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A New Book—Off Script

Over the past eight months, people have asked me if I was going to write a book about this cancer experience. At first, my answer was to laugh and say, “probably not!” But the Lord overruled me. It’s been two and a half years since I’ve written a book personally. My writing time between then and now has primarily been invested into other projects for Striving Together. But yesterday, a book that I’ve worked on for the past five months went to press, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about it, if you can spare a moment.

Early in this trial I read several Christian books about hardship. They were helpful, but each one was lacking something. In one, I longed for the author to be more transparent about his own struggle. In one I felt that certain aspects of trials were completely overlooked. In all of them, they were written “after the trial.” In other words, the tough days were behind. I really wanted a book written by someone who didn’t know what the outcome would be—a book written from the middle of the trial. I couldn’t find that book.

That’s when the Lord put on my heart to write. I argued with Him about it. Who would read it? Why should my story matter? My trial is so small compared to those of many people I know. I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s too personal. I’m in the middle of it right now… maybe some day in the future. He continued to press my heart to obey. Every excuse was met with an answer I couldn’t resist—especially when God said, “You don’t know the outcome—what if this is the only chance you have to write about this? And what if this is one of the reasons I brought you into this trial?”

So, I started writing. Four chapters in, I quit. “I can’t do this,” I reasoned. I set it aside for a long time, but God kept nudging me to pick it back up and finish. He strongly impressed upon me to write before I knew the outcome—to write from within the storm. And so I wrote.

It would be a major understatement to say that God has taught me a lot from His Word through this trial. The challenge was how to write about it concisely, transparently, and from the middle of a very weak and sickly time. Somehow, it happened, and frankly, I really have a hard time remembering how! (Chemo-brain!)

The title I couldn’t get away from was “OFF SCRIPT.” The Subtitle—”What to do when God rewrites your life.” The premise—ten decisions that will transform your perspective in the midst of your trial.

God takes all of our lives “off script” at one point or another, and what we decide in our off script seasons is HUGE for our future. The book is about 225 pages and shares ten chapters—each detailing a decision and a passage of Scripture that God used in my life over these past eight months.

More than a book about cancer, it’s primarily a book about rightly responding to any trial. It’s transparent, at many points comical, and hopefully encouraging. When I got done writing, I thought surely people are going to think this is stupid. So far, folks who have read it, enjoyed it.

I feel a bit uncomfortable with this post. I almost didn’t want to print this book for fear of people misunderstanding the spirit, the motives, or the heart behind it. But I pray that God will use it to encourage people to rightly and joyfully respond during seasons of suffering. And it would be silly not to try to let you know about it, after putting so much work into it.

It will be available in about a month (early July) at and shortly thereafter on Amazon in both hardback and for Kindle. I’ll post again when it’s available, and probably share a sample chapter with you. If you know someone in a trial, in might encourage them.

Thanks for giving me a moment to tell you about this. I hope it will be a blessing to you or to someone you love.

PS—We have several very helpful resources coming off the press soon for Striving Together Publications—so stay tuned!

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  • Thank you for taking the time to write the book. I very much look forward to reading it as I am positive that it will help me in my own walk with the Lord. You are a blessing!

  • Something about the title and tagline grabs me! Can’t wait to read this book.

  • Bro. Schmidt,

    I am so glad you wrote this book, and I look forward to reading it personally. I also look forward to seeing others in our church who are going through similar trials, but would not know how to express it on paper! I know of 4 people in our church who are struggling with some form of cancer, and I can tell you that they are the best Christians I know!

    You are a blessing, we love you and are continuing to pray for you!

  • I am looking forward to the book. Our life went “Off Script” two years ago when our 5 month old son never woke up from his nap. Through this, God has proven faithful and shown his grace toward us in many ways. I’m looking forward to reading how God has worked through your trial. Thanks

  • Bro. Schmidt, I am looking forward to the release of this book. Your words are so encouraging. Through your blog, lessons, and music my life has been blessed. Thank you from all of us-Dan,Helen,Darren, & Ashlyn

  • I always love hearing your heart, Cary. I look forward this “heart book” of revelation of those passages of Scripture God used in your life over the past 8 months. Ready and waiting! Hugs to you, Dear Nephew.

  • Friends andco-laborers agree that you are a great blessing with your words. We love to read your posts, Sunday School material, and books. I am looking forward to buying this book and reading it through in a couple of days. By the way who inspired you to write? Was it an English teacher? Thanking the Lord for you on the East Coast. (Salisbury Maryland)

  • My life feels like it has been ‘off script’ for a few years now, though I have recently come to a (slightly) brighter point after a long battle with what must have been depression – I totally agree that no-one ever talks about how it is in the actual middle of the trial, cos I’m the same! I’ve barely shared with anyone just how down & hopeless I’ve been. Will definitely order this book! Praying for a full & speedy recovery for you, Mr Schmidt 🙂

  • I’m glad you wrote the book and this post. I know that if God is going to use me in Patterson, my “off script” issues are coming. I look forward to reading this book in hopes that it will at least partially prepare me for those days ahead of time.

    Pastor Tim Benefield

  • Pingback: off script is now available |

  • Cary,
    I just got off the phone with a pastor friend whose life has gone off script. Your book was recommended to him and he has read it four times! He says it has been a tremendous encouragement to him.


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