Either you love them or hate them. I used land on the “love them” side.  Perhaps it’s because surprises are so rare. Friends spill the beans on “surprise parties”.  Siblings slip up with birthday gifts.  Friends post spoilers about our favorite show on social media. 

A real surprise is hard to come by these days, unless you find out you are expecting a baby three days prior to your tubal ligation.  That, my friends, is a real surprise.  With four children, the youngest being eight, this was not in my plans. So I guess you could say I was pretty surprised! So surprised, in fact, that I threw the pregnancy test at my husband while yelling something along the lines of “YOUUUUU did this to me!” 

Several months ago, because of my “surprise” I felt God was calling me to stop and be still for a season. With a broken heart I announced that I had stopped pursuing a publishing contract for my book, FOG Rising. I wondered if this vision I had would ever really happen. I second-guessed all the nights I had lay in bed several years ago and heard God calling me to write this message. Was it all really for nothing? Is it possible that I actually would never finish this project that I started? Was being an author something just happened to other people? 

As I prayed and wondered, God delivered a new surprise. 

Literally days after my last message to all of you, I spoke to a publisher who felt like my book was a perfect fit. 

In a nutshell, here’s how it happened! 

I had used an online manual called “Eight Weeks to Authorship”. Once I wrote the book, I asked an author friend to recommend someone to help me edit my manuscript.  She recommended a woman named Erin Casey.  Erin has years of experience editing and owns her own publishing company AND, she actually wrote the manual I had used. This all seemed too good to be true! God was flinging doors wide opened! 

Erin and I talked and I decided that her publishing company, which focused mainly on children’s books, wasn’t the right fit for me. I must have misunderstood God. Fast-forward two years and about a million dead ends and detours later. I reached back out to Erin to talk to her again about publishing. 

Honestly, I was completely lost and had no idea where to go. I remembered as a child, my mom telling me, if you get lost, come back to the last place where you last saw me. So, I went back to square one, the place where I last remembered seeing God in this journey. Erin.  

 Erin shared her plans to open Courageous Heart Press, a non-profit publishing company that would focus on Christian women. She extended me an offer to be one of the first authors represented by Courageous Heart Press. Of course I said yes! It was a perfect fit!  But because they were non-profit and awaiting some documents, there were still many unknowns. She told me she would follow up when she knew more.  Several months passed, nothing. 

Cautiously optimistic, I sent you all a message telling you it was time for me to “pause”.  In my depths, I wasn’t sure that I would ever get the chance to publish my book.  But as God has done time and time again, He delivered the desire of my heart. 

Erin called! Courageous Heart Press was up and ready to go I gladly accepted this sweet surprise! It was almost as if God was saying “I just needed you to admit that this project is mine and on my timeline.” 

We are officially scheduled to launch the book in early May! My hope is that this Mother’s Day women across the country…ok, maybe just across town, will be getting a copy of my book as a gift. It may be used as coaster or a cute filler on display for their built-ins, but it’s MY book, the one that God called me to write! So I guess maybe it’s His book. Sorry God, still learning! My prayer is that just one woman will read it and it may change the course of her life just a little bit. 

As for my surprises, well, they may have surprised me, but God was not surprised.  He not only knew I would be a mother of five, but he also knew I would be pissed when I found out about it.  Yes, Christian women get pissed and they even say it because no other word conveys that feeling quite the same. He also knew what great joy this little man would bring into our home.  He knew that little Cooper Bradley would bring out the best in the Hales even though the pregnancy may have brought out the worst in me. 

God also knew that editing and writing is emotional and that I didn’t need more emotions during my pregnancy. Once again I am reminded of His perfect timing. 

His perfect timing isn’t just about me though. Its about those who might read my book before they set their water glass on it. I may never know who will need this message, but the timing will be perfect.  

As for the surprises in this season of my life, lets just say, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve journaled even more and I have tons of content for a new project.   

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