How Writing a Book Is Like Birthing a Baby at 90

I’m not 90, but my counterpart Sarah was when she had Isaac

I am cleaning an already clean condo. Rearranging appliances on the kitchen counters for efficiency. But also ensuring that the view from the front windows provides an aesthetically pleasing view.

“Value unit” label notwithstanding, this condo will impress the nosy neighbors who pass — and, I hope, avert their gaze from the coffee stains left by my adult sons when they spilled a cup just outside the front door the first morning after we arrived. My efforts to scrub them have left a larger, puddled, off-color stain as our welcome mat. Sigh.

But I am avoiding my Isaac. That’s the working title for my first novel.

Why Isaac?

Indeed. Why not Ishmael?

Ishmael is my blog, of course.

Here’s why

In the book of Genesis, God promised Abram that he would have a son and become the father of many nations. We first meet Abram in Chapter 11; he is married to Sarai, who was not able to conceive. In Chapter 12, God tells Abram to leave everything he knows and move to a land God will show him. He promises to make Abram a father of many nations.

In Chapter 15, God revisits the promise and makes it clear that a son who is Abram’s own flesh and blood would be his heir. In Chapter 16, Abram takes the matter into his own hands and sleeps with his wife’s slave, Hagar, at Sarai’s suggestion. At 86, Abram became the father of Ishmael.

Still, God persisted in His promise that Abram — and Sarai — would birth a son, Isaac. In Chapter 17, when Abram is 99, God said, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her” (Genesis 17:16, NIV). (He changed their names to Abraham and Sarah as part of that fruitful promise.)

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

(Genesis 17:17-18, NIV)

That is why the working title for my book is Isaac and my blog is Ishmael.

My logic explained

When God told Abram he would have a son of his own flesh and blood as his heir, Sarai and Abram did what was in their own power to do. Sarai was unable to conceive, so they agreed that Abram should take Hagar as his wife and have a child through her.

By the time God is ready to fulfill His promise to Abram regarding a son, the man is 99, about to turn 100. Abraham’s reaction to the promise is to fall on the floor laughing (or FOTFL, in text-speak). When he catches his breath, he says:

“If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” (Genesis 17:18, NIV)

Think about it. Not only is Ishmael possible through human effort — he already exists! No faith needed.

God says, sure, I’ll bless Ishmael, “But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year” (Genesis 17:21, NIV).

Isaac seems humanly impossible. Sarah was unable to conceive when she was young. Now at 90, she will have that ability?

My blog is my Ishmael. I have been able to write posts about my life and life lessons since 2012. Humanly possible — and my blog already exists! People have suggested — and I have considered — gathering some of my blog posts as a book.

But that isn’t the book God has called me to co-create with Him.

My book seems humanly impossible. It doesn’t exist — not even as an outline, currently.

Hence, my Isaac.

At least Abraham and Sarah knew exactly what to do to make a baby. Wink, wink. In some regard, I know what I have to do, too. Write. It’s just that it’s a different type of planning and writing and producing. It’s easy to go about it the wrong way.

So my Isaac feels like more of an unknown than Abraham and Sarah’s baby-making.

And cleaning and straightening a rental unit seems a lot more straightforward. Easier to see clear to the results.

Pray for me, please!

P.S. I went outside after cleaning my kitchen to admire the view my neighbors will see through my windows. Guess what? All I saw was my reflection! Not the interior of my abode at all. Silly me!

P.P.S. That feature photo for my blog post? Image of the statue of a woman giving birth by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay plus an image of Love Book by Photopus, combined into an image with a few tricks and my editing brilliance 😉 with the power of Canva Pro (which I highly recommend).

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