One day I was speaking with a close friend. She confessed that although she had diligently kept my "Seeker" book on her bedside table for months with good intentions to read it, the book had become more of a décor piece than an inspirational piece. My friend was brave enough to admit that her well intentioned desire to read my book was not enough. She explained that it was impossible to read during the daytime hours (as she homeschooled two kids) and that by the time she tucked her girls into bed at night she was exhausted and didn't have the energy. She then suggested that I create an audiobook version of my book so that she could listen to each chapter while she was out on walks in nature. My friend explained that walking in the woods helped her get into a receiving state that allowed her to absorb and meditate on the words in a deeper way.
Something clicked inside of me when she suggested this. For the past year, I had also been enjoying going for walks and using that time to listen to Youtube sermons and spiritual truth podcasts. My friend planted the inspiration to create an audiobook deep into my soul that day. I felt inspired and almost restless to get started.
Although I was excited to embark on this journey I simultaneously had a sneaking small suspicion that this audiobook project would be a big challenge. Over time, that sneaking suspicion grew into a stark reality, much like a budding plant that grows faster than expected and begins to crowd and hog sunlight from others. When I began researching how to record an audiobook I learned that I had no idea what I had signed up for. I watched multitudes of audio tutorial videos and read through blog after blog about the best ways to narrate, record, and edit your own audiobook. Everyone warned that it was not an easy task but that it was rewarding in the end. After doing many tutorials, I took a deep breath and began recording.
I immediately ran into a huge obstacle. Outside sound was bleeding in and affecting the recordings. You see, I was trying to navigate the sounds of everyday life and find precious, still moments where my five year old wasn't running around during the lockdown or those few hours here and there where my live-in niece wasn't on her York University dance program Zoom meetings. I soon realized that I would not be able to get a quiet, consistent noise room sound until everyone in this household was in bed. I learned the hard way that my niece was renowned for staying up until 1 am on the regular and that this house's floors creak and squeak like nobody's business. These obstacles forced me to have to stay up and record into the wee hours of the night. As a woman that usually needs her eight hours sleep at night to feel balanced and normal, this led me to have to rely on the Lord God for strength, health, and endurance each day.
After months of restricted sleep, I listened back to my recordings and realized that although I had gotten a clean sound, I spoke too quickly and didn't leave enough gaps between my sentences to give the listener a moment to absorb what was said. Right there and then I had a big decision to make. Was I going to try and get away with it or was I going to record those chapters again because I have integrity and I desire to do everything excellently unto my Lord God? I felt the Holy Spirit bring Colossians 3:23 to mind. It reads, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men". After having a mini inner tantrum I made the decision to start over and narrate all of those chapters again.
Each day of re-recording was a challenge. The enemy placed all sorts of discouraging thoughts in my head. He whispered, "You're wasting your time. This audiobook is going nowhere. You're not even going to pass the audiobook sound tests. What's the point, then? Using your own voice to narrate your book is such a cheesy idea. You don't even have a nice voice to listen to. You should have just paid a professional to do this." The negative, testing comments kept coming but I continued to pray through them all and trust that I was on the right track if the enemy was coming at me that hard.
Five months into the recording process, I was still struggling. I had already recorded all the chapters of my book but was still sorting through tutorials to figure out how I could produce a better quality sound that would pass all of the rigorous computer generated audiobook standards. I got down on my knees and prayed to the Lord God to help me figure out how to pass all the sound tests. I felt guided to watch one more online tutorial. This particular tutorial indeed helped me tweak one more parameter that improved my overall audio sound greatly.
Upon completion, I submitted my chapters to Audible with an accompanying prayer. "Lord God, I believe that You planted the idea for me to record my own audiobook in my friend's mind and mouth. I believe that there is a reason and that this is the right season to release this audiobook. I'm trusting You. I did my best. Now, I place this all in your hands." After submitting my audiobook I tried to move forward in good faith and did my best to not think about it too much.
After three weeks time I got an email from Audible. The email explained that those five months of work indeed yielded good fruit! My audiobook had passed all of Audible's strict computer generated and human listening tests! It would now be available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
I rejoiced, thanked the Lord, and threw myself a little congratulatory party. This might sound like a bit over the top but if you knew my personality you would understand why I needed to celebrate so hard. I don't like to persevere. I have big ideas and want to accomplish them quickly. Any project or task that takes too long to complete becomes an obstacle that I have allowed to block me in the past. But this was the third time in my life that I felt called by the Lord God to complete a big project and endured until the end (the others being my first full length album and the writing and publishing of my novel, "Seeker"). This particular project forced me to push past my natural tendency to want to pass off the "hard parts" of the project to an expert who knows what they're doing. I was forced to learn and acquire new skills that I believe the Lord will be asking me to utilize in the future for other projects. I learned a big lesson - there is a greater sense of accomplishment and joy when I lean on the Lord God's strength and power to push through the "yucky", difficult times and allow my weak areas to be exposed, challenged, and refined. Philippians 4:13 became my go-to scripture during this project. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Sometimes we have to go through trials and tests. Sometimes we will need to be courageous and bold and talk back to the enemy when he tries to hold us back and thwart us from accomplishing our God-given missions and assignments. If you are going through a difficult season and feeling discouraged, I pray that my audiobook testimony helps you push through. Don't give up. Don't let the devil drag you down and tell you that you can't do it. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
I am happy to announce that my "Seeker" audiobook is now available on Audible, Amazon, iTunes, and, of course, through Seeker Ministries. Many thanks to those who prayed for me to complete the task I was given and to those who encouraged me to keep on pushing and learning.