A Stranger in a Bookstore

He had a scraggly brownish gray beard and glasses and wore a faded t-shirt with worn-out jeans.

I was about 17 at the time, and I had stopped into the tiny used book shop not far from my home.  It was a regular haunt of mine, this book shop where I’d scan the shelves, moving past best sellers and romance novels and looking for the classic treasures that I loved and could pick up for a dollar or less.

It’s been so long ago now.  I can’t remember how the conversation started or even why.  Knowing me, I certainly wasn’t the one to initiate a chat with a stranger, especially as a teenage girl with a unknown guy in a store.

But this I remember so clearly.

For some reason, he asked me what I wanted to do.

And I said, “I want to write,” in a whispered confession kind of way, the kind of admission you make in embarrassment because you know what you just said was crazy, impractical and surely impossible.

In fact, I couldn’t believe those were my words.  I didn’t know at the time why I said something so foolish and frantically searched for ways to escape the conversation.

After all, I’m a practical person.  I may have majored in English in college, but I wasn’t silly enough to think that meant writing.  I told people maybe I could edit, or work in publishing, or go to law school, or teach…..all more logical options than dreaming the impossible dream.

But I had said it, “I want to write,” and I didn’t know why or where it had come from or what it really meant, and I didn’t know how to take it back.018

This I remember, too.  He said, “Well, what you have to do is read the best and just write and write and keep on writing.”  Then he handed me a book called Seize the Day, which I took home with me and still have on my bookshelf, and then he walked away.

I get emails now a few times a month from ladies asking me how to get published and could they do what I do, and I give them all the practical information I possibly can.  Unfortunately I can’t give them “Ten Steps to Publishing Success” or “The Five Things You Need to Know About Christian Publishing” and I wish I could—really and truly.

After all, I’m just a humble girl still plugging away at writing myself.

All I can say is just obey and trust God and start small.  Don’t dream about bestsellers or fame or personal glory or royalty checks.

Ten years after a chance meeting in a book shop, I was a mom with two kids and a job working from home, a job at the church, and ministry responsibilities, and I felt like God was telling me I needed to be writing….in my “free time.”

I started as that tired out mama typing away devotionals and articles in a word processor after my kids went to bed at night.  I didn’t think anyone in the world would ever read them.  Maybe one day I could print them off my own printer and slip them into a three-ring binder for my daughters to enjoy.

Then someone asked me to edit for an online Christian women’s magazine.  And then she allowed me to start writing articles.  Then I felt like God wanted me to write devotionals and publish them online, so there was this blog….and then a book idea that took discipline to write in the middle of crazy busy days….then there were some other articles….

I didn’t think this was ever possible and it certainly wasn’t on my own.

But God.

I have to tell you this secret—I cry every time I get the email: “We’d like to publish….” because I just know that it’s God’s grace and I can’t miss it.  I didn’t plan for this, didn’t expect it, don’t deserve it…. I’m just amazed by it and so humbled by the reminder of how it’s all about Him.  So, I stretch myself out face down on the floor every…. single ……time and cry out thanks to Him for grace like that.

Maybe we all have “but God…” moments.  They so rarely start with a grand vision of success in any worldly way.  They start with the smallest steps of obedience, humbly just doing the quiet things and being faithful in the here and now, and then one day we look up and wonder how in the world all this happened—-and know it can’t be anything but Him.

That’s the beauty of the “….but God” testimony; He gets the glory.

Like Asaph tells us in the Psalm:

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever (Psalm 73:26 HCSB)

And it’s the testimony of David, who “stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him” (1 Samuel 23:14 HCSB).

It’s impossible.  We don’t deserve it.  It’s hard and we’re weary. Maybe there are enemies; surely there are obstacles.

But God….He is our Strength, our Hope, our Deliverer.

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May I take the time to humbly share some of these blessings from God with you?
If you’re looking for ways to find some of my writings online or in print, here’s when and where to look….

I’ll have articles in both the May and June issues of P31 Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  This gem of a magazine offers encouragement, Scriptural principles, and practical wisdom for Christian women.  What an honor to be a small part of this ministry!  Proverbs 31 Ministries is in the middle of moving offices and re-designing the magazine, so they aren’t open for new subscribers at the moment.  Hopefully, though, they’ll be open to new subscribes again soon and issues are available for purchase individually online.

My book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening our Lives to God’s Questions will be published by Discovery House Publishers in November 2013!

You can find my articles every month at http://www.myfrienddebbie.com/ and Ruby for Women, two online magazines for Christian women.

I also have the honor of serving as a small group leader for online Bible studies for women at Women’s Bible Cafe (new studies starting in April!!!) and you’ll find me sharing book reviews there, as well.

And of course I’m also on Facebook and you can find me on Twitter (@Heather_C_King) for Scriptures and quotes from Christian authors, and on Pinterest.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

The Big Reveal

I feel a bit like the owner of an art gallery standing in front of a veiled portrait, ready to yank off the cloth and reveal the painting underneath.  I know I’ve been waiting expectantly to see what the art designer came up with as a cover for my book, and I finally got the email this week with the attached picture.  Apparently, they hopped onto the blog and used the content here as inspiration.  I have to say, I think it’s very “me!”

Ask Me Anything Lord_KD

It’s an amazing thing, once again a moment that I’m in awe of God and His grace, to see a physical reminder of this blessing He’s given me.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.  I feel them and am blessed by them.  Discovery House Publishers is currently selling the book to bookstores (essentially taking orders in advance for when it is published) and I’m praying for God’s hand on this and His favor.

And now, I can officially say—-Coming (hopefully to a store near you) in November 2013 (just in time for Christmas shopping!!!) : Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions.

God is so good!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

What’ll You Call Her?

Just about the time that your pregnant belly pops out and people realize you’re going to have a baby, they start asking the big question: “What’ll you name her?”

I’ve had several friends keep their chosen baby names top secret until the birth, not wanting to tell the big news until it’s on the birth certificate.

And I’ve had a few friends who hadn’t actually decided on their baby’s name, even after a day or two of cuddling in the hospital.

We, however, have been a sucker for the name question for years, never keeping our daughters’ names secret once we made the decision.

But when you announce the baby’s name to people, it’s hard to really, fully explain all of the prayer and thought and love that went into that decision.  They just hear a name (that they may or may not like) and not the meaning and story and prayerful thought behind your choice.

And we did all those things.  We prayed over each of the names.  We considered what the names meant and thought about the sound of it and what it stood for or who they would be named after and what their name would say about them as future women of God.  We imagined what awful and ridiculous nicknames kids would use to tease them and whether their initials would spell something horrid or embarrassing.

And my daughters never cease to ask, time after time, even though they could tell the stories themselves, what their names mean and why we chose that special name just for them.

Well, picking the title of a book isn’t all that different.  I sure have prayed over this and I sought your opinions and suggestions.

Thank you so much for all of the voting and comments and private emails you sent me with thoughts about a book title!  I appreciated all of your great input.

I sent along the suggestions to the publisher and even included some of your commentary.  Then the email came in on Monday afternoon with the official name of my upcoming book:

Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions

I’m in love!

The book is about letting God search our hearts and draw us closer to Him using the questions He asks in Scripture. 

Other titles might have been more aggressively eye-catching, but the publishing team felt this one was the most accessible and descriptive—fitting both the theme and style of the book.

My favorite part is the subtitle.  Is that the same as liking your child’s middle name more than her first name? There’s just an openness and clarity about it that’s just right.

Next up is cover design.  I can’t wait to see what the artists envision for the book cover!

Please keep this book in your prayers and pray for the teams that are working on each part of this process!  Thank you for those very prayers, for your thoughtful encouragement and for your insight all along this exciting journey.

I’ve been reminded once again this week of the promise in Ephesians:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

God can’t do great things because of our strength or ability or power.  It’s never really about what we can do at all.  It’s always because of “His power that is at work within us” and that is why He receives all the glory when He goes above and beyond.

I love the Message paraphrase of verse 21:

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Hopefully, this will all be an encouragement and reminder to you to yield wholeheartedly to God’s work in your life. Listen intently for the Spirit’s gentle voice and step out in wild obedience when He calls you to move.  Watch in anticipation to see what God will do.

You can read more about the amazing story of my book here:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

My Cup Overflows—-I Can’t Wait to Tell You What God Has Done!

“We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for this important announcement . . .”

That’s right.  Instead of a normal devotional on a normal schedule, I just can’t wait to share with you what God has done!

It’s pretty incredible.  David wrote, “my cup overflows,” and now I’m standing in a puddle of the overflow of God’s blessing in that same way.

About 15 months ago, shortly after starting this blog (which at the time felt insane enough), I sat across from my husband on our big, lumpy blue sofa and told him I felt compelled to do something even crazier than write devotionals online.

God had been working in my heart and mind, shaking up my life, changing me from the inside out.  Suddenly everything He had been teaching me crowded into words in my mind, words I had to write down on a page or I felt I’d go mad.

God had been probing my heart with some questions—questions that He had asked others in Scripture.  He began by asking me, “What do you want me to do for you?” (just like blind Bartimaeus and the disciples James and John).

It was a question that revealed my motives.  What did I want out of God?  Material blessing?  Success?  Personal gain?  Comfort?  Attention?

Or did I want His glory, no matter what?  Did I want to see Him and know Him more intimately?

As I prayed and allowed God to search my heart deeply, I discovered that our God is a question-asking God.  It’s His consistent method of drawing His people closer to Him.

After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and hid in the garden, God didn’t hop a soapbox to deliver a parental diatribe against disobedience.  Instead, He just asked a question:  “Where are you?”

When Elijah sat dejected, depressed and suicidal on a mountaintop, God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Moses thought God was unreasonable and ridiculous asking him, a man who had been a fugitive for murder for 40 years, to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt.  But God asked, “What is that in your hand?” and showed Moses that God can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary when we give it to Him.

I believed God wanted me to write a book on what happens when women let God ask the questions.

And my husband said the same thing he said to me about writing the blog—“If God wants you to do it, you need to be obedient and do it.”

Simple as that.

So in the spring of 2011, I asked just four women in addition to my husband to pray for me.  They were the only ones on earth who knew I was writing a book in my “free time.”  And I am so thankful for their prayers and words of encouragement.  I know for certain I would have quit long ago had it not been for those on their knees for me.

Some writers hop a jet to exotic locations or move into beach houses or cabins in the woods to write.  I sat at my kitchen table during my daughter’s nap times.  I jumped up every few minutes to get a drink, change a diaper, read a book, fix a problem, and break up a fight and then sat back down to the computer to write some more.

I knew how impossible publication seemed, but I just reminded myself that I was being obedient to the call God had given me.  What happened from there was up to Him.

Almost one year after I set down to write the first word of the book, I received an incredible email from Discovery House Publishers—the same firm that publishes the Oswald Chambers library and other wonderful Bible study authors.  It said they had found a copy of my initial book proposal, the one I’d written 10 months ago, and was I still searching for a publisher?

This was impossible.   I had posted that book proposal after writing the first chapter of the book nearly a year before.  It should only have been available for publishers to view for six months.  There is no reasonable explanation for how that book proposal made it to her desk four months after its expiration.

I had to go through a series of committees—the editorial committee, the marketing committee, the publishing board.  It took several months of waiting.  I asked a few more women to join me in prayer during these months.

And then, as I was sitting at my computer yesterday working on VBS emails, a message popped up on my screen from Discovery House Publishers that read,

“Let me be for the first to congratulate you on becoming a published author.”

Look what God did!!!  A year-and-a-half ago, I would have told you I couldn’t write a book.  I didn’t have the time, the resources, the attention span, the know-how, the seminary degree, or anything to talk about.

But God had other plans.  He so graciously worked in all my insufficiency; all I had to do was be obedient.

This isn’t at all about me or what I accomplished in my own ability.  This is absolutely a testimony of the miracles God can do when we yield to Him, even when it seems insane and impossible.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us (Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG).

So, in the next few weeks I’ll be working with a team on cover design and marketing strategies and choosing a release date and I’ll be sharing it all with you.

Please encourage your friends to join in this blog community.  Spread the word!  More importantly, please keep me in prayer: for wisdom on this journey, for a smooth publishing process, and most importantly for the impact of God’s Word. Then let’s watch and see what God can do!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King