Ever had a desire you knew you could not make happen on your own? You know it’s not something you or anyone else can make happen and if it does happen, it will be all God’s doing. And then it happens, almost an on earth as it is in heaven1 kind of thing. Then you wonder what is God doing and what is He going to do next?
That describes what happened to me yesterday. I’m still processing it, reeling from it, actually. As I turn it over and over and examine it from every side, the only explanation I know is God is up to something.
Let me explain, if I can. In January of 2013, God tapped me on the shoulder and let me know it was time for me to write the book that matters.
I had desired to do that and tried to make it happen for years. As my life got crazier and busier, I put the desire on the back shelf. So when God not only let me know it was time, but showed me the book laid out from beginning to end, I was ecstatic.
January through March was a time of me trying to push the book forward, but it wasn’t until I met Wendy Walters at Release the Writer that things really took off. She partnered with the Holy Spirit to activate the gift that had laid dormant in me for years.
She said, “You are a master of words, but you must allow the Holy Spirit to be the Author. You are but a scribe.”
I did just that and by June 1 the manuscript was written. Sweet Grace was launched on October 23.
In order for a book to make a difference someone has to read it. That means marketing and I had no clue about that. The only thing I knew was I my desire was it be on Amazon so people who need it can find it.
My book is about my extreme weight gain and weight loss of 250 pounds and how God is the power behind every positive decision for the lifestyle change I’ve made.
When I was super morbidly obese, I loved to read stories about how people had lost weight. I wanted some hope that maybe I could do the same thing. I searched for books with victory. I remember going on Amazon and searching the weight loss memoir category for something to help me. There was nothing. I searched Christian weight loss memoirs. Still, nothing. I was discouraged. If no other Christians have lost as much weight as I have to lose then why am I even thinking it’s possible?
Suffice it to say, God worked His will in me, giving me a plan and the strength to carry it out.
Writing the book about this journey was God’s idea. Providing someone to activate me to finish the book was His plan. All of these seemed doable. However, getting the book in the hands of those who really need to read it seemed almost impossible.
I wanted Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor to garner the top slot on Amazon’s weight loss memoir category. It seemed too hard.
I knew God wanted to change lives with this book, but maybe my dream wasn’t the way He was going to do it. Still, I felt it was God who placed this desire in my heart.
Through this journey, I have developed a habit of spending a lot of time with my face on the floor. I put it all in God’s hands.
He led me step by step. I didn’t run ahead of Him, actually I couldn’t run ahead of Him because I didn’t know anything about book promotion. I just followed His lead every step.
He showed me how to get the book and Kindle up on Amazon. He revealed places to send targeted publicity releases. He brought requests for radio and TV interviews. He opened avenues to share excerpts and stories in online magazines. He directed speaking opportunities to my email inbox.
Within the first month, Sweet Grace became #1 in Amazon search categories of Christian weight loss, sugar addiction and morbid obesity memoirs.
These are the smaller categories, but God had placed more in my heart. I knew someday it would be number 1 in the weight loss memoir category. I wanted Sweet Grace to be the ready answer for the woman, who is currently like I was and looking for a solution. I wanted her to know that God cares about her plight and is there to take her by the hand and lead her home. It was, and still is, in the core of me.
Yesterday, I did what I do every few days. I did the search to see where Sweet Grace stood in the rankings. I was flabbergasted! It was in first place in weight loss memoirs! I went back three times to see if it is a mistake and every time it was in the same place.
Sweet Grace has been selling consistently, but it’s not a best-seller, yet. However, I know it is coming because God wants His message proclaimed. It has nothing to do with sales and everything to do with the message.
The interesting thing is, I did nothing to make this happen besides be obedient and walk through open doors. There are times it scares me to do a radio or TV interview or answer a comment from a know-it-all who thinks he or she has the market on how to lose weight.
That’s OK, though, it’s not for me or for them that I’m doing this. It’s so those who desire to live, can have that opportunity. It’s so God is known as the One who gives strength, especially when we are weak.
For so many years I thought I had to work hard to make everything happen. These days I learning how to step back and watch. I’m watching what God’s up to. Because, wherever He is, that’s where I want to be.
I have no doubt writing God’s message is my assignment while here on earth.
“If you are not overwhelmed by your assignment then you don’t see your assignment clearly,” says Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church.
Oh, Bill, I think I see my assignment very clearly. I have 22 books in three categories for which God has given me titles. Some are written and just need to be compiled. Others are waiting for me to have uninterrupted time so the Holy Spirit can activate the hearing heart2 for which Solomon asked God.
I know God is really up to Something when I hear His quiet whisper ask, “What is your desire?”
I answer, “I desire that hearing heart2 so I can understand the wisdom born of a different kingdom, the kingdom of heaven as it invades earth.1 Give me clarity to write the vision and make it plain, so people will read it and run with it.3
“Your scribe awaits dictation.”
What is God up to in your life? Are you willing to find out?
1 Matthew 6:10
2 1 Kings 3:9, AMP
3 Habakkuk 2:2
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.