For some strange reason, I have always loved cardboard boxes. As a child, they provided endless hours of entertainment as we built forts and places to hide from each other. As I got older, I looked forward to the various gifts that come in boxes and the joy and surprise of getting that “perfect” present. In the book business, there are lot of boxes involved in the shipping process. I can vividly remember looking forward to our daily UPS delivery when I was a store manager so I could see what new books were coming in the back door.
This week, I took a van load of boxes to America’s Keswick for the launch of a new book called, Crossing the Jordan. This turned out to be no ordinary book launch. I had expected to meet with only one or two of my main contacts at Keswick and discovered to my delight that they had arranged for all the contributing authors to be there as well. As Laura Pollard (our associate editor who worked on this book) and I soon realized they had been waiting with great anticipation for this particular day.
Crossing the Jordan is a workbook that was written for women whose spouses or significant others are dealing with addiction and addiction recovery. As Diane Hunt (the main compiler of the book) was working on the book with Laura, they realized that the book had broader application to any women who were in difficult relationships. Each women who had contributed to the book had put in significant time on their individual chapters. Some had spent as much as a year working on their section. It truly was a labor of love.
After unloading the boxes, Bill Welte (the Executive Director of America’s Keswick) asked us to join them for a reveal ceremony as none of the women had seen the completed book yet. As we gathered in the room for this event, I expected them to tear into the box as quickly as they could to get their hands on their personal copies, but they did not. Instead they joined hands in a prayer circle around the box. I quickly realized that this was a sacred moment as each woman prayed not for the book, but for the impact of the book in women’s lives.
As it turns out, they had been using a version of this book in a three ring binder up to this point and had seen countless lives changed as a result of going through the materials. Each of the contributors now recognized that the words they had written were going to reach a far larger audience and they were overwhelmed at what they God was going to do with the work of their hands. As they prayed, some of the women even wept and all of them treated that box like it contained gold. The truth is they saw the power of the message contained in the printed pages we had helped to craft.
As I pack and unpack boxes with books in the years to come, I will always remember that day. Each book is unique and God uses each one to touch lives in different ways. I am sure that I will never know until I get to heaven what the true impact of all our books has been. What I do know is that in some small way, we are going to contribute to the transformation of many women in challenging relationships as they learn to rely fully on Jesus Christ for their strength after using this vital new workbook. What power a box can contain.