A few years ago, I was walking my dog on a pretty fall day and ran into a neighbor. Although not part of my inner circle, we have a number of mutual friends and we stopped to visit for a moment. After the obligatory “how are the kids?” queries, she abruptly changed the subject by asking me this:
When are you going to write a book?
Apparently, unbeknownst to me, she had been reading my blog for years and occasionally found something meaningful in my musings. Since I am always shocked and a little embarrassed when I discover someone other than my mom reads my blog, I brushed off her words of encouragement with a quick thank you and a joke of some sort before we parted ways.
But she planted a seed that day. A seed that turns into a published book a little later this month (December 19th.) A book God let me write and put my name on.
A book with its very own ISBN number. You guys, for this life-long lover of books, there is something about the ISBN number that makes it feel so real I get choked up just looking at it. In case you are also a book nerd, here it is: ISBN 1501848658.
But here is the thing: I really didn’t intend to write a book, even after the passing encouragement from my friend that day. That would have required way more clarity than I had at that moment in my journey. During that season, I was awkwardly trying to adjust to my newly empty nest and I was confused, distracted and all over the map on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I applied for jobs for which I never got an interview, I researched re-starting the licensing procedure for clinical social workers, I attended conferences and prayed for answers. I changed my mind ten times a week about where I was going and what I wanted to do.
Gradually, I started writing more often on my blog and in my journal. After a few months, I started thinking about leading retreats on some of the themes starting to emerge in my writing. I haltingly offered my first Being Brave retreat, then I fine-tuned it a bit more with each subsequent offering. I wrote some devotions to give to retreat attendees as a way for them to go deeper into the topics we covered in the retreats.
I won’t bore you with the details about how those devotions turned into an actual published book with an official ISBN number, but I have been delighted and amazed each step of the way. And even now that I have final copies in my actual possession (see the photo above,) I’m still shocked, a little embarrassed and ridiculously grateful that some of you are buying it, reading it and ordering it to give as gifts to your friends.
Here is the thing I want you to know: this whole adventure is a testimony to the power of trusting God and doing the next right thing. This whole adventure is a testimony to the power of trusting God and doing the next right thing. Click To TweetHere is the Readers Digest Condensed Version (does anybody but me remember those?) of my conversations with God:
Me: Now what, God? I’ve been doing this mom thing for 20 years and now I have some time on my hands. What should I do now?
God: Do the next right thing.
Me: Could I get a few more details?
God: Don’t worry about it. Just follow Me, show up and do the next right thing.
Me: (Insert LOTS of questions with MANY MANY MANY words here: But what if…? How will this work? What if I fail? What if I look stupid? What if I’m wasting my time? What if no one shows up/ reads it/ cares? ETC. ETC.)
God: Just do the next right thing. Listen. Show up. Shhh, you got this. Ask me for wisdom and revelation. I promise to say YES. You’ll know what to do next. People need to know I made them to be brave and kind, and that I love them and will never leave them. Go tell them.
God: You are in charge of participating in the process, I am in charge of results. Do the next right thing. I’ll worry about the rest. Be brave.
Again, that is the short version (I’m a bit of a talker, but God loves me anyway,) but you get the picture. I believe in the Being Brave message with all my heart and I am so grateful God let me be part of the process. I want people to read these words and learn our theme verse by heart (2 Timothy 1:7.) I want people to read the scriptures and prayers in this book and experience God in a whole new way. I want people to know we were created for community and that together, we remember we are brave.
I never meant to write a book, but God did. I’m so glad He invited me along for the ride!
Stay tuned as we count down to the release date for a give-away or two. I will have some free signed copies available so be sure to join our mailing list to stay up to date!
I’m so glad God had this great idea! Cannot wait to see where else He decides to take you. Love you!
Kelly Johnson says
Love you too, sister! Thanks for cheering me on and praying me through the rough spots.
Bonnie Clabaugh says
I Love It !! I am now 67 years young & finally becoming more fully aware of God’s Abundance & Provision in every area of our lives. He loves to Bless us, Using us to magnify His Glory, Fill us with Hus Joy, Go out there & Shine His Light & Love.
You Go Girl ????❤????????????????
Kelly Johnson says
What an encouraging message, Bonnie! I love how God lets us know, whatever our age, that He still wants to use us in His plans for the Kingdom. What a joy and a privilege! Thank you for your kind words and you go girl too 🙂
Jen Pool says
Can’t wait to get your books (with the awesome ISBN #’s!) in the mail soon! 🙂
Kelly Johnson says
Thanks for all your encouragement through the years, brave sister! Can’t wait for you to read it and for us to talk about it. Love you!
Kitha Cockrell says
I recieved an unedited edition of your book in the mail and was not aware that I had signed up to be part of a study you were doing on Facebook. I don’t do Facebook anymore, off for a couple years now. So then I felt bad, and thought if I didn’t show up to the study, you would think I just did it to get a free book. Believe me when I say that whatever I clicked on I didn’t realize I was signing up for your Facebook study. I’ve done this on Amazon too, clicking the wrong thing and buying books I didn’t want to buy. Thank goodness they canceled the order for me. I’ll gladly mail you a check for the book, just email me. That being said. The book is a right on time word to my heart and soul!! I am on my second journey through, starting today. I couldn’t stop reading it, so didn’t take it day by day. This time I’m walking slowly, enjoying the sunshine, noticing all the beauty I might have missed in my excitement and haste to take it all in at one glance☺. So thankful to Father for the gift He has given you, and how He is using it to break strongholds off my life!!! I pray Father will use it to lead many to Himself, the One who sets us free to live the brave life He’s called us to live, as we walk this path home. Truly a must read book!!
Kelly Johnson says
Oh my goodness, Kitha! What a lovely message! Yes, I did get a sign up for my launch team from you. Even though it sounds like you did it accidentally, it seems God knew just what He was doing. I am SO grateful to hear God is using it to speak to you and bring His love and healing. You don’t need to pay me for the book, but I would LOVE it if you would go on Goodreads.com and leave a review now and then go on Amazon and leave a review on the 19th. That would mean the world to me and you could just copy and paste the last part of your message, if you want 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you read the book and share your thoughts. Blessings, new friend!
Kitha J Coc qqkrell says
Yes I will be happy to leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads!!! Yes Father is into every detail of our lives!! He is a good good Father!!!????