The other morning…sometime shortly after 5am…my
stupid sweet dog woke me up. He was not whining or barking…no, it was the quiet noise of his nails as he walked around on the hard floor. Panting and pacing. Both indicated to me that he wished to be outside. I tried to ignore it…but that little --tick tick tick-- of his nails was driving me batty. I got up, let him out, and decided since I wasn’t really tired anymore…it seemed like an excellent day to start brainstorming the “how to” on this idea God has given me the passion to start. I began writing…tick tick tick. This time the only noise in my house was coming from the keys of my laptop. Tick tick tick…not quite so annoying to me now. Lol!
What exactly is this devotional challenge I mentioned in the title of today’s post? Soooo glad you asked! ;) It really is very simple. I wake up earlier than my day would normally need to start. I write what God speaks to me each morning. I post it. You read it, daily. And at the END of the challenge…I will have written my first devotional. I will then actively seek a way to get it published in book form. Understand?! Lol!
Let me give you a little background to this story. You know me…it’s my style. ;) Many years ago God instilled within me the desire to write a devotional. At that time I was newly married and working. Impossible. (At least in my mind.) As the years went on…life only got busier. One self-employed husband, four children, three horses, a dog, a house always in the middle of construction and an active church ministry team later…I found it very difficult to sit down to even START writing this devotional. Another year would pass. Another disappointing reality that I had yet to fulfill what God was asking me to do.
Fast forward 12 years or so…to two weeks ago. On August 14th I was asked to come speak at writer’s group about blogging. Another pastor friend of mine also came and spoke about the process he had gone through to get his devotional published. I sat and feverishly took notes as he spoke. I wanted details…and he was giving them freely. Then came one question that absolutely floored me. “Did you really write the bulk content of your devotional in only 40 days?” His response, “Yes, I guess I did.” =O You see, Pastor Blair is a local youth pastor in my hometown. He is lively and goofy and very easily reaches the hearts of youth in a real way. He knows how vital relationship is, and he takes the time to cultivate them. He is obedient to the ways and nudging of God. He committed to wake up every day to write a devotional type challenge on Facebook, for the kids in his youth group. THEY were his accountability. THEY were his motivation to wake up and write. THEY were counting on him…and he was faithful. When he was about half way through his forty days God spoke again. Publish the Words I’ve given you. And he did! If you want to see for yourself…click here to order a copy. You WILL NOT be disappointed! =) It can be used for individual use or group study. And you will be supporting a small town youth pastor with big evangelistic dreams!!
Okay, so once I picked my jaw up off the floor at the realization that 40 days IS (and always has been) TOTALLY doable…I instantly became excited. I had been making this process, which I KNEW was fueled by a God-instilled passion, seem much too difficult. I was making it seem like a insurmountable goal, when in reality…I just needed someone willing to hold me accountable. I just needed to know that someone waiting for it to be written! I just needed a team behind me that were in my corner, praying for and rooting for my success!
I went home from that writer’s group pretty excited to start and then a few days later I had already started to doubt. Not in my ability to write what God spoke…but would I REALLY make myself available to write DAILY?! Ugh…that didn’t take long. I was already second-guessing. I was ready to throw in the towel before I had really even had a chance to entirely grasp it. Just as it is told in Matthew 13 in the ‘Parable of the Sower’, this idea I felt God had led me to was like the seed the planted in shallow soil. The enemy tried to quickly burn it out before it rooted. But. God.
I want you to read how amazing and specific God is. During those first days that I was thinking of starting this challenge there was one woman who continued to come to my mind. I kept thinking of a girl I had attended high school with. She was older than I, and I would not say that I really knew her all that well. Over the past couple of years, through Facebook, she and I have had a chance to post comments back and forth on each other’s lives via Facebook. Comments ranging anywhere from animals, to faith, to kids, to photography to…you should’ve guessed…Augie’s pizza. Lol! The fact that I could not get her out of my mind seemed rather odd to me. It seemed so random…as I do not really know much about her faith.
Random flew out the window when God revealed to me that it was HE that placed her there. One night as my family slept…I was on, in the words of my husband…”that Facebook thing”, and who do you think sent me a private message? Paula! She asked a simple question. “Is there an easy to read version of the Bible?? I’ve gotten so far from my faith and I need to get back. I miss it.” Here I am reading about how she feels as though she has fallen so far from her faith…and I can’t stop smiling. The ‘God-bumps’ all down my arms were pushing me to tell her just how odd or random her question was NOT! A thousand or so words later…I think I made my point clear. Haha!
God was confirming to me that now was my time…just as He was reassuring her it was also hers. He was calling her back to her First Love…and He was leading me down the next avenue of my faith journey. I know that I will be a prayer supporter of Paula’s. I will be rooting for her success. I will be seeking God in any way I can to help build her faith. Our time has come. We will not wait. God does not work by coincidence. He is always purposeful!
So what do I need from you, my bloggerland peeps? I need people who will commit to do this devotional challenge with me. Starting September first I am going to start writing a 30 day challenge. I desire a group of willing participants who will help keep me motivated and accountable. You don’t have to be struggling in your faith. You don’t have to have it all together. I want the lost. I want pastors. I want moms. I want addicts. I want the broken. I want the power-filled. I truly want whoever God leads to this post…to take this challenge on WITH me. Dive in. Head first. No fear. Your time is now…and I am waiting to write for YOU. Wherever you are in this world. I need you.
I have already started the first two posts in the challenge because I couldn’t let God’s Heart be forgotten without typing it as He spoke it to me. You will be challenged just as I was. Get your Bible ready. Grab a pen…and be prepared to mark up that Bible with the Words of Life that God will speak to you when you intently listen. I encourage you to grab a journal and really answer the questions I always end my posts with. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. You are praying for God’s next step in MY life…just as I am praying for YOURS! Hang on…this dream, this vision of mine…is making itself reality! =)