I’ve lost track of the people who’ve come up to me and asked, “How do you get it all done?” This always makes me chuckle because they actually assume I do get it all done! (They obviously haven't seen my house.)
First of all, my life was drastically simplified when we moved from Anchorage (where we had two or three scheduled homeschool get-togethers or extracurricular activities scheduled a week) to a much more rural setting. (Read between the lines: There’s not a whole lot to do here outside of the home!)
At the end of each of my novels, I like to thank the people who were involved in putting it all together. This almost always includes my editors (aka typo slayers), the members of my Facebook group (aka cheerleaders), and my family.
But sometimes I wonder exactly where I’d be if it weren’t for the prayers of one of my biggest fans, my grandma, who passed on peacefully to receive her eternal reward last summer.
Grandma grew up as a missionary kid in China. Her early days were filled with memories of war and terror when the Japanese bombed Shanghai. Later on in life, she went to smuggle Bibles back into China regularly … all the way into her seventies!
I've said it before, but I don't mind saying it again. The thing I love most about Kennedy Stern from my Kennedy Stern Christian suspense series is that she is always growing. She's being constantly stretched, her worldview is constantly expanding, and she's slowly gaining that maturity she lacked in chapter 1 of Unplanned when she made her way to Pastor Carl's pregnancy center for the very first time.
It's not just her view of the world that's expanding either. Kennedy's faith is slowly growing, slowly gaining momentum. Included in that is her prayer life. This conversation from book 4 in the Kennedy Stern series really stands out to me because it speaks so much about our own prayers and quiet times. I actually heard a pastor preach the same thing the camp speaker told Kennedy so many years earlier, and I think a lot of us have fallen into the same trap she did.
Kennedy knew she should pray but lacked the spiritual stamina to do so. As a little girl, she’d once gone to a Christian summer camp where the speaker shared a story about what happened when he told his atheist friend, “I’ll be praying for you.”
“Why?” the atheist wanted to know.
It's no secret that I've got a heart for the people in the closed nation of North Korea. My first three novels were set in North Korea, and my Kennedy Stern series is about the daughter of missionaries who have devoted their lives to supporting North Korean refugees.
In case you're wondering, I'm not Korean. In fact, my Japanese ancestry means that my great-great-grandparents would have been considered the wicked oppressors of the Korean peninsula. Today, it's no longer the Japanese but the ruling Kim regime that is holding God's children of North Korea in bondage.
So how did a half-Japanese woman who's never set foot in Asia decide to write about North Korea? It all began with a prayer burden.
I once knew a woman I really looked up to who told me, "Prayer is like sex. Everybody assumes everybody else is doing it better." Although as a very young newlywed, I was (more than) slightly scandalized at her choice in metaphor, I've come to at least appreciate the sentiment behind her words.
My husband recently got back from a week-long trip out of state to attend a pastors' conference. Thankfully, everything here went as smoothly as could be expected. The car battery died once when temperatures dropped to twenty below, our hot water heater went out the same day, and our toilet malfunctioned and was out of commission for a day and a half, but at the very least we all stayed healthy and (relatively) happy.
I'm so happy to have Scott back home and just as glad for the time he received of spiritual refreshing. Seeing how blessed he was reminded me how important it is to cover our pastors in prayer. Their jobs are tiring, demanding, and take more spiritual stamina than most of us realize.
You probably agree that it's important to pray for your pastor, but sometimes it's hard to know exactly what to focus on. Here are a few quick areas where I'm sure your pastor would appreciate prayers.
Before he died, George Meuller was estimated to be responsible for the salvation of thousands of souls through his orphanages and other ministries in 19th century England.
George Meuller, nicknamed the Man of Faith, had far humbler beginnings. In his early adult life, he began to fervently pray for the salvation of five friends of his.
I think most of us can admit we'd like a little help growing in our prayer life, right? Busy schedules, small faith, and wandering thoughts keep nearly all of us from praying the way we should.
Several months ago, my friend Jaime (who's also a Christian author) and I were talking about how there aren't that many online resources out there that are specifically designed to help you pray. We both like listening to podcasts, but there weren't any we could find that focused only on prayer.
We launched The Prevailing Prayer Podcast to give people like us -- ordinary people who want to grow in their prayers lives -- encouragement and practical support.
Thanks so much for letting me wrap up the next Kennedy book last week. God, you really helped me with that one. So I'm at it again, fresh start Monday afternoon, a blank document staring me in the face.
I confess that I'm scared.
Have you ever been on mulitask overload? Sometimes I get so bogged down with so many different projects on my to-do list that I sort of freak out and go into stress paralysis mode.
Can you relate?