When God Opens a Door (A Book Update)

“I’ve been brainwashed. The unexpected thought poked at my mind. We were a sleepy bunch of teen girls, dragged from our beds after midnight to be lectured by an adult chaperone. Clumped together on a couple of ratty old couches, we yawed and tried to listen. I was all too aware that my alarm was going off in less than six hours. Prayer meeting started at 6:30 am and if you cared at all about giving off a spiritual vibe, you would be there. Which meant getting up even earlier to shower, and blow dry and curl your hair, because for some reason curly hair was also a sign of spirituality.”

This is the opening paragraph of the introduction to my book, An Impostor Jesus that I am writing. That I am writing… It’s strange to say that. It’s been such a process!

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Even though humanly, logically, if you know me personally, the timing doesn’t make any sense right now…

God is flinging open the door!

  • God provided $1,100 for me to attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina in a couple of weeks!! Seriously! I’m still in shock.
  • This is a pretty intense conference: five days, tons of writers, agents, editors, etc. I know it’s the next step but I’m a bit terrified.
  • Not only did God provide money, I also get to go with my sweet sister-in-law! In fact, she is the one who suggested it and sent me her extra copy of The Christian Writers Market Guide 2017. Which is where I found the name Steve Laube…
  • Steve Laube is a highly recognized agent in the industry (he represented Jennie Allen), he is the author of The Christian Writers Market Guide, and he will be attending the BRMCWC. After reading his agency description in the Market Guide, I’m going to do my best to connect with him. Because you know, why not? Go big! I might be insane…
  • Mr. Laube wants three chapters in a book proposal, which meant that I had to write another chapter before the conference…which just happened to be the hardest chapter of the whole book…
  • But, it’s done! Chapter 2 is done. (Intro + 1+2 = 3, for those of you wondering at my math skills) All I can say is that it was God because even though I had scads of papers covered with scribbles, thoughts, and organization clouds, none of it made any sense. Until, it did. I seriously got the whole chapter written in three coffee shop sittings!
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Writing and latte art…does it get any better?

God’s timing is so crazy.

This last almost-year has been so hard…incredibly difficult…and yet…

  • God has used it to break and humble me. I can see this reflected in my writing, and it’s a great place to be when you are trying to tell people about the real Jesus.
  • I have more passion than ever for the call and purpose that God has put on my life.
  • I’ve spent so much time resisting the idea of writing a book, but now I am embracing it. God has made it SO CLEAR that this is what He is calling me to do. I’ll be honest, it terrifies me, but as a good friend said recently, “God’s not asking you to gather 50,000 Facebook followers, or be a famous public speaker, He’s just asking you to write this book. So, write the book!”
  • Words, and thoughts, and ideas are pouring out of my mind lately. I feel like I actually know where this is going, and I can see it happening. It’s really exciting! I know that it’s Jesus!

Want to know what you can do?

  1. Pray for me! I need so much prayer!!! Pray for the upcoming conference, for the contacts that I will make, for safety traveling, and that God will clearly show me the next step…
  2. Follow my blog. I know it sounds silly and I don’t usually talk about it, but publishing companies look at this sort of thing. They want to know how big of a “platform” you have. There is a place on the side bar where you can sign up with your email address. This will send you an email every time I write a new post, and it will make it seem like my blog is more popular. 😉
  3. Like my Facebook page. You can find a link in my sidebar. Again, another platform thing…but numbers are important to publishers.
  4. Share my blog or Facebook page on social media. Numbers again, but also getting the word out. 🙂 Thanks, friends!

I’ll close with the last paragraph of the introduction to An Impostor Jesus…it’s the absolute cry of my heart both for my book and my blog.

“Think of me as the Samaritan woman at the well, in John chapter four. I met this amazing, radical, mind-blowing man named Jesus. He changed my life, and I want you to meet Him too. It is my prayer that as you read this book and hear a few bizarre stories, you will consider the lies you might be believing, and question your view of God and Christianity. By the end, I pray you will be able to say with the people of Samaria, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42”

My Theme Song

I spent the last four days at a wonderful women’s retreat. So, instead of a blog post, I have a song for you. This is my favorite song right now; it’s literally my theme song. 🙂

Yesterday at the conference I was listening to it with headphones down by the lake during quiet time. I didn’t think anyone was around so I was standing there in the warm spring sun, with my eyes shut, my arms raised, silently mouthing the words. It was so beautiful that I listened to it twice. When I opened my eyes, there were two people in a canoe paddling by staring at me. Well that’s not awkward…Haha!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that Jesus uses it to speak to your heart.

God Does Not Care About Your Jenga Blocks

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A couple of weeks ago, I was writing in my journal during my morning “Jesus time”, wrestling through the way we view our relationship with God.

“We don’t understand that it’s not about being good and doing the right things…it’s about knowing Jesus. Ha! It’s like we aren’t even playing the same game as You, God. We’re playing Jenga, but You’re playing Hide-n-Seek..”

We are playing Jenga, but God is playing Hide-n-Seek

I’m so tired of the way performance based thinking has hijacked Christianity! It’s not just people like me, raised in extreme legalism…it’s spread throughout the whole church. There we are, trying to build our Jenga towers, poking out blocks and stacking them on top, carefully balancing all of the “good things” that we are “supposed” to do, hoping that everyone, God included, is noticing. When everything stacks up, we feel satisfied, proud and accomplished. But when life falls apart, when we lose control, when we screw it all up, we feel guilt and shame. Surely God is disappointed in us…

I’ve got news for you. God does not care about our Jenga blocks! He doesn’t care when we stack them impressively tall and he doesn’t care when they fall over. Because, God isn’t playing Jenga with us. God is playing Hide-n-Seek.

Have you ever played Hide-n-Seek with a toddler? They can’t even count to 10 so it becomes this wild race to beat them to the hiding spot. I remember putting my kids in the kitchen nook and then dashing for a spot behind the bedroom door before they saw me. You have to remind your little one that you are hiding and give them a hint as to which room you might be in. So, you call, “Come find Mama (or Daddy). Where am I?” You aren’t really trying to hide…you’re trying to get them to find you.

Guess what? We’re the toddler and God wants to play Hide-n-Seek. He wants us to find Him! Can you hear him? He’s calling.

“‘You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.’ declares the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:13-14

Can we put down our Jenga blocks? Do we believe that God doesn’t care about them?

Here’s a crazy thought: What if it’s not about us being and doing right or wrong anymore? What if it never was? Don’t freak out and think that I’m saying we should go and sin as much as we can because it doesn’t matter. I’m not saying that…that wouldn’t be knowing Jesus either. But I AM saying that we HAVE to stop our attempts at perfection. We can’t do it!

jenga-1941500_1920Stop playing Jenga! Better yet, let those blocks fall. The sooner you realize that it’s okay to be a mess and not have it all together, the better off you will be! Just push them off the table. Enough!

God changed the rules…or at least it looks that way to us. The Bible clearly says that He planned Jesus from the beginning of time. It was never about us being good enough or doing enough. It was always about Jesus…always about a relationship between us and God.

God wants to take you on adventures that you can’t even imagine… He wants to heal the hidden brokenness that you can’t even talk about… Jesus wants to set you free from addictions and habits and make you so alive you can’t even handle it… But this can only happen if we stop performing and start seeking. It can only happen when we really find Jesus.

I say this all the time, but I absolutely believe it: when we begin to KNOW God…we will be changed. It’s Jesus changing us from the inside out, not a surface display of outward perfection. He changes our hearts and our actions follow…not because they have to, but because we want them to. We WANT to be like Jesus and sin no longer satisfies.

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So, what do we do? How do we stop playing Jenga and start playing Hide-n-Seek? It might look like this:

  • Let your blocks fall and then shove them off the table. Stop trying to be good; stop defending yourself; stop making excuses. Own the wretched sinner that you are. Own it! You will NEVER be able to appreciate Jesus and his grace until you realize how much you need it.
  • Choose to believe in God’s crazy love for you, in His delight of you, in his never ending grace and forgiveness, even thought it makes absolutely no sense. 🙂
  • Start seeking. He’s calling you. He’s making it easy. Acts 17:27 says that we can even find him blind and groping in the dark. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the exact image of God the Father, so maybe start there. Dig through the gospels and get to know Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but I’m awfully tired of Jenga. I’m tired of the pressure and stress, trying to get it right and always failing. I want to laugh and giggle and run around with my Daddy God instead. I choose Hide-n-Seek.

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Why I love “The Shack” – A Brief Review

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Last Friday night, my husband and I joined a crowd of snuffling, shaking, teary eyed strangers watching The Shack. I  purposefully didn’t wear mascara and brought lots of Kleenex, but halfway through the movie I just gave up and let the tears flow. I’m a crier, and normally I feel a bit self-conscious blubbering in a public theater; but on Friday night, I was just one of the bunch. With my husband silently shaking to my right and an unknown man in his 50’s sobbing to my left, I felt right at home.

What I loved about The Shack:

  • I LOVE that God is not in a box. Watching The Shack forces you to consider your own “god box”. What things do we assume about God that are not actually Biblical? God is SO much MORE than we can ever imagine. It doesn’t hurt us to stretch our minds a little…in fact, it’s good for us. (People who are upset because two parts of the Trinity are portrayed by women need to realize that God is not a man either! There are verses in the Bible that describe both female and male attributes of God. God is not made in our image…we just happen to be made a little like Him!)
  • I love the relationship that exists between the Trinity, their inside jokes, laughter, care, etc. Obviously, we can’t even begin to fathom what that relationship actually looks like, but why not try and imagine?
  • One of the main themes is how much God loves the people He has created. Over and over Papa says, “I am especially fond of _________”. Finally Mac asks, “Is there anyone you aren’t especially fond of?” Papa thinks for a minute and then shakes her head, “No.” I left the theater just so convinced of God’s love for me, real and personal, even in the midst of the failure, sin, and hurt we experience daily in this broken world.
  • God’s involvement in our pain is a difficult subject. Why doesn’t He stop the suffering in this world if He is all-powerful? It’s a hard question to answer, but I thought the way this was handled in the movie was phenomenal. God never loses control and He is always with us, but He does not always cause our pain (although the Bible is pretty clear that sometimes He is behind it)…more of those God-things that blow my mind!

Things to consider when watching/reading The Shack:

  • The Shack is not written as doctrine or theology, it’s more like an allegory or parable. It’s a story that makes some great points. Read or watch it just like that, a story.
  • Obviously you can’t get all your theology about God from a movie or book. Realize that the author’s purpose to is share just a couple of God’s attributes not the sum total of His character.
  • You might not agree with everything you see or read. That’s okay! I don’t agree with all of it, but there are wonderful truths that I have taken away. I don’t see the point in stubbornly rejecting something because it’s not “perfect”.

In conclusion, go see The Shack! It’s absolutely worth it. You will be challenged and encouraged. Just make sure to bring Kleenex, or maybe a small towel. 😉

 

A Vision That’s Bigger than Me (Book Update)

I’m going to be honest today and just share the thoughts going through my heart and mind…give you a little glimpse into what Jesus has been doing. And, I’m begging you for prayers, lots of prayers!

My husband, who is a youth pastor, and I took some of our youth group to Chicago this past weekend for Dare 2 Share. It’s a great conference, all about teaching teens to share the gospel. I love it!

Anyway, so there I am being a youth leader, minding my own business, and suddenly God is speaking to me about my own life. Funny how that happens!

We had left the teens in the main session with our other youth leaders, and were in a special “youth leader training session”. Greg Stier, the founder of Dare 2 Share took us through six keys to being a strong leader in a shaky world. And suddenly there it was, right in front of me on the page. This quote:

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Honestly, this past year has been incredibly hard for me personally. I’ve struggled with identity. I’ve struggled with fear. Some of my “not so nice” parts have come out. I’ve felt empty. Much of the time I haven’t felt up to the challenge of writing. My book has pretty much been on hold. It’s been really humbling. (Which isn’t a bad thing.)

As I looked at this quote from Greg, I realized that I’ve basically abandoned any vision I might have had. Instead, I’ve believed the lies Satan has whispered to me: lies about not being good enough, or talented enough…lies that encouraged fear and doubt…lies that distracted me from Jesus and the power that I have in Him. I was convicted.

Just wait, it gets better! I love when Jesus shows up. 🙂

On Sunday, our pastor “just happened” to be speaking about every believer using their gifts to strengthen the body of Christ. It was a powerful sermon and I was filling in the second point (Using our Gifts is a Matter of Stewardship) when all of the sudden I felt the Holy Spirit poke me. I wrote down the words I sensed in my heart. “You have been gifted to speak truth. I want you to speak for MY glory. Expose the lies of religion. This is what I have called you to do. Stop being afraid. Catch the vision and obey Me.”

It sounds kind of crazy, but I knew that what I had written was from God. Ironically the next point was Using our Gifts is All for the Glory of God. I wrote it down.

“What do you want, Christy?” The Holy Spirit was talking again… What did I want? If I let go of my fear and doubt, if I chose to live with a vision that required an act of God to accomplish, what would it be?

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“I just want the world to know You, Jesus.” I wrote on my sermon note paper. “I want people to reject religion but search for You. I want a genuine revival in the church…a revival that happens because people actually experience grace and salvation through You. I want to speak truth. I want to destroy the Enemy’s lies.”

Friends, I’m tearing up writing this! Because, I feel the passion in my soul, but I know the terror in my heart. I can’t do this…I can’t make this happen. It would take an act of God to accomplish this vision. I think that’s what I’ve been missing.

I write about grace, and the Holy Spirit, and the power we have because of Jesus. But I’ve lived in fear thinking that I have to DO life on my own. Not any more.

By the grace of God, I am grabbing hold of this new vision. Not because I am anything special…but because I serve a God who is!

I need your prayers! 

  • My sister-in-law “just happened” to get two copies of The Christian Writers Market Guide 2017 and gave me one of them. This book is full of publishers, agents, editors, writing conferences, etc. I know that if I am going to “be published” then I need an agent. I read through the descriptions and found a handful that seem to be interested in my type of writing. Pray that I send it to the right person/people.
  • In order to get my book proposal ready to send, I need to write one more chapter. The chapter is on lies we believe about the Bible. I’m struggling to get my thoughts organized. I have a lot that I want to say, but I need wisdom in how to put it together. Please pray that God will sort out my thoughts and help me to connect the dots.
  • I’m thinking that God might be asking me to do a “Bible study” walking through the lies I want to expose in my book Impostor Jesus…lies like God being disappointed in us, feeling like we need to perform and be good, etc. Just pray that I would listen to God’s voice and not to fear and doubt.
  • There is a highly recommended writers conference in North Carolina in May that I would love to attend, but financially it’s impossible. Please pray that if it’s God’s will for me He would provide the money.

Thanks, friends! For your support, encouragement, and prayers… And for letting me be honest today and loving me anyway!

Married to Your Best Friend…

It’s my fault. If I planned better, I would actually schedule a massage with one of my favorite female therapists. But, I usually wait until I’m in desperate pain and then I get whoever happens to be available the morning of my chiropractic appointment.

That’s how I ended up, face down, talking with my young male masseuse about relationships and his new girlfriend. After finding out I was married, he wanted to know for how long. At the time it was just over eight years. I will never forget his response.

“Wow!! (pause) You must be one of those people who is really into commitment!”

Yup! That’d be me…one of those commitment freaks.

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My wonderful and incredibly opposite husband and I are in our tenth year of marriage. After nearly a decade together, I feel like I can say a few things about married life.

Every relationship has its own unique flavor. My brother and his beautiful wife led the way in our family as classic romantics. They sat close together, gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, and whispered sweet nothings. My father, who enjoys his children’s relationships almost as much as his own, would watch them with a sappy smile on his face. Then Josh and I came along. We preferred chasing each other through the house with water guns, or frosting, or rolled kitchen towels complete with screams and giggles. I’m pretty sure my dad thought we were nuts. On our wedding day, we chose to have cheesecake instead of traditional cake just because we wanted to avoid the whole “cake cutting” situation and the mess that was inevitable. 🙂

I married my best friend, you guys, and we have worked hard for almost a decade to maintain our best-friend-status. Some years were easier than others. The baby season was the hardest, but we conquered it…hormones, dirty diapers, sleep deprivation and all.

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Please join me for a peak into our marriage. This is shared with permission. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago Josh got sick. We have totally different sick styles. Typically when I catch a germ, it’s such a light case Josh won’t believe that I’m sick. When Josh gets sick, he almost dies.  I don’t do well when Josh is sick. I’m usually a strong, no-nonsense woman who can take whatever life throws at me.  But my husband is my rock, my support, my comrade, and when he’s practically dying, I sort of fall apart.

As I try to take care of my poor husband, I start to realize how much I love him…like LOVE him. You married people will understand this better than my single readers. Emotions and lovey feelings tend to come and go once you are married for a while. The commitment of love should stay, but the butterflies aren’t always there.

For the rest of the week, I continued to feel these super strong emotions as he recovered and I kept trying to show him how much I loved him…but he just didn’t seem to get it. (Love language differences and all.) At least he didn’t respond with reciprocal love like I wanted.

Finally we reached the last straw.

It was Josh’s day off and I knew he wanted to take a nap and I was hoping we could nap together. But he just came in and said, “I’m taking a nap” and didn’t invite me. My overly-emotional brain freaked out and felt super sad, and I wanted to go pout in the basement until he came and found me (Sound familiar, ladies?), but I knew that wouldn’t work because, duh, I’ve been married for almost a decade, and it never works. So instead I went and mowed the lawn.

I never mow the lawn. We have a push mower but a really tiny lawn so it’s not a big deal, it’s just always something Josh does. My thought was, “Maybe if I go mow the lawn (something he needed to do that day), he will get it and feel how much I love him and love me back!”

I was even nice and started on the side of the house away from our bedroom where he was napping.

My poor, tired, still-recovering husband slept all through the lawn mowing. He literally came out just as I was finishing the last 3 or 4 strips. I am pushing the lawn mower, now in the rain, and he is staring at me with a confused smile on his face. “What are you doing?”

“Trying not to pout.” It came out kind of grumpy. He shook his head and walked away.

I finished up and took the mower back to the shed where he was puttering on some stuff. “What’s going on?” he asked.

I don’t normally cry. But there we were, me blubbering about how much I love him, and him shaking his head and smiling at me and wiping the tears off my face. Next thing I know we are hugging, and I’m sniffling, and he’s laughing, and we are friends again.

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In the weeks following this, I started thinking about our relationship and wondering what it is that makes us best friends. I think these six things definitely help.

  1. We communicate, eventually. After nine years of trying to be telepathic, I have come to the conclusion that Josh cannot read my mind. He doesn’t get hints, even ones that I think are obvious. He needs me to spell it out for him. We try hard to be honest with each other and we take time to talk.
  2. We serve each other. While we do have his/hers chores at our house, we are (usually) willing to jump in and help the other one out. We also take care of each other…for instance, it is pretty normal for us to give shoulder rubs/back massages at least once a week.
  3. We laugh together and at ourselves. Although becoming parents has tempered our rambunctious frosting fights a bit, we still have regular times of laughter and teasing. We enjoy humor and messing around with each other.
  4. We have never gone to bed angry. There have been times when we went to bed still not seeing eye to eye on an issue, but we have never gone to bed actually angry with each other. Not once. We have tried, but someone always wakes the other person up and makes them talk. As a result, we forgive and don’t hold grudges.
  5. We do life together. Josh has been a youth pastor for most of our marriage. I have been a youth leader with him for all of that time. Even when the kiddos were babies, we packed them up and they played on the floor of the youth room. We are in ministry, not just him. Although we have separate hobbies, we make sure that our relationship has the priority. We schedule dates every month, and try to get a night away together (or home if the kiddos are with grandparents) at least once each season.
  6. We have a bedtime routine. People laugh at this one, but I think it’s one of the main reasons for our closeness. Literally, almost every night we do the same thing. After the kiddos are in bed, we watch Netflix or CBS online together and eat ice cream. Then we brush our teeth together and go to bed. Bedtime together is our opportunity to talk, laugh, and pray. The only times in our nine years of marriage that we haven’t gone to bed together is when someone is gone or sick.

 

I don’t want you to read this and think we are perfect. Far from it. I could write many more posts about our fights, misunderstandings, and stupidities. Marriage has the potential to be a beautiful, wonderful thing! My hope is that this post will encourage you in your own marriage, to be real, to seek friendship, and to keep fighting. It’s worth it!

But We Need Jesus (A Book Update)

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I’m sitting here at my favorite hipster coffee shop, feeling the vibe…feeling creative and artsy, and hoping to be inspired. I’m praying that I can explain what I’m thinking in a way that will make sense. 🙂

Friends, there are so many confused and broken people in this world! And we who call ourselves Christians have the answer for them…we have the good news about Jesus…the best news, the most amazing news! BUT…

It has to be more than just information.

Because logically, it doesn’t totally make sense. Intellectually, it’s kind of offensive. Culturally, it’s becoming irrelevant.

Words can’t convince people. Arguments can’t convince people.

But a life changed, overwhelming love and grace, total faith in something we cannot explain…things like that, proof of the Spirit of Jesus living inside of us…these are the things that make people wonder and think, even if they still question and doubt.

I’ve had three conversations in the past few weeks that are sticking with me in ways I didn’t expect.

  1. I was thanked for being kind by a person who has recently had Christians say terrible things to them because of something they are dealing with.
  2. I shared the good news of Jesus with a teen and listened as they prayed, trusting Jesus as their Savior, witnessed tears and smiles as they became a new creation.
  3. I listened, asked questions, and then shared my beliefs about Jesus with someone who believes in God but finds the Bible difficult to take literally.

These are my favorite conversations, my favorite types of experiences. They make me crave more. It’s amazing!

Confession time: I have been allowing doubts and fears to stop me from following God. I have allowed people’s opinions of me and my abilities to stop me from obeying Jesus. Ever since the agent I was working with turned me down, I haven’t even looked at my book proposal. It’s been three months. I let people shape my identity instead of Jesus.

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But these conversations the past few weeks…they are reminding me that I have a story to share. I have a passion and a message. His name is Jesus.

I don’t need to be perfect to share this message of love and hope, I just need to be willing. I will never have it all together, but that’s okay! I’m not supposed to…after all the message isn’t about me, it’s about my Savior who does the forgiving and saving, and shows the grace and love. I need Him just as much as anyone else!!

My heart for the lost world is for them to meet Jesus.

My heart for Christians is for them to actually meet Jesus and be able to share Him with the world.

I want you to so believe and experience Jesus that He completely changes your life. I want you to understand your salvation so well that it is effortless for you to share it with others. I want you to be at a place where you could sit in front of an entire coffee shop of people and talk about Jesus in such a real and compelling way that they would listen even if they didn’t believe…

Christian brothers and sisters, I want you to believe the truth about who you are in Christ with your heart, not just your mind. I want it to be life and not just knowledge. Not rules, not standards, not religion, but LIFE. Because we need the real Jesus. And this world needs the real Jesus. We are dying without Him.

And so, I am going to pursue this whole book thing again…until God clearly closes the door or until He flings it open. Please pray for me! Especially that I will believe the truth about myself. who I am in Christ, and not allow my identity to be shaped by people and their opinions of me.

 

Breaking the Silence

Have you ever had one of those seasons of life where it feels like everything is imploding at once? Where just putting one foot in front of the other seems like too much? 

That was this summer.

I usually write about what is on my heart…what I’m thinking about, going through, etc. But I couldn’t. So I just didn’t write anything. For a long time.

Well this is me picking up the hammer, smashing the glass of silence, and being honest.

Camp: It’s been 14 years since I first set foot on my favorite camp. It’s a small place, nothing grand, but as I’ve said before, it holds my heart. So many of the monumental moments of my life are centered around that place. I found grace and freedom my first summer at camp, met my husband while working there, and both of my children were born while we were there as interns. But even though I love my little camp, this summer was really hard. I made a lot of mistakes, struggled with some relationships, and left the summer feeling emotionally and physically drained. Working at summer camp is never easy, but this year was just exceptionally tough on me.

This is not to say it was all bad. There were some wonderful highlights, moments with campers, friendships with staff, watching God work…

Book: After a great Speak Up Conference where it seemed like God was flinging open the door for my book, I got an email from the agent I’ve been working with, telling me that her agency isn’t interested in working with me after all. They have some concerns about my book proposal and don’t feel they can move forward. This was super confusing to me because the agent was the one who helped me write the book proposal in the first place. Since this news came during a time at camp where I was already emotionally spent, I totally lacked the energy to deal with it. I didn’t even reply to her email (real mature, I know), and instead just closed the lid on writing.

I still don’t know what I am going to do. I have publishing houses who expressed interest in seeing my proposal, but with the recent feedback from the agent, I’m not even sure I want to send it in. Not to mention, I’m feeling a little disillusioned with the Christian writing/speaking sphere lately…all this push to be “spectacular”. I don’t want to be spectacular. I just want to be real, and honest, and rebellious. And while I’m ranting, you should know that I’m NEVER wearing a blazer. (Sorry if you are reading this as a speaker/writer who wears blazers…I’m sure they look fantastic on you!)

Church: Some of you know that I am married to an associate pastor (mostly he focuses on youth and children’s ministry). Church ministry is not easy, you guys! Sometimes I think being a pastor and pastor’s wife is one of the most stressful and loneliest jobs on the planet. Our church is growing right now, which is a wonderful thing! But as we switch to two services this fall, and as my husband’s youth group has grown from 9 to 50+ kids over the past four years, it’s also a lot of work!

This summer was one of those times when we had to reevaluate our calling. (Something I think people in ministry should do rather frequently.) We had gut level, honest conversations, and we began to pray for God to either revive our passion or show us the next step.

It’s very clear that Jesus is currently reviving us! God is doing some awesome things in our church right now and we are super excited to be a part of them.

Why are we so afraid to be real? I know I’m not the only one who had a less-than-stellar summer.

You know what? Even though this summer pretty much sucked sometimes, God never stopped being God. Jesus never lost control. And, the Holy Spirit never left my side. Even when I didn’t understand what was going on, They never changed! The biggest lesson I learned? Sometimes we just have to hold onto His promises and run blind.

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Ever Read One of Those Books?

I’ve been reading a book this summer at camp that has totally wrecked me. It’s called Jesus Centered Life: The Life You Didn’t Think was Possible with the Jesus You Never Knew by Rick Lawrence. If you want a deeper, more real relationship with Jesus apart from the religion and “should’s” so often associated with Christianity, please grab a copy of this book. You won’t be disappointed. I’m going to let the quotes speak for themselves.

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My heart resonates with the message of this book! It’s not that the writing is so fantastic, it’s that the message is a real Jesus, wild, unchained, passionate, everything we ever wanted.

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This is what I say all the time to people…why are you so consumed with doing good, Christian things? If they say, “Because it’s right” then I keep asking questions. I truly believe that a real and tangible relationship with Jesus will change us from the inside out. We won’t have to worry about “doing right things” because they will automatically flow out of our love for Jesus and out of His life in us.

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This prayer cut me to the heart, exposed all the other things I am pursuing, and left the one desire that is stronger than everything else. I just want Jesus!

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Can you pray this with me? Have you discovered a God who is so real, and so incredibly good, that you can give Him everything? Surrender is where the beauty happens. The beauty of brokenness. And the true joy of surrender…

I’ve only gotten through half of this book, and it has destroyed me…it has awakened such longing for Jesus, such desire. There is nothing else I want in the world, as much as I want Him. And I am willing to do and to lose whatever it takes to experience more of Him, to know more of His heart, to be with Him where He is…

The Next Step (A Book Update and Blog Hop)

Blog-Hop-ButtonWow! What a week! I went from drowning in piles of meds during our special needs week at camp straight to the Speak Up! conference for writers and speakers. The days were crazy and the nights weren’t much better. If I wasn’t having nightmares about miscounting medications, I was dreaming that I couldn’t find the publisher I was supposed to meet with because they turned all the lights off.

Despite my sleep deprived state, or possibly because of it, I was able to meet with five editors and agents from different publishing houses. Every one of them has asked for my book proposal! This is pretty unusual and exciting…but, just because I send it to them doesn’t mean that their company will actually want to publish my book. Still, it was total confirmation that I am on the right track and that God is the one opening the doors for me.

I will be emailing the agent I have been working with on Monday to let her know of the interest. Most likely she will agree to sign a contract with me, and we will start sending my book proposal to the interested companies. It takes a few weeks to a few months to find out if a publishing company is actually interested in my  book (If they aren’t interested I will hear sooner). Then, if I get a contract from a publishing house, it will be about a year before my book is actually in print. So, lots of waiting ahead of me, but that’s okay. I am just so happy to have confirmation and a next step. It’s been quite the journey since I first thought God might possibly be asking me to write a book. 🙂

Camp Fun! (Clockwise from bottom left: Me and one of my favorite campers, new hammock and Chacos, and fun on the golf cart.)

New and old friends at Speak Up! (From the left: Jen Ferguson, Cindy Bultema, Carol Kent)

 

 

 

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