On how God told me to write a book... and it happened.
Have you ever had a burning bush moment? A moment where heart pounding, feet tingling, you feel the presence of God and sense that what you're hearing is audible and silent and hidden from the world, but apparent to you? I've had one of those moments, and it happened in January, sitting in church, hearing a sermon about Ruth—a message about losing control. The turning point in Ruth comes when she presents herself all gussied up to Boaz, hoping that he might take her as a wife. But then he turns around and basically says, "wait, I need to take care of a few things." Ruth is let waiting, wondering, and completely out of control. She has no power to determine what happens next—it's all in his hands. And behind the scenes, without Ruth's knowledge, Boaz orchestrates everything necessary to redeem her and her husband's land. Though she didn't know it, there were conversations happening outside her earshot that changed her life.
And during that sermon, I felt something stirring in my heart that couldn't be called anything but crazy. TOTALLY CRAZY. It wasn't a voice, it wasn't a literal burning bush. It was this still, quiet thought that entered my heart in the midst of a song. You need to write a book.
"Sure," I thought, responding to the thought. "I've always wanted to write a book, and I think I will some day." But my best efforts to kick the "book-writing" can down the road were thwarted. The thought kept pestering, breaking through, and finding its way to the pages of my journal where I was keeping notes. It was as if someone was whispering in my veins, Let go right now and be ready to write a book. Like Ruth, forget control and money and your schedule and find out what's been happening behind the scenes on your behalf.
I've never left church so confused. At the grocery store afterwards, filling our cart with apples and turkey and sausage and orange juice for the week ahead—I told Patrick what I felt I'd heard that morning. He looked dumbfounded. What would I write about? I didn't know. Would I quit everything else and just start writing something? I didn't know. Would it take six years or six days or six months? I had no answers.
A few weeks went by and I tried to forget that I thought that God had called me to write a book. "You are so vain," I told myself. "You just want to write a book so you can be rich and famous. God doesn't call people to write books. People write books because they are conceited and want the world to think they're smart."
Yikes. I stuffed down these self-deprecating thoughts and insults, and smashed down the burning bush moment with them.
Unbeknownst to me, during this time a publisher was making a call to a non-profit in Michigan. Over one phone call, they asked the founder if he thought he could compile a book. Then, that founder called a friend in Nashville and asked if the friend knew any writers. Then that CEO called me.
It had been two weeks since that heart thumping, God-fearing moment in church. My phone vibrated and flashed an unknown number from Michigan. It was Brad Formsma, the founder of I Like Giving. He introduced himself, then asked me a simple question. "Claire, would you be willing to help me write a book?"
I said yes.
I'm telling you this story because I wonder what's happening in your life right now. If God is moving in my life, he's moving in yours. Because he loves me, and he loves you, and he's up to stuff! Perhaps even really big, mountain-moving stuff. And what if we cram it down and ignore it? And what if we label it coincidence instead of calling? We need to tell each other how God is moving. Because telling stories is a beautiful form of praise. We need to hear each others stories—because it reminds us that he is real and good and love. I need your story to keep me believing.
So, will you tell it?