October is always a "disjoined" month for me. I have the tendency to feel somewhat out of sorts and a bit disconnected during the 10th month of the year. While October has its celebratory moments...my dad's birthday...my mother-in-law's birthday, it stands out more to me for the painful things it marks. It's the month of my first husband's death. The month that I buried him. The month that we fell only ten days short of celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary.
This month (yesterday, to be exact) marked the fifteen-year anniversary of the date that I buried my first husband. I remember it as though it happened yesterday. It was the ultimate painful experience. In my mind's eye, the only heartache that could possibly be greater than that of losing a soul mate is losing a child. If you are one who has never had to experience either, no matter what other adversities you may be facing in your life, count yourself blessed beyond measure. You have so much for which to be thankful.
This month (last Friday, to be exact) also marked the official release date of my latest book. It is my 17th published title, but my first nonfiction/ministerial offering. The title is I Shall Not Die, and it is inspired by life. My life. The same life that includes the loss of my spouse. As uninviting as the ordeal was, I know that it was by way of that pain that God directed me to my purpose. I would even go so far as to say that I never would have become a published author had I not gone through that life-altering trial. It was at Jimmy's (my first husband's) urging that I first picked up a pen to write my first manuscript. Granted, I put the pen down once he passed away and it would be years before I would make another move toward manuscript writing, but the seed of purpose was planted during that most painful time of my life.
I've been interviewed countless times since my first book was published back in 2002, and one of the questions I am most asked is, "Which of your books is your favorite?" In times past, I've consistently said that there was no way I could answer that question. I likened it to having to choose which of my two daughers is my favorite. It's an impossible choice to make. I've created characters that I can dub as my favorite, but books? No. I love each of them equally, just as I do my children. I will forever feel that way about my daughters, but when it comes to my books, God has now allowed me to birth one that I view in a different light. It has a place in my heart that none of the others before it has ever occupied. I Shall Not Die is my favorite.
There is so much that God has already done through this ministerial tool. It has only been out for a few days, yet I've received an abundance of emails and website posts and Facebook notes from readers who have been touched by the words that God ordered me to write in this book. I have heard it said (and I often echo the words) that the things we go through in life are not for ourselves, but for others. God allows us to go through tests so that the resulting testimonies will be a blessing and an encouragement to others. Nobody likes pain. Even if we had advance knowledge that our pain would one day lead to our purpose, that wouldn't make the pain any more inviting. Yet, there is something humbling about discovering divine purpose that makes us grateful despite what we had to go through to find it.
Each weekend in the month of October, I will be traveling somewhere to promote the I Shall Not Die book, and the accompanying I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement ministry. In a million years, I never would have guessed that this would be the result of my story, but I feel favored to be able to share it all with the world. The platform to which God has entrusted me is one that I hold dear, and I am honored to answer His call. To follow, in detail, all of the goings on with the book and the ministry, please become a follower of the I Shall Not Die blog. Additionally, by clicking on the I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement link above, you can become a VIsion Partner (VIP) of the ministry itself and obtain several valuable perks, including $100 off of Cruisin' For Christ.
A journey from pain to purpose. That is what my 17th book - my favorite among my books - signifies to me. And with each copy that is sold, my most earnest prayer is that the reader of it is challenged to always LIVE a Psalm 118:17 existence. Order your copy today by clicking HERE.