It took 2 years and 9 months (approximately 1,000 days) to get to this place on our journey, and then overnight, an amazing thing happened. Our destination was confirmed, and The Book about James debuted on Amazon as a #1 Best Seller and #1 Hot New Release on April 13-14, 2015.
The fourth book in my series, The Book about James, was written by Julia Gray. I initially approached her about my idea for the book in July, 2012. We’ve been working together ever since on this project which is very near and dear to both of us. It’s more apparent for others to see why it’s so close to Julia because she is James’s mother, and the book is about him. However, in some ways, I think it was even closer to my heart because I had to find a way to make this book all that she had hoped and prayed it would be. If it was not a success, it would have been like never reaching the promised land, and I feared I would have failed both Julia and her precious James.
Success to us was not that it would become a best seller, but rather simply stated, that God would be glorified throughout the pages. I had a vision for the book, and Julia trusted me completely to lead her down this very uncertain road of writing and publishing. I could not fail her, and more importantly, I knew I would have to trust the Lord to lead me as I should go because Julia was following right behind me. Suffice it to say our faith was tested, but we never faltered. As Julia wrote in her reflections at the end of the book, “The sole purpose for writing this book is to bring honor and glory to God, for it is he who blessed me beyond measure by giving me the honor and privilege of being James’s mother.”
You must be curious as to what this book is really about, so take a look at this 5-star review by Ashley Tetzlaff for Readers’ Favorite:
In her work, The Book about James, Julia Gray shares her thoughts on raising her son born with Down Syndrome. The book is broken into twenty-one “articles” – chapters that can be read as stand alones or in conjunction with the rest of the book (just like a magazine article). In each article, Julia Gray deals with a particular issue or experience: her reaction to James’ birth, schooling James, trusting in God when things are rough, side-effects of Down Syndrome, etc. Julia is honest about how her feelings were and what they are now. For those who are just starting to walk this road, this book will offer encouragement and hope. For all others, it’s a peek into the ups and downs of life with Down Syndrome and God’s grace for it all.
Wow! Julia Gray’s The Book about James blessed me so much! I confess, I have always had this little fear in the back of my head that I would have a “forever child” – a kid with Down Syndrome or something like it. This is funny since as a kid I had friends who had DS and I loved to be around them. Who doesn’t enjoy a forty-year-old who plays like someone who is six? But I was afraid of having one myself. Julia Gray came face-to-face with her own fears when James was born: what would others think of her? Of him? How would her other children be affected? I really appreciated Julia’s honesty. She is willing, not only to share her joy in James NOW, but the feelings of fear she had THEN. I was encouraged that even if I do have a forever child one day, DS can be a blessing and not a burden.
Even though my two children are “normal”, I still found much encouragement in this book as a mother: no matter what our kids do or don’t accomplish, they are special just the way they are. And God gives us the grace to deal with everything – no matter how overwhelmingly big it seems to us. He really does work all things together for good and The Book about James shows us that. Beautifully written. Wonderful witty style. Well edited. Altogether highly recommended. Is there such a thing as a dozen stars? (Read more 5-star book reviews here)
Now, back to what happened after 1,000 nights…. After our arduous task and what we felt was an inspired mission from the Lord, it was time to reveal the book to the world, so we started with a Facebook Book Launch, hoping those who had been waiting almost 3 years for this book would be excited to finally read it. And boy were they excited, so much so that after we announced its availability in eBook format on Facebook, it instantly became #1 in its category on Amazon the very first day of the launch. It was the hottest new eBook released on April 13, and right after midnight, it soared to the #1 spot for best sellers… Literally overnight our prayers were answered, and God was indeed receiving the glory for making this book what HE intended for it to be.
So as we busily prepare for Julia’s Inaugural Book Signing and Reception on May 15, I am still in awe at what we have been able to accomplish. Julia wondered if she had written anything interesting, helpful, or worthwhile. I assured her that she had, but I guess she needed to hear it from others. They spoke very loudly and clearly by rushing to purchase the book, and the instant feedback was the confirmation that she needed. She wrote on her Facebook page, “I have been overwhelmed by the response of my friends to my book release. Thank you all so much for your support, sharing of the book with others, and most of all – encouraging words!!!”
Things really did happen overnight, but we had to live through those 1,000 days first. Now we both see exactly why God chose to take us down this path. So I encourage you to fulfill the plans God has for you as well. Do you feel as though the Lord has given you an assignment that is much too big or too difficult for you to accomplish? Do you feel ill-equipped to do what he has called you to do? Just trust and depend on him to direct your path, and you too will find yourself right where you need to be on this journey through life. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
I will leave you now with the 2 quotes on the back cover of the book and an invitation to come to the book signing and reception on May 15.
As a father of a child with Down syndrome, I could resonate with so many of the emotions, experiences, and steps of faith Julia described in her journey with James. Every parent, family member, or friend of someone with Down syndrome or any special needs should read this book. ~Andy Savage, Pastor, Speaker, Author, and Host of The Andy Savage Radio Show
This book makes you laugh, cry, and give thanks, but it also inspires you to experience the love and joy that children with Down syndrome have to offer. God places children with special needs in our paths for a reason, and he is in full control. ~Jo Gilbert, Executive Director, Madonna Learning Center