My memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging, officially releases today!
Well, here we are.
After more than four years working on this project, today A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging officially releases into the world.
Writing this memoir wrung me out in all the best ways. It sanctified me and shaped me, and even if it never made it to publication, I’m so grateful for the way the Lord has used this whole experience in my life.
In many ways, I look at the finished product with mixed emotions. There is definitely a sense of gratitude to God for bringing it to completion, and for giving me the opportunity to steward this story to His glory. But I also feel a tinge of sadness, since I wouldn’t have this story if my mom were still alive.
Sometimes we don’t get to choose the circumstances we face in life, but we always have the opportunity to glorify God in the midst of them.
So this memoir is one small and feeble offering to the Lord, and today I give it over to Him to use as He sees fit.
I’ve been working on this book since 2013, but really, it’s been a lifetime coming. A lifetime spent trying to live someone else’s story.
I fought the tension of living as a child of divorce, being shuffled between homes. I fought the tension of living overseas, emotions being shuffled between continents.
I didn’t want words like divorce, cross-cultural missions, cancer, foreclosure, death, or grief to be part of my story.
Maybe you can relate?
If you’ve ever longed for something more or felt as if you didn’t belong, this book is for you.
In 2002, I boarded a plane from the U.S. to South Africa. My plan was to stay for five months. Instead, I came back over ten years later with a South African husband and three children.
Much of this particular story revolves around the theme of home. I share about my parents’ divorce when I was in elementary school, including various homes we lost for various reasons during my childhood. I write about my mom’s cancer journey and her eventual homegoing. While living in South Africa, I moved ten times in ten years.
This book details the tension I felt through much of my life as I continually wrestled with the question, “Where is my home?”
Here’s a brief excerpt from the final chapter detailing the Lord’s work in my heart after a lifetime of discontentment:
Then finally, I understood. This whole life is a rental. This whole body of mine is a borrowed house. And sometimes it’s a good thing to be discontent with where we are, because this is not it. It’s a good thing to feel like we’re not at home and to long for another, for permanence, for stability, because we’re not home yet. Having been washed by the astounding grace of the cross, praise God, my citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).
My story happens to include a decade in South Africa, but the fact is that each one of us in this room has a story to tell—maybe you have many stories to tell. God has given you your own unique story, and you have an opportunity to decide what you’re going to do with it.
You might not write or publish a book, and that’s okay! You can use the story you’ve been given—your unique life experiences, your individual gifts, your ability to cope during certain difficult circumstances—you can use that story in your everyday life to impact the lives of others to the glory of God.
When A Place to Land first appeared on Amazon, a friend of mine saw it and asked me, “Are you glad to have had this experience?”
I paused for a moment before answering, “Well . . . This is not the story I asked for. I would much rather have my mom here than a book with my name on it. But this is the story I’ve been given, so now I’m just doing my best to steward it well.”
The first time I saw the cover design, the listing was already on Amazon. When the image popped up on my screen, I cried. Not sad tears, but tears from feeling overwhelmed by God’s goodness in making this memoir a reality.
The first time I saw a photo of the actual printed version of the book, I had just logged into Twitter and happened to see a tweet posted online by a member of my publishing team. I gasped in surprise.
The first time I saw my book in real life, my teenage son came inside with a brown envelope addressed to me from my publisher. He laid it on the dining room table next to me and said, “I know what’s inside.”
I knew, too. But I didn’t know it was coming.
I anticipated that day for a long time, presuming I would cry when I saw it for the first time. Instead, I felt conflicted when I looked at the envelope.
I should probably take a picture or videotape myself opening it, I thought, remembering other authors who have shared live unboxing recordings on social media. But my hair is still wet from getting out of the shower, and I don’t like this shirt I put on to clean the house.
My vanity irked me. My husband came down the stairs, about to leave the house on an errand. “I think my book is inside,” I said, pointing to the envelope.
“I don’t know.”
“Open it! Open it!” my ten-year-old chanted.
I kept quiet.
“Stop nagging,” my husband said, tying his shoes.
“Bye,” I said to him.
“Bye.” And he left, the envelope still unopened on the table.
I could only guess how receiving my book would feel. I looked at the envelope and assumed that giddyness should be bubbling up from within. Instead, it felt like she had come home.
This story that I’ve carried inside for longer than I’ll ever know was sitting next to me, independent. I’ve carried her and labored over her, and now she is here. She has come into her own.
The labor is over; it’s time to let her live.
Order a copy of A Place to Land before April 8th
and enter to win one of three amazing prize packs!
Visit www.katemotaung.com/bookbonus to enter for a chance to win!
Giveaway ends April 7th, 2018 at 11:59pm PST. International entrants only eligible to win Prize Pack #1. One entry per person.