Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Illness and the Writer: Peter Leavell 1/2

I'm so pleased to host fellow author, Peter Leavell, and his real life story of a unique medical diagnosis. First hand accounts help writers learn what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes. Peter is the winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel Contest! Peter will be blogging today and Friday.

Peter has graciously agreed to give away one copy of his book to a commenter drawn at random. To enter, simply leave a comment that includes your e-mail address on either of Peter's posts. Drawing will take place Saturday, October 27th at midnight. Winner announced here at Redwood's on Sunday, October 28th.

Welcome, Peter!
 
Late last year, I lay on my deathbed.


I’d just finished my manuscript for Gideon's Call and sent it off to Operation First Novel, a contest put on by the Christian Writers Guild that offers the winner a publishing contract and a check for $20,000.  But the contest was the last thing on my mind as my energy waned.

In less than a week, I’d gone from running fifteen miles every other day to barely able to rise from bed to use the bathroom. Devastating for a 35-year-old man with a wife and two youngsters.

I felt like a character in a book. ‘What can we do to make his life a nightmare?’ I ask myself when writing. Was God doing the same with me?

My wife took me to emergency care, where our family doctor practices. He couldn’t do much without blood tests, so seven vials later I was home, waiting to find out if I had cancer or diabetes. Both run in my family.

A firm belief has always been a part of me—everything happens for a reason. But I didn’t know why my health was falling apart. I’d always been active. My record is writing 10,000 words in a single day. It only took three years for me to get my history degree. I took care of my wife, who gets headaches at times, shuttled my son to soccer and daughter to ballet, held a full time job, and remained active in my church. I was valuable to God. He needed me.

But I didn’t need Him. I gave Him His due. Of course I did, He gave me the talent. But in the end, it was Peter Leavell I relied on, not Jesus.

Because of my drained energy, I was no good to my wife, my children, and my God. I’d failed them all. Watching my children worry about their father tortured me. But what could I do? My wife took them to their classes and sports. And writing was no longer an option, my brain turning to mush—a fog so deep I can’t remember many details. Panic attacks struck for many causes, mostly more than one voice or conversation at the same time. My muscles atrophied within a week and a half. And an odd sensation of heat swept over me, as if lava was boiling up from inside me.

I was useless.

As I searched the scriptures to find my lesson, I was guessing it would be about humility. I admitted I was a bit proud. But a verse came across my mind and stuck there. Hebrews 13:5. NIV. Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

And I realized at that moment, even though I offered Christ nothing, His arms were wrapped around me. He loved me even if all I could do for Him is love Him back. So I did. I loved him with my feeble heart. And I knew that even though I’d never thought I needed Him, His arms had been wrapped around me my entire life. It took this sickness to understand it.
 
Part II will be on Friday.
 
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Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. For entertainment, he reads historical books, where he finds ideas for new novels. Whenever he has a chance, he takes his wife and two homeschooled children on crazy but fun research trips. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures www.peterleavell.com and on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PeterLeavell.

29 comments:

  1. Jordyn - great post, and how nice to see Peter here!

    Peter, I've heard some wonderful things about your book. Your personal story makes Gideon's Call that much more of a miracle. Praying that the Lord continues to bless you with the ability and desire to use your gifts for His kingdom.

    Would love to win a copy of your book.

    beckydwriter(at)gmail(dot)com

    Blessings,
    Becky

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    1. God's been blessing, Becky. Sometimes through difficult times, we just have to cling to Him! Thanks for your comment.

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  2. What an exceptionally well written part 1 of an interview/article. Peter has grabbed my attention definitly. I don't want to miss part 2 and would love to review your book. I pray that God will bless you an provide health for you and yours.

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    1. Thanks, Vera. God bless you as well! I'd love to hear what you think of Gideon's Call!

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  3. Good to see you making the rounds, Peter! Do not enter me in the contest. I already have the book--and it is fantastic!

    Read my review: http://tinyurl.com/9nbhl3y

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  4. My husband and I knew Peter and his wife from college, and we were thrilled to discover that Peter is now a published author! Reading part 1 of his story here brought tears to my eyes. The Lord has done great things in turning my life around most recently within the past couple of years. It is only He that can save us from our sins that, otherwise, the penalty we would have to pay, is death without him eternally. Knowing Him makes life worth living...and through the trials and joys, He is always there.
    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I read the first part of the first chapter of Gideon's Call on Amazon, and though it is hard to wait to read it, I am patiently waiting. Nope, I have no idea if the Lord has planned for me to receive it as a Christmas gift...or one here. When I am able to read it, though, I know I will not only enjoy it but plan in the future already to have each of our children read it as a book report book in Jr. High or highschol. :)

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  5. From moving away from video games into industry blogs, you're making progress, Peter! I'm sure you're most thankful that you made it through your health scare. God is so good.

    I treasure my autographed copy of Gideon's Call; it's on my "not to be borrowed" shelf. So if I win another copy, that's the one I'll lend out.

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    1. Thanks, Clarice. You're a wonderful friend.

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  6. Loved your book, if I would happen to win, I would win it for Mary who is fighting Cancer.

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  7. You look so much like your dad!

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    1. lol, April. Except Dad has more hair than I do, now.

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  8. I got to hear your testimony at the ACFW Conference in Dallas. It was a wonderful reminder of who God is and should be in our lives. Can't wait to read your book.

    elaine@emclampitt.com

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    1. Elaine, thanks for posting. Couldn't do anything worthwhile without the Lord!

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  9. I look forward to reading part two. God does love us. Sometimes we think it is just because we do thing for Him when really, it is He that does for us unconditionally. God has much more for you Peter or you would never be taught such depth of love and intimacy in Him. Keep up the good work of love.

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    1. Thanks, Anonymous. He really does care for us, more deeply than I could ever realize. I'll spend my life understanding His love.

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  10. Eager to read part 2. I was just reading Jeremiah 17:14 - O lord, you heal me, I am truly healed. Thankful that HIS healing power flows throughout you! Look forward to reading your books.

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    1. What a great verse. Thanks for posting, Naomi.

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  11. I also look forward to reading part two. Would love to win a copy of your book to review on my blog.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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    1. Yeah! A review would be great! Thanks for posting, Linda.

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  12. So true, Peter. God can use difficult times to reveal himself to us more inimately. Thanks for sharing this. Somehow, I didn't get to hear your testimony at the ACFW conference. BTW, don't consider me in the contest drawing - I couldn't wait, and purchased a copy of your book :) Best wishes.

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    1. Dana, it's been great getting to know you. Thanks for posting.

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  13. Peter, since you guys moved we all have kind of lost touch. I am so happy Tonya and you have eachother to experience Christ. It is so great for our children to see how we treat our relationships through faith during trials and triumphs. God bless you all
    Leigh Ann Neilsen

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    1. Leigh Ann, it's a good thing we have facebook, now. Writing books is like working in the grocery store—I'm always thinking of a good true story.

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  14. I, too, enjoyed Peter's testimony at ACFW and am very honored to host him. Thanks everyone for your comments.

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    1. It's an honor to share my testimony on this wonderful site. Now, the rest of the story....

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