Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A cover and a calling

Today I'm officially releasing the cover of my first book, Hitched in a Hurry: The ultimate how-to for a speedy "I do," and I couldn't be more excited!

This book hasn't happened traditionally, or perfectly, or anything like that. But working on this project has been a huge learning experience and lots of fun. And you know what? More and more, it's felt like my calling.

I struggled with that for a little while, the "calling" part, because Hitched in a Hurry doesn't involve orphans or Africa or ending world hunger. I'm thinking specifically here about Katie Davis, a blogger, 24-year-old adoptive mother of 13 (yes, 13) children, Ugandan missionary, and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Kisses from Katie.

This girl is just a rock star. Her humility is palpable, her love for Jesus and for others is unshakeable, and her desire to give all glory and honor to the Father's name is unquenchable. She is on fire, and she has invited the world into her Ugandan village to watch her burn through the pages of a book. If you don't want to be challenged, don't read her book. Because it will shake you up. Why do we have more than enough, when children all over the world are going to bed hungry, alone, afraid? If you don't want to consider these questions, acknowledge these realities, this book is not for you.

It was for me, though. I have learned much through reading about her life.

It's easy to look at Katie's sacrifices and the fact that she doesn't wear makeup and say, "Wow, she's really incredible. She's really doing something." The truth is, though, that Katie Davis is just a woman, as I am just a woman. But she is changing a nation, and I am not—not yet, anyway. The reason? Katie Davis has completely opened herself up, completely poured herself out, to be the hands and feet of God. She has gathered everything—her talents, her vision of the future, her plan, her desires, her American dream—and stacked them all like so many pieces of wood, and she has called the fire of God to fall upon her offering and consume what she thought she wanted, replacing it with what He says is better.

I may not be called to walk the red dirt roads in Uganda or adopt 13 children. But like Katie, I am called to gather everything—my talents, my vision of the future, my plan, my desires, my American dream—and stack them all like so many pieces of wood, and call the fire of God to fall upon my offering and consume what I thought I wanted, replacing it with what He says is better.

I don't want to take Katie's place in the body of Christ. I want to take my place, the place that He has ordained for me to fit and to go. After all,

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." Romans 12:4-8

I have not written a memoir about binding wounds, treating diseases, feeding the hungry, or adopting children. But I have written a how-to guide for brides planning weddings in six months or fewer, and there is room for God to be glorified in that, too.

Cover Design by Jaime Williams

 See, Hitched in a Hurry isn't just about planning a wedding. It's about building a marriage. Hitched in a Hurry isn't just about celebrating the bride. It's about encouraging the bride and groom to love each other; to listen to each other; to give themselves up for each another. Hitched in a Hurry isn't just about a couple making it to the altar. It's about a couple making it to a porch swing when they have gray hair and grandchildren and years of memories behind them, and it's about them still holding hands through it all.

I want people to read Hitched in a Hurry with excitement at the prospect of loving their spouse with the forever kind of love that Christ has shown the Church. I want people to absorb the advice of each and every Real-Life Love couple and say, "If humans can show this kind of love to one another, how much more can my God—who 'did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all'—love me?"

If you read the Our Story series, then you know that I had nothing to do with writing my love story. The Author and Perfecter of my faith took the script from my hands, whispered, "Trust Me," and proceeded to blow my mind with His goodness, mercy, and love. Oh, and a really, really hot husband.

And so I give this book right back to Him.

Without You, Lord, there would be no story to tell, no tips about dress-hunting, no warnings about over Pinterest-ing, no registry lists, no To-Do-Before-"I do" sections...nothing. This is a small thing, this wedding planning book, but you are Great and Mighty. The works of my hands are Yours. May You be seen by all who purchase this book, and may marriages be blessed and strengthened by the words on these pages. May Your inspiration and wisdom come through, and may all else fade away. 

Grace and peace to all of you as you are strengthened day by day to walk in His unique calling upon your life.

. . .

Colossians 3:17—"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Psalm 90:17—"May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands."

. . .

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