a new book—off script

Over the past eight months, people have asked me if I was going to write a book about this cancer experience. At first, my answer was to laugh and say, “probably not!” But the Lord overruled me. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve written a book personally. My writing time between then and now has primarily been invested into other projects for Striving Together. But yesterday, a book that I’ve worked on for the past five months went to press, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about it, if you can spare a moment.
Early in this trial I read several Christian books about hardship. They were helpful, but each one was lacking something. In one, I longed for the author to be more transparent about his own struggle. In one I felt that certain aspects of trials were completely overlooked. In all of them, they were written “after the trial.” In other words, the tough days were behind. I really wanted a book written by someone who didn’t know what the outcome would be—a book written from the middle of the trial. I couldn’t find that book.

That’s when the Lord put on my heart to write. I argued with Him about it. Who would read it? Why should my story matter? My trial is so small compared to those of many people I know. I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s too personal. I’m in the middle of it right now… maybe some day in the future. He continued to press my heart to obey. Every excuse was met with an answer I couldn’t resist—especially when God said, “You don’t know the outcome—what if this is the only chance you have to write about this? And what if this is one of the reasons I brought you into this trial?”

So, I started writing. Four chapters in, I quit. “I can’t do this,” I reasoned. I set it aside for a long time, but God kept nudging me to pick it back up and finish. He strongly impressed upon me to write before I knew the outcome—to write from within the storm. And so I wrote. (Small portions of it, you may have already read on this blog.)
It would be a major understatement to say that God has taught me a lot from His Word through this trial. The challenge was how to write about it concisely, transparently, and from the middle of a very weak and sickly time. Somehow, it happened, and frankly, I really have a hard time remembering how! (Chemo-brain!)
The title I couldn’t get away from was “OFF SCRIPT.” The Subtitle—”What to do when God rewrites your life.” The premise—ten decisions that will transform your perspective in the midst of your trial.
God takes all of our lives “off script” at one point or another, and what we decide in our off script seasons is HUGE for our future. The book is about 225 pages and shares ten chapters—each detailing a decision and a passage of Scripture that God used in my life over these past eight months.
More than a book about cancer, it’s primarily a book about rightly responding to any trial. It’s transparent, at many points comical, and hopefully encouraging. When I got done writing, I thought surely people are going to think this is stupid. So far, folks who have read it, enjoyed it.
I feel a bit uncomfortable with this post. I almost didn’t want to print this book for fear of people misunderstanding the spirit, the motives, or the heart behind it. But I pray that God will use it to encourage people to rightly and joyfully respond during seasons of suffering. And it would be silly not to try to let you know about it, after putting so much work into it.
It will be available in about a month (early July) at www.strivingtogether.com and shortly thereafter on Amazon in both hardback and for Kindle. I’ll post again when it’s available, and probably share a sample chapter with you. If you know someone in a trial, in might encourage them.
Thanks for giving me a moment to tell you about this. I hope it will be a blessing to you or to someone you love.
PS—We have several very helpful resources coming off the press soon for Striving Together Publications—so stay tuned!

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3 Responses to a new book—off script

  1. Linda Androvich says:

    I am looking forward to reading your book! I am just also wondering… have you continued your music in the midst of your trial? Would love to have a new piano book! I love your arrangements…

  2. Jocelyn Pethtel says:

    I absolutely can not wait to read your book. I will most likely buy 2 copies as I have a friend (35 year old mother of 2 small children) who is battling brain cancer right now. I’m sure she would be encouraged to read your book. Thanks for listening to God and writing this book even when you didn’t want to.

    • Agnes Huffmaster says:

      Bro. Schmidt, I feel like I missed out on the opportunity to be one of the first to read this. But I’m sure God will use this book to encourage people to press on during those “offscript” moments of life. Can’t wait to read it!

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