I'm sharing a significant part of my testimony this week, as I want to honor God with the launch of my new book. I hope you have time to read it all. When I found out the book would launch on August 26th, I asked God to please give me a place to share my testimony and honor Him with this story on the anniversary of what happened in the year 2000, and what is happening this year, 2008. I believe this is the place! I believe He wants me to share it in this blog, and it is my pleasure to do so.
I was actually on my cell phone heading for the FPEA convention in Orlando, FL, this past Memorial Day weekend, when my marketing rep at Tate told me the launch date for my new book.
"August 26," she announced.
And then the tears came. Just mention that date, and for the rest of my life, I'm sure the memories will continue to overwhelm me. I find myself with hope renewed, faith assured, and joy confirmed.
You see, eight years ago, on Saturday, August 26, 2000, I was eagerly awaiting the publication of what would be the first edition of Baby Boot Camp! My husband Rich and I had been clearly led by God to self-publish, and we were both excited about receiving the finished product in mid-September. The cover was beautiful, the layout was terrific, and I was delighted with how the book had turned out! Like an expectant mom who is really tired of being pregnant and longs to hold her new baby in her arms, I was ready to see and hold my book! We were in the process of planning a huge party to celebrate, and I was looking forward to being with my friends and family and thanking God together for what He had allowed me to do and for what He was going to do in the days to come. I wanted to honor Him and praise Him for all that had gone into the journey of BBC as my manuscript moved from dream to reality. God had supplied all our financial needs in bringing BBC to life. It was an incredible experience that still amazes me to this day. (For more about that part of the story, check out For the Write Reason, available at Proverbs 31.)
Okay, at this point, I need to backtrack. On Monday of that week, August 21, I had watched an author being interviewed on Christian television. He had just written a book about how God is the God of our valleys. I remember he used the example of when the Israelites were fighting the Arameans. The Arameans had developed a new strategy to defeat the Israelites. They thought that the Israelites had won the last battle because their gods were the gods of the hills. So, the Arameans theorized that if they got them down into the valleys, then they could defeat them. Well, this is what God said:
Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord. (1 Kings 20:28)
The author went on to explain that God is in control of our valleys, our lows, our less than stellar circumstances, just as surely as He is the God of our mountaintops! As I watched the interview, I knew that God wanted me to hear this man's message. I knew it as certainly as I've known anything. And I knew, without a fearful kind of knowing, that God was about to allow our family to go through a valley. And incredibly, I had a deep, abiding peace.
Rich went to a men's prayer retreat on Friday, August 25. He spent the night there with a group of men who were praying, worshiping, and seeking God's face all night long. He came home at around noon on Saturday. After lunch, he was going to help a couple in our Sunday school class move into their new home. Since he wasn't going to have much time with the kids, I had planned for them to have an indoor picnic with their daddy. As our lunch got underway, I looked at the children playing happily with their daddy and talking about everything under the sun, and they looked so adorable that I went to get my camera. As I snapped the picture, I heard a voice that I will never forget (although I must admit that I can still have trouble identifying). It said, "That is the last picture you will ever take of Rich and the kids."
(Part Two of this story will post at noon today. Please come back by!)