Some of you will remember Natalie Wickham, the homeschool grad, writer, and piano teacher whose expertly self-published book Pajama School I reviewed here. Natalie is writing and publishing again, this time as a co-author, in a venture she calls the Streams of Mercy Series. The first book, Born to Deliver, is currently touring blogs–including this one :).
Born to Deliver, written by Kathy Brace with Natalie Wickham, is based on Kathy’s true story. More info can be found at www.borntodeliver.com.
I asked Natalie to tell me how she and Kathy came to write together. Her answer was this fascinating story of the genesis, not just of one book, but of an entire series:
The summer of 2009 I began reading the blog of a woman whose husband was suffering from a debilitating disease. It had plagued his body for the last fifteen years, and now his death grew imminent. As I read the overflow of the heart of this devoted wife, I was deeply moved and inspired by the respect and love she expressed for her husband. One morning after reading her latest post I thought, “This is what people need to be reading!” Suddenly, the vision was birthed in my heart to write her story as an inspiration to others. I had no idea if the vision was from God or not, but I began praying about the possibility. As I prayed, the Lord expanded my vision to write not just one, but a series of stories about real people, experiencing real life, and learning what real love is. It would be called the Streams of Mercy series from the lyrics of the well-known hymn by Robert Robertson:
“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.”
For the next year and a half I continued praying about this dream, wondering if, how, and when the Lord wanted me to pursue it. In January of 2011 I received a Facebook message from Kathy Brace. We knew each other a little bit through many mutual friends and because she was the midwife who delivered my younger brother fourteen years earlier. She had read my book, Pajama School, and was impressed with it, so she was wondering if I could give her some pointers on publishing a book that she was working on. After several messages back and forth we decided that it would be best to meet in person so I could share with her more about the publishing process.
A week later Kathy and her daughter, Brandi, and I met for lunch and began discussing her book. As she shared her vision for telling the story of her past and God’s redemption from many generations of destructive choices, we realized that what she was really looking for was someone to help write her story. And as I told her of the book series idea God had placed on my heart more than a year before, we realized His incredible timing in orchestrating our meeting and preparing us to work together on this project. We committed the following week to prayer and seeking counsel from a few others and were soon convinced that God was leading us forward.
For the next nearly two years, Kathy and I developed a close friendship as we spent many hours thinking, talking, praying, and working together on the book the Lord has now brought to fruition: Born to Deliver. We are still amazed at how He prepared both of us in so many ways to embark on this journey together! And even though there have been numerous challenges along the way, God has faithfully walked with us and taught us so much. We wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, and we are eager to see what He has in store for the future!
As for Kathy, her heart for her readers is clear. I invite you to join the following conversation as we explore Kathy’s story, the messages she hopes to convey, and her future plans as a writer.
What made you decide to write the book?
Kathy: In September, 2010, I was helping a family with a birth. I had helped with several of their previous births as well. They were asking how I became a midwife and why on earth I wanted to continue doing it. I shared part of my story with them, and the mom encouraged me to write it down. She said it was an amazing story that God could use to help others. A few other people had said similar things, so I began seriously pondering it. A year and a half later, the same mom called in need of my midwifery services again. However, she also told me that her unmarried daughter was pregnant. She remembered part of my story and wanted to know the rest. That was the catalyst that broke down my pride and made me realize that as hard as it might be, if I would share my story it could provide hope and help for families going through similar situations.
What do you hope that readers take away from the book?
Kathy: Several things:
1. No matter what you’ve done in your life, God’s grace is sufficient. He has a purpose for your life and wants to use you. He loves you and wants to help you.
2. I want young girls to see the consequences of wrong choices. Stop and think. The media and the world are giving a very false message to young women.
3. Families are so important! The best thing parents can do is provide a strong, loving family and environment for their children
Is the book about midwifery?
Kathy: No, it’s not. Even though it’s the story of what led me to become a midwife, it doesn’t talk much about midwifery.
Do you have any more books planned for the future?
Kathy: Maybe. I have some ideas, but we’ll see what God has in store!
How can men and/or fathers benefit from reading your story?
Kathy: A young man’s actions can devastate a girl’s life. I hope that young men will understand how important their role is in a girl’s life by choosing to either treat her with respect, or to use her for his own satisfaction. Fathers, in particular, have the incredible opportunity to provide their daughters with a strong, supportive, affirming male relationship. They, above all people, should be the ones showing their daughters what to look for and expect from their relationships with other men.
What general advice would you give to young girls who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy?
Kathy: The biggest message I want to share is that children are a blessing, not a curse. A baby is never the consequence of sin. You have to dig deeper – find out what led you to believe that premarital sex would meet your needs. Once you’ve identified what drove you to make the decision to have premarital sex, you can start to deal with the real root problems. No matter what needs you feel, premarital sex is not the answer; abortion is not the answer. There is a lot at stake, and girls facing unplanned pregnancies need to be surrounded by people who love her, will talk openly with her, and give her godly counsel to make a wise decision.
Can you help us understand what it’s like for a birth mom to give her baby up for adoption?
Kathy: In my particular case, the hardest part about giving up my baby was that I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I had to pretend like it never happened. Harboring such a deep, personal secret was so damaging. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Secrecy doesn’t bring healing. Confessing your sin helps you work through the situation, move on with your life, and experience healing. There will always be heartache when you give up your own flesh and blood to someone else, but having supportive, open relationships with others who will help you walk through each step of the decision can make all the difference in the world.