Lean Not To Your Own Understanding

He said it and I heard Him clearly but…”A book? Me? Yes, I love to write but I don’t know about a book, Lord. I just got comfortable with the blog.”

Yes, this was the conversation I had with the all-knowing One about two years ago. And my questions didn’t stop there. “What kind of book? Who’s going to read it? Forget that…who’s going to buy it? Who will help me? I don’t know anything about publishing a book.” Then I heard Him say, “Trust Me. Stop leaning to your own understanding. Simply acknowledge Me and I will direct your path.” I took a deep breath and let out a big sigh. Not a sigh of relief, but in all honesty, a sigh of “Ok Lord. I trust You.”

So I started writing.

I knew immediately that I wanted to find a way to connect my two heart throbs…purpose and butterflies! And I knew that I wanted to reach children so that they would begin to seek God for their purpose at an early age. So I prayed and I wrote and I wrote and I prayed. And month after month, as my pen and paper met, I realized this was a “God idea.” I was simply the vessel He had chosen to use to put His words on the pages.

I wrote, off and on, for about a year. The thing I remember most vividly was the indescribable peace I experienced. Life continued on as normal, but being in His will engulfed me, creating a separation from the monotonous day to day tasks. I knew I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do.

As I reached the end of the manuscript, I reminded God of my initial concerns. After all, I was almost done and had no idea what to do next. And because God did not respond as quickly as I would have liked for Him to, I “leaned to my own understanding” (don’t act like you’ve never done it!). My flesh said, “Google it!” And I did.

I googled “Book Publishing” and tons of companies appeared. I did my research and decided to submit my manuscript to one. After all, God had called me to write this book. His hand was on it. So I believed He would work everything out. Right? Well, guess what? The manuscript was accepted! The company was ready to move forward immediately, but something was different. The peace I had during the writing process had perished. “Who were these people? What if this entire company was a scam? They accepted the manuscript awfully fast.” My thoughts were all over the place. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I stopped and asked God again, but this time, I waited for Him to “direct my path.”

I can’t remember exactly how much time passed, but I do remember being on Facebook late one night when a friend posted a picture of her mom reading a book to her youngest daughter. The caption read, “Congratulations to my childhood friend on publishing his first children’s book.” My spirit leaped. I did not know who this gentleman was but I knew he had something to do with my next step. Over the next couple of days, my friend connected me with her childhood friend, and God began to move. Within minutes, DeCorey Hale, author of Ebenezer The Sneezer, introduced me to an amazing, yet unfamiliar woman, Caroll Atkins. This was the moment the “walking by faith, not by sight” became real. I had to trust someone I did not know with “my baby”…my manuscript titled, Who Am I?

Sidenote: If you ask Caroll what’s her title, she would most likely say, “Brand Stylist.” I beg to differ. Caroll is more than a Brand Stylist, she is a Dream Releaser.

I’ll share more about this journey with Caroll and others in the coming weeks, but if God has placed a dream in your heart, let me encourage you to “trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Yes, all of God’s promises are true. Today, I simply pointed out Proverbs 3:5-6.

My first children’s book, Why Are We Here, will be released in April 2018. I’ll share the link to the website soon, but please know I am sharing my heart because I want you to trust God like I did so that the fulfillment of His promises will come alive in your life, just as they have in mine.

Until next time…

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“E” is for Expect

Ok…now that I have stopped running and shouting about the vowel “A”, I am ready to dive into the vowel “E” (refer to last week’s post if you missed “A”). So I asked God, “Ok, You have me excited about the vowel “A”, what should I expect for “E”? Then God asked me, “What do you expect?”  I was puzzled for a moment, but then it was almost as if I heard Him chuckle as He revealed, “My child, ‘E’ is for expect.”

I was ready! I knew what I expected from God. I’ve mentioned previously that at the beginning of each year, my husband and I create a “By Faith” List. It lists all the things we are believing God for. We list things like salvation for family and friends who don’t know Christ. We list healing for those who are sick. We even list personal expectations that we know are impossible without God’s direction, help, and intervention. So like I said, I was ready. But before I could begin to utter #1 on the list, God told me, “No, my child. The vowel ‘E’ will teach you what to expect when you go across and what I expect of you.” Although this was contrary to my thoughts, I was ready to hear what He had to say. Going across is the only option for me this year. I’m moving forward and knowing what to do or look for once I’m across is like icing on the cake.

So I went back to the book of Joshua and here’s what I noticed:

Greater Faith was Expected
At the Red Sea, Moses held out his staff and parted the sea for the people to go across on dry ground. At the Jordan River, the priest, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, were required to get their feet wet. But once in, the waters were pushed back and again dry ground created the perfect path. Once inside the promised land, the wall of Jericho was a little different. No outstretched staff. No physical evidence for the people before this miracle took place. Greater faith was expected. Each day that they walked around the wall, there was no indication that their efforts would work, but they remained consistent. Even when they could not see the hand of God changing things on their behalf, they trusted the heart of God.

Expect The Enemy To Be Waiting 
Finally, after 40 long years, the Israelites entered the land flowing with milk and honey only to find battles waiting on the other side. And although the enemy had already heard about them and their victory was guaranteed as long as they followed the Lord’s commands, they still had to fight.

Expect the Lord to be with You  
Joshua was committed to God and God was committed to him. Multiple times throughout the book of Joshua you read, “And the Lord said to Joshua” or “So the Lord was with Joshua”. What you constantly find is Joshua receiving instructions from God, then communicating them to the people, the people obeying, victory attained, followed by God’s approval of their actions. Although there was a time when all the people did not obey (we’ll talk about that next week!) and once when Joshua failed to ask the Lord for direction, God’s expectation of Joshua remained intact and so did Joshua’s.

I absolutely love this preparation period! Now let me ask, which one of the 3 points really spoke to your heart? #1 is still tugging at my me simply because I am still learning not to be so dependent on sight. I invite you to join me as I continue reading the book of Joshua. I promise you’ll love it too!

Next week, more insight from the vowel “I”. And no, that’s not what “I” stands for…lol!