1. How has your personal experience contributed to the writing of this book?
I’ve been a believer for almost 50 years, but there came a time in my life about 15-20 years ago when, due to circumstances in my life, I had an unquenchable thirst for something more in my spiritual life. I sensed there had to be more than what I was experiencing. I longed for a more intimate relationship, but wasn’t sure that was even possible. What I discovered was the type of relationship I craved for was promised throughout God’s word. When I started to experience intimate fellowship in conversing with God everyday I knew I wanted to share this knowledge with others. While I have had opportunities to share over the years, I knew a book would enable me to share it on a much broader scale.
I discuss in the preface of the book the challenges I’ve walked through over the last 6 years, both emotional and physical, which almost took me out. I sincerely believe if I hadn’t developed a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord I wouldn’t have survived.
So, yes, my personal experience, as well as years of bible study, has certainly played a huge role in the writing of this book.
2. What was your motivation for writing this book?
After I started journaling the words God impressed on my heart in my quiet time, I stored those journals as precious spiritual jewels. As I chatted with friends I began to share with them some of the precious words I had received and to my delight, God’s words really ministered to them too. I was motivated to publish some of my journal entries not only to help others, but also to encourage others to hear for themselves and enjoy the intimacy that God has led me to.
Since my journaling took my quiet time from just another dutiful spiritual activity to a place of excitement, longing and anticipation I wanted others to experience the same. To see what to many is a one-sided duty be transformed into an inspiring, life-changing conversation.
3. Is there any reason you felt compelled to write the book now?
I believe this is a generation that genuinely desires to seek God’s face. They want more than historical religion; they are seeking for something that is authentic and real, in other words a vibrant living relationship with God? There is a hunger to seek after the Father’s heart, not just a code of ethics or a dutiful religion, which can only at best, by sheer willpower, change the outward man but not the heart and its motivations.
To be honest I was much more determined to finish the book, after having gone through years of trials and testing that almost took me out. I truly believe that the publishing of this book was one of the reasons God graciously spared my life.
4. Would you give your readers any warnings about falling into error when journaling the words they feel God is giving them on paper?
Learning to listen to God speaking to you and writing those words on paper by faith initially can feel awkward and people often wonder if the words are simply their own words and not God’s words. I ALWAYS encourage people to take what they sense they have heard to the Word of God – the Bible. If it is consistent with God’s Word, claim the word as your own and don’t allow the enemy to steal it from you. In some cases, that perhaps involve major decisions, you may want to seek out the counsel of spiritual leaders in your life to help confirm what you have heard.
I give my readers much more insight on confirming the word God has given them in a chapter in the book, “How to hear God’s voice”.
5. In the book you use the term “Papa” to refer to God. Why is that and do you find that helpful? What would you say to people who perhaps do not feel comfortable using that term?
The word “Papa” is an English translation of the Greek word “Abba” used in the New Testament, referring to our adoption as sons and daughters of God. It’s the term that even our Lord Jesus used in the Garden of Gethsemane. Therefore, in faith I use the term “Papa” in loving respect and with humble boldness, signifying my adoption as His daughter.
To me “Papa” is a trusting term. It symbolizes my unquestioning trust that He wants only the best for me as I pen words that He speaks to my spirit, whether they are words of encouragement and comfort or words of exhortation and conviction. I receive those words from a heavenly Papa who knows me the best and yet still loves me the most.
From a personal standpoint, I came from an abusive childhood and did not have a healthy relationship with my earthly father, so although I was living in an adult body, in my heart I was still a little girl crying out for the love of a father who would care for me and never hurt me. Many of my readers may come from a similar background and I would want them to know that they do have a heavenly Father who wants to shower love on their broken emotions and express to them what the love of a father really looks like.
With absolutely no disrespect for our Almighty God, I needed a less distant and formal relationship with God. However, I realize some individuals may not feel comfortable in using “Papa”. That’s fine. Whatever term you choose to express this intimate relationship, God would want it to be a name or term that you feel comfortable with.
6. You use a good amount of gardening analogies in the book, is that something you enjoy?
I have always had a love for gardening, especially growing roses. My garden is the place I typically pray and spend time alone with God.
Working with soil and planting brings me close to God, for I see His faithfulness in a way I can relate to. Once I have sown my seeds and cover them with soil, there is nothing more I can do, for the life is in the seed not the sower. As I plant a rather ugly bulb I am amazed how God created it to blossom into such a beautiful plant. Through gardening I see His faithfulness in the seasons, reminding me that He is also faithful in the seasons of my life. As He once reminded me “You trust me with the seasons in your garden, now trust me with the seasons of your life!”
When you plant, whether you profess it or not, you are putting faith in the Creator. For once you have planted or sown, there is nothing more you can do, it’s in the hand of the Creator. I have a little plaque in my garden, which my daughter Patsy gave me, that reads “ He who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see, believes in God.” How true!
So, I guess you can see I am quite passionate about my garden and the many pictures it provides.
7. How do you hope your book impacts your readers?
I am trusting that it will reveal that God is not an unreachable entity out there somewhere, but is rather a personal heavenly Father who wants fellowship with them. I hope it will cause my readers to realize the importance of quietly spending time alone with God, for it’s their spiritual lifeline! I hope it will build their faith to believe the possibility of personally hearing from God. Has He not said, “My sheep hear my voice”?
I pray it will impact their lives to stop them trying “to do” in order to “become,” which eventually causes burnout, but replace that pressure with simply spending time with God that they may “become” as they behold Him. Truly then the “doing” will glorify God for it will not be from the sweat of the flesh trying to become like Him but rather by His Spirit as He molds us.
Ultimately may it impact the readers to daily “ go down to the potter’s house and there He will cause them to hear His words.” Jeremiah 18:2 – My favorite verse from the book.
8. How long did it take you to write the book?
I could say “a lifetime” for it is a collection of years of Bible study, many mountaintop and valley walks with God, spiritual growth and lessons and experiences from just plain living. But I had it almost compiled in 3-4 years, prior to the storms that hit my life about 6 years ago. During that time it just laid on my desk carrying dust. Then as the clouds in my life began to disperse and the fogginess cleared I saw the need to finish it and get it published. I believe this was all in God’s timing for now I have been able to include in the book a preface where my readers can see my vulnerability and know that I am a person who walks with an emotional and spiritual limp. Yet not a victim who is crippled for life, but someone who by God’s grace and power has been able to walk on stormy seas and yet survive. Encouraging others that God’s grace and power and fellowship is also available to them.