Month: October 2018

080 – When Satan Doesn’t Let up with Kimberley Woodhouse

When Satan Doesn't Let up with Kimberley WoodhouseWe’ve all felt at times like the struggles just won’t end. Best-selling author Kimberley Woodhouse knows how you feel! She and her family have been through one attack after another after another. But in every situation, God proved Himself faithful and sufficient. You can keep your trust—and joy!—when it seems the enemy won’t let up.

About Kimberley Woodhouse

Kim is a devoted wife and mother, and a third generation Liszt student.  She has passed down her love of music and the arts to hundreds of students over the years, recorded three albums, and appeared at over 2,000 venues. Her quick wit, enthusiasm, and positive outlook through difficult circumstances have gained her audiences at conferences, retreats, churches, military functions, and seminars all over the country.

The Woodhouse family’s story has been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most famously featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel’s Mystery ER along with hundreds of other TV appearances and radio interviews.

Kim has been writing seriously for more than twenty years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it” that she pursued publication. Now, she is a best-selling author of more than fifteen books, with more on the way.

She is passionate about Bible study, reading, music, cooking, and pretty-much-all-things-crafty. Kimberley has been married to her incredible husband for a quarter-of-a-century-and-counting and they have two adult children.

Transcript

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Erin: Welcome listeners, welcome to The Deep. We are just so excited to be here with you because we’ve gone through gymnastics to make this podcast work, and we are going to talk more about that. It fits right in with our topic today, and we have a special guest with us, Kimberley Woodhouse. An amazing, prolific author and I’m going to let, of course, Karen introduce her because they’re buddies.

Karen: Kim and I met so many years ago, we were both about two. We met at an ACFW convention and discovered that we really clicked and enjoyed talking together. I met her daughter Kayla there as well. And in the course of that meeting and us getting to know each other—I was working for B&H Publishing Group at the time—and I knew that what I wanted was for Kim and Kayla to write some novels for me at B&H. And so, they did that, and it was wonderful, and we had so much fun together.

Kim has gone on to author a host of other books, and she is just an amazing writer, an amazing woman. She is a devoted wife and mother. She’s got her daughter Kayla, who has dealt with just an abundance of health issues, some very serious. Their son Josh, who has dealt with his own issues. It’s as though—if you looked at Kim through the world’s eyes—you would think this family was cursed. And yet the reality is they are so blessed. Because we know that these things are coming against them so that the enemy can derail their ministry.

They’ve been on a number of TV shows, including, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Ty Pennington and his group came in and built a wonderful home for them because of Kayla’s health issues. So, there’s just so much in Kim’s life that could have defeated her in her efforts to minister and to write, and yet because of her faith and trust in God, and the faith and trust that her husband had, they have overcome. And God has overcome through them. So, Kim, we are delighted to have you here to talk about what you can do when Satan just doesn’t let up.

Kim: Thank you for having me. It’s a privilege to be here today.

Erin: Yes, welcome Kim. And so, we always start the show talking about The Deep. The Deep means different things to different people. What do you think of when you think of The Deep? What would that mean to you, Kim?

Kim: I think it has several different meanings. In my own life, when I think of The Deep, I think of going deep in the Word and digging in the Word.

The Deep also means the pits, and sometimes the horrible stuff that we go through. And a lot of times when I speak around the country and share, I’ll say a little phrase and it’s like, you know, “God’s grace is always deeper than your lowest moment.” Because a lot of time we think we’re in The Deep in the worst possible part that we could be in, and yet God’s grace is always there. And knowing that it’s always deeper than we think, and we can handle or what we can go through. And so, it has, you know, different meanings for me in that way.

The Deep also means to me the depths of emotions and feelings and everything that God has given us for spiritual depth and not just being a surface-y Christian to show the world, “Oh hey, I’m a good person. I go to church on Sunday.” You know, but actually having that depth and the spiritual depth which I crave more and more, and I just really want to get all the way to The Deep. You know, no matter what trails, what junk accompanies that, I want to get all the way to The Deep.

Erin: I love that.

Karen: You know I think that’s one of the things that I respect the most about you Kim, and that I love most about you. It’s that when these difficult things have come in your life, what they’ve done is they’ve driven you to go deeper with God.

A lot of people would be derailed and be so discouraged by what happened that they might start to doubt God. But you find yourself going before God and going on your face before Him and digging in His Word to understand. And I think that’s one of the things that many of us lack is that awareness that when we hit these trials, these struggles, even these life-threatening situations that you guys have been in. When we hit those kind of things our first reaction seems to be, “Why?” But I’ve seen in you all these years, I’ve seen how it sends you to God and to His word.

So how do you think that that happened? What happened in you that conditioned you to do that, rather than to doubt and to scream why at the heavens?

Kim: I think a big first foundational stone for me is the fact that my dad is a pastor, and I was raised in a wonderful, wonderful Christian home. And I have an older brother and an older sister that helped model it for me as well.

But my dad used to often say when we were younger that you always knew if you weren’t doing what God wanted you to do, if you weren’t on track, because the enemy would leave you alone. So, it was a really good example for us to realize that, you know, things are not supposed to be smooth sailing. We’re not supposed to have life that’s a bowl of cherries all the time. And yes, the Lord blesses in huge ways and we have so much to be thankful for. But understanding that persecution and suffering are just going to be a part of our lives. And understanding that we should want that persecution and suffering because we know that we’re on the right track, that we’re doing what God has called us to do. Because this is not our home, this is not where we’re going to be. You know, we’re aliens of this world, that’s said over and over in Scripture.

Erin: Talk about some of the difficulties and challenges that you’ve had in case our listeners don’t know.

Kim: Well I’ll try to be really brief.

Erin: That should be part of the answer, people!

Kim: Karen knows a whole lot, well she probably knows everything out of our story, we’ve known each other so long. But she has walked this journey with me through a lot of it too and taught me some valuable lessons, so I have to say thank you for that, Karen.

Jeremy and I met at Bible college, and we knew that we were going to serve the Lord and be committed to put our lives to God in ministry, and so we knew that we were going into full-time ministry. And our son was born, and he almost died several times. He was a very sick baby. And then our daughter was born, and we thought, “Oh, she’s just a perfect, happy, healthy, sweet, little baby.” And Josh was the one—we always had to listen to his breathing and he was sick a lot.

And one day Kayla had a heat stroke when she was fourteen months old. And the doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on. Well, through years of lots of different doctors—actually around the country—they had to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and she was diagnosed with a really rare nerve disorder. She was three and a half, I believe, when that happened. And nobody had any answers. And the doctor who diagnosed her was a wonderful Christian man, and he sat in front of me and rolled his stool up really close because I had five million questions, and he said, “You know what? God made her this way, and we don’t know of any other kids in the world that actually have this at this moment in time that are living. But we’re going to do this together.” And he said, “You just remember that God is the great physician and He understands when nobody else does.”

Erin: Oh my.

Kim: So, over the years, there were a lot of health issues with Kayla. In fact, she had to have brain surgery at the age of nine for a completely different thing. And insurance companies wouldn’t touch us with a ten-foot pole back then because she was diagnosed with hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy. And so that first word, hereditary, flagged the whole family. We couldn’t get insurance. So, we owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you know that’s just all part of it.

I told one hospital, “I’ll pay for this for the rest of my life. That’s fine. My daughter is worth it. And I really don’t care, I’m not taking any of this other stuff with me.” So, it’s okay.

Erin: Wow. And how is she doing now?

Kim: She’s absolutely wonderful now. I mean she still has the nerve disorder, and she still has a lot of health issues. She graduated with highest honors from the University of Colorado and is now in seminary studying to get her Master of Divinity in discipleship. She is just eating it up, you know, studying the Greek and the Hebrew and studying theology and just loving it.

So, she’s doing really well. It’s just a wonderful thing and I keep praising God for how He gave us this story, because it’s His story.

Karen: The remarkable thing, Kim, is knowing Kayla as I do and seeing the way that she has responded and reacted in all of this. This is a young lady who has an incredible grounding in her trust in God and an incredible grounding in her knowledge of God. It’s an intimate knowledge that has her so well anchored. I don’t care what else comes to her in life, she’s going to deal with it with the same grace and the same faith that you do, and that’s just an amazing thing.

In addition to that, you and Kayla wrote novels together, so you guys experienced the publishing world together. So, talk to us about how the struggles and all these kinds of attacks affected you in your writing journey.

Kim: Oh my, that’s a loaded question.

Karen: I know, that’s why I asked it!

Kim: Oh goodness. I feel like with every book, what I have to do is I really pray, and I dedicate that book to the Lord. It’s like, “Okay whatever You have for me, whatever words You have for me, because it’s not my story, it’s Your story. Whatever You’d have me do, You just do that through me.”

And every single book, I think I’m on book twenty now—I think that’s the one I’m writing at the moment. And every single one of these books has had some horrific catastrophe, you know, something happened in the middle of it. Whether it be technology, whether it be family, whether it be like last year, I almost died and was in the hospital and it was in the middle of a book and just some real craziness.

Karen: I’m going to interrupt you just for a minute. I remember when you sent me a text and an e-mail, and you let me know everything that was going on and the struggles, and your biggest concern was that you were on deadline. I was like, “Kim, you’re in the hospital. They’re afraid you’re going to die, and you’re worried about your deadline?”

Erin: I think that’s a first, Kim. No one has ever been on the podcast and gone, “Well, I almost died in my last book.”

Kim: Oh well that book—I know I’m kind of changing gears, but that book, was a few books ago, but it was Out of the Ashes. And it was one that Tracie Peterson and I wrote for Bethany House. When we had planned the series, obviously we had no idea what was going to happen to me in the middle of it. But even what we had plotted out and in our long synopsis to write. So, as I was writing this book, it really became out of the ashes for me because our characters had gone through just some horrible dark, dark, dark, dark times.

We have had so much response from this book. Not only because of the dedication and how we wrote about what we went through, through the writing of the book, but then how God translated that onto the page, and made the story what He wanted it to be. Truly a story of grace and transformation and how God can take all the broken shattered pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of it.

And so, the privilege of writing with Kayla was just absolutely wonderful, and we’ve talked about doing more, you know, once she’s done with school. She’s had to write five million papers for all of her—she was an English lit major so, she wrote paper after paper after paper.

Karen: She really is a remarkable writer. She writes a blog too as do you.

Kim: Yeah, and she’s brilliant. I think even if God just had me on this journey for her to write, I don’t know, but you know, praise God for what He’s done. So yeah, It’s amazing each time how we grow and learn even through the darkest of moments. I mean I’ve even had my computer, one time, get a spider virus and shut down, and I lost half of a manuscript. Karen probably remembers that one quite well.

Karen: I do. I remember that very well.

Kim: But it was neat to see how God used that. And in the re-writes. And it’s all to bring glory to His name. I am just so thankful. I am so thankful for every yucky, hard, terrible, awful thing that we’ve had to go through. Because I’ve grown, and I think that’s what I’m supposed to do.

Erin: What keeps you going, though, practically, Kim? How do you practically get your mind and your heart right to put your rear end in the chair and write when you’re constantly pummeled?

Kim: That’s a really good question. For me, I’ll tell you what I’ve kind of settled on in the past decade. I love Bible study, and I’ve gotten more and more in-depth in that. But the challenge that I have had is not just in doing an inductive or a deep Bible study, but just spending time in the Word each day. So, what I do right now—I’ve been doing the past three years—is I’m reading through the Bible seven times every year.

So, every fifty-two days I go through the entire word of God. And I do that first, and that, I believe, is my foundation. That is my first little step each day. Because I can’t believe—and I’ve spent a lot of time in the Word throughout my life, you know, full-time ministry has been all of my forty-five plus however old I am years. I don’t even know how old I am at the moment. But spending this time, doing this every fifty-two days, it’s such a large chunk that I’m reading. And what I started doing about a year and a half ago is I got a chronological, one-year Bible and so I do seven days a day. But it’s neat because the context, and all the Scripture backing up Scripture, because all the Scripture that winds up with one another in the chronological Bible is put together. So, reading that huge chunk I feel like I’m just getting so much more out of it.

And then my husband and I, he’s also a pastor. So, my second step there is that Jeremy and I—he is absolutely amazing, we’ve been married twenty-seven years this year—and we spend time together each day praying and talking about what the Lord is teaching us and what we’re learning. And we know that we’ve got to keep our relationship first, you know, after our relationship with God. And so, putting that in the right perspective and knowing that we’ve got to hold each other up.

You know, we went to a conference years ago and they had done this assessment of pastors and wives. They had given us the statistic that ninety-seven percent of all families—marriages that have a special needs child or a sick child or a child with cancer, whatever—end in divorce. And that was horrifying to hear and very startling for us.

You know, at the time we laughed, and my husband said, “Well, we’re both too stubborn to give up.” Which is true. But understanding that we have to put that marriage first. Because anybody who’s in ministry understands that often times, you know, the church, people, need you. It would be easy to put that marriage relationship on the back burner. So that’s kind of my second step. My husband and I, that comes before everything else.

Karen: And see, those practical things are so important for writers as well. Because we’re in a ministry in writing with God and to not let our writing come before being in depth in the Bible and time with God and time with our spouses and our families, that’s really important.

Kim: It is.

Karen: We’re coming to the end of our time together, it happens so fast. It’s been so much fun to listen to you. Do you have any final words of wisdom for our listeners? For these writers out there who are maybe feeling that the enemy has made them his own special project, and he just keeps coming after them, one hit after another—any special words of wisdom for them?

Kim: I think I would say first, you know, get in the Word. Then I would say it is a discipline to write. This is a job, something that we do, and it’s a job that God has given us, so we do have to get that rear end in the chair. It’s not just “write whenever you feel the whimsy and you feel happy and everything’s going the right way.” I would never get anything done, because I never have those kind of days.

Karen: I know, me neither.

Kim: But in 1st Peter, hopefully I’ll get the verses right, but it’s in the first chapter of 1st Peter and they’re talking about this great inheritance in salvation that we have which is imperishable, and the whole book of first Peter talks about suffering. But in, I think it’s verse six, maybe five or six, and he says, “In this”—and he’s talking about our salvation that’s imperishable—“in this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold, which is perishable even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And it makes me giggle when I say, “Even though now for a little while, if necessary.”

Erin: That is 1st Peter 1:6, you’re right.

Kim: Oh good, I got it right.

Karen: How wonderful that He gives us that and saying, “Even now if necessary…” almost tongue in cheek, because He knows how stubborn we are and how inclined we are to get off the path that He has given us. Then He reminds us of the purpose of the suffering and of the blessing and of the fact that we are glorifying Him. And as you said at the very beginning, this isn’t our home. We have Him here with us to go through this foreign land. And to do it with grace and faith and a sense of joy.

Kim, you’ve been wonderful. You’ve shared great truths with us, and we appreciate it. We’ll have to have you come back and talk some more because I know you’ve got a lot more to say. But thank you so much for being with us today.

Erin: Yes, thank you, Kim.

Kim: Thank you so much.

BOOKS

Out of the Ashes co-written with Tracie Peterson, mentioned in the podcast

The Patriot Bride – Kimberley’s latest release

We want to hear from you!

How has God proved Himself faithful when you’ve faced the enemy?

Tweetable

“God’s grace is always deeper than your lowest moment.” @kimwoodhouse

Ever felt like you’ve become one of Satan’s special projects? @kimwoodhouse shares hope!

Special Thanks

We’re grateful to our Patreon sponsor of the month, Wendy L. MacDonald! Find out more about Wendy at wendylmacdonald.com.

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!

Please share!
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079 – Integrity: Your Life Preserver in Turbulent Waters

Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Integrity: Your Life Preserver in Turbulent Waters Write from the Deep Podcast

The world is in turmoil. So many people saying and doing so many things that are harmful, mean-spirited, or just plain deceitful. Even believers have given in and taken on the world’s moral drift. So what will help us rise above all that? One word: Integrity.

If you’re paying any attention to current events right now, you’ve seen that issues of moral integrity are in the spotlight. If we think we’ll never have to face such issues, we’re kidding ourselves. We are all human, and all prone to temptation. And those who think they aren’t? They’re usually the ones who fall farthest and hardest.

Integrity (New Oxford American Dictionary)

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
  2. The state of being whole and undivided.
  3. The condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction.

What is the difference between reputation and integrity?

  • People can besmirch your reputation; only you can ruin your integrity.
  • Reputation is your public persona; integrity is personal.
  • Reputation is what people see; integrity is who you are when no one’s looking.
  • If your reputation is destroyed, it can be rebuilt. If your integrity is destroyed, the only way back is through God’s grace and restoration.

What does Scripture have to say about integrity?

“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.” Proverbs 10:9 (NLT)

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones.” Proverbs 2:6-8 (NASB)

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)

We need to be so grounded in God’s truth that the moment we start to take a misstep the alarm is sounded by the Holy Spirit.

Temptations we Face as Writers

Temptation to treat people better based on what they can do for you.

Editors, agents, speakers—they are business people who know what they’re doing, but they’re just ordinary folks. Don’t see them as more than they are. Have respect for them, sure, but when it comes to putting someone up on a pedestal, there’s only one worthy.

Think about Isaiah 2:22:

“Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?”

Again, we’re not saying don’t respect them. But only God is worthy of our adoration and esteem. The rest of us are just fellow sojourners. So let’s treat each other as such:

  • With kindness and encouragement
  • With the truth that we’re all here to glorify God, not ourselves or even each other
  • Without pre-judgement of what someone can or can’t do for us, because everyone has value. For example, the newest writer can say something that gives new insight to a veteran. It’s just as important to not treat people worse because of a perception that they can’t do anything for us.

Temptation to fudge the facts in our books.

Embrace Ephesians 4:21-25 (NLT): “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.”

When Karen wrote The Breaking Point, there was a temptation to make herself look better. To clean up her negative actions and emotions. But honesty gave that book power. Erin had the same situation. In Surviving Henry, she had to write things about herself that weren’t pretty. But they were honest. And that’s what people connect to.

Embrace integrity by:

  • Submitting your story to God and asking Him what to include and not include
  • Speaking the truth about yourself and your weaknesses and about God’s work of refining you through it all
  • Speaking the truth about others, and about God’s work of refining in YOU (because, again it’s you, not that other guy with the problem)

Temptation to fudge the facts of our success.

This comes in the form of things like taking on the title of “bestseller” when you’re not. Or embellishing your sales figures… “Oh, my books have sold in the neighborhood of 40K.” But that’s not really your neighborhood. That’s not even your neighboring city. In fact, that neighborhood is halfway across the country.

Embrace Integrity by:

  • Being honest about your numbers. It’s God who has given you everything, from the message to the numbers, and it’s His choice what happens with your books.
  • Being grateful for whatever God does with your writing

Temptation to make strategic “friendships.”

Friendship is not based on what people can do for you, but on loving and serving others. For example, don’t be like the person who goes to a writers’ conference or group with the intent of targeting the important people. You’re doing yourself and others a disservice when you target people for strategic friendships. And you’re missing out on the friendships God has for you.

Embrace integrity in friendships by:

  • Seeking to serve, rather than be served
  • Being open to God’s leading
  • Seeing through God’s eyes

Temptation to play as the world does in our encounters or work with others.

When we’re surrounded by people who think the way we do, who understand what it is to be a writer, that’s a heady thing. Maybe we’re working with a collaborator, mentor, or critique partner, or maybe we’re at a writers group or conference. It’s so easy to connect with someone who “gets us.” Or who admires us. Or to connect with someone whom we admire. And it’s easy to have that connection slip, just a tad, into waters where we have no business wading, as the world saw from the PW article about sexual misconduct, and even sexual abuse, at Christian writers conferences.

You MUST treat everyone you meet with integrity. Ladies, treat every man you meet as your brother or your son or your father. Men, treat the women you encounter as sisters or daughters or mothers. Put a safeguard on your emotions and tongue.

You have the right to tell others if anything makes you uncomfortable. Anything. Ask the Spirit to give you discernment, to let you know when you need to draw a line.

Embrace integrity in encounters by:

  • Following Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  • Following 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (selected verses, NLT): “3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. …6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. …10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”
  • Creating a covenant with your spouse, or if not married, a trusted friend, parent, or pastor to guide your behavior in encounters. Agree on boundaries for physical contact with others, conditions on time alone, topics that are okay to address, caution words, behaviors, or feelings. Make sure you have a response pre-planned for when/if any triggers appear. When something happens that takes us by surprise, when we get a sense that something’s off, that’s not the time to try and figure out what to do. Have a “script,” so to speak, for how you’ll handle things.
  • Find someone at the conference who will keep you accountable, and share your boundaries with that person. Tell them to call you on ANYTHING that seems to cross those boundaries.
  • Ask God to give you a clear warning when you start to cross any boundaries.
  • If something feels off or wrong, pray about it. If it’s clear the behavior/speech is inappropriate, take it to someone on faculty or leadership of the conference or a leader in the group.
We want to hear from you!

What strategies have you found for maintaining integrity?

Tweetable

With the world in turmoil, hold fast to an anchor that won’t fail: Integrity.

Special thanks

We’re grateful to our Patreon sponsor of the month, Wendy L. MacDonald! Find out more about Wendy at wendylmacdonald.com.

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!

Please share!
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078 – Prayer: Your Most Powerful Weapon with Guest Brandilyn Collins

Thanks to our sponsors on Patreon, we’re now able to offer transcripts of our interviews! If you want to become a patron, too, click here to check it out!

Brandilyn Collins learned long ago about the real power of prayer. She’s seen it change—and save—lives. And she’s experienced this power for herself, over and over. Come hear what she has to share. You’ll never look at prayer the same way again.

Erin: Welcome listeners, welcome to The Deep. And you can probably hear I’m smiling as I’m welcoming you because I’m so delighted. Today we have a guest with us, and her name is the wonderful, fabulous Brandilyn Collins, and I’m going to let Karen introduce her.

Karen: Brandilyn likes to say I had no life before I met her, which in some ways is true. I met her so long ago that we can’t even remember exactly when it was. The best we could figure out just now is that it’s been almost twenty years that we have been friends, so of course I met her when I was around fifteen. Anyway, Brandilyn has over thirty books published in the Christian market, she’s known for her Seatbelt Suspense novels, her energetic and insightful speaking about God and His power to change lives, and her deep level of teaching of the craft of fiction. Many of her unique teaching techniques are based on the concepts presented in her book Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors. And that’s a great book guys, if you are a novelist and you haven’t picked it up go and buy it now.

Erin: I have a copy, you guys, it is good.

Karen: Yep. Her first book, called A Question of Innocence was actually a true crime, published by Avon in 1995, so she’s been publishing since she was fifteen. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio shows including, do you remember these, The Phil Donahue Show, the Leeza talk show. Her awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award three times y’all. The inspirational reader’s choice, the INSPY, Christian Retailer’s Best award twice and the Romantic Times reviewer’s choice. So, she is highly awarded, highly talented, but I gotta tell you, what those close to her think of when they think of Brandilyn is her prayer ministry. I have learned so much from Brandilyn about the power of prayer and about how we need to surrender ourselves to prayer. So Brandilyn welcome, we are so delighted to have you here.

Brandilyn: Oh my gosh thank you so much. After that introduction I’m trying to figure out how I can live up to this.

Erin: The beauty is you already have. So Brandilyn, you know, because we warned you, we always, always ask our guests, what does The Deep mean to you?

Brandilyn: The Deep to me means living and abiding so close to Jesus that my life is — He’s just with me every minute of the day. And I’m not saying I always manage that. But I’m learning it more and more, what it means to really, really live deeply with Jesus running your day and going with you. And I remind myself, you know, if I’m out I’m living deeply with Jesus, I’m His ambassador out there, whether I’m at a store or driving, whatever it is I’m doing.

Erin: I love that. Somebody said recently that we are either obscuring the vision of people that they have of Jesus in us or we’re clearing the way for the vision that people can see Jesus in us, if that makes sense. And that’s exactly what you’re saying, that you are His representative and you want people to see Jesus in you. I love that.

Karen: So Brandilyn, like I said, many of us have experienced prayer with you in the ministry you have in praying for people. So, when did you first experience the power of prayer in your own life?

Brandilyn: Well if you’re referring to the start of my prayer ministry?

Karen: Yes.

Brandilyn: Okay well that’s actually kind of an interesting story. You know I had Lyme when I was — in 2002 I had Lyme very badly, and I went — Lyme disease—and I went from running five miles a day to being crippled and not being able to read and not being able to write and not being able to speak very well and all of that. And in 2003, I had a miraculous healing.

So that happened to me, a miraculous healing. I mean literally, go into a prayer meeting and an hour later I’m running up and down stairs, you know the cane was gone, and it was literally like that. So after about three months, three months later, that was in May, in September of that year I went to the ACFW conference, which I’ve have emceed every year since it started, and I’m also on that board. And that year after our speaker we asked people to come down front and there would be a few of us down front to pray with them and just dedicate their writing to God. So, I was one of those people down front, ready to pray for whoever came to me and just pray about their writing, for God. So, this young gal comes down, comes to me and here’s what happened. Before I knew what had happened my hand shot out. Now look, I don’t know this person, okay, I don’t know her, I’ve never seen her in my life. My hand shot out, landed on her chest, I raised my other hand in the air and said, “Oh Lord, heal her heart.” Just like that, and then we looked at each other both of us like deer in the headlights, like, “What just happened?” “I don’t know. What just happened?”

I honestly don’t know who was more shocked. And the next day at that conference I passed her in the hall, and she stopped, and she said, “I could not believe when you prayed that for me.” She said, “I realized — I realize now I had come to this conference about writing and wanting to talk to God about my writing and wanting to start writing and sell my writing and all of that. But I realized God bought me here to heal me.”

Erin: Wow.

Brandilyn: And then she started — the whole story just started spilling out about her sexual abuse as a child. And so, she’s carried that in her heart all these years and has not been healed from it. And see here’s the amazing thing is that she came to me to pray for her writing, but God had a better idea. And this is what happens. God has a better idea about prayer than we do. And so, I realized — when she told me that I realized God was very merciful for me when He had me do that because honestly if He had given me a half a second to think about it, I never would have done it because it was too weird, right? But He just put my hand out there, He just made me do it. And then He brought it back around and gave me the encouragement of, “See, see this is what happened, this is how you listened to my voice.”

At that same conference, I was in the prayer room praying with somebody, she wanted — I don’t even know what she was praying for. There was this deep thing that was happening in my gut again, and it was like this woman’s stomach, her stomach, her stomach, and finally I said, “I know this is going to sound weird, and I don’t know what I’m doing, but God wants me to pray for your stomach.” And she looks at me and she screws up her face and she goes, “Stomach? Like, there’s nothing wrong with my stomach.” Now I would have backed off if God hadn’t had that other thing happen to me just the day before.

Erin: Right, right.

Brandilyn: But now I know, okay, something’s happening here. It makes me look really stupid, okay, but I have to do this. So, I said, “I don’t know what’s happening, just let me pray for your stomach. If you don’t mind I feel like I need to put my hand on your stomach and pray for you.” So it was a really awkward little prayer like, “Lord I have no idea what this is but bless her stomach, help her stomach, keep her stomach well.” Because God knows, right?

Karen: Right.

Brandilyn: So, it turned out that that woman in the coming years had terrible stomach problems. Went through two or three surgeries. Finally came out healed but could have died during that time. And what that did — interestingly, God didn’t keep the stomach issues from coming to her, but what that did for her is when they came it was a reminder to her that God knew this was coming before any of us knew, and God had us pray and she was going to get through it. She was going to be okay because that was God’s prayer that she had a strong stomach, not ours. It wasn’t our idea, it was His idea.

Karen: Amazing.

Brandilyn: Isn’t it amazing? I mean just amazing.

Karen: So, you’ve always been so good about sharing what God has done in your life, about sharing the healing and all of that. And I remember when you had to talk about the fact that, even though you had been healed, all of a sudden, the Lyme returned, tell us about that.

Brandilyn: Yes, oh my goodness. Well first of all, I was healed, and the world saw it. Okay, literally, it was filmed on, what is that show, that show that came out here and filmed, that big Christian show, The 700 Club. Okay, and they loved that segment, they played it over and over and over again and had it on their website and I had it on my website.

So, people knew all over the world that I was miraculously healed. Okay, I was totally well, six years, totally well. Didn’t think a thing about Lyme disease, then all of a sudden it came back, six years later. And I was just — I couldn’t believe it, and I went to God and said, “Have you thought this through? I mean, people know you healed me and now Your reputation is going to be ruined because they’re going to see I have this disease again. They’re going to think I was never healed in the first place. Seriously?” It was like all of a sudden God’s entire reputation was on my shoulders.

Then I happened to be teaching at Mount Hermon, and I was trying to keep it really quiet that I was sick again, but the leader of Mount Hermon outed me in front of the entire staff. And then I had to say, “Yeah, I’m sick again.” Honestly, I didn’t know what it was all about. All I knew is that I had to pray through it again, and that time I had no miraculous healing it was just meds, meds, meds.

Four years up and down, up and down until finally, four years later I got over it. But I do know now one thing that came through and maybe this is what that was all about. That second time around with Lyme I wrote my book, Over The Edge, about Lyme disease, I would not have written it had I not gone through it again. And that book sheds a light on the disease and the problems with diagnosis and all of that, and many people have picked up that book just to be entertained by a novel and have come to understand, “Oh my goodness, this is what I have that’s been undiagnosed for years.” Or, “This is what my friend has.”

I’ve had letters from people all over, “Thank you for helping to save my life. You know I’ve spent forty thousand dollars on doctors and I pick up your book and here’s the answer.” And so, maybe, maybe that sickness had nothing to do with me — was only for others.

On the other hand, I mean God is very efficient. He used it in my life, too, to just remind me that okay I had to go through this again, all right I had to pray my way through this again. And it certainly deepened my walk with Him. It certainly did. But it didn’t stop my own prayer ministry, my own prayer ministry that I told you about. It started in 2003, and it has gone on ever since, and ever since I have been able to pray with people, and God just kind of gives me this nudge, you know, “Put your hand there.” I mean if they’re willing, or pray for this, or pray for that.

I meet with people often at ACFW, at the prayer meeting. They come in for an appointment with me to pray. They usually have an idea, “I have this, this, and that.” But again, I always ask, “Lord, how do you want me to pray?” And He has other ideas and He leads me to areas and they say, “Oh yeah, I didn’t tell you about that.”

You know it’s just amazing, it’s just amazing what God does. And I think for all of us, whether you have a similar kind of prayer ministry or not, I think it’s a really good idea, before we start to pray with someone about an issue, is just to stop and say, “Lord, how do you want me to pray? Show me how to pray right now for this.” And then just be silent and let Him lead. So often we just blurt out the words.

Erin: Yeah, we blurt them out because we think we know the answer, we think we know how it should be. Wow, what a great word: stop, first.

Karen: I’ll tell you something, going through the Lyme disease with you and seeing you at Mount Hermon in a wheelchair which just, you know, knocked me solid because you’ve always been so healthy and running those five miles. I’ve always envied you that you have the fortitude to do that, and then to see you like that it was such a shock. And then the healing and that was amazing and I remember, when the Lyme came back. And I struggled with it, you know, from being a friend who cared about you and who’d been so amazed by God’s healing. And God spoke to me and taught me through that that we need to recognize that we don’t know — exactly what you were talking about where you said maybe this is why that happened—we don’t know for sure why that happened but God does.

And when we’re dealing with God in prayer, it’s a process, and He doesn’t always—the answer isn’t always one and done. Often times there is so much more involved in what He is doing. And the way that He answered you with that healing that started you in your prayer ministry, and then going back into Lyme symptoms deepened your walk and your relationship with Him. I think it even deepened your prayer ministry. I have been on the receiving end where you have prayed for me and what happens when you place your hand on me. And when you pray and ask for God’s intervention in things, it’s a powerful thing. And I think that comes because of the journey that you’ve walked with Him.

Brandilyn: Yes, yes, I’m sure, I’m sure. As I say, God is very efficient. He can use one thing for the good of many in many different ways.

Karen: Yes, indeed.

Erin: But what I heard, Brandilyn, is that you struggled that second time for four years with this disease. Surely there were times that you had some discouragement. What did you do to keep writing and to keep coping with that everyday challenge of these physical issues?

Brandilyn: Boy, I don’t want to sound like a cliché but honestly, I just kept in prayer. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Lyme disease is so insidious because it comes and goes, and then you’re better, and you think you’re okay, and then bam, it hits you. I could go from being good to being down in an hour. And stuttering because I couldn’t talk well, and my mind won’t process and meanwhile I’ve got deadlines and I’m teaching at writers conferences and stuff. I just really had to be constantly in prayer that “Lord, you’re going to get me through this in your timing.”

The first time around when He miraculously healed me, He really taught me through that time because that time I started praying the Psalms when I could still read. I started praying the Psalms aloud, and He taught me how to praise Him. Even when I did not feel like it. And sometimes tears were running down my face because I was in so much pain, but He taught me to praise, because regardless of how I feel or whether I want to praise right now, He is worthy, and it is my will to praise whether it’s my feeling to praise at the moment. That was a huge teaching the first time around, and I’ve never lost that. And so, I kept that up the second bout.

Karen: That makes perfect sense.

Erin: That makes sense. So, what do you think is one thing our listeners could do today that would help them to go deeper into their life of prayer, in their writing journeys and in their lives.

Brandilyn: It’s a scary thing to do this because God tends to answer. But what I’m learning to do is to say, “Lord, whatever is between me and You, keeping me as close to You as I can be, deal with it. Take it away. Show me what it is. Help me either to fix it, with Your help of course. Or if I can’t fix it, if I can’t work my way through this, then take it out of my life. Remove what is in my way.”

Honestly God is such a God of gifts, He loves to give us gifts. He loves to give us many, many wonderful things. But so many times I think He’s kept from doing it because they’re not good for our spiritual life because we can’t handle them. And so, if God has given us something that we can’t handle, we either need to learn to handle that in a Godly manner, I’m talking about good things now, not bad things. Or maybe God needs to take that. And maybe there’s a deeper lesson learned in learning to deal with things that you thought you need, but you don’t need, and seeing what God has in place of those things that we set our eyes on. That is scary, because it does happen, and God gets to choose. It’s kind of like writing Him a blank check, you know, and signing your name.

Karen: I’ve talked with friends before about the fact that sometimes we get our hands so tight on what we think are God’s gifts for us or God’s purposes for us and we hold onto them so tight and do everything we can to make sure they don’t get away. But what we’re doing in that process is we’re keeping our hands fisted around what we think is God’s gifts for us, rather than keeping our hands open so that if He wants to remove that thing that we think is so wonderful, He can do that, but then to give us something even better.

Brandilyn: To give us something more.

Karen: Something more powerful. To give us more of Himself. And so we have to hold things loosely. We have to be willing to just loosen our grip and put our hands out to Him and say, “You give me what You want, and show me what You want me to be doing.”

Brandilyn: That’s right. It’s like the monkey that sticks his hand in the jar for a peanut but then he’s got a fist and he can’t pull it back out, but he won’t let go of the peanut.

Karen: So he walks around for the rest of his life with a bottle on his hand.

Erin: You know, you guys, I think that’s so much all about trust, right? It’s like if we could only trust. And that comes from seeing who God really is. If we could really see who God really is, how could we not trust Him? If we could even fathom one smidge of how wonderful and good He is, truly fathom that, then we wouldn’t be struggling with what we want to grip, you know?

Karen: So Brandilyn, if there’s one last bit of encouragement or wisdom, a Scripture that you want to share with our listeners, have at it.

Brandilyn: Let’s see…oh, of all the wonderful things I could say. You know, all you writers out there, God loves your writing and what you’re trying to do for Him. He loves you more. Your writing will expand and expound better, the closer you are to Him. And we writers can just spend—I know and listen, this is from experience – I spent so many years worrying about numbers and sales and oh my goodness I’m not selling enough and this and that. And that’s so easy for us to get hooked up in that we take our eyes off what God wants us to be focusing on.

We so often just need to refocus and say, “Lord thank You for whatever sales You gave me this month.” And not want for more. “Lord what can You show me in my life that will make me closer to You and make me a better writer for You.” Look at it that way. In the last couple of years, I’ve had major changes in my life where I started to be looking at God in that way, and I have just grown so much in the last couple of years. Man, I would not give away what I’ve learned in that last couple of years for all the sales in the world, honestly. I’m leading such a richer life, such a richer life.

Karen: That’s amazing. It reminds me of Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” Not in sales, not in our wisdom, but in believing, “so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”

Erin: Amen.

Brandilyn: Amen.

We want to hear from you!

How has prayer affected your life?
What do you think about the idea of praying the prayer Brandilyn did: “Lord, whatever is between me and You, keeping me as close to You as I can be, deal with it. Take it away”?

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Best-selling author Brandilyn Collins shares powerful truths about why prayer is our most needed weapon.

Special thanks

We’re grateful to our Patreon sponsor of the month, Wendy L. MacDonald! Find out more about Wendy at wendylmacdonald.com.

Many thanks also to the folks at Podcast Production Services for their fabulous editing!

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