I think every family has those years that changed everything for good or bad. For my family, 1987 and 2009 are infamous, and 2013 has just been added to the list. A list where you say “1987,” and everyone sighs and says, “yes, that was a bad year.”
In my writing, 2013 was an unimaginable year. I had five books release: four Amish mysteries, two written under my own name and two written under the name Isabella Alan, and my first children’s mystery Andi Unexpected. In a year, I went from an author of three books to eight. I know how unusual that is and how blessed I am.
At the same time, one of my bigger writing contracts fell apart, which was an unexpected disappointment.
Above all the writing ups and downs I had this year, the loss of my mother was the most earth-shattering event.
She was a Presbyterian minister: the first woman to graduate from her theological seminary with a master of divinity, the first woman to be ordained her in presbytery. She was my best friend and the person I was closest to in the entire world. She was the person in my life who had the closest relationship to God. He chose her to bring people to Christ, and she did with a gentle hand of love and compassion and little fanfare.
She was the one at my side when doubt ruled my thoughts. Doubt in my ability, in others, in my writing, and in God. She promised it would be all right, like every loving mother promises her child. Now, I have to believe on my own because the reassurance I always counted on is gone. Because of that, I am different, fundamentally changed, broken but with a stronger faith in God than I have ever known.
A loss so great puts life’s little disappointments in perspective, even that broken contract. There will be other book contracts. There will be other stories to tell. There will other challenges to navigate. There will be pain, joy, and a great reunion when I can tell both her and my father, who passed away before her, how my story ended and how I chose to believe because they believed for me until I was able to carry the burden on my own.