An evaluation of my book proposal arrived. The same questions were posed, the same things I have been wrestling with for over three years – Who is your audience? Why are you writing? What is the thread that will pull the book together?
After searching my first five chapters and the questions presented by the editor I answered the questions. Who is your audience? – My family and friends mostly, really anyone who wants to follow God (although I learned that if you say anyone that means “no one”). Why write – to show how God worked in our lives. What is the one thread to pull it together? – The glory of God. Seemed simple enough to me. But it was not enough. Or it was not clear enough.
Examining my writing and trying to answer the questions, I prayed for wisdom to help me find that thread and something people who read my book can grasp for their lives.
Then the inspiration came.
I just reviewed the chapter about our time in Mississippi and the small church my husband served that needed a piano player. We prayed for a piano player and God provided five piano players.
I was one of the piano players in the Mississippi church although not much of an answer to prayer since I was very limited in ability. Although I have not played much since my husband retired from preaching ten years ago, I was impressed – no God seemed to speak directly to me,
Even though my piano skills are still limited, I love to play old hymns and choruses and worship the Lord. Thinking the Lord wanted me to worship and take my mind off the book for a while, I obeyed.
The hymnal was open to the chorus on the right side of the page “Oh How He Loves You and Me.” Surprisingly I picked up the song in A flat and remembered the chord inversions and arpeggios I learned years ago in an adult piano course.
After relaxing my mind I turned to the left hand page and the song was a familiar hymn “My Saviors Love.” You may know it better by the first line, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” After playing this song for a few verses, I thought, “Ok, the love of God. Yes, that’s what I am trying to convey in my writing.”
Then I noticed the scripture listed under the title of “My Saviors Love.” It showed, “The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.” Then I observed the scripture reference Galatians 2:20. My life verse is Gal 2:20. A chill of confirmation of God’s purpose.
I always concentrated on the first part of that verse – Christ living in me – and how I determine to live by faith in the Son of God. Yes, but it seems God wants me to focus on the last part – for the first is not possible without the last. Here is the verse:
Gal. 2: 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Then I looked at the scripture under the song, “Oh How He Loves You and Me.” The verse is John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Another Holy Spirit chill. This is the concept used in my book introduction from John 17 where Jesus shares his high priestly prayer. Here is an excerpt:
In John 17, known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, verse 23 says God loves us even as he loves Jesus. Hard to comprehend he could love us that much! Reading this chapter again recently I realize not only does God loves us as much as He loved Jesus, but Jesus shared the glory God gave him with us that we may be one so that the world may know about him. That is powerful. God gives us his Shekinah glory through Jesus.
John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Have I found the thread to pull the book together? I’m not sure. I do know that the purpose of the book is to share the stories of our lives and help readers know that Jesus loves them and gave himself for them. They cannot live for him until they truly comprehend how much he loves them. For the first is not possible without the last.