The call began many, many months ago. I just didn’t know it.
By happens chance, I came across a used book online that caught my attention. So, on a whim I bought it. When it arrived, I dug right in. I didn’t make it through the introduction before I was staring in the face of frustration. I set the book down. Picked it up a few months later. Frustration. I set it down.
I wasn’t frustrated with the book itself, but rather what the book meant to me. The emotions it was triggering. I pushed it aside. When we moved, I packed it into a box until it would be housed on my bookshelf. For a brief moment, I considered getting rid of it. But, I couldn’t let it go.
Then some things happened. The details are best saved for another time. That night the book came to mind. I brushed it aside. I needed encouragement, not frustration. But, the Lord kept tugging at me. It got to the point that I couldn’t sleep. As if my disobedience was causing insomnia. Night after night, I fought it. I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want to go there.
(Call me Jonah)
Finally, in sheer exhaustion, I leapt out of bed and headed toward the bookshelf. I grabbed the book harshly, and slammed it on my night stand. “What are you doing?”, my husband asked being awoken by the sound. I apologized for waking him, and said I needed to handle something that was nagging at me.
In the morning the alarm sounded, it was time to wake my youngest for school. I grabbed the book from my nightstand and brought it to the dining table (where I never read books). But, there was a stirring that said I was not to read this book but instead dissect it. God was calling me to something more than just “reading”.
I returned to my office and grabbed some supplies. Pens. A stack of Post It Notes. Several legal pads. Highlighter. Bookmark.
I dropped my youngest off at school, returned home, filled my cup with coffee and grabbed a tall water, and sat down to start. I didn’t leave that chair for 4 hours. Each page marked up with notes. Notes scrawled on my legal pad.
A phone call interrupted my session. I returned to my seat and leaned back to assess what was before me. My best friend sends me a text, asking if I was free to talk. Yes, I was.
It was in this conversation, where I began to spill the beans about everything I was reading and thinking that I said something intuitive: “I haven’t felt like this since I wrote my book.”
She encouraged me with an Esther 4:14 cheer…. “who knows….”
(Call me Esther)
As I pondered the call, I went back to my reading. More notes. Scribbles. A list of questions. Bible verses being noted. Reminders. “Look up that article on….”, “Verify this Scripture….”.
Two days of non-stop reading and writing. I finished the book. Looked at it with frustration and a weird sense of determination. I started taking my notes from the book and cataloging them. I built a list of every scripture quoted, and the ones that came to mind as I read it.
My husband commented, “That book has really gotten to you.” I began riddling him with questions, seeking his male perspective.
Heading to bed that night, I said…
“I think this is my next book. I think I am supposed to write a response to this. It’s going to be really hard. I don’t want to do it. There has to be someone better qualified. Who would listen to me?”
(Call me Moses)
In the morning, I began printing up the chapters of the quoted Bible verses. Context matters.
By nightfall, I said to my husband: “Perhaps this is why I’ve not been able to get a ministry job these past years. I needed nothing to lose.”
He said, “Maybe.”
Next thing I knew, my ebay cart was filled with used books. I had built a stack of books on the table from my own bookshelf. Books I had already read or had intended to, but not gotten around to yet. My husband called from work, “Those books in your ebay cart, order them today.”
So I did.
As I pressed forward in my research, the weight became very heavy. This is hard. Surely not me. Surely not now. I prayed, “Lord… if this is of your will, I’m going to need you to confirm it. This is hard, and I only want to do it … if you are telling me to.”
(Call me Gideon)
Phone calls, text messages, and words came pouring in. From my best friend, whom I speak with daily. From a friend I had not spoken to in years. From the mouth of one of my children, who had no idea the burden I was carrying and the work I was doing. Saying just the right thing, at the right time. My child rose up and called me blessed.
(Call me the Proverbs 31 Woman)
I kept reading. Kept researching. I’ve not even written one word of the text yet, as I navigate through resource materials. I want to approach this unbiased. I want to seek the truth. I read materials from people on all sides of the spectrum on the topic. People who agree with one another. Those who disagree. The ones who will call others false teachers. The accusers of the brethern for improper interpretation.
I prayed, “Lord, let me get this right. This can’t be of me, but of you. I need to know that I am handling the Word of Truth responsibly. I know that I can’t avoid people being critical of it… but I need to KNOW in the depths of my soul that I did the due diligence. I tested it.”
(Call me a Berean)
This load is heavy.
This load is mine to bear.
But, I do not bear it alone.
For He is with me.
He holds my arms at the ready.
I am given supernatural endurance to keep running forward.
I’ve not set eyes on the finish line just yet…
But take just one more step forward.
One more step.