Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A Good Girl Rediscovers Communion


 

Several years ago when we first moved to Toowoomba, I read a book that completely laid bare my foundations as a Christian, and I was left questioning everything I believed, very depressed and very uncertain.  The fruit of the book wasn’t good, and for months afterwards I struggled to read the Bible because I wasn’t sure how to interpret it.   Really, the only Bible I was reading was for Sunday School planning, and maybe that’s how, along with a lot of prayer ministry, I somehow pulled through out of that place.

God has been talking to me this year about laying my foundations correctly, because even though I was brought up in a Christian home, we didn’t study theology really beyond Genesis.   I mean Mum did a fantastic job of Historical Bible Studies with us and Scripture memorisation, but sometimes everyone can miss stuff. 

You know how sometimes Scripture just comes alive to you?  I believe now is the time for me at least, to rebuild the ancient ruins.   So I’m reading a lot of heavy theology at the moment, interspersed with a few lighter reads like Wanda Brunstetter’s, Half Stitched Quilting Club. 

I’ve really been focusing on what is faith, and reading books that will build my faith in different areas, and the one I would like to share with you today is Health and Wholeness Through the Holy Communion by Joseph Prince.  I know that like a pre-packaged meal, sometimes books can have additives and preservatives, but often God reveals deep truths through His servants who have written books, and this one is chock full of Scripture and then notes about how that Scripture can be interpreted. 

 Though I’ve been in churches that take communion either monthly or weekly, and even been asked to give a communion message at times, I felt like there must be more than waffling on about what it means to you, and that I needed to dig deeper and really discover why God wants us to take communion.   I’ve tried to be spiritual and think about why I’m taking it as I do, but unless I understand the Scripture, then closing my eyes and hoping for a mystical moment isn’t really going to do the trick.

 
I know people have spoken to me and said that I needed to incorporate taking the Holy Communion into my daily life, and I’ve brushed it off, but now I’m beginning to understand why.    The Scripture that has really bugged me and many others about communion is this one: 

1 Corinthians 11:29-30King James Version (KJV)

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

How many of us partake, not knowing why we are partaking, and for this reason, we are stuck in exactly the same predicament that we always have been, we’re not mixing faith, and faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

It says here not discerning the Lord’s body, and that’s why we are weak, sickly and many sleep (have died).   Jesus’ blood is for forgiveness of sin Col1:14, but His body is for our divine healing and health.  

“He Himself, took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”   Matthew 8:17

God makes a big deal of communion, it’s recorded in every Gospel, and various times through the new Testament, but in some churches it is ignored or not even taken.   

The Passover Lamb was a foreshadow of what God has given to us.  God told the Israelites to put the blood of the lamb over their doors and He would Passover them, and to eat the lamb and the matzah for strength for the journey and when they left there were none feeble among them.  (Psalm 105:37)

In taking communion unworthily, the apostle Paul, has laid out earlier on in the same passage, that the Colossians were taking it because they were hungry and thirsty and some were missing out while others were stuffing themselves and becoming drunk; disorderly to say the least.    

 You know I’ve never been that great at explaining theology, and if there is a debate going on, I turn and run in the other direction, but sometimes I’ve wondered how there are some, oh so clear, Scriptures in the Bible about healing and yet we live in an opposite manner.  Have you ever wondered that too?  Well, I’m on a quest to start proving those Scriptures true, and God is challenging me to look into what I believe, by reading books that not only expound those Scriptures but then prove them by including miraculous testimonies.

I’ll be reviewing other faith building books on here soon too, in an attempt to process and to lay down solid foundations for my faith.   

 
I would really encourage you to buy this little booklet, so that you too can develop a greater understanding of communion, because it is a blessing God wants us to partake of, and I know that it will expand on the notes that I have jotted down as part of my quiet time.  Jesus commanded us to partake of it, but just like having a Mercedes does us no good if we can’t drive it, taking communion brings us judgement if we don’t know why we do it.     Sometimes the greatest things in life, are also the simplest if we just understand them, by looking at them and seeing what the words really mean in the original language.  
 
This is the first part of a series I'll be doing about, 'When You're Theology is Wonky'.  
 
Linking up with Arabah Joy:
www.arabahjoy.com


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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Praying for this Beast Called ISIS


We’ve all seen ISIS in the news and we wonder how it fits into our days, our days of meal planning and starting businesses and paying bills, and driving to playgroups and playdates and thinking that the families over there being displaced and terrorised would just love to be living ‘normal’.    Knowing that if it were me over there I would so want someone from over here praying and doing something, and desparately wondering why they weren’t. 

We’ve seen it and we just don’t know how to process it, how to fit it to our prayer times, it’s huge and our prayer times just aren’t.    I just want to scoop up a family and build them a home and give them a new life, but I can’t because I don’t even have money for my own home and my budget is stretched now.   I have big dreams for them, for me.

I knew things were bad, but somehow Ann Voskamp just words it so it can sink into our souls.  It sunk in deep and hard and nursing the baby to sleep for her midday nap I prayed hard, and I didn’t even know where to start.   What do you pray for when a beast this large is rising and clawing people in bloody massacres, wounded hearts and all hell and gunfire broken loose?  Because these little girls that are being taken as child brides are 9 and they're pregnant, and they are ripped open by men and discarded. 
 
God's using Ann Voskamp in this hour from her platform to call us awake, and He's asking me what I'll use my platform for.

God, how do I pray?  And an answer came from heaven, just quietly.   ‘Just choose one thing.’  I remember years ago at our old Baptist Church, one lady sharing how she was just praying protection over street children and asking God if her prayers were doing any good, and Him showing her Jesus hovering over a little group of children, protecting them, and she’ll only really know in heaven the full impact. 

So I choose one thing, my one thing is to pray protection over little girls, that God makes them invisible to the men, that He makes hiding places.

Can you pray for one thing?   What will it be?  

That families can stay together, they don’t have to be split and mothers choosing which children to take?

That they find miraculous provision of food and water?

God knows, ask Him your one thing, but if we all pray one thing, it makes a pile and we can make a difference one child at a time, because when it’s a sea of faces it overwhelms us, but when it’s one face . . .
Equipping Godly Women
And if you want to give money practically . . .


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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Psalm 91 Author Interview

I remember when we first got married, and I was really excited to be in my own (rented) house, and I was very passionate about the whole neighbourhood coming to God and starting a revival so I started praying for everyone in our streets, which was all good and well, but I don't think the enemy liked it very much, because suddenly we started having things from our backyard stolen.  It wasn't too annoying when the pushbike got pinched but when my husband's posty bike that he rode to work was stolen, well we realised that we should start declaring God's protection over our lives and our possessions.  (You know what, He prayed that God would bring him back his bike and we found it later in the year, when a work mate of his took a day off to go fishing and that's what he caught in the local river where the thief had dumped it.  Well, Stephen fished it out and did it up, and it runs better than ever.) 

Ever since that time, we have always prayed over ourselves and our home every night and God has been faithful to His Word in His protection, even when we lived in a horrible area of town where the neighbours tried to break into our house numerous times. They never made it in, until after we had left and stopped praying for the house, and then they tried to light it on fire.

God has been challenging me to stretch my area of understanding how powerful His Word is when we declare it over ourselves in whatever area of life that might be, especially health, and childbirth.  I picked up Peggy's book because I was teaching my tambourine girls to put Psalm 91 to movement and recite it at the same time.  We recently performed this in our church and it was so powerful, so I've included the video here for you to see.  (I am in the middle)
 
Peggy's book just reinforced how powerful God's Word is and how He has promises for every area of our life in His Word.   I was so inspired, that I just had to e-mail her for an interview, and it is so full of wisdom and treasures to build your faith. 

 
 



Hi Peggy,  

Thank you for your time in answering a few questions and sharing your heart with us.   I love to connect with fellow authors and discover not just their journey but the message God is giving them to share with others.  One of your main messages in this hour is Psalm 91.   In your book you share how it was a question to God and a quick dream that set you on a course of really hearing what God is saying in this Psalm.  Can you give us a quick overview of that? 

 

We had just received some bad news about a member and loved one in our church. (At that time we were members of First Baptist Church in Brownwood and this was one of our beloved deacons.) I had just asked the Lord “Is there any way to be protected from all the things we see coming on the earth?” He answered me in an unexpected way……. As I fell asleep I had a dream I asked that same question and the Lord quoted to me a verse from Psalm 91:15 — In your day of trouble call upon Me and I will answer. That chapter answered in detail all the questions I had about protection, and even questions I had not yet asked. 

  

I notice that God often speaks to us in quick little dreams just before we wake up, and even in afternoon naps, does God speak to you this way often and what is your advice on becoming more receptive to this and even discovering what they mean? 

 

This has not happened to me often. And the few times it has, it has been very clear. 

  

As a Bible teacher what are some basic tools and steps you use, that we can copy to help us study better?    

 

When God opened Psalm 91 to me, I knew it was a supernatural revelation. I started on a study of that Psalm that lasted almost a year. I took every word in that psalm and looked it up in every Bible dictionary, in reference books and in dictionaries, and Strong’s Concordance literally dissecting those promises in every way possible. I also looked up every other Scripture reference I could find that allotted to those promises. 

  

Why is Psalm 91 so important? 

 

For example:  

Once I told God I was confused over the fact that psalm had been in the Bible for centuries and it was just now being discovered by 1000’s of people where it had been virtually overlooked by most Christians until very recent years (documented during the last 100 years in increasing testimonies and mentions). God supernaturally led me to I Peter 1:3-5 NASB. In those three verses, he named three things for which we should bless God: 

1.                  We are to bless God because of His great mercy, He had caused us to be able to be born again  

2.                  We are to bless God because He had caused us to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us, and 

3.                  We are to bless God because He had provided a protection by the power of God by faith through a salvation (look the word salvation up in the Greek) ready to be revealed in the last days. 

 

That answered my question of why Psalm 91 has only been openly revealed in these last days — it was His plan for this revelation to be kept basically hidden until the last days when we would so desperately need it. That is just one example of how God has revealed things to me. 

I have found that if I ask God for an answer about something in the word that I am curious about or about something I don’t understand — in time, it seems to never fail that He will supernaturally start bringing Scriptures to me through different avenues that will answer my question.  

 

 I love it when people dissect Hebrew or Greek words to get a better understanding of a passage, is this something you do? 

 

I constantly use my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible to dissect words in the Bible. I used it to dissect the words in Psalm 91.  

 

In your book, Psalm 91, you talk about the power of speaking God’s Word out over our lives.  When did you really start to realize this in your life? 

 

When we received Psalm 91, we really started taking advantage of praying all those fabulous promises out loud. God doesn’t tell us to ‘think’ the Word. He tells us to confess the Word. In Verse 2, it makes a strong point that we should speak our faith aloud. This was new to me but I immediately could see the difference.  

 

 

I’ve seen on your website some references to a time of mental and emotional illness you went through.  What was it specifically, how did it come about, and what got you out of that?   

 

I was overwhelmed with fear and depression for eight years. In my testimony book I tell how I came out of it but then I started filling my life up with the word of God. The Lord showed me how to examine every fear thought and find a Scripture promise from the Word to contradict each one of those fear thoughts as they came. I would quote that promise whenever the fear thought came and continue to quote it until the fear lifted. Without knowing it, I was renewing my mind to the Word and taking every thought captive to the obedience of God’s Word like it tells us to do in II Corinthians 10:3-5. It took a while of doing this faithfully, but soon the attacks lifted and I was set free.    

 

 I’ve been through a time of intense spiritual warfare which could have been labeled as depression, and reading the Bible was the last thing I wanted to do.  Can you tell us more about the battle that we need to fight? 

 

I, too, didn’t want to read the Bible at first. The enemy made me think it was making it worse, but that, of course, was just the trick of the enemy. When I over-rode those fear thoughts and pushed on through to find my Scripture promises to stand on – I finally got completely delivered and set free from the torment. Get a friend or someone you trust to help you if you need it. Find a person who has fought this and won. With the Lord all things are possible. 

 

 Was Psalm 91 something that you were specifically declaring over yourself and family before the dream that got you studying it?  

 

Before the dream I had no idea that Psalm 91 even existed.  It was totally supernatural how God gave it to me. At the time I didn’t even know how many chapters were in the Book of Psalms. 

 

 

How did you get into the publishing scene? 

 

It was a number of years before I felt I was supposed to put my book in print. After my husband became a pastor I started teaching Psalm 91 to our church. I did that for many years and right before 9/11 God started impressing me to put this teaching in print. I self-published at first and finally got it in print in 2001. 

 

 I noticed that your book was published initially by Creation House, the same publisher who did mine, did you really need to market your book or did it just fly off the shelves due to the nature of its topic?  

 

I self-published my first Psalm 91 book: Psalm 91, God’s Umbrella of Protection. Then later, I had another Psalm 91 book (the military version) published by Creation House. Well there were some God-incidences that caused our website to start selling our original version in all 50 states very quickly. I loved to hear the stories from people of how they came across the book. Creation House gave it to the parent company above them because it did better than expected and they have requested additional versions since then. The stories from our soldiers and their families especially touched my heart. 

 

 Was writing something that you had always aspired to do, or did the writing of this book creep up on you? 

 

I had never thought of writing a book — certainly didn’t consider myself capable of writing. I guess I would have to say that God just laid it on my heart because I saw the need for people to know about this wonderful protection promises. 

 

What is the writing process like for you?  

 

I usually just sit down and begin pouring out my heart on paper. Then I come back and begin organizing it, breaking it into chapters, smoothing it out to sound better, checking to see that I didn’t use the same word too many times, checking to see that the thought I was trying to put across was making sense, etc. I have to read the manuscript out loud a number of times to see if it reads smoothly and if it is putting the point across. 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you remember back to the days of small children and many interruptions, how did you spend time with God back then, is it very different to now, and how did you impart to your children such a strong faith? 

 

Yes, there are interruptions when you have small children, but a lot of our Bible and prayer time can be with them, teaching them by example how to make the Bible come alive. I tried to go outside every morning and have my time alone with the Lord before they got up each morning. My husband was very good at putting the Word into practice with the children. For example: the only time I remember a tornado being sighted on the ground within sight of our house, he got the kids out of bed, had them get their Bibles and took them outside to speak Psalm 91 directly to the tornado. When he felt assurance from the Lord that the danger was over he took us back into the house just as we heard the radio announcer excitedly announce: “The tornado has just zipped back up into the clouds.” Our daughter was a freshman in our local college and when she went to class the next day, the professor was having different students tell what they were doing while the tornado was on the ground. Some were in bathtubs, two were in a storm cellar, etc. When he got to Angie she said, “My dad had us outside with our Bibles speaking directly to the tornado in Jesus’ Name and commanding it to dissipate. The professor immediately changed the subject and said, “Get out your text book and turn to page so & so.”  

 

 

In parting, what is your favourite passage of Scripture, and how has it changed your life? 

 

Of course, I would have to say that Psalm 91 is by far my favorite passage of Scripture, but I also love Those who trust in the Lord shall not be disappointed. Later, I also wrote a book on that subject. I have all the Scripture promises marked in color in my Bible and they are all so meaningful. 

   

Thank you for giving me this fun interview. And Blessings to you in this special ministry you are in charge of.  

   

Many Blessings, 

 

Lizzy Ainsworth 

 
 
Linking up with Arabah Joy:
www.arabahjoy.com
 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Interview with Children's Author Nikki Rogers






Recently I shared how I just want to connect with other women for longer than three seconds at playgroup, and find out more about them, than how old their child is, and how I've been writing to authors and asking questions.  I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with author Amy Julia Becker over the internet and asking questions about her life, family, faith and writing.

However this time, I stretched myself a little bit further, than just writing to an author and asking for an interview, this time I asked to meet for coffee, and I dared to bring the toddler too, though I wasn’t sure if that was asking for trouble.

Over Easter I met up with the lovely Nikki Rogers out at the Highfield’s Chocolate Cottage, while she was on her family holiday, visiting her mum on their property out of town.  You can ask so many more questions over coffee than you do over the internet, because in real life conversation, one comment leads to more conversation, but sentences don’t always lead to more, they often end in a full stop, though you don’t want them to. 
It was great to get to know Nikki better and to hear how her writing started when her daughter made a comment in the park to another girl that really bothered her.  Nikki got drastic and wrote a book for her daughter and then her husband encouraged her to take it further than just the family.    She also shared how important it is to be persistent in approaching people and shops to sell your book.  I'm highlighting that for inspiration!
 
 
Nikki's lovely mum and grandma even took my busy toddler for a walk around the cafe grounds in her pram so that I could think with a coherent brain.   

I first heard of Nikki Rogers, when a friend of mine brought in one of her gorgeously illustrated children’s books.   I loved the message in it because I’ve never seen anything like it in all the Christian children’s books I’ve perused.  The one I was given is called ‘Rainbow Moments’ about different ways God speaks to us and shows us that He cares, and my toddler loves it.  Actually it’s looking a bit tatty because she has read it so many times and often takes it in the car to read.
 
 
 

Anyway, I’m going to stop waffling on and let you read the interview with Nikki, and please check out her website because she even has free Sunday School resources.
 

Thank you for your time with this interview, I’m really looking forward to discovering your writing journey and how it has developed.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you’re from?

I was born into a Christian family and grew up on a farm outside of Toowoomba. I moved to the Gold Coast when I married my husband in 2005. We now have 2 lovely children.

I was first given a copy of your book, Rainbow Moments, by a couple who I’ve been on several mission trips to PNG with.  It is really beautiful, and published very professionally, how did you get started writing and then publishing?

I originally started writing books for my own children in 2012. At ages 4-5 my daughter was going through a princess stage and my son was always dressed as a hero with a cape. I wanted to channel these God-given passions in a positive direction by reinforcing that all girls bring beauty to the world in their own special way and that being a hero is more about the inner qualities of the heart rather than a cape and physical strength. And so my first two books were birthed. From there I continued to write stories with values that I wanted to instill in my own children as God gave me the inspiration.

 

It's very competitive and difficult to be noticed by a traditional publisher and since I also illustrated my own books and had some computer skills I decided to self-publish. It has been a big effort to self-publish and I'm learning how to improve with every book.

What has been your greatest challenge in marketing and selling this book?  I just discovered it’s for sale in the Bethel e-store, how did that happen?

As a self-published author marketing and selling books is definitely the biggest challenge. Without the marketing team, buying power and distribution options that large publishing companies have it can be a challenge to get noticed. I have personally asked various stores if they would like to stock my books and sent them a copy of each to preview. This was the case with the Bethel Store. It can be time consuming and costly but it's always exciting when someone says "yes" and the books sell well for them.

Your books are very intentional in teaching children how much God loves them and who they are in Him, how old are your children and in what other ways have you passed this message on to them?

My children are now 6 and 7 years old. My husband and I regularly remind them of who God created them to be and highlight the great qualities God has put within them. Even when their behavior is less than desirable we try to remind them of who they really are.

How do you spend time with God, and how are you intentional in getting your children to spend time with Him?

I personally feel most connected to God when singing praise and worship on my own (Eph 5:18-19) or spending time admiring His awesome creation. 

We really don't want God to be an addition to our lives but rather the central part of who we are as individuals and as a family. We pray with our children, particularly focusing on being thankful, but we try to always be aware of His presence, not just in the "spiritual" activities but also in the everyday, and encourage our children to do the same.

Do you have any plans for a book for an older audience?


A sample of the beautiful artwork all through Nikki's books
I don't have any plans to write for an older audience at this stage, however, I hope that my books can be enjoyed and an encouragement to any age group as the messages are still just as pertinent no matter the age. 

 

As we finish, can you share with us anything that God has been laying on your heart and revealing to you lately?

Psalm 139:1-18 is a scripture I regularly come back to. It reminds me of God's love, His presence, His thoughts towards me and that I was created on purpose. It is good to spend time meditating on this.
 

 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Author Interview with Amy Julia Becker

 
Thanks Suzy Rowe for photo use!
I’ve been aching lately to connect with other women.  To sit down with them and share about life, longer than a 3 minute chat at playgroup until one or other of the toddlers boofs another with a toy and you’re called to sort it out and when you return, you can’t even remember the train of thought you had in your mind. 
 
To sit and ask questions about how they got through particular stages, what’s been growing deep down in their hearts and what their homes look like, what’s important to them and why. 
So I’ve been stretching myself to find women to talk to, and one way is through reading a book and e-mailing the author, because there’s nothing quite like reading another woman’s book to feel like you’ve seen deeper into her than you possibly could in a myriad of conversations. 
I picked up Amy Julia’s book, A Good and Perfect Gift, about her first child, Penelope, born with Downs Syndrome, and they didn’t know until the child was handed to them, squishy and cuddly, and the room grew hushed, and it was a long journey of sorting out feelings, and life and love, like a bead box neatly organised until it scatters on the floor and trying to sort out all those colours.
I read Amy’s book twice, because I wanted to see how others sorted out life, and maybe Amy sorted it much like I do, with her pen and journal, and now with not so much time on our hands, typing in spare minutes and posting to a world we hope will find wisdom in the words we share. 
I thought for a few weeks about the questions I would ask Amy if I could meet her, and finally searched for her e-mail, because why not meet her, connected by the internet as we are now?
I’ve just seen Amy’s new book, ‘Small Talk’ advertised in our local Christian bookstore and their syndicate of national catalogues, and it’s inspired me to keep blogging, because for a while I was wondering, what with losing the internet and moving into a caravan, whether blogging was still something I could keep up with.  Amy said that book, ‘Small Talk’ is a collection of blog posts and now I understand that a blog is something like a journal that you don’t always write when you’re busy, but because you hope that post will help someone, you scratch out time to write the words and make them line up with punctuation, and that writing is something we can’t stop, even if we need to get the children cared for to get those words out, and it’s a relief when they are. 
So thank you Amy for stopping and connecting with me, our ‘chat’ was just what I needed to keep writing, and I loved the advice about the baby wipes.  
Thank you for your time here today.  I found your book, ‘A Good and Perfect Gift’ at our local yearly Lifeline book fair, and read it the same afternoon. It’s so real and honest, and you take your reader on an incredible journey.    Can you tell us a little about your writing journey, how it started and any pivotal moments in developing it?
First of all, thanks so much for your kind words about A Good and Perfect Gift. For that book, I had kept a journal during our daughter's first couple of years of life, so I had a lot of raw material, and writing the book was about shaping the narrative and making the journal come alive. The pivotal moment was probably coming to truly believe that Penny was a gift, and that her diagnosis of Down syndrome didn't change that fact in any way. Once I believed that, the story had resolution, and I could write about it. 
 
What was the journey for writing your first book, which I believe was a memoir of a family member, and how did it get published?
My first book, Penelope Ayers, is also a memoir about the experience of living with my mother-in-law in New Orleans after she was diagnosed with liver cancer. It's a story about hope in the face of death, and it's also about marriage and family and place. I never actually tried to find a publisher for that book, for better or worse, so it was self-published. Hopefully some day I'll have a chance to go back and work on it a bit more.
 
In the book that I read, your daughter Penny, was born with Downs Syndrome, something that you had not been aware of during the pregnancy, and you share your incredible journey of coming to grips with this, but even if you had been aware, you would not have terminated.  For readers who might not understand this perspective, can you share with us how you see the unborn child?
When my husband and I received word, through a blood test, that our child had a higher than usual chance of having Down syndrome, we didn't pursue any further question. We were scared about Down syndrome, but we also knew that we wanted to receive whatever life God was giving us with thanksgiving.  
 
Can you tell us about the journey of writing that book, and a little about your daughter Penny? 
It's hard to believe that Penny is 9 years old now! She is in third grade. She loves reading and gymnastics. She's a terrific kid, and she has been a tremendous gift to us. 
 
I believe in the journey of writing a book, that we can experience so much healing and look back over little gem moments that we previously had forgotten or that had been hidden, and we get a different perspective on the events of our life, did you find this in writing either of these books, and how so?
I don't think I can write about my life until there's a story to tell. For a long time, with Penny's diagnosis there wasn't a story to tell. There was just confusion and sadness. But in time, God gave me an opportunity to deal with some of my own brokenness--the places of bias and judgment in my own life--and then healing began to happen. Once there was some movement in my soul, a story began to take shape. So in some ways, the writing itself was a healing process, and I certainly learned a lot from writing them and even more from talking with people about them. In another sense, though, I wouldn't have been ready to write the book until the healing had already begun. 
 
I’ve previously studied as a pregnancy crisis counsellor, and done a great deal of research and reading about pregnancy and unexpected circumstances, in fact I was pregnant with my first child, whilst studying, and I often wondered how I would respond if she were born with a medical condition.   Looking back, how would you have prepared if you had known about Penny’s diagnosis?
I go back and forth about whether it's helpful to know a baby has Down syndrome ahead of time. I do think it can help parents to welcome their child with a celebration rather than with a huge set of questions and fears. Two of my friends right now have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, and in both cases they are bringing letters with them to the hospital when they go into labor to instruct the teams of doctors/nurses that they know the baby has Down syndrome and they want to rejoice when s/he is born. I wish we had been able to celebrate like that when Penny was born. A prenatal diagnosis can give some time to adjust expectations and go through some of that transformation. With that said, I also think I would have worried a whole lot had I known Penny had Down syndrome before she was born, and it was nice, when I did feel anxious, to be able to hold her in my arms. 
 
In a short paragraph, what is your best advice on how can we better understand and help children with Down’s Syndrome? 
My best advice is to believe that every person with Down syndrome has something to offer you. Yes, they need something from you, but assume that they also have something to give. When you can enter into a relationship of reciprocity you avoid pity and judgment.  
 
Steering towards motherhood in general, you now have three children I believe, what is your favourite piece of advice about parenting?
Oh gosh, I'm not sure I have a favorite piece of advice, but I'll offer a trivial ones: Keep baby wipes in the car forever. Even at ages 9, 6, and 4, I use them almost daily to clean hands or faces. 
How do you develop your spiritual relationship with God and how do you pass that on to your children?
I've struggled a lot with that question over the years, and in many ways my latest book is all about that topic. But basically I've learned to believe that God will continue to grow me up through my children, not in spite of them. So instead of trying to have daily alone time with God, I invite my kids into prayer or Bible reading time. We talk about spiritual things a lot. We go to church together. We are looking for ways to serve others together. It's pretty basic--worship, prayer, service--but it seems to be working so far! 
 
Your latest book is titled, ‘Small Talk’ and is actually in a sense directly related to the previous question, because the book is about the questions your children ask and how they help you dig deeper into God and discover what you believe.  How did this book come about, in the sense of remembering and collecting these conversations, and then journaling your own thoughts?  How did you find time for that, or was it all just in your brain?   
I've been blogging for a number of years, and in many ways the blog was the raw material for this book. In this book, each chapter is a different topic that our kids have prompted me to think about more deeply or differently. I never took a blog post verbatim, but they helped me remember anecdotes that related to different topics along the way. As far as finding time, I had 3-4 hours to work a day, so I just plugged away!
 
As a busy Mum, how do you find time to write, and is writing a paid occupation, and if so how did it become one?
Well, writing is kind of a paid occupation. I do get paid, but often I end up paying a babysitter the same if not more every hour than what I'm making! So I find the time by entrusting my kids to other people (which sometimes means my husband or my mom but often means at school or with a babysitter). 
 
Blogging seems to be an integral part of writing and keeping previous readers engaged and finding new ones, how do you blog?  Do you have a timetable, how often do you post, and do you do it all yourself or have a virtual assistant? 
Credit to Chris Capozziello
I do have a writing assistant who does 5-10 hours of work a week for me. She's invaluable! I post at least 2 times a week, which is pretty grueling at this point so it might not last much longer. Still, I've been grateful for the way the blog has connected me with readers and taught me about how to shape content.
 
What does your husband do and how does he support you in writing?
My husband is a headmaster at a private school for high school students. He's very supportive--mainly by helping me strategize about writing and by encouraging me when I get down about it!
 
Credit to Eddie Berman
Thank you Amy, it’s been a privilege to continue understanding your journey, and I’ll be looking out for ‘Small Talk’ at my Christian bookstore. 

Thanks so much for these great questions!


 Amy Julia Becker is the author of Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most(Zondervan, 2014), A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany House), named one of the Top Books of 2011 by Publisher’s Weekly, and Penelope Ayers: A Memoir. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she blogs regularly for Christianity Today at Thin Places. Her essays about faith, family, and disability have appeared on the Motherlode blog of The New York Times, USA Today, ABCNews.com, Theatlantic.com, The Christian Century, Christianity Today, The Huffington Post,and Parents.com. Amy Julia lives with her husband Peter and three children, Penny, William, and Marilee in western CT.










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