I am so excited to announce the release of Let’s Run! Uncovering Faith and Finding Freedom, a Bible study for women! I thought I would take a few minutes today to share my story.
Every year in January, I ask the Lord to give me a verse for the year to set my heart on Him and give me direction and focus for the year. In 2014, the Lord gave me Hebrews 12:1-3.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (NIV).
I began to study this passage and decided that I would use it as the basis of my Bible lessons at the Christian high school where I teach. As I unpacked this Scripture (which begins with the word therefore), I realized that I needed to go back to Hebrews chapter 11 and study those men and women–the great cloud of witnesses–in order to get the full meaning of these verses.
So for an entire semester, I read and studied each night and taught a lesson the following day. And God really began to speak to my heart.
The Lord opened my eyes to the failures, the frailty, the fear, and yet the faith that these men and women lived with. They were normal people like you and me, and yet God brags on their faith in Hebrews and encourages us to walk in that same faith, even in the midst of our failures, frailty, and fears.
I finished the Bible study with my students and discovered that they had been impacted far more than I realized. So I took it to my pastor and got permission to teach it over the summer last year to a group of 25 ladies in my church. As the word spread, I was invited to speak at a local church in our area, where a couple I didn’t even know gave me the funds to have the study published independently.
I chose a Christian publisher that offered a theological review, because that was important to me. Meanwhile, a marketing consultant encouraged me to start a blog and attend a writer’s conference. The writer’s conference was several hundred dollars, so I applied for a scholarship with the attitude that if God wanted me to go, He would make a way. I got the scholarship.
At the conference, I learned a ton about social media but was also disappointed after asking an acquisitions editor to read some of the manuscript that I was already having self-published. She shared with me great ideas that would have made the study better, but it was too late to change anything. My manuscript had already passed theological review and could not be added to or changed.
So I went home and for two weeks prayed and asked God to somehow, miraculously, make a way for me to get the manuscript back and make the changes I felt He wanted: anecdotal leads or stories at the beginning of each lesson to grab attention, a weekend devotional that summed up each week’s lesson, and the small group ideas that I had used at our church.
After two weeks I received an email from the publisher informing me that they were going out of business and returning my manuscript and money to me! Now mind you, this was no small-time company. They were the self-publishing arm of Lifeway. They referred me to another independent publisher where I would get 40% off a publishing package of my choice.
I got the manuscript back, added all of the extra content, got a better package for the same price, and now the book is available at online book retailers world-wide. That’s the power of my God!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
I don’t know what dreams you may have in your heart, but God’s dreams for you are bigger. Seek His heart today and be open to how He wants to use you. Our God is able!