Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11: 1 NLT
There are times when our faith is no longer a “substance of things hoped for”, it becomes real. For several years, I wrote a newsletter entitled “Real Women” as part of Impart Ministry (the mobile ministry we led together). The purpose was to encourage all Christian women, but especially those called into leadership, to pursue God’s best for their lives. Then my world shattered. My husband suffered a massive stroke, and I put everything on hold for the two and half years as I cared for him.. God took him home in 2012. I was at a loss on how to regain some kind of normalcy without him. Should I even return to writing?
Not only had my world changed, but so had the world. People weren’t too interested in printed newsletters, anymore. My children encouraged me to switch to writing a “blog”. With the help of my son and his research we discovered Word Press. He filled in all the forms and named it “Faith Encounters”. I loved the name and it challenged the scope and focus of each blog. My friend, Jim Stephens, writes Grace Notes everyday! I knew that I couldn’t possibly be that diligent and productive, so I settled on a once a week schedule. Some weeks I couldn’t wait to write, others I admit, I dreaded. Most weeks, it was simple obedience to my Lord that kept me writing. But weeks turned into months, which turned into years. Once again my children and some persistent friends, said, “Martha, you need to turn this into a book”.
As I was praying, struggling and thinking through the idea of really turning it into a book, I face the wall of finances. How could I in reality fund this project? Then, as only our Heavenly Father could do, He provided funding through another ministry, when my leader friend died from Covid. So that mountain was removed.
But, then I faced another mountain. The mountain of insecurity.and it rose up strong and proud. Why should I think people would want to read what I write? The “who am I” question pounded my emotions. Finally I settled it, when I simply asked: Lord, is this what you want? I felt Him say yes. So I began re-reading past posts, culling the ones that received the most responses and slogging through the editing process. It was work. It took time and energy and focus. I hit the wall of resistance so many times, I just wanted to quit. My daughter and son helped with some of the editing when I hit that wall. We truly need others to help us accomplish God’s purpose and plan in our lives. Some days my resolve came from “it’s a kegacy I can leave for my grandchildren”, along with the simple obedience,
Faith started arising as I could see it coming together. I got more comfortable with the rhythm of the process. Then I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to finish it. I had grown comfortable in the in-between place, but I couldn’t stay there. I had to keep moving. One day in church, our pastor, Michael Hurley, said something about faith and words—and I felt I was supposed to ask him if he would write the foreword. I am not even sure if he remembered I was working on this project! Anyway, I stepped out in faith and asked! He said yes! I had to overcome my insecurity to ask him…another step of faith.
There was still another mountain left to climb. Which publishing company should I use? So many to choose from, so many choices to make. It was overwhelming. My friend told me about a company called ” Book Baby” and it seemed to make sense to use them. I did not have enough courage and confidence to approach the major publishing companies that pay you, so I went with Book Baby! So another faith step with so many learning curves to climb began. I learned to ask for help and wait patiently for those who could help me. As I released my faith, our God showed up in so many ways. I encountered His mercy, His provision and His grace. I asked our worship director (who is also a photographer) to take my picture for the back cover, and he made me look good!
My friends, there were a lot of starts and stops along the way. As I went through the editing process, and re-read some posts I had written, I thought “this is good stuff”. This past Monday, two boxes were delivered and I got to hold in my hand what faith had accomplished. I don’t expect it to become a best seller, but I expect it to encourage, comfort and even challenge the reader to expect to have faith encounters with our Lord.
If nothing else, it was a step of obedience. Only our God knows how this accomplishment will be used. What fruit it will bear. It is the same with each of our lives. Friends, keep on walking in obedience. Do not let the walls of resistance stop you from accomplishing God’s purpose and plan in your life—no matter how big or small it may be.
Whenever your faith becomes substance—please take time to celebrate and share your story. The Bible refers to this as your testimony. My daughter bought balloons and their family took me out to dinner to rejoice in what faith has accomplished.
My book is now available through Book Baby (store.bookbaby.com/book/faith-encounters) or through Amazon. It is the fruit of not only my faith encounters—but those around me. I am humbled. I wonder, is it the book that faith accomplished? Or the lessons learned along the way? I think it is both.
Father, please help us trust you to obey your leading, no matter how big or how small. I thank you for your grace, mercy and faithfulness, that every step of faith we take leads us to the substance of our faith as we walk with you. Encourage us today to keep walking, and obeying you, in Jesus’ Name, amen.