DO you have a word or phrase that you return to again and again when life is hard? Perhaps it’s a Bible verse. Maybe it’s a phrase of comfort someone once shared with you.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
Are you curious about my book cover? I hope you’ve had a chance to see it up close and personal. Quite frankly, it’s beautiful, even if I do say so myself! It’s beautiful, not because of me, but because of all the help I had putting it all together!
The photograph was taken by my good friend Bill Reinhart. His wife Susan and I met during graduate school and formed a fast and forever friendship. The four of us have been friends for 36 years, traveling together on many occasions. Eric and I have so enjoyed Bill’s exceptional photography and the marvelous way he has captured the moments of our travels together.
As I considered what I wanted for a book cover, I thought about the title and several of the pivotal stories in the book. Last week, I mentioned the verse Isaiah 42:16, and the powerful way that scripture has impacted my journey. You will have to read the story, but suffice it to say that I stumbled across that verse on a long ago autumn evening, and the encounter left me awestruck. I say that I stumbled across that verse, but actually, as He always does, God led me to it. He led me to it with the purposeful intention of reminding me of His faithfulness. Without a doubt, God has made my rough places smooth, and so it is the perfect title for the book.
There is another pivotal story in the book that has never diminished in its impact. Decades later, I can still recall the moment like it was yesterday. It describes an encounter with a kind stranger who took the time to listen to my story. When I voiced a question born of utter despair, she uttered some words of encouragement that flowed from her lips, but were sent straight from God. Her words held a message of reassurance that I know The Lord sent directly to me. They are words I have never forgotten, words that have become a touchstone over the years, “You will get through this one day at a time, one wave at a time.”
This journey through blindness has been all about the waves, the waves of adversity that have crashed against me again and again. That simple phrase has been a life preserver for me over all the years, reminding me that God will see me through the storms.
Are you getting the picture now? The cover needed to convey rough places being made smooth. It needed to convey waves coming one after another. As I pondered those themes, I thought about my good friend Bill and his beautiful pictures of the Oregon coast line. I called and asked whether he might have a picture that would capture the image that was in my mind. And, of course, he did.
The picture is a beautiful scene from Secret Beach in Oregon. When we opened the file and projected it on a large TV screen, my husband Eric, having heard my description of my mental image, said, “I think that’s it. I think that’s the one.” It’s hard for me to see the details of a picture anymore, but between my limited view and the excellent verbal descriptions of my Northup House Publishers, Tami and Doug, I soon had a clear idea of the photo. It seemed the perfect fit, but there was still more work to do.
The next step in the process was to turn it over to my dear friend linsey Gray Puckett. She may as well be my niece, not based on biology, but certainly based on love. An amazing artist and exceptional graphic designer, Linsey took the photograph and began her cover design. She took my ideas and offered a series of stock photographs for comparison. Each of those potential cover designs were exquisitely beautiful, and it was tough narrowing the choices down. In the end, I came back to Bill‘s photograph. It symbolized everything I wanted to convey. I cannot see it the way you do, but with the help of magnification and Tami’s excellent verbal descriptions, I just felt like this was the right one. No surprise, of course, but Eric’s response was, “I told you so!”
To say that I am pleased by Linsey‘s cover design is a tremendous understatement. She did a fabulous job weaving the scene and the text together. I am sure you will agree.
I couldn’t be more proud to have her exceptional talent and amazing artistry showcased on the cover of my book. Oh, and be sure and check out the beautiful images she sketched throughout the book! Amazing!
I can’t see the cover photo like you do. I can’t fully appreciate the colors. Still, I have that image in my mind. I can see those waves rolling toward the shore, coming one after another. I can envision the pounding of those waves against the rocks, battering them time and time again, wearing the rough surfaces down, washing them smooth. The waves come again and again, just like the hard times in our lives. The rock is beaten and battered,, but it still stands, just as I still stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. He has never left me nor forsaken me, and He won’t ever do so. In the hands of God, the rough places become smooth.
Friends, I pray you can find that mental image that reminds you to keep the faith. I pray you can find that scripture that stays with you, that phrase that can lift you up when life takes you down. God can make away when there seems to be no way. Keep the faith. Stand strong. You never walk alone.
O Good and Gracious God, You lead us through the rough waters of this life. Though the waves of adversity come again and again, You never leave us nor forsake us. You are always there with us. Your outstretched hand is upon us, keeping us above the waves. Lord, grant us courage. Strengthen our faith that our trust will remain forever in You.
In the Gracious Name of jesus, we pray,
Stories referenced include ”one Wave At A Time” from Chapter 7, and “Rough Places Smooth” from Chapter 15 in “Rough Places Smooth: Moments In A Journey Through Blindness” by Anita Peden Sherer.
© 2022 by Anita Peden Sherer
All Rights Reserved.
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