Today I had the distinct pleasure of writing a Foreword for the first time in my life. I have no idea if Tyndale the book publisher who is handling the No Greater Love book for us will use this like it is or if they are going to edit it a whole bunch, but I have to say that this was really fun to do!
It was sort of like taking all that you had poured your heart into for months and summing it up and calling out all of the emotions that you felt while writing. It made me really excited about the book again.
I am not sure if I am going to get in trouble for doing this, but I really wanted to share with you what I wrote for the foreword. So here it is!
This book does not end well, or rather it ends just the way it should, but not the way I wanted it to. When I started writing things were different, then changed. What I thought was going to be a book about past struggles and more recent victories turned instead into a book about deep painful transitions and learning to understand the deep redeeming love of God no matter what you face.
I am told by my editors that this is just the sort of thing people love to read, yet good reading and fun to live are two very different things indeed. Few of the stories in this book are things that I will one day recount around a fire pit with friends and say, “Good times!” instead I am more likely to end up in a heap of tears while my marshmallow is eaten by the flames.
When I think back to this time in our families life, the drastic transitions, the mistakes, the frustrating unknowns, I see only one thing, God. Covering mistakes, Holding our hands. Forgiving blunders. Reaching deep into our hearts and healing, and for that I am thankful.
This is not a book about someone who has it all together, or even someone who learned every lessons life had to teach in a short span of time and has now grown-up and moved on. This is the book of a man who is a work in progress, one that will never be completed.
To be honest I hesitated many times during the writing this book, struggled with the fear that not only would this book not be received well, but for the few who dared pick it up and leaf it’s pages, I would forever be known as the failure, the man they have nightmares about their kids growing up to be like. It seemed with each passing chapter I wrote, served to uncover more of my own missteps, learning in the perfect clarity of hindsight that I truly had done a heck of a job screwing things up. In the end, or at least for today, I rest in the conclusion that I would rather be known as the fool who told his own story, mistakes an all, in hopes that others would be encouraged knowing they could always hold me up as an example and say.
“At least I am not as messed up as that guy!”
Tomorrow however is certain to bring a tsunami of regret over having opened up so deeply in a book for all to read.
Such is life.
When you read about the tribes, about the beautiful people who live in the deep south of Ethiopia, and hear of the sometimes strange sounding culture, please understand that these are some of the most beautiful, wonderful people who have ever walked this earth. Do not be tempted to judge them by the seemingly horrible things that they do to their children. Know that not one of them would ever wish that their child die for any reason, they feel the same way that any other parent living in any other place in the world would, they love their kids to no end. But they live in fear of something that to them is just as real as the earth they walk on. Please read this book with an open mind and try to see them as God does-children of his, and I am sure that you will learn to love the people from the tribes just as we have.
One more thing. As you read this book, my greatest hope is that you come to see one truth. God needs no heroes to work for Him, He chooses the broken, the weary, the torn-apart, the weak. If He ever used our family in these stories, it was in spite of us not because of us.