My book launched on April 16th (yaaaaaaaay!) I've been waiting for this day for a really long time -- waiting to write a book for most of my life, waiting to publish this specific book for the past 14 months, since I originally got the book deal.
The morning of the launch, I woke up at 3:30 a.m., got ready, and drove to my office for a national radio tour (you have to use a land line for radio interviews because cell phone connections are unreliable.) At 4:30 a.m. I was live, on air, on the east coast. And for the next five hours, in 19 cities across the country, I did interviews about the book.
I went to my job and worked all afternoon, and then in the evening, my church threw me a book launch party in an art studio in downtown Portland. The day, from start to finish, was 19 hours long.
The next morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for more radio interviews. I woke up thinking, It's pretty crazy when waking up at 4:30 feels like sleeping in. I did more early-morning interviews, and then worked for 12 hours.
The next day, I was totally exhausted. I took a walk on my lunch break, and while I was walking, I prayed for strength and energy and grace. And I prayed for a sign.
I don't often ask God for signs, because I'm very rational and somewhat cynical, and what if God doesn't want to give you a sign? But this day I was wiped out -- not to mention nervous about the book launch, wondering what was going to happen next. So I took a walk through a park and prayed. As I was praying, I noticed that someone had written affirmations in sidewalk chalk on the paved path. I stepped in and around the words as I walked the path that circles the park.
I love you. You can do this. You matter. You're a rock star, said the sidewalk chalk.
And all the while I was asking God to show me a sign. Show me you're with me, that I can launch a book, that you're going to give me the energy for early morning hours and long days, I prayed.
As I was leaving the park, I had to walk up several flights of brick stairs. Every other step had another affirmation written on it in sidewalk chalk.
You're fabulous. Go get 'em, tiger. You're awesome. You matter.
And it finally hit me, as I was treading on the words, that this was my sign. This was God's way of telling me to breathe and rest and enjoy the journey because He was right there with me.
As I walked back to my office, I remembered a quote I read by Paul Miller this week, that the only criteria for coming to God is to be weary. "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden," Jesus said.
When we're weary, when we're tired, when the road ahead of us seems longer than we can go, God is there, encouraging us every step of the way (even if it's with something as simple as sidewalk chalk!), reminding us that He's walking with us. Whispering to us that everything's going to be okay.