God Sure Is Full of Surprises!
Are you hesitant to travel these days, you know, with COVID and everything else? Since I’ve been taking care of Dad, I’ve been grateful my schedule keeps me grounded. So, on Election Day, it was not my idea to get on a plane, but there I was on an adventure I hadn’t planned on. Hanging out with God is always full of surprises!
What If That’s What I Want for Christmas?
As I was going through my list of things to do to reach readers with my book, Mary Me: One Woman’s Incredible Adventure with God, I came across “record an audiobook.”
It seemed early in the game, but I felt one of those God nudges.
So, I contacted the people I know and asked what they thought. Then I sat in my prayer chair wondering if I was being self-indulgent.
Each year, I ask God what He wants for His birthday, you know, for Christmas. I hadn’t started doing that yet, but as I wondered about the audiobook, I heard inside, “What if that’s what I want for Christmas?”
God does that . . . connects the dots in our relationship so that when I hear a one-liner like this, I don’t even need to ask. I know it didn’t come from me.
And I liked the way He said it: what if.
If He’d said, “That’s what I want for Christmas,” I’d have felt compelled. I don’t like feeling coerced. But the what if made me want to go out of my way and get it done.
I began making a plan.
My friend recommended the reader she’d hired for her audiobook.
As soon as she did, I realized I wanted to read my own story. And apparently, that’s a thing. People like to hear stories read by the author.
I watched YouTubes. They covered details from what to eat and what not to, what to wear—and all kinds of stuff that never occurred to me. They demonstrated equipment and showed how to make a studio out of a closet. Then they mentioned a voice coach, not a bad idea having someone slow you down or remind you when to change inflection.
The costs added up. I guess I’d just been thinking I could do it myself?
That’s when I had a flashback of the time I made my own shirt. I was eight or nine. Halters were in style and I wanted one. I dug through Mom’s sewing basket, found some hot pink material, and cut a shirt right out of the fabric.
I put it on and wore it out to play, easy peasy.
Of course, the material unraveled and everyone made fun of it, but it worked . . . for a day.
Thing is, if I was going to make an audiobook, I wanted to do it right.
I contacted the man who formatted the book.
He suggested two possibilities.
The first included tracking down a professional studio locally. He said, “The quality of the recording makes editing, mixing, and mastering much more efficient.”
“Or you could also come to Tennessee to record in one of our studios. I have a great, low-cost option (for Nashville!) where you record and they edit all in one place. It would take two–three days, then it’s done!”
“Trip to Nashville . . . the easiest, funnest, and simplest way,” echoed in my mind.
When God said, “Don’t forget to bring your Elisha Spring water.”
I got the God bumps!
Do you remember the posts I wrote about working in Jericho as a missionary? We drank water from the Elisha Spring and baptized visitors there. I brought some home with me.
In the Bible, the locals had come to the prophet, Elisha, their leader, and told him that the water was, “so bad that it even keeps our crops from growing” (2 Kings 2:19, CEV) “and causes miscarriages” (2 Kings 2:19, GNT).
Elisha threw salt in the water and healed it.
Okay, so I don’t totally get how all that worked. But here’s what happened, as we served in Jericho by doing what we felt God wanted us to do, I prayed with five friends who’d been having a hard time conceiving. And now they have kids.
When I sat with God the other day, all that came to mind. Inside, I heard, “No more death and no more barrenness” (2 Kings 21, ESV). That’s what the Bible says happened after Elisha threw the salt in the water.
Then I remembered that the guy in Nashville . . . he and his wife lost a baby the last time we worked together. 😞
And I got it: God’s going to do it again!
God wants to heal this couple’s hearts over their loss and build their faith to trust Him for more children. That’s why He wants me to go to Nashville.
Do you think I’m nuts?
People ask me all the time, “How do you know this stuff comes from God?”
Well, I don’t make it up. And after walking through six other stories like this with five women and seeing seven children born, I just know.
God is full of surprises, right? And sometimes He gives us glimpses into what He’s doing and we get to take part.
So, that’s how I decided where to record my audiobook. If this whole thing was just about praying for a couple who wanted a baby, well then, go, God, go!
Nashville, here I come. 😎
God sure is full of surprises!
I signed on the dotted line and everything fell into place.
I had just enough time off from taking care of Dad to fly down, read and record the book in three eight-hour days, and fly back.
The Rukkus Room rearranged their schedule so my guy will have just enough time to get the audiobook ready in time to offer it as a Christmas present.
And there I was wandering around, a little intimidated to see who else had recorded there:
After the flight, I went to bed early and had a good night’s sleep.
Then I got up to hang out with God before heading to the studio. I opened my Jesus Calling devotional and it seemed as if each line continued the ongoing conversation we’d been having.
God’s touch is not always this clear.
If it was, I think we’d be like,
“God, I love the story You’re writing with my life!” (when we let You)
Recording an audiobook was fun, but hard!
The microphones pick up every time you swallow or your stomach growls. My mouth watered and it could be hard to breathe, but the guys in the studio encouraged me.
Do you know what was most painful?
I can’t even tell you how many people I had read the manuscript for editing purposes, and it wasn’t just typos, but I saw several other things I wished I could tweak!
The difference between humility and humiliation is often just one fine line.
It had been a while since I’d read the book. And I meant to look at God in my mind as I recorded, but I got stuck on another one-liner a friend sent: “I’m reading your book. I almost quit but finally got to the good part.”
The story wasn’t what she expected. And I’ll be honest, it morphed into something that surprised me, too.
All along, I felt like I needed to tell the hard stuff so the reader could see the redemption. Because I wanted to encourage others in what an amazing shift God can make in our lives when we ask.
He won’t barge in and do that without our permission, but with it, WOW!
Have you ever heard of an organization called Teen Challenge? It’s a “network of Christian faith-based corporations intended to help teenagers, adults, and families with problems such as substance abuse.”
As I recorded, I kept thinking of the people involved with them or in prison or those who also had abortions, especially ones who don’t yet know God but they’d be open to Him.
Why am I telling you this? Because I need your help. In order to reach those people, I would love for you to:
- pray with me about how to go about that
- connect me with anyone you know
- consider helping me shoulder the cost
Maybe you donate a book and write something specific inside to the people who will read it? That would be cool!
Thank you for even considering it.
When the audiobook was done, I ended up grateful that I recorded with that one-liner in mind. It makes me want to describe the book more precisely so when people pick it up they aren’t surprised and it makes me grateful everybody didn’t see it that same way. ☺️
Now let me tell you about the couple who came for prayer
I’d never met them in person. Young and sweet, they seemed a little unsure. But as I began to tell them what I told you about the Elisha Spring, the husband said, “We just read that passage today!”
I smiled. Again, I love the way God is full of surprises because they often connect us as nothing else could.
We talked and cried and prayed.
After, I thanked them for coming and for trusting me. So often these things God asks me to do are a little strange. The husband said, “Thank you . . . for being willing to look crazy!”
Again I smiled.
After they left, I was flying high. I’d expected that after I finished the book, but it didn’t come from that feeling of I did it! It came from doing what God asked and being a part of something way bigger, a testimony I look forward to sharing after it happens.
Pray with me for them?
Often, we get a test . . . then we get a testimony! 😁
Now, I’m awaiting the results of a COVID test
Saturday, I went straight from the airport to the clinic.
I waited for two hours. They told me the results would be back in two days. That would have been yesterday. I’m due back on with Dad at 4:30 p.m. so, I’m anxious.
I had a whole week off since we changed our schedule and I miss him.
Not only that but it presses on the people-pleasing tendencies I have. It’s my turn on the rotation so I want to do my part without causing stress to anyone else because of a change in the plan.
That’s another thing with God. While God is full of cool surprises, they sometimes mess with my plan. Following God, doesn’t always come without a:
- Shift in the schedule
- Few questions
There are costs.
But this time I know that I know that I know I did what He asked. When we do that, the costs come with knowing that as we stand before God at the end of time, well, we did what He asked. I don’t think it gets any better than that!
And here I used to think hanging out with God would be boring. He drags me on more adventures than I think up on my own!
Suddenly God Answers Prayer with a Miracle Baby
A Prayer for Those Struggling to Pray
I look forward to listening to the audio version. In spite of the typos you’ve discovered and the things you’d like to change (I thought Amazon let you make minor changes without forcing new ISBNs, etc., but I don’t really know), the stories of your faith walk were both fun and inspiring. I have a couple of friends to whom I’ll certainly recommend the audio version.
Thank you so much, Carol!
Thank you, Elizabeth. God reminded me today to listen to him and not what others say he said. I was reminded of this post. Glad you heard from him directly.
I LOVE those confirmations that we get from God when we hear the same thing more than once!
An example from scripture of not listening to God directly is when Eve listens to what the serpent said were God’s instructions about eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:1-5). Eve had not heard God’s instructions directly. God gave his instructions (Gen 2:16-17) to Adam before Eve was created.
Lovely, lovely, lovely Elizabeth. Would love to hang out with you and God.
Maybe one day. Bless you, your family and here’s to your next adventure.
That would be fabulous, Sheree! Bless you, too!! 😁
Elizabeth I love you! Your life of adventures with God makes me smile, shake my head a bit, and wait with wonder over what will transpire! Thank you for sharing your adventures and all their challenges, for your faithfulness and friendship! You encourage me to strive for a deeper relationship with Him. Love you lady!
Woo hoo, you know I love that! 😊 He so loves you and I do, too!!