Sharon, write a book about your dad! The voice was so distinct that it jerked me awake! I had been half asleep no a plane to Virginia. My mother and I were going to speak and sing at one of the meetings that had been scheduled before dad's death.
I shook my head to clear it and settled right back down to my nap. We had been flying for about five hours. I had been so excited because it was my first long plane trip. I had never been this far across the country. Now the excitement was wearing off. The plane's engines were humming smoothly. It was a beautiful day high above the clouds. I began to drift off again.
Sharon, write a book about your dad! I sat up startled and wide awake! My heart was beating a mile a minute. I had butterflies in my stomach. I knew the voice and it was much louder now. I looked at my mother, who was calmly thumbing thru a magazine. All around me passengers were sleeping or talking softly. This wasn't the first time the Lord had definitely spoken to my heart. As a music minister at Central Assembly, I had been awakened in the middle of the innumerable times as the Lord would speak with me about things I was already thinking about, or He would give me ideas for our musical productions. His speaking to my heart this time was so startling, because writing a book was the furthest thing from my mind.
I thought, "Lord, you know I have tried to write something about my dad since I was in high school, and I've never finished anything. My mind would get so far ahead of my pencil that I would quit in frustration."
My dad and I were very close. I had worked with him as his minister of music for nine years; and being the oldest of four children, I was kind of his experiment, his frustration and his delight. When I was in high school, thru college and even a few months before his death, I had tried over and over to write an Arcticle about my dad for the Reader's Digest. I had planned to send it to the Digest's "My Most Unforgettable Character!" There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that it would be accepted. I could just imagine myself giving it to dad as a Father's Day present. "Oh, by the way, Daddy, there's a little Arcticle about you in this Reader's Digest you might like to read!" I could just imagine his excitement and pride. But now he was gone, and I thought that this dream had been laid to rest with him.
I reminded the Lord of this and my frustration in writing about Daddy in the past, and the Lord just very simply said, Get a dictaphone and tell his story.
Mom and I had a wonderful time in Virginia. I decided not to mention to anyone the way the Lord had spoken to me, not even my husband. That way, if I never did anything about it, nobody could laugh at me.
I returned home, and decided to sleep on my first morning back because I was feeling a little jet lag. I was just dozing off when those butterflies started again, my heart began pounding, and the Lord said, What about that dictaphone? "Not now, Lord," I said, "I want to sleep!" No way! I tossed and turned, and over and over in my heart, the Lord kept saying, Get that dictaphone! I finally said okay, called a business supply firm, arranged to rent a dictaphone, and immediately fell asleep.
When the young man delivered the dictaphone, I told him I would only need it for a couple of days because I was going to write a book about my father. He looked at me kind of funny, and said, "You're going to write a book in a couple of days?" I said, "Sure!"
To make a long story short, I sat down with the little dictaphone and said, "Okay, Lord, let's go, fill my mouth!" I started telling my story. It took almost ten minutes. I suddenly realized that I didn't have enough information. I said, "Lord, I thought you and I were going to write this book. I thought you were going to speak through me into this dictaphone." I can imagine the Lord smiling, shaking His head, sighing a little, and then He said, just as clear as a bell, Sharon, make an outline first. I'll help you. And He did. He impressed me to get information from all the family members and people who had been associated with my father in his growing up years. As a bonus, my uncle, Paul Williscroft just "happened" to visit from Germany at this time. He had been in the publishing business for many years as part of his missionary outreach. My uncle told me I was on the right track in everything I was doing. He felt the outline was solid, the idea of getting input from family members and friends was great, but I needed to go a step further. He told me I should share with the people in our congregation what I was doing, and get input from them. I told him, "That means I have to tell people, and then I'll be committed to write the book or really look silly!"
I did share with the congregation, and they were all so excited. Sure enough, people began to ask me every time they saw me, "How's the book coming?" This meant I had to get started. It felt good the day I could truthfully say, "The book is coming along great!"
I knew that my husband Alan, who is an artist, would design the cover. The rest of the book would be just me and the Lord. It was exciting to me to realize that Alan was also a super editor. I didn't have to worry about paragraphs, punctuation, or anything that would stop my flow of thought. I could just set my typewriter on fire, and he would take my rough drafts, and put them in good order. We discovered we were really a great team. As I wrote the last chapter, "Coronation Day," the presence of the Lord so filled my office that I finally had to leave. It took several hours for the tingling in my body and the shakiness in my knees to subside.
One year later, the book that was going to take just a couple of days was complete. Writing about my precious father was a special time in my life. Now everyone who reads his book, Angels on Assignment, will understand the kind of person he really was. I felt the Lord helping me as I wrote every page. I pray that this book will be a blessing and encouragement to all who read it.
Next: Who Was Roland Buck?