About 15 year ago, I felt God called me to be a speaker. Not really knowing what that even looked like, I ignored it for a lonnnnnng time. Because that's super scary and I thought ...
Between cruising the mean streets of LA and Orange County, sipping Diet Pepsi's ... life happened.
But with any God-breathed dream, it hardly just goes away.
Ten years later ... a cross country move, two kiddos and a husband climbing a tree ... I got some guts.
I had served and worked with churches for years and through praying, seeking wisdom, and processing through it, I actually starting saying the words "I feel called to this ministry thing ... and I think it's more than church media stuff."
I kicked it off by practice car preaching to an audience of two. My [then] 2 and 3 year-old loved yelling "amen" on cue and often asked why I was talking to myself.
Months go by and God actually starting using me to speak at events. Jesus was setting people free in their creativity and I had the privilege of helping them navigate into that space.
My best friend believed in the things on my heart so much that she (and her husband) offered to pay my way to Lysa Terkeurst's She Speaks conference. There I had a really amazing God encounter that gave me peace and confidence to continue to move forward. It was one of those moments that I'll never forget. God changed me that weekend. You can hear me talk about that magical Jesus moment on Jamie Ivey's podcast here (that story starts around minute 41 if interested).
Fast forward .... random people would say "Write a book." and I'd resist punching them in the face, because well, sometimes it's too hard to hear confirmations of the things you have had on your heart since childhood. Writing takes time, I can't spell and I thought...
Then God showed me, it's not about who I think I am ... it's about who I think HE is. I want to be the type of person that thinks God knows what He's talking about and pursues the things He puts on my heart. After all, I can count at least five fun potential things I missed out on because I wrestled with fear and let it win. Later I saw those very ideas come to life, created by other Believers who actually trusted God in this process. I didn't want to miss this.
So I dove in. I outlined my go-to speech in post-it form and the book was outlined. I texted two friends and said "now what?!" They told me to write. So I did.
A mentor speaker and writer, Cindy Bultema, (who I met at She Speaks) encouraged me to pursue traditional publishing. I left the conversation DREAMING BIGGER than ever. She believed in the message God had placed on my heart. Cindy closed our time together with prayer and encouraged me to take time to ask God what He thinks about it all.
I prayed and felt peace about moving forward with self-publishing and casually mentioned to God if He wanted this book traditionally published, He'd have to do His thang... because the thought of going that road overwhelmed me to the umpteenth degree.
Later Cindy was hosting a partial scholarship to Carol Kent's Speak Up Confernece ... in a miraculous turn of events, I ended up getting the spot.
Two days before the conference, this was self-published into the world.
Fresh off the press, I brought my book to the conference and during my 15-minute appointments with publishers and literary agents I shoved 31 Day Create into any hands I could find.
One set of those hands belonged to a literary agent, Dan Balow. He flipped through the book in silence ... and I awkwardly fast talked my way through the dead air. At one point I even creepily yelled "OH AND I HAVE AN EMMY!" When I took a moment to actual breathe, he told me he loved the book.
I called my best friend and fellow author, to ask if this was normal. Turns out, it isn't.
31 Day Create is a call for Christians to reclaim their creativity so we can be even bigger influencers for Jesus. This whole process did just that in me. Often times where I would typically settle into fear, God helped me trust and put my faith in Him. After all, it's not about me.
God began writing this whole "I got a book deal" story a decade earlier. If you're a theologian you can argue that point about time later. God brought leaders to invest in this procrastinating scaredy cat, kid-watchers, best friends, theologians, prayer people, financial resources, a ninja agent, and He sent me to the right places. God filled the places between those HUGE dreams and little old me.
When you walk in obedience to pursue the things He's put on our heart, things happen. Prepare to be amazed at the people, resources and tools that will just "show up" and equip you to do the things He's set before you. And if He can do it for ME, why wouldn't He do it for you? After all ... it's not about YOU anyways.
Less than three months after attending the conference, I signed a contract with a traditional publisher. I'm honored, humbled and thrilled to have the wisdom and guidance from Harvest House Publishers. The same publishers that worked with Kay Artuher, Lysa Terkeurst, Dr James Dobson and my newest favorite Ruth Chu Simmons. You guys ... God literally orchestrated this.