Surrounded by the thrum of crickets in the air, with the warmth of the sun on my rather pasty skin and the screeching of happy kids running around in the background I tapped away at my ipad. From the safety of a holiday break and with a few days rest already under my belt I began to reflect on ministry life.
Tapping away I recalled some of the stories of the last few months, prepping a few blog posts to go out on my return. Some time later, heading off to get a cuppa I came back to the ipad and finding it now locked entered my passcode: once, twice, three, four times and more until that was it. Locked out. Needing a hard reset. And with it went all my holiday writing.
For days the kids had been pinching the ipad and running off with it, until the battery was run down whenever I wanted to use it. In a fit of frustration I had changed the passcode and then almost immediately forgotten it. It’s fair to say that my annoyance in that moment was off the scale – my fault? Kids fault? Rational thoughts out the window…?!
And yet, the following morning as I sat again in the sunshine, I reflected on why I was writing anyway. From that moment came the seed of an idea for a book.
A book that might help, encourage and support other mums in ministry. A book that would be real and honest about the difficult stuff, the frustrations and broken ipads. But a book filled too with hope and joy – from the sublime to the ridiculous of ministry mum life. Without an ipad the seed was put on hold, but months later, with some watering and a chance conversation, it began to grow. An informal chat with a publishing contact became a request for a proposal. A proposal that was put together exactly 12 months after that initial seed, in another sunny climate, and some months later that seed grew into the offer of a book contract.
For those who wonder whether this book is really necessary I can tell you that regularly I receive requests for help and advice from ministry mums. That I am regularly alarmed at the stories I hear of women facing discrimination and ‘everyday sexism’. So whilst The Church is changing, there is still much to be done and encouragement to be given.
At the heart of all this is a desire to encourage and support other women and it has been fantastic to have so many other women be part of this writing journey with me. From the many ministry mums who answered surveys and responded to my endless questioning tweets, and those who have shared their stories so honestly in the book; to the team at SPCK: my wonderful commissioning editor Elizabeth who just got my vision for the book from the word go. Michelle, Helen & Alexa, handling the copy edits and proofing and my last minute mistakes, the designers, Remy & the marketing peeps, and probably loads I’ve missed (as well as a few men too).
So here we are on the verge of publication, as I hold an actual printed book in my hand, with my name on the cover, I’m not quite sure how I feel. Excited? A little bit. Nervous? Definitely. But there is nothing more to be added, no more words to be written so I’ll finish as I spent many of those writing days – in prayer…
May these words, hastily scrawled, typed and tapped, be honouring to you,
may you be the light at their heart.
Might these stories shared with the honesty and courage of many, nurture valour in those who read them.
For those who are weary of the juggle, the sleepless nights or the PCC, may they bring a glimmer of hope in dark times.
For those whose views are clouded by the lenses they knowingly or imperceptibly wear, may these words reveal gracious clarity.
And for those who just need a good laugh, may they bring joy.
If pleasant words are like a honeycomb, bringing sweetness to the soul and health to the body, Lord, might this book bring holy nourishment and faithful sustenance to all who read it.
In Jesus name,