But something I’ve always firmly believed about testimonies is that they are much more than nice stories with happy endings wrapped in bows. They are dynamic - they’re the stories God is actively writing with our lives, right now, evolving in real time as we take each step forward with Him. Every testimony really ends with “To be continued.” Every testimony, as long as the Lord tarries, will have a part two, three, or four.
When Jesus says to someone, “Follow Me,” it’s the beginning of a journey, not the end. And the invitation will, of necessity, be renewed daily. Sometimes hourly. The choice to obey is not once; it’s over and over again, one step at a time.
It would take pages to recount all the steps He has asked of me since that first invitation. I often took them without even knowing where my foot would land, and the course the path has taken is nothing like I expected. There have been moments when I let go of His hand and begged Him to go on without me because the next foothold looked so terrifying, but in His grace, He never left me there alone.
Today I’m standing in a pretty forest clearing, a place of rest. My Lord is not endlessly demanding and He knows I need to catch my breath. We have come a long way.
A year and a half ago, in April of 2018, He asked me to start writing a book. Together we stepped into a walk of solitude through a wild wood, the trail ill-defined and a bit lonely. I’ve written many thousands of words in my life, but I have never sat down to a project and vision of this size before. It was six months to put out the first draft, another six months to read it a dozen times over and make thousands of revisions to the manuscript, and yet another six months to design the layout and place it in the hands of people who can look at it with new eyes for me. Still to come, I am sure, will be yet more revisions based on their feedback.
Every step of this process has been an exercise in submitting to Christ’s call: “Follow Me.” He has brought inspiration, motivation, and accountability alongside me exactly when I’ve needed it. He has held my hand when I was scared to tell anyone about what I’ve been creating. And now He is slowly, bit by bit, revealing His vision for how He wants me to use and share this book with others.
With the fruit of this journey now in the hands of a few people I trust to provide sound criticism, I am taking a breather in this pretty little forest clearing, watching Jesus paint a picture of where the journey might lead from here. I doubt I’ll see the finished product before we start on our way again, but there is comfort in simply knowing that He knows, even when the path seems obscure.
I can tell you what His work is stirring in me so far, though: an ever deeper desire to help other “ordinary” American Christians (like myself) know who He is by knowing His Word. My heart aches for my own nation, which has greater access to God’s Word and solid Biblical resources than any other, and yet largely doesn’t know how to use them, or even why they’re important. We are a nation of people who can easily find a Bible verse that supports nearly any ideology but have no idea how to respect the true intentions and origins of the text. In this place, we are terribly vulnerable to deception, legalism, and licentiousness; we are easily enslaved to cruel masters, like unnecessary guilt and our shifting emotions, and are deaf to the softness and tenderness of Jesus’ call.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). What a gift and a relief it is that we are known by God, and that He offers us the safety and care of the Good Shepherd. But we can’t rest fully in that truth, nor trust fully in His leadership, until we can hear His voice in the first place.
(By the way - if you want to be the first to know when this book becomes available to the public, you can drop your email address below.)