I recently went to a writers' conference in Marshall, Texas, and met with an editor from a publishing company to discuss the book I've been working on about my experience with postpartum depression. I worked hard on the book chapter I sent him in advance and on a synopsis of the book I brought to the conference. By the day before the conference, I was finished writing, and my most pressing concern was deciding what to wear, especially to meet with the editor.
At my moms-and-boys playgroup, I got input from my friends and finalized this crucial decision. I went home and laid out two outfits: casually dressy, comfortably professional writer-ish clothes. No need to pack them in my suitcase, where they would get crushed. I would drive in my t-shirt and shorts and change at the motel before going to the conference. In other words, I had it all planned out.
Soon afterwards, I packed the car and left. An hour and a half later, I realized that I was halfway to Marshall and had everything except the clothes I had planned to wear.
For a moment, I was quite distressed. Then, I realized: This is an adventure. God does not want me to wear my t-shirt and shorts to this conference, I am quite sure, so he has a plan. I grew excited wondering how God would provide, because I had no idea how it would work out. It seemed unlikely that Marshall would have much to offer, sartorially speaking, and I did not have much time to shop. I drove past the exit for Tyler, where I knew there were plenty of stores but not close to the highway.
Around Kilgore, I saw a sign for Walmart, 3 miles from the highway. One of my friends in the playgroup that morning had been wearing a cute little tennis outfit. When I commented on it, she said she'd gotten it from Walmart. I figured it was worth a try.
The Kilgore Walmart is far nicer than our nearby Walmart: bright, big, inviting, and they had cute clothes, cheap. It didn't take me long to find two nice tops and a pair of black pants. I'll be happy to wear them again. Yea, God. He really came through.
The next morning, I met with the editor and he slammed my book idea. "We don't publish autobiographies unless they're of famous people -- stores don't buy them," he said. "Rewrite your chapter to focus on postpartum depression, not your experience of it." I argued with him about it -- probably not the best way to respond, but I felt so disappointed.
I've spent several months working on this book. I had it all planned out. I don't want to write a different book. Now I don't know how it will work out. I feel rather more discouraged than excited to see what will happen. It's easy to trust God with clothes; will I also trust him with the book? "Be anxious for nothing." I am sure that God wants me to comfort others with the comfort I received while I was depressed. Now I am working on looking at this unexpected turn as an adventure, an opportunity for God to lead me in better ways. God's ways are always much more humbling than my plans. In his Plan, humility is much more important than success.