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About three years ago I heard the gentle whisper of God saying He wanted me to share with others my struggles. He wanted me to write how He helped me overcome my trials as I walked through them. At first, I laughed and blew it off. Yes, I use to do that when God first asked me to do something I’ve never done before. Especially if it’s something I’ve never even considered doing. Then as He usually does, He continued to remind me what He wanted me to do, until I sat down and talked to Him about it.
My excuses not to write my story were endless.
- I’m not good at writing
- I don’t know proper grammar to write a book
- I don’t know what to write about
- Who cares about my life and what I’m going through
- I don’t have time to write
- I don’t know the first thing about writing a book
As I gave God all of my excuses, which I thought were pretty good ones, He continued to tell me what I was to do. Once I finally decided to try, not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to show God how I couldn’t, He either put people in my path, or directed me to people, who would help and encourage me to write.
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21
It’s been an amazing three years! I feel blessed by the many wonderful people God has brought alongside me to complete the task of writing my story. Actually, it’s not just my story. It’s a story about family, marriage and coming to faith. So it’s my family’s story, written in my perspective. Below is the brief description of the book, which you’ll find on the back cover of, ‘In His Way’.
Throughout much of my married life, I lived under the illusion that I had it all together – it was everyone else that needed fixing. Several years into my second marriage my husband, a Deputy Sheriff, became a workaholic and was never home. Meanwhile, I became a volunteeraholic, too busy to face the fact that we had become two strangers under one roof, raising three kids.
God revealed Himself to me through the different women I volunteered with. As my heart slowly opened to God’s presence, my marriage came crashing down around me. As I cried out for God’s help, I discovered my husband’s affair. I found myself surrounded by faithful people who gave me the strength to face the problems in my marriage and the tools needed to begin fixing it.
Over the next four years, my husband’s health deteriorated and he was forced to retire. Through this God continually showed me I was In His Way and then, when He knew He had my attention, He would proceed to show me how to do things In His Way. In the end, what God told me to do, saved my husband’s life, and our marriage. What was broken is now fixed by the grace and love of God.
I wrote this book for God and now I give it to Him, trusting it will be read by everyone He wishes to read it. My hope is that it helps others understand the love God has for them. I hope it turns people to God and the beautiful life He has planned for them. I hope it helps others get out of God’s way so they too can do things In His Way.
My book is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook (Kindle). If you choose to read it, I would appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon. Even if you don’t like it. I just ask that you ask yourself how you would feel if someone wrote that about you before leaving your comment. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and enabling You give us to step out and be all You know we can be. I pray we each take time to be quiet and still so we can hear Your gentle whisper, Amen
I had the pleasure of meeting Christine Andrews 10 years ago at Callison Elementary School. She was a third grade teacher and I was a parent. I volunteered to help hand out snacks to the students each morning prior to taking their end of year state tests. Christine helped me understand which snacks best provided the energy children needed to fuel their minds, not their bodies. I was excited to hear she put her passion with health and scripture together in a book to help us understand the importance of taking care of our bodies. I asked her to share how this all came about, as well as give us insight into her book.
My desire to write about health
For 25 years as an elementary school teacher I taught hundreds of 7-9 year olds how to write. I never thought of myself as a writer and as a young student I struggled with writing. I loved to bring out the best in students in their writing, and loved the whole process of transforming a draft into publication. After my retirement and subsequent new profession in the holistic health care field, I get asked lots of questions. The internet is an easy avenue for discovering new information, but it can be deceptive and the majority of people have a difficult time deciphering truth from myth through the myriad of web information. Writing about health affords an avenue in which to answer common and unique questions backed by scientific and clinical sources while bringing the truth about health. Writing broadens peoples’ knowledge about the importance of eating the right foods and how this can affect their health.
How did God Guide Me?
About four years into my health and nutrition practice I felt a calling to write my first book. If began after a meeting with my nutrition mentor and some notes that he had written up for Christians and their health. After studying these notes and through much prayer and encouragement from my nutrition mentor, I began to dig deeper into scripture and scientific articles to find out what the Bible had to say about health, disease, emotions, and natural remedies of that time. God, the master nutritionist of all time and the creator of nature defined very clearly what to eat and drink. The Bible has always been our source of information for everything we need including fundamental principles for how to approach health. The more I delved into this topical study, the more excited I became to share this wealth of knowledge with others. After reading a quote from John MacArthur, although timid and nervous, I knew God was revealing to me to pursue penning my first book. “An uncompromising life is characterized by an unashamed boldness that calls us to an uncommon standard. Allow God to do with your life as He pleases, that He might broaden your influence and glorify Himself.”
Food Isn’t What It Used to Be: A Biblical Approach to Health by Christine Andrew. From four thousand years ago and earlier to current times, food has taken a dramatic transformation. The consequences of this change are taking a drastic toll on our health. The reader will learn what God’s word reveals about food, beverages, our health, and what responsibility we have in caring for the bodies with which He has entrusted us. Compounding the effects of poor food quality with the magnitude of onslaughts from toxins, is there any hope? This book will indulge the reader with guidelines for healthy food and beverage selections, as well as remedies aligned with God’s word giving renewed hope.
To find out more about Christine, please check out her website at www.christineandrew-cnc.com. Her book, Food Isn’t What It Used To Be: A Biblical Approach to Health, is available for purchase from Amazon or WestBow Press. If you’re in Northern California and would like to stop by her office to purchase a signed copy of her book or chat with her, you can at 348 Cernon St, Suite A, Vacaville, CA.
I’d like to introduce you to Victoria Newman. She’s married to Brent, who works for the California Highway Patrol and together they have 4 children. She enjoys coming along side other Law Enforcement families to help them through the difficulties this line of work can sometimes bring. Today, she is sharing her story of how she came to write A CHiP on my Shoulder. Enjoy!
Worth the Wait
I had a dream.
From the time I was nine I wanted to be an author. But as life moved on, my writing became self-expressive poems; prose of things I learned as I processed the hurts and triumphs of life. Then after I married my man (Brent), I worked on a book for newlyweds called The Bride’s Guide to Wife Life. It included recipes, cleaning tips and relational advice – everything from soup to sex. I just knew it would be a success!
Brent and I had four children together. We moved around because Brent kept promoting with the California Highway Patrol. There were times when being a cop wife meant giving more than I thought I should, and at times simply exhausting. I made excuses for missing family events, frequently felt like a single parent, and explained moods away. I kept my chin up, but it was hard. I didn’t know until later that the life I led was common for police families.
Fast forward to 2005 when I took Bride’s Guide to publishers. I then struggled through a year writing, rewriting, accepting harsh criticism, and learning to write for an audience. In the end, there was no published book for newlyweds. It did, however, open up opportunities to help others write their books. This was beneficial, but not what I hoped for.
During this process, a wise friend suggested I consider writing about being a police wife. I prayed about it. The idea seemed right, and soon thereafter the title came to me: A CHiP on my Shoulder. In 2008, my husband was given the privilege of commanding the Academy. We were spending a lot of effort mentoring police families, so I thought it was time to begin writing CHiP, and planned as such.
But God had another idea.
I had been in Bible studies my entire adult life. I especially loved Precepts – and eventually became trained as a leader. I had taken the previous year off, and felt it was time to come back as a group leader. But then I learned that our Precepts program was about to disappear because our director moved on and no one was qualified to take the position.
My pastor was confident the position was mine. My husband loved the idea. I, however, threw a tantrum, crying out to God.
It meant putting my dream on hold once again for at least a year, maybe longer.
I called myself Mr. Holland. I was tired of waiting. I was weary of helping other people write their books. I wanted to write my own.
Somehow I got my emotions under control and stepped into the role of director. It wasn’t easy. I stayed on for another year. It got messy. It was hurtful. And in many ways, I failed.
But I learned tons.
I learned how to lead in difficult situations. I learned how to communicate. I learned how to teach. I learned how to deal with very difficult people. I learned to lead in spite of gossip. And I learned obedience. From God’s point of view, I was finally ready.
Somehow, in that second year of leadership, I began writing my book.
I wrote out of brokenness.
I wrote out of dependence on God – not just saying I trusted Him, but really, authentically, prayerfully writing from my heart. It just wasn’t about me anymore.
At the end of that second crazy year of Precepts, we finished the book of John. The last passage we studied was after Jesus had been resurrected and was sitting on the shore cooking dinner while the disciples were out in the boat fishing, unsuccessfully. Jesus called out to them, “Put your nets on the right side of the boat, and you will have a catch.” They obeyed, and there were so many fish their nets couldn’t hold it all.
I personally recognized this passage as the long-awaited invitation to step down from my leadership role in Precepts, and run wholeheartedly toward my dream. I saw it as an affirmation for my obedience and trust in Him.
I cried again, but this time it was different. For the first time, my dream and God’s will matched. I had struggled through two years, learning, changing, hurting, not bearing fruit like I’d hoped, even though I was led to the role. It was time to throw my net on the other side of the boat.
And did I find a catch!
By the time I finished A CHiP on my Shoulder, I had a book contract and a small group of supporters. These supporters introduced me to key players who had influence within the police community, and suddenly I had several endorsements from well-known and respected people. People believed in CHiP, and carried the message forward.
The book started selling, and I held my breath. Would it be well-received? Would wives connect with it?
All I can say is I have been blown away over and over, and it continues. I’ve been all over the United States, Canada, and the Philippines. I get letters from police families every week. Some of them say my book has saved their marriage. I partner with training companies to hold seminars on marriage for police families, and that continues to grow. Then in the midst of this, I ghost-wrote a second book about military that eventually took me to the White House. We saw full-blown miracles in the writing of that book, and it has perpetuated healing in many soldiers.
I’ve begun a third book.
These last three years have been a whirlwind that has been completely orchestrated and led by the Lord. His timing, not mine. A good lesson learned.
I had the pleasure of meeting Victoria at a Chaplains meeting in Sacramento last year and currently follow her on the world wide web. I’m excited to see how God continues to lead and direct her and her family. To find out more about Victoria or to order her book, please go to http://www.how2loveyourcop.com
I would like to introduce you to Terry Morgan. He’s an ordained minister and currently the Chaplain/Executive Director of Gold Country Chaplaincy and Press4hope. My husband, Robert Duvall, met him at a Chaplaincy Recognition Dinner in Sacramento. Terry’s passion is teaching various ministries how to help their own parishioners through critical incidents, crisis, and traumatic events, while exercising good stress management techniques and preventing compassion fatigue or burn out in their ministers. I asked Terry to share about his passion and journey writing.
The Chaplain’s Role – the Birth of a Book; By Terry Morgan
My first book is called “The Chaplain’s Role how Clergy can Work with Law Enforcement.” It took about ten years to write. There have been two more since then, “Life Celebrations”, a handbook on conducting funerals, and “When Grief Kidnaps Your Soul”, a book on dealing with various kinds of grief.
When someone asks me why I write, I answer, “I write because I need to write”. My first book bounced around in my head for years before finally being released onto paper. It was like the idea for this book was trapped in my head and needed to get free. Putting the thoughts and words on paper offered a huge release. It was no longer pent up inside, and now it has a life of its own. This was similar to the experience with my other two books. The thrill of birthing them is still the same, but it has gotten a lot less painful.
The inspiration to write the Chaplain’s Role was partially from my life experiences and training as a law enforcement chaplain. The passion to serve law enforcement and the community was a big driver for me. Training is one of my passions. At the time of writing this book there was no books to be had on the subject. There was and is a real need for the material.
My greatest challenge in writing this book was committing to do the work. We all live very busy lives, and quite often, this book would be put on a back shelf to collect dust. A few months later it would be picked up again, only to be re-shelved a few days later. A good friend of mine and Christian counselor, Martha Smalley encouraged me to finish the book. I had to set aside a few hours every week, and commit to writing in my spare time. It really surprised me how fast it came together after that.
The cover was a bit of a challenge in itself. Another friend of mine is police officer who also happens to be a really good graphic artist. I explained to him I wrote a training book on how to do chaplaincy and he agreed to help with getting a cover that would pop. We vetted several cover ideas. When he showed me the “simple” photograph of his gun, badge, and the cross, I knew immediately that was the cover.
My advice to other aspiring writers is to write on a subject you know a lot about, you are very interested in, and you enjoy writing about. That is probably the key for anyone who wants to write a book but doesn’t know where to start. Start with something you love. Then commit to writing at least a few hours every week.
You can find out more about Chaplain Terry Morgan and all he has to offer the community and Law Enforcement at http://chaplainmorgan.wix.com/chaplainsrole. You can also find his books there as well as in bookstores.
I’ve been on a journey of writing a book for almost two years now. It’s a story about my 2nd marriage and our family, before during and after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I never thought it would be this difficult. Getting the story and all the details I felt were important out of my head and onto paper seemed like quit the task. I started with a timeline of the events I thought were important. Then I began to add in the details. The who, what, when, where, how and why?
After accomplishing that daunting task I knew it needed a lot of clean up. If you’ve ever heard me talk you know I’m a babbler. Well, I babble on paper too. So I found a ghost writer who helped me tie it up in a nice pretty bow.
The only problem is my life wasn’t, isn’t and never will be a nice pretty bow. It needed to be covered with stains, rips and tears before it could maybe partially resemble our marriage. I didn’t try and paint our marriage or family as perfectly good normal people. I walk you through some devastating and difficult times in our marriage that will cause you to dislike us at times. After reading the finished product I knew it lacked something, but thought it was good enough. I wanted people to know how God changed our lives, our marriage and our family. I thought the book did a good enough job doing that so I was ready to for the next step.
Why wasn’t I excited to finally be done? Maybe because I had worked on it so long I was just ready to be done. Maybe I’m scared about putting my life out on display for all to judge me and my family.
The past month or so I’ve continually come across scripture and had discussions with others regarding giving your best to God regardless of what man says. For example:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ~ Colossians 3:23-24
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and will all your soul and with all your mind.” ~ Matthew 22:37
Between God’s Word and a few friends, I’ve realized I wasn’t giving God my best. I don’t just want people to know what I went through, I hope they will feel what I went through.
Why is it so hard to deal with our feelings? Why do they have such control over us? Feelings make me feel so out of control, vulnerable and weak. I can’t think clearly and have a hard time controlling my actions and words when I let my feelings out. It seems easier to keep them tucked away so others won’t see how broken, confused and hurt I feel at times.
I find it easy to express being happy or excited. You smile and walk with confidence and a skip in your step. You want the world to see you when you’re happy or excited. I find it difficult to express feeling sad, angry, disappointed, panic, sorrow, embarrassment or disgust, to name a few. I’m worried my reaction won’t be acceptable to others and this could cause an awkward moment. It might make me look stupid, over emotional, insensitive, dramatic or awful. Who wants that?! I’m often told by others I look calm, content, peaceful or relaxed. To be honest, on the inside I’m running in circles, screaming with my hands flailing about.
I’m now going back through by book one section at a time. Thankfully with the help of a few friends (and maybe a glass of wine or two). I’m going to try and unpack the feelings I stuffed deep inside and allow myself to feel them before capturing it on paper. Feelings are so exhausting and emotionally draining. I would appreciate your prayers. Prayers that I courageously face my true feelings and to persevere through the pain, frustration and exhaustion of facing them.
My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for the gift of feelings. I pray we each seek You, not ourselves or others when struggling to face our true feelings, Amen
Over a year ago I began the journey of writing a book. A book about my life & marriage before and after having a relationship with God. I found a Ghost Writer to help get my words and feelings down in a way that flowed. As I have stated before, I do not, and probably never will, consider myself to be a writer. The beginning of the journey was difficult but exciting. I spent hours at the computer typing away. I couldn’t get my fingers to move as fast as my brain was going. Sometimes I had to stop because I couldn’t see past the tears running down my face. Many sections were very emotional for me to relive.
Several months past and I finally had my story written. What it now needed was the touch of someone who could fix all of my grammatical errors and help me emphasize the different feelings I was experiencing throughout the story. The Ghost Writer and I went back and forth. He would ask for more details and I would tell him as much as I could remember. The first few months of this process seemed fine. We talked about the layout of the book and where to begin and end each chapter.
It was early summer and the day finally came! He had all he needed, a few weeks, maybe a month and it would be done! I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting with anticipation! I couldn’t wait to see my story ready for print. I began to imagine what it would be like as an author with a book on the shelves in stores. It made me feel apprehensive. What if the readers didn’t like my story or thought it was dumb? That’s how this blog came about. I’m facing my fears and relying completely on God’s guidance.
Summer comes and goes, and still no book. There were natural disasters, deaths and so on and so on. He always had an excuse and a promise to when it would be done. I think I’m a pretty patient person. I can tolerate a lot and usually believe what people tell me unless they give me obvious reason not to. I become discouraged and start to wonder if maybe I misunderstood what God wanted me to do. Maybe I was to write the book for myself and no one else. Then I realized, I hadn’t been praying about the book. Once I finished my part I stopped praying and kinda left it in God’s hands.
I began praying for the creation of my book every day, asking Him to be over all the details. I prayed about my fears & wishes regarding putting my story out for all to read. I also lifted up the Ghost Writer assigned to my book. I prayed for God to guide him giving him the time and words to complete my book in a way that was pleasing to Him.
Months go by and my prayers are finally answered, but not in the way I was hoping. I received an email explaining I would be assigned a new Ghost Writer because the one currently assigned to my book was no longer with the company. Say what?!?!?! I felt disappointed and furious. I was ready to give up. Why in the world would God put me through such craziness? I was flustered and had no idea what to do except give up completely.
God recently spoke to me through a friend and my oldest daughter. Both reminded me how annoyed and disappointed I was time and time again with the original Ghost Writer. This was a blessing. I had asked God to be over all the details and He was. He made the change I desperately wanted but was afraid to ask for. I’m thankful God knows our inner most thoughts and the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
….. the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27
I’m happy to say I’m, again, excited and looking forward to what God is doing and will continue to do with the creating of my book. I gave this to God a while back, trusting He would guide me through the entire process. The only reason I’m doing this is because I believe it’s His will. So I will persevere and trust that His timing and plan is far better than mine.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, Thank you for the Holy Spirit which brings our inner most desires and fears to you when we cannot. I pray we look to You in the midst of our disappointments knowing You will never disappoint, Amen.