I’ve been largely silent on my blog of late. It has not been because I have stopped writing. Quite the contrary, actually. I have just moved into the publication stage of a short work on non-fiction. My 30-day devotional, “But, Who is Jesus?” is on track to go to print in late-spring/early summer.
I think the best adjective for my current state of mind is “overwhelmed,” along with a dose of “cynical” (if I am honest).
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve looked at my sweet husband and argued, “No one wants to read what I have to say.” I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve shaken my head when family and friends have clamored for me to write a book. There are so many nagging thoughts on how this endeavor will fail–my platform is small, my credentials are few. To turn and apply the words of the psalmist, “what am I?”
Perhaps the message of my book is speaking louder to me now than it did when I was first writing it. My main theme in the book is an exhortation to exalt Jesus over circumstances. What a testimony to me now. Turn your eyes to Jesus, Chrystal.
I am updating on my facebook page with news on the publication journey (and I will be launching some contests to win free autographed copies of the book when we get closer to the release date, so if you’re interested in that at all, make sure you “like” and “follow” the page), but I wanted to share a quick preview here for those of you who have met me through word-pictures on “Thoughts in the Watchtower” over the last seven years (a fun fact–I signed my publishing contract on the seven-year anniversary of this blog).
Below is the afterword I have written for the book. As an added bonus for my faithful blog followers, I have hyperlinked to blog posts I wrote during the events I have referenced in the afterword. So much of what I have written over the last year has stemmed from the events you all walked through with me here. Thank you for reading. 🙂
The game began one afternoon when my then-fiancé, Jim, and I were speeding 80-miles-an-hour down the interstate to a hospital in a town a little less than a hundred miles away. It was four days before our wedding day, and I had just received a phone call that my mother had collapsed with bleeding in her brain. Just the night before, I had returned from the “parents meet the parents” trip to my future in-laws’ home in Texas where my father had been hospitalized with pulmonary emboli. I now felt a little like a drowning man who had been given a brief gulp of air before being shoved back below the surface.
I am convinced that Jim is the greatest gift the Lord has ever given to me, second only to my salvation. During our return trip from Texas the night before, he had joined me in piercing the cool, spring night with shouted singing for almost the entire journey; relief that my dad had been discharged and was heading home had exploded into exuberant, thankful praise. The next afternoon, when he slid behind the wheel of my silver Taurus and turned the car toward my mother, he offered, “I want to do things differently this time. Yesterday we worshiped after the victory; today we need to praise in the middle of the battle.”
For the next hour, I answered text messages, fielded phone calls, and sang through tears. Finally, I looked at him and whispered, “I can’t do this anymore. Please, just tell me who Jesus is. The only way I’m going to make it through this is by looking at Him, but I can’t see Him right now. Who is Jesus?”
Name after name, attribute after attribute, my precious Jim began listing off from memory every name and characteristic of our Lord and Savior. Sometimes he and I would take turns affirming to one another His nature. Sometimes I would fall silent, swiping away hot tears and willing myself to stop crying; Jim kept going.
My brother and extended family met us at the hospital that afternoon along with several dear friends and pastors. That night, after the rest of the family retired to bed at my parents’ home, Jim knelt beside the couch where I was and, again, began to list off the character of Jesus until grief had subsided enough for me to sleep.
My mother eventually left the hospital and is walking in vibrant health today, but the game is still a mainstay in our marriage. Together we’ve navigated unemployment and empty cupboards, the miscarriage of our second child, the hospitalization of our third child with a congenital heart defect, and a plethora of the “little foxes” that attack marriages in our day; and in times of turmoil one of us will turn to the other and ask, “But, who is Jesus?” Without fail we’ve watched Him turn our crises to our good when we’ve turned our focus from the problem to His glory. It is our prayer that you will use the resources of this book to ask yourself the same question and to exalt His lordship over every aspect of your life.