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Estes Park in Rocky Mountains, Colorado.

In the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where the vision for “Journeys to Mother Love” began

Hard to believe, but more than a year has passed since the book Journeys to Mother Love was published and the authors started sharing this blog as well. How did these nine women, who live in all corners of this great country, come together in this way? Well, here’s the story.

As publisher and editor of Cladach Publishing, a small Christian press, I was invited to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, to give 15-minute interviews to authors. At the May, 2011 conference I spoke with three or four women in one day who had heart-wrenching personal stories that they hoped to have published as books. The authors were so passionate and full of the fresh touch of the Lord, and their stories so real and relevant for many women, that I couldn’t get away from thinking about them. By the third or fourth interview the thought came to me, with a gentle nudge from the Lord, that these stories along with others could be focused and compiled in a book that could help and encourage many readers.

When I spoke to those four women, two out of four got on board (Kyleen from Wyoming, and Loritta from Colorado). Then I sent emails to Christian writers groups across the country, with an invitation and guidelines for the mother-child, relationship-healing stories needed for this book. Varied, wonderful, authentic stories came back to me from Ardis in Washington, Alice in Kentucky, Ellen in California, Kerry in Pennsylvania, and Verna in Missouri. Then we had seven contributors!

As I worked on editing and compiling these stories, the thought dawned on me—again, with a gentle nudge—that I have a personal story myself of inner healing and relational healing. Putting some of my other publishing work on the back burner, I dug out old journals and diaries, delved again into memories of early traumas and experiences, and people and teachings that mentored and guided me through a long search for joyful wholeness.

It was an amazing experience. I had moved on to many new friendships, places, experiences in my life. But that period of inner healing was foundational to the life I was now living. And going back to review the steps, to recall those formative early experiences strengthened my faith and opened me up to sharing more deeply with others.

So we had eight stories from women of many ages. Then, as we neared the publication date for Journeys to Mother Love, I went to another conference and met a young woman with a tragic and compelling story, who had a strong testimony of forgiveness and healing. That was Treva, another from Colorado. She and I both felt that now-familiar nudge, and she agreed to work her story into the right length and shape for this book within a few weeks’ time. And then we were nine!

When the manuscript went out to readers across the country, comments came back, such as: “These stories will touch every woman’s heart” (from a woman minister in Wyoming). “Filled with authenticity” (from the leader of a street ministry in Salem, Oregon). “Arresting and unflinchingly honest” (from an author and speaker/ encourager of women in Arizona). “They teach us to take our pain to the right person, the great Healer who understands the mysteries of our hearts” (from a pastor’s wife in California).

So it was published, and many have read the book and shared it with others, finding their own stories in the midst of these women’s stories, and also finding hope for healing.

As I wrote in the Introduction to the book, “We, the writers of this book, represent four different generations and come from various backgrounds and places. What we have in common is this: We are all mothers and we all have mothers (whether or not they are still living). For each of us, coming to the place of freely receiving and giving love in the mother-child relationship has been a sometimes difficult journey. . . . We share these personal memoirs as testimonies of God’s grace. We simply and openly tell our stories in hopes that many readers, mothers and daughters like us, will be helped.”

So that’s the story of how Journeys to Mother Love came to be, the result of a series of gentle nudges. And the story and the journey continue.

~Catherine Lawton