My dad is reading Spiritual Misfit. He called me yesterday to tell me he’s on chapter seven, and that he’s only reading one chapter a day in order to savor it. Isn’t that sweet? He said he loves it. Of course, he has to say that, right, because he’s my dad?
But my dad also told me that this is the book he needed to read several years ago, when he was lost and floundering and struggling to make sense out of the mystery of faith. Those words? They took my breath away, because I know exactly what my dad means. Spiritual Misfit is the book I needed to read seven or eight years ago, too.
When I first began the slow turn back to faith I looked long and hard for a book that would speak to my particular version of lost. I was so lost, I didn’t even know where or how to begin. I didn’t know how to know God, and I didn’t know for sure if he even existed. I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t know how to do church. I didn’t know how to read the Bible. I didn’t even know how to purchase a Bible.
I needed a how-to book — a how-in-the-world-do-you-find-faith book — and I spent a lot of time in the Christian Inspiration section in Barnes and Noble looking for that book.
But such a book didn’t exist — or if it did, I couldn’t find it. So I wrote my own.
It took me a while to realize that’s what I was doing. As I navigated each step of my spiritual journey, I wrote about it, and soon, I had 50 pages, and then 100 and then 200. When I finally finished the first draft after more than two years, I had written 104,594 words – 299 pages (just to give you an idea of how much that is, the final version of the book is about 67,000 words – feel free to send my editor a thank you note for that.). I titled it Graceful: A Quest for Faith, because that’s what the book was for me: a quest to know God, to believe in him, and to know I was loved by him and full of his grace. Grace-full.
A lot of the first draft material didn’t make it into the final version, but that was okay – I needed to write every word of that original manuscript. God needed me to write every word of that original manuscript.
I found God and faith in part through writing this book; God brought me back to him through writing this book. And, as it turned out, I also wrote the book I needed to read but couldn’t find at the time.
Spiritual Misfit isn’t a how-to book. I can’t tell someone how to find faith, which is probably why I couldn’t find such a book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble eight years ago. What I can do, though, is explain how I found faith, and hope that a piece of my story sparks another person’s turn toward God.
Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory.