On Speaking

Soul Sisters Round 2: A Review

Last Thursday, August 22nd, I was again invited to go and meet with the Soul Sisters book club at Crista Ministries.  Last time I went and Caity accompanied me; we spent a majority of the time sharing our own stories, our joint testimony.  And it was wonderful because for the first time we both had our sight unveiled and were able to see God’s handiwork through all of the turmoil and layers of crises we have been going through recently.  It was a complete joy to share that time together with her among the Soul Sisters.  And the women we bared our souls to were kind, gracious and filled with compassion.  It was pure glory.

This second visit was different in contrast.  We were unable to secure a sitter for our kids so Caity stayed home with the kids and I ventured out alone.  When I told her about how nervous I was to go by myself, she simply replied (in her wisdom and to her credit), “You’ll be doing this on your own at some point in the near future…it might as well start now.”  We both prayed for divine guidance to give direction in the evening, and boy-howdy did it go.  Some of the ladies who were unable to read OLDE MYSTERIUM at the last visit had finished the book by this second round.  So many questions were asked about the characters and their struggles; it was truly fun to relive and walk through those portions of the story and expand upon the layers of meaning hidden within those moments.  Finding Jesus in the hardships of OLDE MYSTERIUM was utter joy; but most of all, I was able to observe the Soul Sisters diving into their own exegesis and expand upon their own personal findings from the book.  This was most meaningful to me because all I had to do was sit back and watch these dear readers in their exchanges.  It felt like sitting next to Jesus and watching his glory flow outward.  And I realized there was nothing I had done to cause this moment, it was all designed ahead of time…a divine appointment.

I must give a goodly amount of thanks and credit to these gracious ladies who invited me into their group for the evening; they invited me again into a lovely and safe space to be able to talk about ideas, characters, plot lines, personal struggles, and loving others like Saba…the way Jesus loves each and every one of us.

To be loved unconditionally; to love others unconditionally no matter how broken they are in body and soul.  We can do this because Jesus first loved us in our brokenness.  He is in the business of collecting broken people for restoration; it is his divine hobby and I know that Jesus is filled with delight at each point my personal restoration because I too am filled with the same joy.  This is, after all, the heart of OLDE MYSTERIUM.

SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM

Final notes of thanks:

To the Soul Sisters for both invitations to visit, I give you all the greatest of my thanksgiving.  You have blessed my wife and me with your love, support, prayers and ultimate cheerleading for OLDE MYSTERIUM and for us personally.  Your kindness and generosity in a multitude of ways have filled our cups in knowing that Jesus is hard at work, both upfront and behind the scenes.  Should you ever decide to invite us back to continue our discussions about the return of Jesus, we would be happy to join in!

And finally, it was brought to my attention that OLDE MYSTERIUM was initially introduced to the Soul Sisters by Julie Gwinn Holve via an old friend of mine, Tina Bustamante.  Tina, thank you for all of your encouragement through the years of writing, editing, publishing and other things that require blood and tears.  I’m excited for your book AS WATERS GONE BY to come out in November; and as I’ve already had the honor to read and enjoy it, be assured that I am excited to be a cheerleader for it.

 

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Thank you Soul Sisters!

So last night was a first for both Caitlin and me.  It was the first speaking engagement to which we were invited by the Soul Sisters–a raucous and fun-loving group of ladies who fancy themselves as a book club…but they are so much more.  The Soul Sisters meet at Crista Ministries campus twice a month and review all kinds of books from fiction to bible study publications.

Why were we invited to speak?  A couple of weeks ago they ended up choosing to read and discuss OLDE MYSTERIUM, and apparently they loved it!  Caity and I had no idea what we were going to say when we showed up, and we were both a bit nervous, but as it turned out, the Holy Spirit completely took over and we ended up sharing our joint testimony with these very sweet ladies.  Somehow allowing that to connect in conjunction with the message of OLDE MYSTERIUM was more moving than I could have expected.  It was powerful to openly acknowledge that while going through a difficult journey of writing and publishing, all the while experiencing our own joint journey of trials, surrender, redemption and triumphs…that at the heart of it all Jesus is the hero of our story.

This is why God’s timing is amazing and perfect; that in the midst of a very difficult, hot, and transforming summer when it looks like I am surrounded by chaos, God would extend an opportunity for my wife and I to open up and share our stories with complete strangers.  However by the end we were the ones to get the most out of it because the veil was lifted; we could see God’s handiwork along the whole way…and He has never missed a beat or skipped out on us or let us down.  He hasn’t yet and He won’t start now.

The Soul Sisters invited us into a safe space to share.  We told stories.  There was a din of laughter.  And they saw a grown man cry.  Caity and I were refreshed and all the way home we held hands and issued prayers of thanksgiving.  There could not have been a more beautiful time spent together…a true balm to my soul.  Thank you Soul Sisters!

And an extra special thank you to Julie Gwinn Holve, who found my book, read it and suggested it to her book club.  Thank you for being a cheerleader; I am truly humbled by your enthusiasm.

SED EGO DIGREDIENDUM

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