As I am in the process (at the time of this writing) of editing my book He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness, I’m realizing more and more exactly what this book is… and more than that, what it isn’t.
For example, it isn’t all-comprehensive. If I thought that I’d run out of things to talk about on the topic of faith in chronic illness for teens, I was wrong. If I thought that by writing this book, I’d be ready to move on to other topics, I was mistaken. This topic is SO huge.
When I began writing this book, I had a list of ideas for perhaps 12 chapters, fit neatly into 3-4 sections. Well… that outline only ended up stretching into about 3 total chapters. But that’s okay. Because the deeper I dove into this topic, the more I found that needed to be addressed and talked about.
Now it was about finding the core ideas and themes that could be applied to the multitudes of varying situations, struggles, and emotions that arise from chronic or long-term illnesses. Finally, I came to the end and discovered that unlike fiction authors, nonfiction authors don’t get to type those magical two words, “The End”. I almost wanted to rebel and write them anyway.
But the thing is, life doesn’t end. For many, illness doesn’t end in this life on earth. And faith surely doesn’t end. So that idea was kicked out the window. Thought the book may come to an end, I’m beginning to realize that it will probably never actually come to an end. Not really.
Lately, I’ve been reading a few other books written by some amazing authors on the subject of faith in chronic illness. As I do so, I realize all over again just how non-comprehensive my book is. I’ve prayed over and over again that God would guide my writing. I’ve prayed that He would not allow even a single word in it that is not supposed to be there, and that nothing would be missing that needs to be addressed or shared. I’m still praying that. But I know that my book is still just a tiny band-aid stuck on top of a huge gash. And you know what? That’s okay. Because no matter how weak I am, God is stronger. No matter how big that gash is, His love runs deeper and further. And if my book can bring even a little hope, healing, and clarity to people’s hearts, it is worth it.
The second thing that my book is not is that it’s not about practical treatments or tips or life hacks. I did not include AIP recipes or tips for dealing with joint pain. I did not talk about what the best treatment plan is for Lyme disease or mold poisoning or MCS, even though I do have very strong opinions in those areas.
This isn’t because I think that a book about those things wouldn’t be tremendously helpful. It’s because first of all, I felt called to write a book about faith in illness for teenagers more than I felt called to write practical tips and advice. There are so many books about the best treatment options and alternative health tips… and I didn’t feel that I was qualified to write one at this time. That is for other authors right now. To be honest, I also don’t really like sourcing that type of research. This is just a selfish personal preference, but I find it tedious. I love to share tips with friends, and sometimes here on this blog, but write a book? You know how many people will disagree and nitpick over every little point? It doesn’t sound that fun to me.
Also… my understanding of medicine and the human body is constantly changing. I realize far too often how frequently I make the wrong decisions and choices without knowing better to try and advice others right now.
That isn’t to say that a book like that isn’t desperately needed. But that’s just not what I’m called to do at this moment.
However…. (okay, I’m about to let you in on a secret, all right? Can you keep it for me? Shh!!!) That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing a book in the future that touches on more practical things. My book does not focus on any one chronic illness but just focuses on faith in them all. In the near future, though, I sincerely hope that I will write another book that will change that. I want to write a book about what it is like to specifically go through mold poisoning… and I’ll be honest, that might also include some implications of what I think are the best treatments. (I know, I know, very vague, but that’s all you’re getting for now 😉 )
The third thing that my book is not is that it’s not for caregivers and friends. This book is for Christian teenagers navigating faith in God through chronic illness. Hold on, let me explain.
I’m not trying to say that only chronically ill Christian teens are allowed to read this book. Not at all. I’m not saying that friends or caregivers shouldn’t read this book. In fact, I sincerely think that they definitely should read this book, because it will help them to understand their chronically ill charges and loved ones so much more.
But the truth is, I did not write this book for them. I know that many of my readers will probably not fit my very specific target demographic exactly, if at all. And that’s totally fine. I just didn’t write this book for them. Obviously, I wrote this book for God, of course. But I also wrote this with a very specific target audience in mind.
Throughout this book, I tried to write to that audience exclusively. So I do not spend a ton of time explaining to caregivers how we think or telling friends how to best be there for their suffering friend. (Though perhaps that’s another future book idea, who knows?)
With that said, I still think that it will help with those things, and will help anyone understand those of us who are chronically ill. It’s just not written in intentionally. (I also want to point out again, that though that isn’t what this book is, it definitely would make a great book that so many would appreciate I think. There are actually several I’ve come across about that very topic. So if you’re disappointed that I’m not writing about that, don’t despair. Just look it up on Amazon. They are there already. 😉 )
I hope you enjoyed this post! I can’t wait to share this book with you as the time for publication comes ever closer! For your enjoyment, here are some quote pictures from the book. Please note, I’m still editing, and these are just teasers… they may or may not actually make it into the final cut in the actual book. 🙂