Hello! Today, I would like to tell you about how Impartial came to be-the roots from whence it grew, so to speak.
It all began as as a choice: thesis or practicum? In order to complete my master’s degree in Seminary, I had to complete one or the other. Since Bible study has always been my passion, I chose to teach a Bible study as a practicum. That was the beginning of this incredible journey of writing and publishing Impartial.
The semester I applied for the practicum, I was taking a course on The Acts of the Apostles and felt God tell me that I should use my research as the foundation for the study. I became hungry to learn about Acts and prayed for God to speak His revelation into me to share through Impartial. I would sit at the computer to begin taking notes on the passage of the day, and God’s Spirit would fall on me and I would begin pouring my heart onto the page. Impartial became not just a journey through Acts, but held the story of my heart. Each miracle we examine through the weeks somehow revealed the miracles God had worked in me; it became an opportunity to tell my story and my testimony along with those of the first century Christians. Therein lies the two-fold theme of Impartial: miracles God worked then and how God is still working them today.
Because this project was for class credit, I obviously had to have a supervising professor who acted as teacher and guide through the whole process of writing and teaching the live study. I had to submit my work to him to check and verify before I taught it the next week. From the very beginning, he became my constant source of encouragement and my prayer warrior. He immediately began encouraging me to seek publication. Every week, he poured praise upon me and gave me the courage to continue in the path God had taken me. I never would have thought about publishing Impartial, if not for him.
During the time of the live teaching of Impartial (August 2015), I did not feel as if God was leading me to publish. I did not know what the next step in my ministry would be, but I knew it was not time to publish. Little did I know, my husband, who knew of my professor’s encouragement to publish, sent out emails to Christian publishing houses telling them of Impartial. Nothing was said to me about it, and nothing came of it for over a year.
After Impartial finished, I was officially graduated from seminary and was ready to go. I was so jazzed for what God had planned next and waited for Him to reveal it. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. For months, I waited. I became discouraged. I began questioning whether the study was as good as the reviews said it was. I began questioning whether I was good enough—whether I had gotten it all wrong. Was I supposed to go into Bible study ministry? Did I hear God wrong? Why was God waiting?! I began questioning why I was still working in youth ministry when I knew that I would never be a youth minister. What was the purpose of all the serving I was doing? It all became vanity. I felt useless and impotent.
Even though I had all these negative and frustrating emotions bouncing around in my head, I remained faithful to God in prayer and continued seeking His guidance. He eventually revealed that there was still a lot of work to be done in myself before we could continue in Bible study ministry. I had so much to learn about live teaching. Little did I know, serving in youth ministry would be instrumental in that regard. My youth pastor, whom I serve under, would allow me to teach exegetical series in his stead. Not only that, but God gave me such a heart for learning to teach and guide and love and support the students God had given into my care. Every single thing I teach about waiting in Impartial were coming true in my life. I was so frustrated and deflated, but God remained faithful to prepare me in the time of waiting.
About a year later, in August 2016, I began to hear God whisper into me thoughts of publishing Impartial. I prayed and thought about it for two weeks when a woman from Westbow Press called me and said they found a message from my husband that had gotten lost—from a year ago! She asked if I was still interested in publishing Impartial. Oh, how I laughed! God never ceases to delight me. His timing was truly perfect. I told the lady I was interested, and six months later Impartial was released.
God promised me from the very beginning of my Impartial journey that He would do immeasurably more that I could ever imagine with my efforts. He has. He has blown me away with every aspect of this journey. It truly has been His study from the very beginning and He has been faithful to His promises. I am so incredibly humbled that He chose me to be His champion (as Francesca Battestelli says); I don’t understand why someone with a past like mine would be His choice to teach others—except maybe as a golden standard of “don’t do this!”
I hope and pray that if you gain anything from Impartial, it is that God can truly change the world through people exactly like you. You who have to make all the wrong choices before finally making the right one. You who have been beaten down by others, by life. You who have believed all you life that you are worth nothing. You, Beloved, are the one through whom God changes the world. You are the one Jesus sought out and loved to distraction. Never say that God can’t use someone like you. It’s someone like you that God uses the most. Amen.
Where is God using you to change your world?
If you cannot think of anything, I ask you to pray that God shows you how you are making a difference in the lives that surround you. Also, pray that He will make opportunities clear and give you the courage to jump with both feet first! He takes the smallest acts and uses them to change lives. Be the change!