I love to write, most people know that about me, and ever since I started this blog fourteen years ago, people keep telling me that I need to write a book. I don't say that to brag, I'm just sharing what they've said to me over the years. My answer to that is always the same: If the Lord gives me an idea for a whole book to write, than I'd be glad to write one. If not, then I'll keep on doing this. Nothing has stood out in my mind in these years regarding that, so I've kept up at writing on my blog. A few years ago, I began to pray specifically for God to give me opportunities to write for Him. Again, nothing seemed to come from that prayer, so I had to just trust the Lord in His timing and on whether or not that was His will.
Fast forward a year or so, in talking with a friend at church, she mentioned someday wanting to have a writing team in place at our church. Of course, my ears perked up, but I had no idea when that would happen. Another year or so went by before it actually happened...and I don't remember how it all got started exactly, but as I sat in on that meeting, I was amazed at how God had orchestrated it all. Our first meeting was over four hours, and most of it was spent getting to know one another. There were six of us in a room and we had lunch together, then prayed and decided our first study would be on the book of Hosea.
That is now written and is in the process of being published and printed. Each of us had at least two chapters of the book to write the study guide on, and two of the ladies had three chapters each. It was very intimidating, writing on that prophetic and symbollic book in the Old Testament, but the Lord was gracious as always, and helped us all through our portions. Here is what it will look like once the book is out and check out the title.
Hosea: Beyond Any Love Story You Could Ever Imagine. We'll start taking this as a women's group on September 2. There will be a Wednesday morning and a Wednesday evening option on campus, and there will also be an online option for those who are still staying mostly at home.
Just yesterday our newest assignments were handed out. It looks like there are five of us on the team this time (one had to temporarily take a step back) and our writing time is up by the end of September. It shouldn't be too hard, but that allows us plenty of time to read it all, take it all, let the team members read it and to revise and make edits. We have a professional editor who is so wonderful at his job. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him through our women's ministry leader Amy and loved all of his comments and suggestions. I feel like I learned a lot through that process and look forward to working on this project with what he taught me under my belt, so to speak.
Yesterday, I pulled out my trusty study companions.
I asked for this Bible for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's the nicest Bible I have ever had! My dad bought it for me for my birthday and Christmas and it's genuine leather. It's a key word study Bible with a Strong's dictionary in the back. You know when I pull this big boy out that I'm about to really dig in to start studying. I spent an hour looking at three verses within my assigned portion yesterday and had to force myself to put it down, because I needed to start dinner and let my eyes have a break.
We will finish the writing portion by the end of September, then we will hand it all off to be edited. It'll be published and printed by the first week or so of January, Lord willing. And we will take this as a group of women for the spring semester of 2021.
In addition to helping write these Bible studies, the Lord has also given me the opportunity to write a few times a month for an online magazine called Tirzah. Google it and read a few of the articles, they are all so good! I'm not saying that because I'm one of the writers, I'm saying it because more people should read from the talented group of women who contribute monthly. I write from home and share it with the editors of the magazine as a Google document. (Oddly enough, that's also how I'm going to start writing for our Bible studies, because you can write, edit, highlight and make notes on it and the others can see it with you. It's very handy.)
I was reading Isaiah recently, when a portion of a verse jumped out to me. It's Isaiah 6:8, which I'll write out for you below.
Then I heard the voice of the LORD asking: Who should I send? Who will go for us? I said: Here I am. Send me.
I am not a missionary living in a dangerous place, and right now I have no plans to travel to one such place to help spread the Gospel of Jesus to any of those type places. If the Lord wants me to go, I will certainly go and I would trust that He would provide the way for that to happen. But what I am doing every single day of my life is spending time on social media. If you haven't noticed, our world is a crazy mess of a place right now; more than ever before, people all around us need some good news. I have some to share—His name is Jesus. I just want to keep my heart and my eyes fixed upon Him and I want to keep showing up for the opportunities that He brings to me. The Lord keeps bringing me opportunities to write, so I'm keeping up at my love and talent of writing. I ask Him to give me the words He wants me to say and to lead me in this, and every single time, the Lord has been faithful to answer that request.
He also keeps bringing me opportunities to pour into the lives of others after a time of stagnancy. I've only met once with one young lady and the other young lady I've only had the oportunity to pray for her and text her, but we're getting to know each other over that way of communication and I'm okay with that. I've asked her to meet with me and so far she hasn't had the time, but she knows I am here for her when she's ready. The Lord also set up a divine appointment with a friend I've known about for years, but just a few weeks ago we talked for hours on the phone and met a couple of weeks after that for lunch and talked another two hours almost. I was at her house last night for a Bible study for young people and I plan on going back next week. I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, but I plan to keep showing up. I'm here and I'm ready for the Lord to use any way He sees fit.
Just a couple more things and I'll wrap this up: we are living in a very different time and people are mean and hard to live with. More than ever before, we need to be looking for opportunities to serve other people as believers in and followers of Jesus. We need to be digging into the Word of God on our own so much that when we're squeezed by the pressures of this world, Jesus is what the world sees in us. That statement is not my own, but one a wise young man said last night at Bible study. We don't need another opinion or another statement about how wrong or right you think everyone is, we need Jesus. We need to trust in Him and to remember that if He can care for the birds of the air or the flowers of the field, how much more will He take care of us? (That comes from one of my favorite passages in the Bible: Matthew 6:25-34. You should go there and read it for yourself, it's so good!)
I pray that this inspires you to be on the lookout for opportunities to serve the Lord and to serve others around you. All of us can do something. It can be as simple as making eye contact and smiling with your eyes behind your facemask—greet the cashier by name and ask about her day. Be encouraging! Don't be a downer all the time on social media, be an uplifting encourager. If you have a song you love or watch a video that is precious, share it with everyone; I love seeing things like that. Pray for others and tell them or don't tell them. Pray Scripture over those you know personally. Set aside a special time for this; I've been doing this since the first of July and let me tell you that I have since seen the hand of God upon the lives of those I know and love. I've been amazed at how much my prayer life has changed since setting aside that specific time one day each week.
If you need something lighthearted to help you through, pick up a great series of books by a Christian author and read some fictional fluffy stories. I'm currently making my way through my third series of books since the middle of March.
Share what you love with other people. I have books that I love to read and I share them with my best friends. I know it's brought them joy to read them like they did for me, and it's given us something to talk about together.
When you look for opportunities, they're all around; if you need some inspiration, ask the Lord for some ideas. I promise, He will give you some ideas.
Thanks for reading my blog, friends. Love to all.