Some surprises come totally unexpected. I love when God pours out those good things that He’s been storing up for us . . . kind of like when as a kid, I ran down the stairs on Christmas morning to see mounds of presents piled under the tree. I didn’t shop for those presents, didn’t plan for them or pay for them, but they were “stored up” for me by my parents. And on Christmas morning, they showered them on us kids.
Or like when your friends totally surprise you with an unexpected Birthday party!
I got a surprise like that this summer.
I shared with you last March that I had it in my heart to write a book for women on cultivating a passion for Christ (you can read that post by clicking here). And so many of you wrote me kind and encouraging notes—and it inspired me; I was ready to dig into writing that message!
Then in late March, Focus on the Family aired our interview with them and we started hearing from men. Husbands came out of hiding to tell us they needed help. Men who could relate to LeRoy’s struggle in our marriage identified with him, and they kept asking us to please write a book for “husbands of Fierce Women!” We recommended some resources written for husbands, but we didn’t know of any books that tackled this topic in particular.
God began stirring my heart about the need for husbands to have a book that would encourage them to step up to the plate and lead their wives spiritually.
By the month of May, my burden for husbands of “fierce women” was growing and I shared with LeRoy some of the messages and comments I was receiving online. He agreed that a book like that would be helpful to men . . . “Someone needs to write that.” But it never occurred to LeRoy that God might send that assignment to us.
One morning in early June, I woke up from a night of fitful sleep; a night of spiritual battle. (I’d been experiencing several nights like that throughout the month of May and I shared some about that in this blog post.) On this particular morning, I sensed that the spiritual battle I was facing was tied to three different areas of my life, and one of those was the area of ministry through writing.
I knew it was time for a significant heart-to-heart with LeRoy.
I shared with him my burden for couples, and in particular, my burden for husbands to have a resource that would serve to encourage and instruct them to shepherd a “fierce” wife. I asked him about the possibility of us writing a resource like that together.
His response was, “Babe, writing is not in my wheelhouse.”
One thing I’ve seen my husband do without fail, is to obey God’s mission—no matter how tough—he was not comfortable moving into that sphere; it wasn’t his area of expertise. But the funny thing was, God had been dealing with his heart about writing a weekly devotional for the men in our church . . . and I think that was preparation to what God was calling us to. (And by the way, LeRoy writes that five-day-devotional every week—I might need to share some of those with you sometime!)
“LeRoy, can we just at least pray about it?”
He agreed we should pray together and just lay it open to the Father. We spent some time praying and my specific request was for God to provide tangible evidence if this was something He was calling us to do.
A few weeks before this, my editor at Moody had asked me if we could have a phone call and I thought she wanted to talk about the book for women on cultivating a passion for Christ. While LeRoy and I were praying, I wondered if I should mention to her what we were praying about.
I decided I should wait and give God room to show up with that “tangible evidence” that I’d asked him for.
Two hours after LeRoy and I lifted up that request, my phone rang with the call from Judy, my editor. We were barely into the conversation when she let me know that they were interested in talking to me and LeRoy about writing a book for husbands of fierce women. She didn’t know about our conversation two hours earlier. She didn’t know about the intense prayers that were lifted around our little kitchen table. She didn’t know how I’d been experiencing horrific spiritual battle and discerned that it was in some way related to ministry and writing.
But God knew and He answered.
While Judy spoke with me, tears were flowing freely down my face. Not tears of joy because of the opportunity to write another book with Moody (although I’m grateful and excited to do that). But tears of amazement and thankfulness because God is the God who hears. He answered my request in only two hours. He didn’t have to do that. But He tenderly assured us (knowing how much we’d need that in the months to follow) and brought clear confirmation through that phone call.
That phone call didn’t “seal the deal.” There was still much to do: writing a chapter outline, sending in a book proposal, and waiting for confirmation from the team at Moody. But all along the way there has been a steady and constant “knowing” that this was all of God and that writing this book was completely orchestrated by Him.
Last week, while visiting Moody Publishers, LeRoy and I signed our contract and we’re already in the thick of working on the manuscript. Will you pray for us? The deadline for the completed (unedited) manuscript is March 01, 2016. We’re committed to putting together a helpful resource for husbands in only 50,000 words (we’re about 20K in). We need God’s direction as we compile the content, we need the leading of His Spirit, the superintendence of His Word, and the creativity and wisdom that only He can supply.
Will you pray for us?
One huge request is that we will have enough time to write. We don’t want to rush through this and we need time to process and write carefully. And most weeks we have to battle to find just a little space to write. But you know the amazing thing about all of this?
LeRoy thought this was “outside of his wheelhouse” but whenever we have our writing hours together, God so beautifully dovetails our content and unites our hearts and minds into one message. We are having so much fun writing this book!
Do you know husbands who could benefit from a resource like this? Spiritual leaders who are looking for a resource for men who need to be inspired to shepherd their wife? Do you know couples you’d like to pass on this kind of resource to?
If so, please, please PRAY!!