QUESTION: How did God use your writing projects in your own life to draw you into deeper fellowship with Him?
ANSWER: My writing projects have generally arisen out of my pastoral ministry among women. For example, I had given talks on Elizabeth Prentiss to pastors’ wives, and when they found her life helpful, that encouraged me to work on the book. Similarly, I had taken day conferences on biblical womanhood in a variety of contexts, and God's Design for Women (Evangelical Press) arose out of those days. My recent book Gentle Rain on Tender Grass: Daily Devotions in the Pentateuch (Evangelical Press) was inspired by my own enjoyment of working through the first five books of the Bible, using the principle advocated by the great George Meuller of meditating on Scripture at the beginning of the day. I found it so transforming to ‘take a verse with me’ into the day that I wanted to share this with others. My latest book The Dawn of Heaven Breaks: Anticipating Eternity (Evangelical Press) is an anthology on illness, death, dying and heaven. This arose out of various pastoral situations in our own church family: chronic ongoing illness, the death of a youngster, the death of an infant and so forth. We all need to be prepared for eternity, however young we are. As our grandparents used to say often: ‘Life – how uncertain! Death - how sure!’
QUESTION: In all of your research for your books, what has had the greatest effect on you personally?
ANSWER: The lives of many godly women have had a deep impact on me! I’ll mention just two. Frances Ridley Havergal wrote the great hymn ‘Take my life and let it be, Consecrated, Lord, to Thee’ as well as many other hymns, books and tracts. The passion of her life was to be consecrated to the Master’s service. How wonderful it is to wake each morning asking, ‘How can I serve you, my Lord and Master, today!’ Frances was passionately committed to seeking holiness. Like Elizabeth Prentiss she was also vivacious, gifted and attractive. Frances was single, and she is a great role model of a godly and contented single woman. I tell her story, and give selections from her various writings in In Trouble and in Joy: Four Women Who Lived for God.
Another woman whose testimony has had a deep impact on me is Sarah Edwards, wife of the great revival preacher Jonathan Edwards. The account of her experience of the sweetness of the love of God during a time of revival is almost overwhelming to read. Each time I go back to it I am taken back again at the sheer glory and wonder of God’s love for us in Christ. Her story, and her account of that experience, can also be found in In Trouble and in Joy.