Sunday, 22 July 2012

It was from a little acorn ...

A word from God, reluctant obedience, little obvious fruit … is that the end of the story? Sometimes! But  not in this case.
When I felt God challenge me to write a book for women who were lone worshippers, I had written two novels for children, winning a competition for new writers when I did so, and fully expected that to be my writing journey. I had no thought of writing non-fiction, although I had written a few articles in between the books and having babies! But a book on a subject of which I had no first hand knowledge seemed a very tall order.
I knew enough about the writing business by then, to query a publisher before spending lots of time on a project that might have no future.  The first publisher to whom I wrote, came back to me with a resounding ‘No’.  ‘’We wouldn’t publish a book on such a topic” the editor replied “for two reasons. First  it is a very sensitive subject and for a woman to have a book about it lying around the house, might be unhelpful if her husband picked it up. And secondly there aren’t many women in this position!”

I don’t know what planet he was living on! My experience before and since has demonstrated that this is a very common situation that many women face, and most of them wouldn’t leave a book around if they thought that it would increase rather than lessen tension in their marriage. However I couldn’t argue and normally would have been sufficiently discouraged to close the door on the project.
 But God … Once again He kept reminding me of Doreen and the things she had shared, and so I approached a second small publisher. This time there was cautious encouragement. “ We agree that there is a need.”,” they said “Write the book … and we’ll see.”
Exciting stuff! But where on earth could I begin?

I prayed and as I did so, I realised that I now knew a few people who had been vocal at the Coffee Morning and to whom I could talk. I discovered women’s groups in various churches, whose members were prepared to fill in questionnaires – and pass them on to others. One group met in a country farmhouse and recorded their answers to the questions I’d asked. I believe that statistically you’re lucky if you get around a 10% response to questionnaires. I must have had about 50% returned. I was in business.
It was only a little book. 25,000 or so words long. But it was published and women pounced on it. It was published in America and sold some 75,000 copies in 12 years. Suddenly I was an ‘expert!’   But that book wasn’t the only fruit …!
Do you remember that old hymn ‘O Love that will not let me go’… In it is the line ‘I trace the rainbow through the rain.’ What rainbows can you trace, especially if you have written something short or long? I’d love to hear about it.


  1. Thank you for this post Marion. I love this story - it's so encouraging. I try to trace rainbows through the rain. Instead of focussing on areas of perceived failure, I turn to what is positive, life-enhancing, joyful. For instance, it is easy to be discouraged as a blogger; so far I've received few online responses (apart from a post on Susan Boyle). And yet I keep meeting people I know (friends/family/acquaintances) who say to me "I love your blog." They are not responding online, but I know they exist! I feel as if I am making an impact "on my tribe" though this journey I'm on seems never-ending. I will remember your image of "rainbows through the rain".

  2. This whole tribe/media platform/ social networking thing can assume nightmare proportions can't it Sheila. But the exciting thing is that God can take things and use them in a most unexpected way. Remember 'the sower went out to sow ...' You keep sowing and leave God with the harvest! I'll be coming to your blog later in the week and I promise to leave a comment!