Tuesday, 16 June 2015

When I Grow Up I Want to Be Brave


 
When I grew up, I wanted to run an orphanage and go to dangerous places and do crazy things for God.
I sang various versions of ‘I Surrender’, and my favourite song was “Centre of My Life” in which one line goes ‘I’m stepping out from the comfort zone…”  Have you ever noticed that it gets harder to sing those songs as you get older, or maybe I’m the only one?   Because as you get older you suddenly realise that not only is the surrendering a continual growing of holiness, but the surrendering to do anything God wants could come at any moment and you’re not sure if you’re really ready to do something crazy anyway? 
Because sometimes you’re standing somewhere minding your own business and God pops in like crazy and makes a wild suggestion of where He wants you to go or a plan for what He wants you to do, and sometimes God’s plans as much as there is the empowering, are hard work.  It’s not all thrills and glory to help someone get out of debt, or counsel someone through a marriage, to run a Sunday School where the children bite and barely remember a thing you’ve taught them and yet you’re trusting that one seed you’ve sown will sprout one day. 
I I’ve been thinking back lately to my teen years and how firey I was about saving the world and making sure everyone was doing their bit as well.   In fact I’m fairly sure that I judged other people in our circles for not obeying the call of God on their life, but then how did I, all of 16 know what their call was when I was barely working out my own?  Regardless, it was not my place to decide whether they were or weren’t. 
So when I grow up, I want to be brave, cause I’m finding those things I wanted to do in my teens are harder now, and my favourite song is ‘You Make Me Brave’ about the grace God gives for the moment.
I’ve recently read Bill Hybels, Holy Discontent, and to be honest, when I picked it up I didn’t think it was a book for me. Bill challenges readers to ask God to show them the one thing they can’t stand in the world that is unjust and then to help them move into that calling.   I’d worked out my life calling, and it was looking good, with just the right amount of adventure, and scant surrender, but I asked anyway, just in case I was missing something.  I always ask crazy things, and my husband wishes I would check with him before I did, but they just come out before I can stop them.

 

Crazy things that it would nice if someone else trail blazed for, but I’ve always been a trail blazer, and why should I think that it would stop now?  Trail blazing because I can’t stand what I see and I’m a writer so I write and sometimes people listen, because Ann Voskamp is waking up the church to ISIS, and maybe I’m called to wake them up to something else, and God asked me just recently ‘If I gave you a platform to write, what would you use it for?’ and I knew it was for something wild. 
That’s why when I grow up, I want to be brave and to step out and do those things that people shake their heads at, and I think that you want to be brave too.  Your brave is not the same as mine, but God knows what that is, your ‘Holy Discontent,’ and maybe you too are secretly discontent with the status quo, much as you try and love your nice quiet life like mine. 
I read in a book recently, Katherine Ruonala’s, Living in the Miraculous which has stirred me back to crazy, how the passions and desires in our hearts are often the very same that God wants to use to stir us up to action, and how we should daydream with God about what the world would like if we stepped into those daydreams, and then to ask for the strategy to live it out.
Fight Like  a Girl - Lisa Bevere
 
 
 


I link up at Women With Intention

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

How Reading Inspires Your Writing


I seem to have powered through a whole bunch of books this month, not sure why, but it sure is inspiring the writing.  I read in an interview with Ann Voskamp the other day that when she sits down to write, if she has no words, it’s a sign that she isn’t reading enough and I agree!   In fact that statement has so helped me because I usually feel most inspired to write, right after I read, and I always felt that I was just regurgitating someone else’s inspiration, and I should get my own or not write.    I remember when I was reading Ann’s book, A Thousand Gifts, for the first time, I would often wake in the morning with the most profound thoughts in my mind, and I think should go buy another copy of that book because mine seems to have sprouted wings and flown away.  (The very next day I found a copy at a garage sale!)

I think reading, starts our mind a processing and it draws out what we think on a topic, or it causes us to pray about how we see a topic, which then in turn, possibly draws out revelation as we then write about these thoughts parallel to our lives.  
The Scripture in Proverbs 20:5 has been coming to mind lately. 

The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. (NIV)

Hearing someone's thoughts on a topic, quite often draws out our own thoughts, and our own words if we are writers.     So these are the books that I’ve read most recently because I’ve found them in the op-shop, and I've commented on each, not just about the book, but how it has inspired my own life, and words. 
1. The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I often find Amish books all very similar but Wanda just has knack for giving them all a bit of spice, and this one was brilliant.  An Amish widow giving quilting classes in her home to the general community and I actually never guessed where it was all going, and for once I didn’t read the end first, because it wasn’t so drawn out that the middle was boring and dry.     I really loved how she drew all the characters together and yet switched between so many voices.  I’ve mentioned before that I would like to have a go at this in a fiction piece I’ve been dreaming up for years and I’m really hoping to get into that now that I’ve seen a good example of this sort  of writing, and after my little quote from Ann Voskamp above, now I’m not afraid to use words to inspire my own.     And after looking up the photo of the book to use on the blog, I just discovered that this is now a trilogy, not just a single novel, so definitely looking forward to finding the next two soon.  J
2.  Smith Wigglesworth – The Secret of His Power by Albert Hibbert
Someone left this book on the table in the kitchen at church after a Bible Study so I decided to read it.  Wow, what an interesting and inspiring life Smith Wigglesworth lived, written by one of his right hand men, and yet what stood out to me was how closely Smith listened to God for solutions to problems, how much of God’s Word he had living in Him to speak wisdom into others and how much love was in his heart even though his actions could be perceived as cruel at times.  
 I once made a stupid statement that as Christians we all needed more Fear of the Lord and we were all just bogged down in love, and God has been proving me wrong on that one, so I’m really asking for a love revelation. 
The other thing that stood out to me from this book was that even though we can be inspired by great men of faith, and we should be full of the word and love of God, we need to seek God for our destiny with Him, because we aren’t all the same. 
3. Umerited Favour by Joseph Prince
I talked in one of my recent posts titled “A Good Girl Rediscovers Communion”, about how God is having me lay good theology foundations in this season and this is another book He is using to do this.  The title wouldn’t normally make me pick up this book, because it could make you think of something wishy washy but it is packed full of well studied Scripture, and I believed titled as it is to make it more appealing to pick up for people who would otherwise steer well away from anything theological.     
This book discusses how God defines success and not in the same way we do, and what Jesus actually accomplished on the cross and how to live in that knowledge.   It’s over 300 pages so I’m gradually working my way through it, and it takes a while to chew on each chapter.  To be honest I think I should be writing out little gems from it in my journal and probably re-reading it. 
Actually this book has inspired two or three posts that will be coming over the next few weeks in my series titled 'When You're Theology is Wonky'. 

Linking up at Thriving Thursdays
 & Hope In Every Season

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


Photobucket

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 . . .


Photobucket

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 Hope In Every Season:

 

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.
 

 I link up with Women With Intention