It’s not a cop-out. It’s not overly spiritual. It’s just the truth. He did.

I’ll do my best here to paint a picture as to why and how I know that to be true but I will honestly do absolutely no justice to what it was and has been like to walk out this truth and watch His hand move in ways I couldn’t even imagine not only in the process of writing this book and now launching it but in my life in its entirety.

I’ll have to break this up into a two to three part series as it’s late, I’m tired and honestly I just need some of this to sink in a bit more as I am still processing so much of it myself.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had a lot of questions about this book process and how it al began and, even more recently, as I am interviewing, most folks wanna know how in the world I ended up with a book deal, how I didn’t self-publish and how I went about achieving what many perceive as success.

DISCLAIMER: I have to say, before I really begin to lay all of this out, that I do not intend to take on an air of ungratefulness or sound as though I do not appreciate the opportunity to share my voice, gifts and talents with the world. It is an honor and even more, a blessing to be able to do so. My intention here is that you will get a “behind the curtain” peek at what life has been like for me, the real and raw emotions I’ve dealt with as we close in on release for the book and how I am choosing each and every day to believe in what I have been called to and have full faith that I will see tangible fruit from the journey. This is not a ploy for self-deprication or sympathy in any way but my hope is that by sharing just a bit of my journey, I will aid in encouraging some of you out there to dive head first into your own. Now that we have that out of the way…

Many of you know that I lost my mama almost five years ago and, needless to say, it was a devastatingly dark time for me. If you’ve followed my journey since that time you’ll remember my writing about it and how much that loss affected me in both a very natural but also a very spiritual way.

One thing that I haven’t shared here is something that happened on that day that would, at the time, seem pretty trivial and downright inconsiderate to me but, in time, I learned that it was just the intentional and relentless pursuit of God in and over my life, once again.

As I lay there, within minutes of receiving the news that my mama had passed away, I heard God speak something to me that I decided I should tuck away for a more convenient time. I heard Him say, “ This is part of your story. You are going to write a book.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it was just me. You’re thinking I totally thought to myself that I was going to write a book and that it would be about my mama and her passing and I’d talk about the day and I’d rehearse all of the memories and how the brokenness of my story collides with the beauty and the grace of God.

If you’re thinking that, it’s okay. I understand because I, too, vacillated between believing that I’d truly heard from God and that I was making things up in my head.

The truth of the matter is that, deep down, I knew it was Him.

It was a voice that was familiar to me. I knew what it felt like to have His nudges quake every fiber of my being and leave behind the visual evidence of the resonation. It happened that day for me. There was no denying that in the darkest moment I have ever experienced, God met me there.

While I didn’t understand at the time just how impactful or significant this would be, little by little , the memory of that day began to slowly fade in as time passed and, even more, that moment of promise.

I’d get stuck in traffic and I was reminded. I was triggered by something and prompted to start notes or write about it in my journal. I’d get caught up with a line of song in my head while showering and He’d tell me that the verse had deeper impact and that would lead me to a scripture or passage that reminded me and I’d have this burning to desire to WRITE ABOUT IT. These desires increased and instead of running away from them as I’d so often wanted to before; I ran toward them. I leaned in.

Approximately 3 years after my mom’s death, some shedding away of what Restoration House had looked like and what I thought it would be, I got an email. Wanna hear something even more wild? I ‘just happened’ to be checking an old address that I had and ‘just happened‘ to see it.

The email was from someone at my now publisher Harper/Zondervan inquiring about whether I’d ever thought about writing a book. She went on to explain how she’d followed my blog for a while and thought I had great potential. She even complimented me saying she loved my writing and that she’d love to follow-up with a phone call.

I’d love to say that I was SO excited and that it just confirmed what I’d been waiting for my entire life but it didn’t. I shoved my laptop away in disbelief thinking that it was a hoax or prank and that someone had to be fooling me. I can’t really explain why I responded that way.

Maybe it was partly because, if you’re like me, somehow we’re always shocked when God actually does what He says He is gonna do. Go figure.

I think an even bigger part of me didn’t want anything to do with any parts of writing a book but there was a teeny tiny part of me that was intrigued and wondered what it would be like to say yes to this and so, as you now know, I responded in kind. We set up a call to speak with one another within the following days and the details get blurry from there but, well, here we are.

Listen, friends, this isn’t something that I’d dreamt of my entire life. I started a blog because I wanted to sell refurbished furniture pieces and somehow it transformed into my sharing stories of hope and encouragement and tying it all into home. I’m being so candid here but if I am SUPER honest (and I want to be) I don’t even know how this happened.

We hear so much about hustling and working and striving and going for what we want and I’m all for those things in doses but throughout this process it has become more and more apparent to me that if God wants to open a door, He is going to do it and I can work my fingers to the bone to make something happen or make a connection or open up an opportunity but all of that pales in comparison to just striving to listen to him, hustling to position myself to hear His voice and working WITH Him to accomplish whatever seasonal goals I may have for HIS glory, not mine. It just has to be that way. Otherwise, I just get in the way and we all know that’s a disaster. I’ve been there way too many times to count.

I don’t want to say, “I did it!” “Look at what I did!”

I want to be able to say I did what He asked me to do, moved out of the way and that He did the rest.

Hear my heart, there’s something to be said for hard work and goal setting and planning and all the things (I come from a long line of hard workers) and yes, so many people succeed in this world doing just that but I’d like to imagine what it would be like to just do what He asks and nothing more.

I am curious and intrigued, even, by the thought of what my idea of success would be or what it would look like to set old ways of thinking about success and toxic mindsets to the side and dedicate my every move in all of this to Him. What does would it look like to truly acknowledge Him in all my ways and allow Him to fully and completely direct my path?

I’ve been called a free spirit more times than I’d probably like to be honest but in this case, I think I’m ok with that.

Join me for part two on Monday (the day before book release…eek!). I can’t wait to share more of this with you and some practicals of how you may be able to walk out some hard things that you’re working for in your own journey right now.

Tune in, tomorrow, as we explore Erin Francois’s sweet retreat (@francois_et_moi)