I can still clearly recall the sleepless night in our Sherman, Texas, apartment when I was looking at a full moon that hung like a Chineese lantern outside the bay window in our bedroom. For some reason I held my hands up in the moonlight and said, "Lord, what do you want to do with these hands?" Mind you, I was plenty busy being a wife and mother to three small children, but there was a deep restlessness in my spirit and a conviction the Lord had even more in mind for me to do.
Most of you know the story. The instant the words left my mouth the Lord spoke five words that would set the trajectory of my life. He said, simply and clearly, "I want you to write."
Now I had read enough of the Bible at this point to know that God rarely fulfills His purposes quickly! The promises to Abraham, Moses and David spring immediatley to mind as being prime examples of folks who had been given a great and specific promise and then faced years of adversity before the word spoken to them had been fulfilled.
I have no idea why I thought it would be any different with me, but I guess I did because I jumped out of bed and grabbed my legal pad and the ridiculous rapidiograph pen I used to write with and ran downstairs to wait for God to tell me exactly what it was I was supposed to write.
We're so cute when we are sincere, aren't we?
As I sat waiting for inspiraiton to strike, I thought of a couple of things I needed at the grocery store and flipped the page to jot them down. Then flipped back to the first page and waited. I did this a few more times until finally the sun began to come up. The first page was blank, but I had written a grocery list.
But I never forgot those five words.
About ten years later, which was about ten years ago, my mother-in-law invited me to Bible Study Fellowship, a large Bible study she attended. I went and stayed for eight years until I finished all the studies they had to offer. The last day of class is called "Sharing Day," and it's a time when anyone who wants to can share--in three minutes or less--what impacted them during the course of the study.
The year we stidied Genesis I was laying awake on yet another sleepless night thinking of what I wanted to say to the women. Suddenly a rhyming couplet sprang to mind and it went like this, "This is the true story of how it all began, God was talking to Himself and came up with a plan." I kept running over and over in my mind and I couldn't get it to stop so I got up, went to the kitchen, got a piece of notebook paper, wrote it down and went back to bed.
Another line came, "In six short days when He shouted the command, up popped the stars, the trees, the seas and land." Again, I got up, walked to the kitchen, wrote it down under the other lines and went back to bed.
No sooner had I laid down when, "Now don't think He's finished with all that He has done, 'cause next come the people and the fun has just begun!"
Finally, I decided I'd just go ahead and write everything that came to me so I could try and get some sleep. But this time when the sun came up, I had summarized the entire book of Genesis in rhyme! Truth be told, I was pretty nervous about reading it because I was afraid people would think I was showing off and I was certain I would go over the three minute limit!
Anyway, I sped read it with trembling hands and an amazing thing happened. As soon as I finished the entire room full of over 300 women burst into spontaneous applause! I was both shocked and delighted. Afterward, dozens of them came up to me and asked if they could have a copy. This was in the dark days before e-mail, so I took their names and addresses, typed it up, made copies and sent it to everyone who had asked.
One of the women said, "Have you ever thought of making that into a children's book?" I just laughed and said I hadn't thought of any of it until three o'clock that morning!
But it planted a seed and I began to entertain the idea. And one day while I was praying, I heard the Lord say, "Why not write them all?"
I immediatley dismissed the idea as absurd and impossible. Why, from just a strictly practical standpoint I wouldn't live long enough to do a nine month Bible study on every one of its 66 books!
Still, I opened up my Bible to the table of contents and counted the books I thought might lend themselves to that format, even though I knew it was a ridiculous idea. Psalms and Proverbs were out, so was Song of Solomon and most of the epistles. Still, I counted 25-30 that I thought I might be able to do. Maybe. Possibly. Praobaby not. At least that was my attitude before I learned that when God has an idea, He also knows the way to make it happen.
I joined another Bible study and was going to two at a time. At the end of each year, I would put the book we studied to rhyme. I have seven of them done now, and three others I started before I got discouraged by the nearly impossible task of getting published.
I joined a writer's group and a critque group. I learned what a querry letter was and a "Christian Writer's Market" and sent thirty- five querry letters along with a copy of Genesis to every publisher I thought might possibly be interested.
I learned what a rejection letter was. Thirty- five times.
The search for an artist was one lost hope after another until I finally gave up and quit looking. I told God it looked like my kids were the ones who would fulfill the dream and I let go of it and tried to think of what else I was supposed to be doing for the Kingdom.
And then suddenly, everything began to fall into place!
I found the perfect prayed for artist right down the street in Broken Arrow! He did some pencil sketches and I had him make a mock-up of the book.
It's funny, because when I showed everyone the mock-up they would get all excited and ask me if I was excited. I wasn't. Because it didn't mean anything, really.
But the Lord had spoken to me at the first of this year and told me when He began to move, I'd better put on my seat belt! He was right. And I found out it's a good thing I have a shoulder strap too, because things are busting loose!
Here are just a few of the things that are going on:
- Kerry, my publicist with Evergreen Press has a commitment from American Family Radio to interview me and is in the process of getting several other radio and television interviews arranged and set up.
- The Daily Oklahoman and The Tulsa World both want to do a feature article right when the books come out in mid-October.
- Last week I met with the pastor of the church I have been attending since the beginning of the year. The church is completly revamping their children's program and he wants to show Genesis and Matthew to the pastors over that department and see if they want to use the books in their curriculum.
- My good friend Paula Carter and her husband serve on a board with James Dobson and she is going to send him copies of both books!
- She is also hosting a dinner for me and inviting folks who give generously to The Scott Carter Foundation to see if any of them would be interested in contributing to "Rhyme and Reason Ministries International" and help to "get these books in people's hands, so people's hands will pick up the Book."
- I completed an interview with Shirley Mears of "The Gospel Stations Network" which she broke into four 3-minute segments that are slated to air the third week in August. (If you are interested in listening to them, go to: www.thegospelstation.com and click on the Ministry Interview tab.)
- There will be a downloadable read-aloud version of the book available on my website for a small fee and we are going to the studio to record in August. The woman who is doing it is fabulous and the background music she chose is the perfect touch!
- My other publicist, Cyndy, is busy trying to promote both my speaking schedule and the books.
I hope all of you reading this can draw courage and strength for whatever you have been waiting and hoping and praying for the Lord to do in you, for you and through you.
Just remember, He's never in a hurry, but He always comes through!