Delight in Disorder Comes to Life

Having conceived and nurtured a memoir for almost a year, only to have it soundly rejected, it felt much like a miscarriage. I went a year without writing a word. It was only when I enrolled in an intensive discipleship training program that I again started to bring words to life, or, more accurately, let the Word come to life by cultivating the soil of stories.

Still, I wasn’t ready to come back to my memoir. It was too personal, too painful, too raw. Instead, I moved onto fiction – drafting a trilogy of short stories – “Life,” “Liberty,” and “The Pursuit of Happiness.”  More than the quality of the narrative (which is still quite unfinished), the discipline of daily writing as I created characters, developed dialogue, and polished plot, gave me increasing confidence that I had a “way with words.”

Then a very tragic thing happened. A young man I had never met committed suicide. He was playing family board games one minute and the next he was in his room shooting himself. The young man’s name was Matthew, son of Rick Warren renowned pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the best-selling Purpose-Driven Life.

My initial reaction was to take to my bed. I didn’t get up for three days. I read what people within the church and outside of it were saying. Some of it trying to be nice and compassion. Some of it downright ugly and mean. Nearly all of it lacking a clear Biblical understanding of mental illness that would drive a person to suicide.

I decided I needed to re-write my memoir. I also knew I couldn’t do it alone. I shared the idea with Leanne Sype, a blogging friend and editor, to whom I had pitched my trilogy. Very soon, she became as passionate about the project as I did. With Leanne’s help, I worked through a second draft, and a third (and in some cases fourth and fifth). With Leanne’s guidance, I pitched it to an agent and went to a writer’s conference to see about pursuing conventional publishing.

We prayed for a clear sign and got it almost immediately. A resounding no. Undeterred, Leanne encouraged me to pursue self-publishing, helped me navigate around some shark-invested waters of vanity publishers. She introduced me to graphic artist Nicole Miller who also has a heart for the Lord and a distinct eye for graphic design. Soon, we had a book cover. Nicole then moved on to a video for our indiegogo campaign where we exceeded our goal.

Along came another young faithful servant, Christina Tarabochia, who took the text and shaped it into various formats uploaded at Smashwords (and soon, for Amazon and Barnes & Noble). Christina helped explain some of the technical aspects of getting our book in the hands of the readers and has been an invaluable resource.

Now that we have a downloadable e-book (soon to be in print), we are only entering another season of the larger “Delight in Disorder” mission. Over the past few days I have been contacted mental health and church leaders from across the country to help us spread the word — to bridge the distance between faith and mental illness. I’ve already received two speaking invitations and am building some very fruitful relationships.

Much has been done — Facebook author page, Twitter account (indy_tony), media kit, business card design, e-mail and phone contact) and much remains to be done (website upgrade, speaking engagements, reviews). I have no idea where God will lead now that the book has been birthed. I only pray I’ll do my part to be a faithful stewardship of the Word calling me to share divine delight in the disorder of the world.

Write your favorite scripture on a canvas for your dorm room. It fills up wall space and it will be a good encouragement.

12 thoughts on “Delight in Disorder Comes to Life

  1. Ahh! This is so great! I had forgotten about the vanity publishers part. That seems like eons ago.

    “We prayed for a clear sign and got it almost immediately. A resounding no.” What’s interesting about this part is the clarity I was experiencing on my end. I remember praying fervently for guidance and the words of encouragement for you. It came to me so clearly, and the day I pitched to you the idea of self-publishing I felt certain this was where God needed us to go. Then doors started opening!

    I am glad for the resounding no because we both learned a ton as we navigated that part of the journey. But I am even more grateful to where God has lead. We’ve come so far yet I know this is only the beginning! I don’t know where this is all going, but I’m okay with that. Let’s just keep our eyes on God and enjoy the ride. :)

    • Amen and amen. As I said at the time, the resounding no of conventional publishers felt to me like God was pruning the “Delight in Disorder” vine to make it even more fruitful. There have already been so many blessings along the way and, yes, we’ve learned so much. I’m eager to see what lies ahead. :)

  2. It is so sad to read about Rick warren’s son. So sad. This has encouraged me as I’ve been getting a different kind of no from publishers I submitted my manuscripts to, the ‘ignore’ kind of no.
    Guess I’m going to dig in my heels now.

    • Fifteen conventional publishers ignored my memoir the first time I submitted it. I set it aside for awhile, did a major re-write with excellent editorial help then tried again. While God has closed many doors, the right ones have opened and the message is getting out.

      I pray you are encouraged in the Spirit and guided by the Lord.

  3. Read Delight in Disorder…very , very good. Have to say, at times I wasn’t sure if I was reading your book or mine!! Things you thought, felt, and had happen to you because of your disorder, were mirrored to mine with my issues. I was so sad you had to go through all of that, still live with it… glad you fight every day, even when you don’t want to at times. I felt your heartache and pain, the frustration as I live it too. It is not easy and so often there are days when you wonder why the fight is so hard. It should not have to be this hard just to live. But for some reason, it is for some of us. And having several diagnosis` makes it harder as things get mixed and twisted at times. But I do the best I can.

    I highlighted several parts of the book… parts where things you said the exact words that I have said our thought…. as proof I’m not crazy I guess. And verses from the Bible to look up later. Just knowing that you, a Pastor was treated the same way I was by people because of my disorder/ illness makes me feel a lot less like a freak. Around here people see things differently and being told I couldn’t return to choir after half a year gone in treatment for my anorexia, broke my heart and shattered my faith.

    So thank you so much for having the courage to write this book to help so many people and to educate all those out there who may not understand.

    And when your book comes out in print, I’d like to get a copy for my therapist. She’d really like this :)

    • I’m happy you found “Delight in Disorder” to resonate with your experience. I want to share in real hope of the Gospel, and I can only do that if I am first real.

      I pray that as you face the disorder within and around you, you continually receive the delight of Christ, who is our hope,

  4. Tony, I have been behind in my blog reading but I just saw your new website! wow! You are an inspiration to me, as I am also writing my “memoir” which I thought would happen a lot more quickly. The Lord has showed me I will be laboring at this for a while, and I will be healing as I am writing also. And it will help other people.
    All the best to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I’m so glad I read this story today, Tony. And you know what good hands you were in with Leanne – who cares deeply about words, but even more deeply about people. He put together quite the team for your endeavor, didn’t He?

  6. My name is Shawn Mosley and I am a true follower of Jesus Christ. I am a graduate of Rhema bible training center in Broken Arrow Oklahoma. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Writing with a purpose for a cause makes all the difference in the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s