your readers with stories of hope,love and messages of undying faith in God.I am so happy that this process for you will be a journey that will leave you healed and give you God's abundant blessings as well as His peace.I know He placed you in my path for a reason and even though I never laid eyes on you, I can honestly say there is a level of sincere affection & genuine desire to see you become that household name. I believe we all want that for you. God is not a man that he can lie...He said it, that settles it. So shall it be! Dig in and do what you must, trust that when you come out on the other side of through, your fans,friends and supporters are embracing you in love and well wishes. I ask that the anointing, the guiding and the wisdom/revelation of our Mighty God be your compass and your constant as you birth this offering in 2010.May He bless you and your lovely family. Always a real sista.
Vicki

Shawneda Marks said...

Thank you for your transparency Kendra, my hubby is still talking about how favored you are and how much he was blessed on the inaugural cruise. I'll be staying tuned and continuing to keep you in my prayers as you write this awesome book!

Faith Imagined said...

What an incredible journey! I got tears reading this! I will be excited for Oct 2010 to roll around!

Nasha said...

I am speechless. I felt so empowered just by reading your journey thus far and I am excited to know what is to come. Continue to stay encouraged and pressing to do what God has ordained you to do. Thank you for being a vessel and confirming that all things work for the good of those that love the Lord!