I just found out my manuscript will not be going to print. It’s the one:
- I prayed over.
- I sequestered myself from friends and family to write.
- I hold a signed contract for.
- I submitted to the publisher several months ago.
- We designated as the second book in a series of books.
Just recently, my publisher, AMG, announced a restructuring and with it comes the elimination of new Bible studies from their line of products. Instead, they’ll be focusing on developing only three genres: Bibles, Bible Reference, and Youth Fiction. Please don’t misunderstand–I’m not bad-mouthing or bashing the publisher. AMG is an amazing organization living up to it’s name–Advancing the Ministries of the Gospel. They have produced hundreds of Biblically-based resources so people around the world may have opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to its message. They also saw value in my work and invested in publishing Rooted, for which I am forever grateful. But the publishing world continues to change. Essential to moving forward–streamlining and belt-tightening.
To say I’m excited about this manuscript is an understatement. Taking Inventory: Discovering Who God Is and What He Has Done, is a six-week inductive Bible study on character traits of God. Incorporated in it are stories from the Old and New Testaments showcasing our glorious God. The truths are valuable for everyone–from those questioning Who is this God? to those who have been in relationship with Him for decades!
When Ron and I traveled to Ethiopia earlier this year, my job was to lead a retreat for the missionary women. That prospect intimidated me. What do you say to people who have clearly heard the voice of God–women who literally deny themselves, take up their crosses daily, and follow Jesus? After praying and seeking God’s direction, I felt compelled to remind them of the truths of God’s character. Using two chapters from this manuscript, I guided them through my Read, Relate, Reflect, Remember process of inductive study, focusing on God as Creator and Sovereign. Their response? Sponges–absorbing the refreshing water of the Word! It’s safe to say we all left that gathering infused with the truths of Who God Is and What He Has Done.
It’s encouraging to know that the God who spoke the world into existence and holds all things together by the word of His power, is the same God who works in our world today–whether it be the African bush or an American suburb, with a house full of kids or a quiet condo, in charge of a multi-level organization or responsible for the day’s meal plan.
The truth is. . .knowing Who God Is and What He Has Done:
- Is valuable.
“This is what the LORD says: The wise man must not boast in his wisdom; the strong man must not boast in his strength; the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth. But the one who boasts should boast in this, that he understands and knows Me–that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the LORD’s declaration” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
- It’s vital.
“This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).
- Gives meaning and purpose to our lives.
“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. . .” (Philippians 3:10).
Whew! I’m getting carried away–I didn’t mean to start preaching!
Can you tell I get excited about this manuscript?
So when word came that it got pulled, I felt like I took a gut punch. With the wind knocked out of me I wondered . . . Now What? What happens to these 220 pages? Can it still be shared with others? How? Should I pursue other publishers or finance it and self-publish? Should it be published at all? Do I even continue writing Bible studies?
I’m just not certain!
Yet, amid all the questions, there is something that remains certain–I can find my answers from God.
A few years ago, my Mom needed a new phone. While everyone else sported phones of the smart variety, hers remained dumb. I took her to Verizon to see what we could do about it. Trying to determine the phone that would best suit Mom’s needs (texting, apps, camera, games, etc.), the salesperson asked, “What do you use your phone for?”
Mom replied in all seriousness, carefully articulating each word, “Well. I talk. And I listen.”
The clerk and I exchanged glances before we both burst out laughing! When we regained our composure, we explained to Mom all that was available to her on the newer cellular devices. Always the good sport, Mom chuckled along with us.
When we returned home, I told the rest of the family about the comical exchange. “I talk and I listen!” Bwahahaha! It’s become a standard one-liner among the relatives–each time it’s spoken out loud, we all crack up . . . even Mom.
While we may laugh at the simplicity of that particular statement, I found Mom communicated great depth as usual. This one-liner can be extremely helpful–especially when it comes to knowing what to do when you haven’t a clue!
Obviously, I don’t know what to do regarding the Taking Inventory Bible study. But I’m pretty confident I can take at least two steps forward. What are those next steps?
First, I’ll talk–and pray for wisdom, discernment, direction, and clarity.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without criticizing, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Next, I’ll listen–and wait to hear from God because I’m confident He will guide.
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Talk and listen–it’s what to do when we haven’t a clue.
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know what I hear.