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I crammed a four-year theological degree into eight and one-half years by intentionally pacing myself through seminary to keep my marriage strong and our four kids emotionally healthy. I finally graduated in May 2006, but suffered a mild heart attack the night after graduation. Fortunately, the attack left not traces of damage to my heart. I just need to work out more and eat less.
That same spring wife Ann lost her appetite and started to feel poorly. After seeing numerous doctors and undergoing various tests, Ann underwent diagnostic surgery to determine what was wrong. The surgery revealed that cancer had overtaken her spleen. I wept most of that night in chair next to Ann’s hospital bed, contemplating the possibility of her imminent death. In contrast Ann, normally the emotional one, showed no emotion whatsoever, presumably because she went into some sort of shock. The official diagnosis came ten anxious days later, when we learned that Ann’s cancer was angiosarcoma, an extremely rare and aggressive cancer. It is incurable.
I began sending out email updates to inform family and friends about Ann’s situation and to request prayer. As time passed on, my purposes for writing the emails grew. I assumed that if God allowed us to go through this valley, then I should share what we learned, so that others might grow in their faith through the testing of ours.
Dozens and dozens of readers regularly responded, revealing how my emails had encouraged them in their own difficult situations. Many suggested that I keep and compile the emails into a book.
My accounting background equipped me the ability to enjoy analysis and to study for extended periods of time. My response to Ann’s cancer was to read books on suffering, healing, prayer and God’s character. I studied to maintain hope because Ann couldn’t afford to lose hope. The fallout from Ann’s death in May 2008 caused me to investigate grief, the Resurrection, the New Earth and God’s character. I studied to keep the faith because I didn’t want our kids to lose theirs.
During the second year after Ann’s death, I started packaging those emails and additional reflections into what became Honest Wrestling. I wept with every page that I wrote and my writing reflects the pain of my suffering.
Frustration with my initial assisted publisher mounted with each step in the process, so I republished Honest Wrestling via CreateSpace. Thus, exasperation pains birthed the imprint Authenticity Book House (ABH). My burden to “do publishing right” continues to grow, so I hope to turn ABH into a non-profit, artisan publishing house that publishes biblical resources as ministry to authors and national pastors. Our first target language will be Marathi of northwest India, which is the 17th most-spoken language in the world.
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