It is just after 1:30 in the morning as I am beginning the first installment of the I Shall Not Die Blog. This particular online journal is being created primarily to keep me on task with this charge that God has given me to write my first nonfiction ministerial tool, I Shall Not Die. All I can say is that this is turning into a much bigger assignment than I first thought it would be, and any time that we move forward to fulfill the work of God, we can also expect the enemy to do his part to try and produce stumbling blocks along the way. And need I say that he has already begun trying to trip me up.
I wrote my first public thoughts about I Shall Not Die, the pending book, in my Blessed2Write Blog just over a week ago on October 5th, and I won't tell the whole story of this vision and God-ordained charge all over again. But there has been so much spiritual (as in evil spirit) adversity that has come my way already, that I felt compelled to create this blog to keep a record of all of the noteworthy things that may happen en route to fulfilling this assignment.
The full acknowledgement and acceptance of God's will for I Shall Not Die (the book) came shortly before this year's launching of Cruisin' For Christ. I knew long before that that God was ordering me to write the book, but I'd fought it for years. However, at some point in the month of August, I gave up the fight and told the Lord that as soon as I cleared my plate of some of the my current writing and editing deadlines, I would begin this project. Cruisin' For Christ III took place Sept. 5-12, and it was phenomenal! God truly blessed our week long at-sea fellowship, but immediately upon returning home, I learned that while I was away, there had been some suspicious activity on my business account, and as a result, the bank had frozen my account, hindering me from paying any of my outstanding obligations - both personal and business related. I was angry and I was hurt, but I was also determined not to let it throw me so far off course that I failed to honor my vow to the Lord.
Once I got caught up on my literary obligations, I made it a priority to move full steam ahead on I Shall Not Die. On October 5th, the date of my Blessed2Write blog entry, I began writing the book. Meanwhile, I made contact with the company who always designs the covers for the books published through KNB Publications LLC and requested that a cover be immediately designed for this new project so that I could begin promoting it at an event which was scheduled for October 10th. For the first time ever, the graphic designer was too busy to get to my project right away. Orders had her backed up so far that it would be a month before she could begin to work on the cover for I Shall Not Die. In all the years that I've worked with her, she has never needed more than two or three days to get cover samples to me. Coincidence? Maybe. But in my spirit, I felt that a strategically placed stumbling block had been laid in hopes of keeping me from having the cover ready in time. But I wouldn't accept defeat.
After taking a moment to gather my thoughts, God reminded me that He always has a ram in the bush (or in layman's terms, another option). One of my best girlfriends is married to a graphic artist, and althought I'd never had him to design a cover for me before, I sent him an email to see if he would take on the challenge of not only putting together a cover, but getting it done within a few short days. AJ3 Photography accepted my request without a pause, and two days later (half the time that I'd given him) he had sent me about ten cover samples to choose from. The first one I opened (see photo) nailed my unspoken vision with so much perfection that I wept. Because of the nature of this book, it is dearer to my heart than any of my previous writings, and to see how God worked through the graphic artist's hands (without me even giving him the details of what I was envisioning) was overwhelming. But the enemy wasn't finished harrassing me.
Those who know me well, know that I work long and late hours. I generally rise at 9:00 in the morning, and I don't go to bed until 2:30 or 3:00 the next morning. I'm full of energy and well-rested as long as I can get six hours or more of sleep per night. But since I said "Yes" to the Lord and set my sights on getting this particular book written, I can barely keep my eyes open throughout any given day. If there is such a thing as a "sleeping demon" it seems to have found its way to me. Each time I sit down to begin writing on I Shall Not Die, my eyelids become too heavy to fight the sleep, and if I lie down to catch a thirty-minute powernap, it easily turns into three hours of sound sleep. And even then, when I wake up, I'm still tired and groggy. This has been an every day occurence since I began writing the book. Whatever the reasons for all of these bizzare happenings, I am still determined to keep on keeping on. I won't give up. I won't be defeated. I won't be distracted. And I Shall Not Die!
The Women's conference last weekend (the event that I needed the cover image for) turned out wonderfully. Not only did God meet us there at the Clarion Airport Conference Center in Jacksonville, Florida, but he also inspired me to launch a full fledge "I Shall Not Die" ministry that expands beyond the pending book. And today, I sat down at the computer and followed His direction to build an "I Shall Not Die" Website that is specific to this newly birthed ministry. Please click on the link, visit the site, and consider becoming an ISND Vision Partner.
Admittedly, I have no idea where all of this is going to ultimately lead, but I know that as long as I listen to His voice and adhere to His divine instructions, it will be blessed. And I am excited to see how the hands of God will move next.