Don’t Miss Out!

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Hi friends! I just wanted to drop a little note to say today is the last day to get the digital version of my new book Holy Doubt: Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle for only $0.99. The price goes up tomorrow! If you or someone you know is struggling with doubt and tough questions about God, Holy Doubt a must-read! Click here to check it out!

When God Says Wait

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Spoiler Alert: My new book, Holy Doubt: Finding Hope When Faith is a Struggle is available now on Amazon. If you or someone you know is struggling with God, this book will be a huge help along the sometimes dark and painful path through doubt. The digital version is only $0.99 until May 11th (find out more and snag a copy here).

Many of you started following this blog almost three years ago when I first began writing about some of my experiences with doubt and what I experienced as a missionary in India. I shared personal stories about the way God was working in my heart as I tried to process what I saw, felt, and heard during our four years in missions, and many of you shared your stories with me as well. I counted it an extreme privilege that my story connected with you in some small way, and I started to wonder if maybe God could use my story in other ways too.

So I kept blogging and started writing Holy Doubt with the intention of helping people like me who were struggling with doubt and shattered faith.

But the book was terrible.

There was a lot of “then this happened, and then this…,” and the manuscript turned into one long list of events. Ugh! Essentially, it was a poorly written memoir instead of the helpful guide for the dark journey through doubt and questions that I hoped it would be. It was about as interesting and useful as reading my grocery list. Not. Helpful.

So I rewrote it.

After that second rewrite, I submitted it to a national contest and Holy Doubtt was among the top 10 considered for a publishing deal with Tyndale Momentum. That time I thought, “This is it! This story is finally going to make its way out into the world.” But as the date for them to choose a winner got closer and closer, I didn’t feel excited. Instead, I hoped they wouldn’t pick me! Feeling terrified and overwhelmed by the thought of sharing the story with the world and the many ways I would feel exposed and vulnerable, I wished I’d never submitted it to the contest. I finally felt more confident in the manuscript, but I wasn’t ready to be an author.

As it turns out, I wasn’t ready and neither was the book!

So I rewrote it again.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that rejection was God’s way of saying “Wait!”

Somewhere in the middle of the third rewrite I realized God had replaced some of my pain with purpose, exchanged my mourning for joy, and hidden hope for me to find in the dark places. That’s when Holy Doubt finally became a story worth telling.

With each rewrite the meaning behind what I experienced sharpened and became clearer, until finally it became what I had hoped for all along—an easy-to-read guide for hurting people stumbling through the soul-crushing agony of doubt.

I don’t know what you’re facing right now. Maybe God is saying, “Wait!” and you just want to charge ahead, bulldozing every roadblock in your way. I know exactly how that feels.

But God has a beautiful story to tell with your life. It might not feel like it right now. But as someone who has sat where you are (and will likely be there again in the future), can I urge you to trust God’s timing? It made no sense to me back when I didn’t get that publishing deal, why God would ask me to wait, but years down the road, it makes perfect sense.

What is God wanting to rewrite in your life? Where is he wanting to replace sorrow with joy, despair for hope? While you contemplate your story, make sure to check out Holy Doubt on Amazon. I’m praying it will help you see the beauty in the story God is writing with your life.

Putting it in Words

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Re:write Contest

In case you haven’t heard yet (if you’re friends with my husband, Jonathan, on Facebook there’s no way you haven’t!) we had some exciting news a little over a week ago.  I’m on the list (#7)!

At the beginning of December I submitted a book proposal for a writing contest associated with the Re:write conference I’ll be attending in February.  The book is about my struggle with doubt as a missionary in India and the way it has reshaped my faith. And incredibly, I made it into the top 10.  They’ll announce the winner at the conference (February 27th, to be exact).  But I wanted to thank everyone who has prayed for and encouraged me along the way, and ask you to continue to pray that God would place the message of this book into the hands of those who need it–however he chooses to do it.

I feel a little like I did on Christmas when I was 7-years-old, holding my breath, hoping, as I ripped off the wrapping paper from the box that held the white fringed cowboy boots that I’d been asking for forever.  I remember walking around the house in an almost dream-like state, heels clicking on the tile floor.  I’m pretty sure my mom had to pry them off my feet that night when I went to bed.  I’ve had to pinch myself almost every day since the contest announcement and I still don’t think it’s sunk in.  It’s almost too much to comprehend. That God would allow a girl who’s believed most of her life that she didn’t have anything valuable to say, to write a book proposal that is being looked at by Tyndale publishing is humbling to say the least.  I guess we’ll see what God has in store.  But thanks for being on the journey with me!

R-I-S-K

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Photo Credit: Kuba Bożanowski via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Kuba Bożanowski via Compfight cc

I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

In 2001, my dad called me at work and said, “I signed us up to go skydiving on Saturday.”  Before I could get a word in he delivered this ultimatum in his best “Dad tone” that allowed no room for arguing, “You ARE going.  There’s no backing out.”  It was a wonder I could even get the phone back on the receiver the way my hands were shaking.  But I promptly hung up the phone, went straight to the bathroom, and felt like I was going to throw up.

The day (of my impending doom) finally arrived, and after numerous reminders about the “extremeness” of what we were about to do and the “possibility (or in my mind, likelihood) of death” was reiterated several times we piled into the airplane and made our ascent.  When I climbed out on the wing and let go, free-falling through blue skies with the wind rushing in my face, it was a feeling like I’d never experienced before.  It was incredible! 

Skydiving is considered by some to be a risky undertaking (thankfully it turned out alright for me!).  And our culture has all kinds of plans and professions designed to help us mitigate risk.  We have risk managers, risk assessors, and people who will analyze our risk, and the list goes on.  While those things have their place and can be very helpful and important, sometimes we want God to do a complete risk analysis for us before we’ll step out in faith.  We want to be sure that there is no risk involved in what He’s asking us to do, or at least a very minimal amount.

It can be really easy in ministry, or anything really, to become comfortable and forget that God hasn’t called us to comfort, he’s called us to obedience.  Sometimes he asks us to take a risk for him.  I’m not talking about cliff diving at Niagara Falls, but simple obedience to God’s voice when we can’t predict what the outcome will be and it would be much easier to stay where we are.

This past spring, as Jonathan and I were looking at making the transition out of campus ministry into the local church in Waverly it didn’t make a lot of sense for us to take the risk.  We had a great job and we loved what we were doing!  But we sensed it might be God opening a door.  We’ve never had audible direction from God as we’ve made transitions and changes in our ministry journey, nor have we had any guarantees about the way it would turn out.  We’ve simply walked through the doors he’s opened and trusted that whatever we would face behind those doors, he would be there to guide us through it.  And he’s always come through.  When we’ve taken the biggest risks for him, he’s shown up in the biggest ways.

What about you?  Is God asking you to step out in faith and do something for him that seems risky to you?  

Are you scared because you don’t know what the outcome will be?      

I Miss Him!

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I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.

After the women’s retreat we hung around Bangkok for a few more days. One of those days being a Sunday, we wound up at an international church that was being pastored by the former president of the Bible college of which my husband was a graduate.

I came to the service grumpy, resentful, and very much against my will.  But when the worship music began something inside of me broke.  I could feel God’s presence around me in a way that I hadn’t since the whole ordeal began.  Charles Templeton, a writer and commentator who came face to face with his doubts about the character of God and ultimately rejected his faith, was interviewed by Lee Strobel for his book The Case for Faith.  When Templeton, a self-proclaimed atheist, was asked about Jesus he broke down weeping and confessed, “I miss him.”

In that moment I could relate to Templeton’s grief.  I missed Jesus too.  Standing in the presence of God that day, I realized that even though I was angry, hurt, and confused–I missed Jesus desperately!  I knew I couldn’t keep going without him.  However, I wasn’t willing to stop asking the questions about suffering and injustice that had been screaming through my brain (nor do I think I was supposed to), but I was finally willing to start listening to the answers that God was trying to speak to me through circumstances, people, books, and the Bible (really, just about everything in my life).  He was orchestrating every experience, meeting, and word to reveal the answers that I was seeking as well as his desire for me to know him better.  God had been making huge strides towards me (looking back I can see that plainly), but that day was the first small step I made towards him, and the first step in a journey that was going to be difficult, but beyond compare…