The story of how I became a published author was 100 percent God-orchestrated; there is no other possible explanation. It was never a childhood aspiration; I didn’t enjoy writing letters, I didn’t journal, and my grades in English comp were less than stellar. It had never occurred to me that I could write or that I would enjoy doing it. However, it seems that God had a plan and purpose that He hadn’t yet revealed to me.
What I did love was teaching the Bible. I had begun teaching a class of young married women when I was just 21 and had found it extremely rewarding.
Twenty years later we were in a new church where God had not yet opened the doors for me to teach adults. I was serving where I was needed—as a teacher for two year olds. One morning our Sunday School class was studying spiritual gifts, and the father of one of my two-years olds commented that he thought my gift was teaching children. I replied rather emphatically, “I don’t.” Another asked, “What do you think it is?” and I responded, “I think my gift is teaching.”
What I didn’t realize is that the Phyllis Mitchell, the Bible study editor for Aglow International, was sitting at our table. After class Phyllis approached me and said, “I feel led of God to ask you if you’ve ever considered writing a Bible study book. I work at Aglow International and we’re always looking for good material.”
Had I ever considered writing a Bible study book? No, that thought had never, ever crossed my mind. I was a stay-at-home mom who just happened to love teaching Bible studies. I had never finished college and was quite certain that authors needed initials after their names. I had no idea how or where to begin. However, Phyllis encouraged me to pray about it—to see if God gave me a topic, and she sent me their authors’ guidelines.
I promised to pray and as I did, an excitement began to stir within me. Could I be an author? I didn’t know, but that was my first inkling that maybe, just maybe I could. As I began to pray about a topic, God powerfully impressed upon me Paul’s statement from Philippians 4:11—I have learned to be content in all circumstances. I called Phyllis and asked if a study on contentment would be a possibility. She indicated it had promise and asked me to bring her an outline and the first chapter.
I was clueless about how to formulate the outline, but again God opened the door for me to teach a summer Bible study. We were studying the book of Philippians and by the time I was finished with that four-week series, God had given me an outline. It would be a study of the book of Philippians with a focus on how Paul had learned to be content.
I typed up the outline and wrote my first chapter. I took them to Phyllis and nervously awaited her response. To my utter astonishment she said, “I like it! Bring me another chapter.” So I wrote another, and her response to the second chapter was even more encouraging, “I like it! Bring me the book when you’re finished!” That book, Keys to Contentment, was first published by Aglow Publications in 1981. God had thrown wide open a door for me to write when I didn’t have a hint that I had any ability or talent in that direction.
Once I had discovered that I could write, I wanted to continue. Two more Aglow studies, The New Commandment and Choosing to Change followed in the 80’s. All three have recently been re-released by Gospel Light in their Women of the Word Series with the titles Finding Contentment, Loving like Jesus, and Transformed by God’s Word. I am currently putting the finishing touches on a Bible study based on the book of Ephesians.
When people ask me how I became an author, I always respond, “God” and now you know why.