The world is full of stories about God’s love, with new stories unfolding every day. The Lord wants these stories to be told so that believers may be encouraged, unbelievers challenged, and so that he himself may be glorified. Some years ago, novelist Yvonne Lehman started collecting true stories into what is now known as the “Moments” books. These are a chance for you to share YOUR story too. An invitation from Yvonne…
One evening after a day of participating in a writers conference, several of us gathered in the hotel lobby to visit and chat. One woman told a story that had us all gasping with amazement at how God showed up in a fascinating, almost unbelievable way. Others began sharing their stories. Some were sweet, some humorous, others serious, but all were about experiencing God’s presence in unexpected ways.
I thought of the praise song, “Our God Is an Awesome God,” in which the words are repeated over and over. I’ve often wanted to say, “Go further. Don’t just repeat the words. Tell me the stories of your being amazed by God’s love.”
That’s what we were doing that evening. We were joyful, talking loudly, laughing, loving. Sharing those special times of our lives became a time of praise. Others joined us to hear the stories and share their own. The realization was that we all have awesome and amazing stories to share but we don’t always take time or have the opportunity to share them. I commented that “somebody” should put these stories in a book.
Two months later, Grace Publisher Terri Kalfas called me and said she was interested in that book I mentioned.
Book? I mentioned a book to Terri Kalfas? I questioned and she reminded me of that night when we had talked about God showing up in unexpected, miraculous ways.
But… I was a novelist. I didn’t write non-fiction other than an occasional article or devotion, and really didn’t care to. I hadn’t intended that “somebody” should be me. But I could at least contact people through email addresses, loops, Facebook, etc. … for Terri.
I was… amazed. Responses were immediate and so inspiring. Some of the authors were established, professional writers. Others were those in the midst of their writing journey. Several were not writers at all, but people who learned about what we were doing and they had a story to tell. Instead of trying to divide royalties between 50 authors, the decision was made to donate the royalties to Samaritan’s Purse. That compilation became an amazing book, Divine Moments.
Since that venture went so well, Terri suggested we try a book of Christmas stories. Although my preference was still fiction, I’d really been touched by these true stories, so I said, “Sure.” The second book became Christmas Moments. These ranged from light to serious, Santa to Jesus, disappointment to understanding, entertaining to edifying.
Then I was ready to return to fiction writing. But… my daughter, Lori, was asked to teach a Sunday school class. The first topic was Words of Jesus. She asked if I’d sit in and help if needed since I work with words. During the class session, members related times when someone’s words hurt or encouraged them.
Lori looked at me and said, “Mom, there’s your next Moments book.” What else can you do when your daughter is on a spiritual journey? Spoken Moments became the third one.
Though I had always preferred writing fiction, I was learning the value and great impact of non-fiction. The stories in these Moments books were changing lives – for readers and for the writers. Writers were thinking about the ways God had worked in their lives, the strength and weaknesses of their faith and the lessons learned. Beginning writers were gaining a by-line. Non-writers had a voice.
Each Moments book has been followed by another…and another…and another…each one on a different topic. For every book, I write an introduction and share my own articles on the theme of that particular book. God has taught me to remember how he worked in my life in so many different ways and know that my story may lead someone to him, or strengthen their faith.
More than what God was doing for me personally, he was showing me how he poured out his love on others. One author came to my Novel Retreat and gave her testimony of her family not listening to her talk about Jesus, but one of them read her article, shared it with others, and eventually her entire family became followers of Jesus. Others have written of hardships, loss, blaming God, turning from the faith, and how the love of God taught them lessons, was present in the difficulties, proved he had not abandoned them. Amazing, how God uses the hardships and successes of others to show the world he is here, he does love us, and he never abandons us.
We now have 15 books in the Moments series, and more on the way. Since the first book, the authors have been excited to receive no payment for their donation of an article. Well, let me correct that. They receive no monetary payment. They’re experiencing the opportunity to share with others what God does in their lives and they witness about their faith. By donating our royalties to Samaritan’s Purse, we’re part of a ministry that cares for the physical and spiritual welfare of people throughout the world.
It’s amazing to discover the truth of the words of Jesus: “It’s more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). Sharing our stories of God’s love brings a sense of peace and joy.
Yvonne invites you to send an article (or prayer or poem that fit the theme) for one of the upcoming Moments books. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
She’s now accepting articles about:
Coronavirus (thoughts, even prayers or poems are all right too)
Can, Sir! Moments (primarily about cancer but may be any experience in which one determines, “With the Lord’s help, I can do this, or get through this.”)
Christmas Moments 2020 – (Santa, Jesus, light, serious)
Broken Moments (humorous or serious)
Lost Moments (humorous or serious)
Grandma’s Cookie Jar (warm, cozy articles about grandma, or a stereotypical grandmotherly feeling)