I had SUCH FUN on Saturday night launching my book, If Only out into the world.
Because of COVID, and the ever-changing restrictions around in-person gatherings, I decided a few weeks ago to hold an entirely online event, and I’m so glad I did! It meant that my brother in California, and friends from two or three other US states were able to join, as were friends from the Netherlands, Scotland and other places that would have been difficult to travel from just for an evening.
The event took place on Zoom (using my church’s account – thanks, Grace London!), and I think we had 57 different individuals, couples and groups logging in (another advantage: I didn’t have to worry about providing refreshments for that many people!). My friend Hannah was my ‘tech support’ co-host for the evening, muting people if there was too much background noise, picking out the competition winners and taking screenshots so I could look back afterwards and see everyone’s faces.
I asked my friend and fellow author and editor Amy Boucher Pye to interview me, and she asked some brilliant questions that really helped me unpack the message of the book:
Talk to us about what you call the contentment gap – in your own life, and in the lives of others.
When we feel God has let us down, our reflexive response is to ask him ‘Why?’ Please share what you found in your deep dive into Scripture about how God answers these questions.
So what are you hoping people will take away from this book – why did you write it?
Want to know the answers? Watch this video of the interview:
There was a competition to win a signed copy of the book (In what year were bananas first sold in England? The closest guess was 9 years out, the furthest, 600 years out!), encouraging words from my editor, Rachel Jones and authors Claire Musters and Andrew and Rachel Wilson, Q&A from the guests, prayer for the book and its impact, and at last, a ribbon cutting ceremony declaring the book officially open.
In the book I relay a conversation I had with a friend once in which she said, “And of course, God’s way often turns out to be best after all.” She immediately caught what she’d said and we commented how that is what we often think, deep down. Although we know that God’s plan is perfect and intended for his glory and our flourishing, if we’re honest, when faced with difficult decisions around whether to trust him and obey his commands, we often find it hard to believe that they really are the best option.
It could have looked as though the coronavirus was putting obstacles in my way, making me take a second-best option for the book launch, and making things worse than they could have been. But actually, I had a brilliant time, with far more people able to come than ‘normal life’ would have allowed, and with far fewer variables to have to juggle on the night. God’s way turned out to be best after all. Who knew?!
If Only: Finding joyful contentment in the face of lack and longing is available now in the UK, the US and Australia from the Good Book Company and all your favourite book shops: