If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then the journey to having a book you’ve written appear on your doorstep should begin with the first word, right? Actually, with The Hope of Glory: A Devotional Guide for Older Adults, it began long before the first word was written.
Back in 1999, the Lord placed on my heart the desire to do all I could do to connect older adults with their faith—or to introduce them for the first time to faith in Jesus Christ and the blessed assurance of eternal life that could be theirs. I was at a book group meeting and heard one friend ask another if she would be interested in facilitating a Bible study at an assisted living facility. She said no, she didn’t have time. Even though I only overheard the conversation, I felt the Holy Spirit tapping my shoulder and saying, “That was supposed to be for you.” I followed up with a phone call to the friend with the information a few days later, got in touch with the facility, and began a weekly Bible study with a fascinating group of residents there.
After about a year I realized I needed to devote more time to helping my mom and mother-in-law, so I stopped going. But by then the Lord had planted in my heart and mind the idea for devotional lessons directed to the aging population. I began working on the project as I had time, calling it The Hope of Glory after the verse in Colossians 1:27, Christ in you, the hope of glory. I tried shopping it around to publishers but didn’t get an acceptance, so it just joined other back-burner projects in my files. In fact, as my friend Merrily says, it’s possible I took it off the stove entirely!
But the Holy Spirit didn’t forget about it. In May, 2010, I began visiting my friend Denise in the assisted living facility where she had just moved. At first it was difficult for me to even enter the building, as it brought back so many memories of my mom and mother-in-law, both of whom had passed away. But I kept going back because of Denise, and I began to feel more comfortable there. One day I stopped to look at the activities calendar posted on the wall. I noticed there were no Bible studies listed. The Holy Spirit used that information to get my attention again.
A few days later I was leaving our church, which is almost across the street from the assisted living facility, and I heard the Spirit say, “Why don’t you just go over there and ask them if they need you?” So I did. I walked into the activities director’s office, introduced myself, told her where I went to church, and said, “Do you need someone to lead a Bible study or anything?” She smiled and said, “I left my card at your church, but I haven’t heard from anyone yet.” I got chills as we both realized God had sent me. Not only did I feel that I had a new assignment, I sensed the Lord not putting my writing project back on the stove, but rather of His taking it off a high shelf, blowing the dust off of it, and handing it to me saying, “Now, after all you’ve been through with your mom and mother-in-law, you are ready to finish this.”
Just weeks later I began volunteering, writing a new lesson for the class each week. Once I had 52 lessons, plus five more for special holidays, I began the search for a publisher again. The Hope of Glory: A Devotional Guide for Older Adults, was released by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in March 2014. I’m not telling you all this to promote the book (although I’d love for you to see what it has to offer the elders you know and love), but to share two important lessons learned from the most drawn-out writing project of my life.
First, if God gives you an assignment, He won’t let you forget it. I hate to use the word “nag” in relation to the Holy Spirit, so let’s call it “encouragement that can feel like nagging!” Second, the completion of this book should reassure us all that God has not forgotten the older adults among us. In fact, His heart burns with love for them, and He sends His people to minister to them and share the life-saving truth of the gospel with them.
That’s why I pray that seeing the book in print on my doorstep, at long last, is not the end of this journey. I pray it’s the beginning of how the Lord will use The Hope of Glory to accomplish His purposes. My job now is to stay out of His way.