The Writing Journey

I had not planned to write a book in 2021. What I mean by that is having a few ideas that I’ve already fleshed out in to sample chapters, and pitched… I was pretty much waiting to see if anyone bit & then I would have those books to finish up for publication. A whole, brand new, project was not on my agenda. Certainly not one of great magnitude… as this one appears to be.

In 2018, when I first signed my publishing contract I began posting via the blog the process of publishing and what I was learning along the way.

Since I am in the throws of a brand new, from scratch, idea… I figured it was worthwhile to share with you all my process for writing.

Maybe you are called to write a book, and would like to see how others go about it. Or, perhaps you’re just curious about that actually looks like … writing a non-fiction Christian book.

So, if you are ready to journey with me… follow the blog, because I’m going to take you through the nitty gritty work….

Writing a New Book

What is amazing to me is how the Lord will come down like a deluge, a flood, into our lives when we are stepping into what He is calling us to do.

Since releasing Women’s Ministry with Purpose, I’ve worked on several book ideas that I’ve pitched. But, nothing has really taken any steam. That can be disappointing and discouraging, but it’s also par for the course. I’m a new author, still proving myself in the world of publishing.

I was writing because, I’d love to have a career writing. I’m not vying for platform or trying to build up to a NYT Best Seller. I just feel, in my depths, that I have more say that is of value. Whether it falls into the pages of my own writings or something I contribute to another’s work is of little difference to me. I’ll post the blog, give the interview, send ideas, etc.

Last week something happened, the Lord brought me round to something I had been avoiding.

I purchased a book a year ago, and I kept starting it and putting it down. Over and over again. Not able to get beyond the preface and first two chapters. It was not because the book wasn’t interesting or intriguing, but rather it was hard. It was a topic I was experiencing frustration in, presently despite the book being written almost 40 years ago.

One evening, the Lord brought it to mind and wouldn’t let me rest. Finally, I got out of bed, took the book from the shelf and set it on my nightstand. I would start reading it the next day.

Very quickly through a series of affirmations I realized that this was the launching of my next book. Not the next book project to work on, but my next book that would be published. There is a certainty here that I’ve not felt since my first book.

Not only a certainty, but a craftsmanship that is happening that comes when I am in “the zone”, “the sweet spot”, and doing what I have been called for.

I sit with my computer to one side, my Bible to the other. In front of me are legal pads full of notes, and a stack of pens so that I do not need to hunt for a new one when the current one runs dry. I’ve exhausted numerous post it note pads already, and more are to come. I’ve printed articles and requested archived pieces from churches many states away. Lists of questions are being built for an eventual survey to be shared with other leaders to compute data.

I have already purchased four additional books from ebay, and my cart is already filled with several more. I’m pulling books from my bookshelves that I had not started yet, but I instantly see why God brought them into my library. I grabbed a stack of pages that were omitted from my previous book. Pages that I easily cut, when needing to reduce my word count. I recall, just now as writing this, even telling my Publisher (when he questioned their removal) that they would be better suited for a future book.

My niece called and reminded me of an order I placed with her, at the time these were items for a different purpose that never came to be. Now I see that they were not for what I had planned, but to have on hand for what God had planned for the future.

I type fervorously. If you have seen the musical Hamilton, the lyrics… “why do you write like you are running out of time, write day and night like you are running out of time” … seem so applicable to my life. I have a fire that burns to keep the words pouring out of my hands on to pages of notes, research, quotes, and I’ve yet to place a single word on the page of a “manuscript” yet.

This is what it is like to write on a project that you are called to write.

And the thing is… I am absolutely terrified.

It’s an important topic. I want to write with reverence, and respect.

But, like Moses in Exodus Chapter 4…. I’m asking God… are you sure? Are you sure I am the one? Surely there is someone better to do this?

It is in these moments when I am surrendering to the doubt and fear that I know it is not being done i my own strength (gifts, talents, will) but rather in His. Because, if left up to me, I’d rather let someone else do this work.

I’m not intimidated by the amount of work. I am terrified at the work itself, when so much is riding on it.

And, on that note… I step away from this reprieve (coveting your prayers over the project)…. and grab another legal pad… pick up my pen… there is more work to be done.

Gena’s Favorite Things: January 2021

My November Favorite Things posts were a hit, so I decided I would revisit that idea once a month. I have three products that I purchased toward the end of 2020 that I’m absolutely loving.

Microfiber Face Cloths for Make Up Removalthese cloths literally glide across your face when wet, so no tugging or pulling at the skin. They are not rough on the skin either like terrycloth washcloths can be. Machine washable. I’ve been using for a couple of months now and they are holding up perfectly.

Command Strip Adjustables I have been using these little gizmos for a ton of things. We have some by bedroom doors for holding our masks, used them for hanging holiday lights and light decorations, and I even hung some in my closet to hold my old conference badges (I just can’t toss them!).

Clear Framed Reading Glasses These sit so lightly on my face, and I’m just in love with the clear frames. I’m pretty much due for regular glasses at this point, and these guys have sold me on clear frames for my new glasses too!

I’d love to know what your favorites are right now! What should I absolutely put in my amazon cart?

  • Some of the items in my Favorite Things posts are affiliate links, where I make a small commission if you purchase. However, every item featured was purchased with my own money & not gifted or sponsored. My opinions are my own and not biased, these are items I am using in my every day life that I feel are worth sharing.

Recent Announcements – Update

In December, I made 2 important announcements. The first was about my podcast that would begin in January, and the second was a new video teaching series I was going to begin Tea in the Testaments.

Both of these projects are moving forward, but I have chosen to delay until February.

As a US citizen, much is happening in our country at this moment and in the coming days as we continue the transition from one president to another.

In the wake of what has happened today, and in the near future, I know there are two things I do not want…

  1. I do not want this exciting time, of launching something new and encouraging, to be lost during a season on strife and discord.
  2. I do not feel my voice should usurp the strong, Christian leaders, who should be heard.

We, my friends, have time.

Blessings,

Gena

What We Can’t Know

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A few years ago, I was witnessing a good friend of mine head into a very exciting new opportunity.   I remember having a moment of wishing something like that for myself and my family.  Not so much coveting, just dreaming.  Wouldn’t it be nice?

Within about a year, I was attending a workshop where in one of the exercises we were asked to close our eyes and envision our future.  If money, or time, or responsibilities were not a hindrance and we could do/be anything what would it look like?  I thought of my friends opportunity.  Yes, that would be nice.

Then we were tasked to take a look at our day to day schedule and identify what things we were doing that would support that goal, and what was keeping us from that goal.

In very short order, I realized that some things in my life had changed.  This dream that once seemed so far away wasn’t really all that unreasonable.  I came home and began to do some research.  What would that cost?   Running the numbers, the math added up.  We could do it.  Not necessarily that year, but once we got on the other side of some expenses… reasonable.

I was excited.  Then life was interrupted.  We went through a season that brought with it unexpected expenses, unexpected demands of our time, unexpected demands on our energy, and frankly a season of recovery for the family.  The dream was placed to the back burner.  A little disappointed, but moving on.

Fast forward to this week.

I am watching my friend walk through the unimaginable.  That dream turned into a nightmare.  But here is the thing, my friend is in a position that she can recover from that nightmare.  The turn of events didn’t destroy her family, their financial stability, etc.  It is still just awful and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

However, I was made keenly aware that had I taken the jump back then… if we moved things around and made that dream a reality…. it would be very, very different for us.  For my family, this would have been unrecoverable for us.

One of my mentors often reminds me that we must be not just thankful for what God does in our lives, but also how He saves us from what we can’t know.

There was a quote from John Piper, I wish I could recall it’s origins, where he basically states God may be working out hundreds of things in the background for our good and we may be only keenly aware of two or three.

We feel the wounds from the arrows the enemy slings that hit us, and that pain keeps us from counting the arrows that zing by never even grazing us.

I am thankful I didn’t pursue that opportunity.  I am sorry for my friend who lost so much, and I have seen how God has grown her through her circumstance.

Yet, I also find peace in knowing that despite how hard things seem, how much weight it feels like we are carrying… that there has been so much we have been spared.  We may never know how much.  I’m not even sure once we get on the other side of glory God will reveal those things to us.  Would we even care at that point?

But, I will hold on to knowing that we have been spared.

Spared from what we don’t deserve, and spared from what we do.

Standing Stones

One of the things that I love in the Old Testament is how people would set up standing stones, they were a pile of stones that stood as a remembrance of how God did something amazing there. I have a box where I keep mementos of things where God showed up and did something amazing in my life. My own personal standing stones.

Even though 2020 has been a rough year, I would bet that there are some areas where God showed up. Maybe it was an unexpected financial blessing in a time of financial stress, or even a debt that was forgiven or paused until the economy recovered. It could have been that this year brought a new job opportunity, or the ability to work from home that you had been lobbying for over the last few years.

As we head toward exiting 2020 and entering into 2021, I’m challenging you to reflect back on this year and find those places to put the standing stones of your life. We have no idea what 2021 will look like, but if we can look back to this year and still see where God was working things out… perhaps, just perhaps, it will be easier to make it through what ever 2021 has in store.

Tea in the Testaments (2021)

In addition to the LeadHer Well Podcast, that will launch in January of 2021… I’m also excited to share that I will also begin a Youtube series called Tea in the Testaments!

What’s the tea?

Starting and Genesis and working our way forward, book by book, we will explore the 4 T’s of the Testaments:

  • Time
  • Theme
  • Text
  • Truth

And, I’ll share my favorite Tea recipes with you!

For week 1, we will address Time: What time period is this, what is happening in the world, and why does do we need to know this information? How does it pertain to the story?

Week 2, we dive into the Theme: What is the theme of this particular book, and how does it fit into the overarching narrative of the complete Word?

In week 3, we look at the highlights of the Text in context to the whole story. It’s important to read the Scriptures within context so that we can fully understand the truths being revealed to us in the Word.

This brings us to week 4, where we will discuss the Truths of that particular book. What are the big take aways? How do we apply these truths into our lives?

And, for the tea? I love tea. Hot tea, cold tea, healthy teas… and some good old southern sweet. Each week, I will feature various teas blends or what my current favorites area. Just for some fun.

Join me for the Tea in the Testaments!

Food For Thought

2020 included some leader failures, some pretty big ones, and I’d love to leave this year with some food for thought. Those of us who are leaders, marching toward 2021, should keep a few things in mind.

Do not celebrate the fall of a leader. This is not the time to walk in pride, gossip, or toss jabs at that leader you never liked anyway. I’m certainly not suggesting that we as leaders don’t examine these things when they happen. We must learn from them, but we shouldn’t celebrate them. These are real people who have fallen, and falling hurts. It hurts not only the leader, but all of those around them. Their family. The church family they Shepherded. Depending on the fall, it may also affect other people and their families too. Publicly, this also can impact the view the world has toward religious leaders. Their fall affects us all. The correct response: We should mourn with those who mourn. This is not something to celebrate, but something to grieve. We should be praying about over it.

Do not believe yourself to be too high to fall. We should see these failures as cautionary tales of what can happen to ministry leaders who lose sight of their calling. When the audience grows, the opportunities come, financial blessings start rising, popularity increases, and influence expands… so does the space for temptation to enter. None of us are immune to the attacks of the enemy, to tempt us in the ways in which we are prone to weakness. If we allow our pride to blind us to what is happening around us, we too can fall. No ministry leader sets out to fall from grace, but we live in a world that is priming that pump every single day… that wants to see us fail, and the enemy takes advantage of that. The correct response: We should be setting up protections, accountability partners, and guidelines to help us guard ourselves from temptation. Invite others in as overseers to our lives, to have input, influence, and even investigate into our lives when needed.

Fallen leaders are not always unable to get back up. Yes, I do believe there are some serious moral, and illegal, failures that should prevent certain people from ever leading again. But, I also believe there are some things that a fallen leader can recover from. It may require time, counseling, reparations, or interventions to happen first, before there can be restoration to office. And, restoration to office may require having more accountability or working their way up through the ranks again building back up trust over time. The correct response: Each situation must be evaluated individually, to determine if this is an offense that can be overcome and restoration to office is possible or not. If your church or ministry has a leader that has erred, and it is believed restoration is possible, come up with an accountability plan and an action plan of what things must occur for restoration to happen. Additionally, include clear explanation of consequences if the leader should err again.