The glamorous life of a writer: Part 6: To pray for the gift of coding in tongues

Just write. Stay away from computer stuff. Leave the crazy dreams to the experts. You’re not a business woman.

I keep telling myself these thing, but I keep not listening to good advice. I dabble in computer stuff without any adequate skills. My company does, I should say. We write personality and leadership profile test and reports, and then we employ clever people who really know how to code and program and who speak Java and html and Ruby on Rails and Amazon cloud. They’re gifted. They turn our Word files into fantastic algorithms that sit on the back-end of our website and do the magic. The reports they generate explain parenting styles and personalities, leadership potential and teenage behavior. It makes me happy. And much poorer, because this kind of expertise does not come cheap.

But I can handle being poorer. What I recently could not handle was the part where it made me sleepless and balder. Yes, my hair fell out by the hand-full, because the latest programming challenge was one for the record books. It would be the first children’s personality test involving illustrations, animations, voice-overs, dynamic reporting and multiple test participants. And it would be a part of my sanctification.

Stay away from computer stuff. You’re not a business woman.

But I am a very big dreamer, and this has been our dream for eight years: a tool to help parents and children figure out – together – who the amazing kids are and what they need to flourish. We just had to do this, and we had to do it before a particular day. D-Day. Book release day. Amazon-is-mailing-out-your-books-with-codes-that-must-work-Day. Therefore, make-or-break-your-career-and-future-book-deals-Day.

I was in over my head, because all of this had to happen while our family of five were finding new homes for our three pets and 2 cars, and new people for our home, selling most of our possessions, giving some away, and putting the left-overs into storage, saying goodbye to friends and family for an undetermined amount of time, in order to board a plane from Johannesburg, South Africa, to the USA. It had to happen while we moved into a temporary home, found school and college solutions, made new friends an figured out where to buy affordable veggies.

Just write. Leave the crazy dreams to the experts.

Well, I didn’t, because a part of my book contract is to be in the USA to promote it, and the mere privilege to be published here certainly deserved my best efforts for all of the six months my visitor visa would allow me. And our crazy dreams have their seed in God’s heart, don’t they?

For more than a month, up until the six week mark before the online test had to go live, a key genius in the programming team plugged out of the project. No emails or texts were answered. No work was being done. We were not going to make it. My publisher and the marketing team wanted to see the test that did not yet exist. I wanted to see it too! When the genius did come back online, it was in a time zone 7 hours removed from mine, and with many questions and misunderstandings that made the dread deeper by the day.

I was desperate. The test needed to be coded. I can’t code. I can, however stress and fret and fear and blame-shift and fuss, and lie awake making up worst case scenarios. My husband, who always puts things into perspective and calm me down, looked into the to-do lists with me, and freaked out. “This is really bad!” even he said. I could not sleep after that.

And I swept up hair from the bathroom floor every second day.

God preached my sermons back to me: You are not in human hands. I write your story. People can’t destroy your life. But I was convinced this person was about to break my world, make me fail, cause massive penalties and end my opportunity to work and live in the USA someday. I cried all of this out on a friend’s shoulder at church one night, with only a few weeks left to D-Day and nothing completed yet. She just prayed from the deep place that was formed in her when she battled cancer. That deep place that knew that what felt like the end of the world, often wasn’t, but felt like it nonetheless.

As I walked to my car in the parking lot, glad for the cover of darkness over my face, I sensed God say something.

Your whole life is evidence of the impossible. And of my love for you. When you climbed Kilimanjaro with so much pride that needed breaking, I broke it, but because I love you I still gave you the summit as a gift. Now trust Me. You’re climbing this new mountain with an unhealthy need for control. I’m breaking it, but once again I will give you the summit. It’s already done.

So began six weeks of praying for the gift of coding in tongues. My genius friend had to want to code this thing. He didn’t anymore. He had better work that paid better. His wife didn’t want him to, either. She had to want him to and had to encourage him to. I prayed for this, and every friend I had in this new hometown prayed with me. My mom prayed, and begged me to give her his address so she could go and motivate him in person. I prayed that she wouldn’t find him. He was overworked. We prayed for his other work to go smoothly, and fast, or to go away! He had to figure out coding solutions to problems I could not get him to understand (read: he is smarter than I am and I did not know how to explain what was in my brain to him on his level.) He did not have enough hours in his day for this project. We prayed for supernatural insight, wisdom, brilliance, perfect coding that would work on the first try, his family’s health, his pets’ health, if he had any, and his car (you must have noticed by now that cars break and pets need to go to the vet when you have loads of work!).

God answered all the prayers. The genius did it. He coded in tongues, amazing even himself. And his wife loved his work and made suggestions for improvements which he worked on through the night sometimes.

And we went live on D-Day. Amazon mailed out books. People did tests with their kids and discovered beauty in their God-given design.

Maybe my hair will even grow back at some point.

Now, really, for the last time, Just write.

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