The October e-newsletter for Women of Grace USA was released this morning. Designed especially for the women in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, it is full of good information that will challenge and encourage anyone! This month’s issue leads off with a “behind the scenes” story of how Melissa Spoelstra’s book, Jeremiah, Daring to Hope in an Unstable World (Abingdon Press), was published. (Melissa spoke at FellowShift, the national conference of the FGBC, last summer in one of the main sessions and also led a workshop for Women of Grace USA.)
A portion of Melissa’s story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
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Daring to Hope
Since grade school I always loved to write. I enjoyed those prompts for creative writing in English class that everyone else complained about and wrote pages in my journal every night throughout high school. As I got older, married a pastor, and became a mother, thoughts of writing got set on the back burner to focus on other priorities. While I helped with a magazine in my local church and still journaled my prayers often, I saw most of my hours gobbled up with very important tasks like making sure everyone got fed, disciplined, encouraged, and had clean socks.
I don’t look back with regret in any way. Yet as I participated in Bible studies or encountered different parenting issues, I would sometimes sketch outlines or think about how a particular topic or idea would be a great article or book idea. Then about seven years ago, when my youngest child was almost ready to enter school, I found myself coming up for air with a few spare moments to explore some of my personal passions.
At the time my daily Scripture readings were in the book of Numbers. I was blown away at the truths God was teaching me about complaining, leadership, and wandering. God’s Spirit spoke to my heart to write a six-week study from Numbers for the women in my local Bible study. I never intended to publish any of it or become a writer, but instead to journey with my friends in pursuing contentment and direction from the principles found in Numbers.
We did the study and then returned to published authors like Beth Moore for our curriculum. About four years later I felt a similar pull from the Holy Spirit to write a study when I read through Jeremiah in my daily reading. This time I resisted that still small voice with many excuses: “I’m not qualified,” “It will take a lot of time, and I’m busy,” “The women in my study don’t want to do something I wrote when they can do ‘real’ authors.”
I fought with God as He mentioned that I never pursued getting Numbers published. I had never heard Him telling me to go that route. Knowing that publishers don’t take unsolicited manuscripts, and realizing that I was a nobody from Ohio, it seemed silly to even attempt to break into the Christian market. One of the pastors who served with my husband at our church had published a few books, and I knew it wasn’t an easy road. It required a lot of work and marketing that I wasn’t sure I was up for alongside the demands of marriage, parenting, and church planting. Yet God wouldn’t let it go. It became a matter of obedience, and I could get no relief until I mailed a portion of Numbers off to a few Christian publishers (after googling to get addresses.)
Click here to read the complete article.