Eight years into marriage, I decided I was ready to write my first book…. A manuscript that now rests on my bookshelf, collecting dust, waiting to be rewritten.
The book was about marriage and some of the difficult adjustments I went through because of my past. The kind of thing abuse victims would understand, and anyone who had a difficult childhood, or youth. I wrote about Dad. About always wanting to be his princess, his little girl, but being lost in a world of fear.
I wrote about discovering that I am my Heavenly Father’s Princess. That my Abba Father–the Daddy I always longed for–holds me in His heart. That He is proud of me. He adores me. And when my life is full of chaos, He quiets my restless spirit with His love, and sings over me with delight. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I knew no one back then, in the publishing world. I didn’t even know published authors I could contact. That’s when I remembered David Meece. Maybe, just maybe, he would endorse my book. He would most definitely understand my story and support me in getting it out.
I sent an email through David Meece’s website, asking if he might consider reading my manuscript and doing an endorsement.
His manager, Ladelle Peabody, from Tuscan Arizona, wrote back. She would pass the request on to David. In the meantime, would I consider meeting her in Toronto? She would be in for a visit soon.
Of course I would meet her! It felt odd. I, a plain Mennonite girl, meeting David Meece’s manager. Oh, and would I bring her a copy of the manuscript? She had connections at Waterbrook Press.
Would I? Seriously? Of course! I couldn’t believe it!
The day I met with Ladelle is forever etched in my memory. A young Mennonite school girl, about age twelve or thirteen, was kidnapped about five minutes away from our home, on our road. She was raped and returned to her family later that day.
Rage. Deep and dark.
I had to drive past the scene of the crime on my way to Tim’s work, before heading to Toronto. That day, in my little white bonnet and all, I discovered just how much buried rage bubbled below the surface, like a volcano waiting to erupt.
When I arrived at Tim’s work, having passed the scene of the crime only moments earlier, tears stained my face.
“I swear I would have shot him, if I had seen the rapist and had a gun. How can someone take an innocent little Mennonite girl and rape her?” I raged for a few moments, trying to wrap my head around it. I felt guilty then… How unChristian of me… And here I was, trying to publish a book about overcoming the past. A book to help people in marriage.
It felt hypocritical. More so than it was, really. I’ve learned since that the anger we feel when someone is victimized isn’t so bad, if managed well. Maybe pulling a gun isn’t the best first response, but the anger itself isn’t so bad. It will always be there. Innocent children should not be taken advantage of. No one should.
I met with Ladelle. She was a delightful, enthusiastic, Jesus-believer with a strong passion for youth. She shared of her involvement with Teen Challenge Arizona and her heart for helping people. She would take my manuscript and get it directly into the hands of the editor at Waterbrook Press. I thanked her, gave her the manuscript and we parted ways.
Several months later, on December 28, 2002, I got a polite ‘no thank you’ letter from Waterbrook. They were publishing another book too similar, they said. The editor wrote some nice comments about my book, about my writing style and wished me well.
I wasn’t ready for that world. The rejection cut deep. My story. Raw. Real. Painful.
….and rejected. Not good enough. I closed the pain down, steeled myself against the disappointment and threw a big party. Nothing like a good time to shut down the heart.
But God wasn’t finished. The closing chapter of my story with Dad was untold. And the manuscript was premature.
Overlapping with this writing journey, my father had been in and out of the hospital, and the rest of that story had yet to be written, let alone lived. And that part of Dad’s journey would change my story.
To Be Continued….
© Trudy Metzger
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