SIMPLY THE SAVIOR Turns Twenty

Simply the Savior BookIt surprises me to realize that the first book I wrote under contract (not as a work-for-hire assignment) turns twenty this month! I wrote Simply the Savior during a time when there was a lot of emphasis on simplifying life. Magazines carried headlines like, “10 Easy Steps to a Simpler Life” or “You Too Can Embrace Simple Living.” Book clubs were reading Sara Ban Breathnach’s best-selling book, Simple Abundance, and her publisher soon took advantage of its success to spin off sequels, journals, etc.

All these things caught my attention because I had a strong desire to simplify my own life, and so had left a full-time job to work at home. But everything I read seemed to have a “new age” feel that didn’t quite satisfy me. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “I’m pretty sure Jesus had a lot to say about what really matters—about living a simple, uncluttered life.” I opened the Word, and Simply the Savior was born.

When writers read a nonfiction book they wrote twenty years ago, it’s like reading a tattered 20-year-old journal. I smiled when I read illustrations featuring small granddaughters who have since gone to college, gotten married, and traveled the world! And then there’s the surreal feeling you have as a writer reading something you wrote so long ago as you think, “Not only do I not remember writing that, I don’t even remember knowing it!”

Yet I just read Simply the Savior again and I wouldn’t change a word. Yes, my spiritual journey has deepened my faith and my understanding of Scripture, my marriage is twenty years stronger, and I’ve had to accept that being 50 wasn’t old enough to write about gray hair and wrinkles. But the 15 chapters such as “Simply Believe,” “Simply Listen,” “Simply Forgive,” and “Simply Love” are full of Holy Spirit inspired truths.

Back cover photo of the author who thought she was old!

Back cover photo of the author who thought she was old!


Because it’s a book about Jesus, and we are promised in Hebrews 13:8 that He is “the same yesterday and today and forever,” everything I was inspired to write back then still holds true—even if I don’t remember writing it. In fact, my not remembering is a strong reminder that the book came through me, not from me.

Sara Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance sold five million copies and is translated into 28 languages. Simply the Savior sold 10,000 or so and was translated into German. Yet I received a note from a reader who said she kept a copy of my book in the glove compartment of her car so she could pull it out and read it when she felt a panic attack coming on. “Lord,” I said, “that’s enough for me.”

And I’ve accumulated twenty years of gratitude for having this little book in my life. My publisher, David C. Cook, also owned Best to You at that time, a Christian social expression catalog for which I wrote product and catalog copy. So they did their own version of spin-offs: a promotional paperback and both a lovely framed print and a mug designed with the chapter titles from the book.

Simply the Savior MugThis first book opened up my life as a speaker. I went where I was invited, and there were many and varied opportunities. I remember a small gathering in a little church basement where the rhythmic hissing of oxygen tanks permeated the room as I spoke to a circle of older church ladies—perhaps stirring in me a heart for the books I’ve written for the elderly recently.

In contrast, I also remember speaking to the women’s ministry of the much larger First Presbyterian Church in downtown Colorado Springs. Twenty years later my son, Tim, is the lead pastor of that church. I mentioned him in the book as a young seminary student with his first baby in his arms. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

I’m not one to force my books on anyone (thus I haven’t sold five million copies of any of the six books I’ve written!), but there may be a few copies available from used booksellers online, or you can download the Kindle version here if you’d like to read Simply the Savior again, or for the first time. Simplifying once is seldom enough. Material, emotional, and spiritual clutter happens. And as the book says, “It is simply the Savior who gives us all we need to live a life of simple joy.”

Happy 20th Anniversary, little book. You have blessed me so.

Comments

  1. Alice Scott-Ferguson says:

    Fabulous, Nancy! Still fresh and applicable. Brilliant and eloquent reprise!

  2. Diane Passno says:

    This was and is a wonderful book! I have given dozens of copies away as gifts over the years! It contains a message that still resonates with me! Jesus is enough! Love you dearly!

  3. Kathy Fitzgerald says:

    Always refreshing to read that “Little Book” and be reminded to breathe and be still and know that He is God. Getting older really does have its advantages, most valuable is looking back on the faithfulness of God and the little things that cause us to pause like memories, special songs, laughter, family/friend photos and one level living! (ha ha) I treasure your comfortable friendship that refreshes & encourages me. God Bless Nancy!!

  4. Happy anniversary, Nancy and your simply wonderful book. So honored to know you!
    Much love,
    Beth

  5. Nancy, you stirred many memories. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear of the book’s impact on readers and on you.
    Blessings

  6. Susan Staver says:

    Good to see you today. I wanted to let you know that this popped up later in the day on my Facebook feed. 🙂

  7. Elizabeth Van Liere says:

    There are so many tempting books on the market. But, I stick pretty close to the library so I can return the books I read because I’m trying to downsize. Another thing I’ve been doing is re-reading the books still on my shelves. So, Nancy, guess which one is next on my to-re-read books, I loved it the first time and know I’ll re-love it.

  8. Nancy you have used your God given talents to being better understanding to many. We attended a wedding near Colorado Springs and saw some old friends . They attend First Presbyterian and have only attended for 2 years
    Which reflect Tim’s ministry there so you have reached many more through your own son, such a blessing.

  9. Ruth Axtell says:

    Simply The Savior sounds like a wonderful book. I’m so sorry that it is out of print. I would like to find one if anyone has any ideas.

  10. Congratulations, Nancy, and thank you for blessing us with your writing. I’m so pleased to say I knew you then, and I know you now!

  11. Eileen Somers says:

    So I’ve been dusting off Simply the Savior for 20 years now as it sits on different surfaces in my bedroom. I’ve read it from cover to cover twice in those years and used it often when I needed to be comforted at night. It’s just one of those staples I can count on and the best part is it comes from my friend, Nancy.

    It needs to be in the hands of maybe 90,000 more people or a few million. Let’s start a revival.

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