Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hope for Grieving

The Dawn of Hope: Encouragement for those who grieve is a small book with a brilliant hope-filled message for all who grieve. The author, Eldyn Simons, recounts the loss of his sixteen year old son who died in a plane crash while on a summer student exchange trip to Peru. There is no loss more difficult than the loss of a child. There is no loss more difficult than the sudden loss of a child.

The author has walked this road of grief and knows the tremendous pain and suffering it entails. He teaches the importance of facing the pain as well as how to hang onto God and the hope that He offers.

In short chapters beginning with a scripture and ending with a poem and a prayer, Simons tells about the loss of his son and recounts other losses—the loss of a spouse, the loss of the older generation, even the loss of a child by miscarriage.

God led Simons on a “journey of wonder and discovery” after the darkest night of his soul. He says God “will take you to many unexpected places, places of which you may never even have dreamed…. He will teach us how to bear the pain, how to laugh again, how to once more taste life’s sweetness. He will never leave us.”

He also says, “Our responsibility is to hold fast to God, to snuggle close so nothing can come between us. His part is to cover us with his love, to encourage and nourish us with His life that we may be fruitful in our service to him, no matter what conditions surround us.” This is a marvelous little book for those who are grieving. Buy a few and give them to friends who are hurting.

“When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains!” Psalm 84:6 TLB

Blessings, Dottie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Writing Changing Churches

Writing a book is a daredevil sport – I liken it to being out on a limb or jumping off a cliff.  Changing Churches: A View from the Pew is the name of my book. The outline dropped into my mind in my quiet time in August 2008. I prayed about it and began to write early in 2009.

I have new respect for writers and I’ve learned many ways to improve my writing. I’ve learned to avoid “to be verbs” and use active verbs. I’ve learned to eliminate most adverbs. I’ve learned to be creative, avoid clich├ęs, use word pictures and illustrations. I’ve learned to show rather than tell.

Writing a book has repeatedly taken me out of my comfort zone. This is both scary and exciting. It has brought me to tears and to my knees. It has compelled me to share my work and seek feedback from many friends, pastors, elders, and writers. Every step of the way, each morsel of feedback I received showed me another viewpoint and led to more revision and also spurred me on. Many times I was ready to quit. I sought God’s will repeatedly, daily, as he’s the one who got me into this! I gave the book to him over and over again. I never heard him say “You can stop now.” So I kept going.

The manuscript is now with the publisher and will go through more editing. Now I must focus on marketing – a whole new area to both scare and excite me. I’ve had a blog for over a year and I joined Facebook months ago. At the time these also were scary and new, but they connected me mostly with friends and acquaintances. Recently I joined Twitter and Linkedin – open to everyone and anyone! Will I do it right? How do I learn to do all this? Many questions fill my mind and keep me awake at night.

My respect for writers increased with the realization that virtually all writers must market their books. So now I must tell everyone about my book. I’m an introvert by nature and I do things slowly and methodically. All of this is challenging my comfort zones. God loves to stretch us.

Readers, please pray for me. Pray that the marketing and the book will be to God's glory. Pray the book will reach those who need to receive its message. Pray the book will help Christians navigate church changes while remaining true to Christ. Pray the book will help build up the church.

What’s the book about? Changing Churches describes through the eyes of one couple the difficult journey “church switchers” travel; a journey often precipitated by disruptive church changes. Changing Churches encourages Christ-like transformative change in churches rather than man-devised makeovers.

Changing Churches will be published in 2012.

Blessings, Dottie

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9