Welcome, Grace! Please tell us about your book Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey.
Sooner or later, we travel a difficult road in life. This book’s 90 devotions lead readers to a place of joy on their journey. Each devotion features a key verse, story and application, sentence prayer, and a quote from someone who has discovered joy on a wearisome road.
That sounds lovely! What inspired you to write this book?
I receive heart-breaking emails regularly from my readers. They tell me their stories of loss, betrayal, and fear for their loved ones. I always respond with a written prayer to encourage them, but I wanted to provide another resource that would bring fresh hope into their situation by directing them into God’s promises.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
My prayer is that the stories, Scriptures, prayers, and quotes will lead readers into a place of restored confidence in God’s love and sovereignty over every detail of their lives.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
The last couple of years have been really hard on several fronts: I’ve mourned the loss of a dozen friends younger than myself, experienced family tension over COVID-related issues, and grieved the loss of international ministry opportunities due to the pandemic. The road has been steep and has led through dark valleys, but focusing on God’s promises has kept me from falling into despair. Biblical truth has kept my hope alive.
A message we all need to hear! What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
My greatest challenge was coming up with fresh material because I’d just finished writing Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm two weeks prior. I felt like my brain was tired and my creativity had dried up.
On the day I started to write, I literally knelt with my face to the floor and asked God to empower me to do what He’d called me to do. He brought to mind the Old Testament story of the widow’s oil. It was like He said, “Bring Me your empty jars, and I will fill them one by one.” From that moment on, I considered the 90 devotions as 90 empty jars, and day by day trusted the Holy Spirit to fill them with His thoughts for my readers.
What a perfect picture of how to live each day, leaning on Him for everything! Are there any themes you return to again and again in your writing?
It seems that all my writing returns to these themes: hope, courage, transformation, and intimacy with God.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
Being a writer has reminded me of my absolute dependence on Christ. Without Him, I can do nothing. Nada. That includes producing articles or blogs or books that bring eternal value to my readers’ lives. And so, I’m intentional about putting Him first and staying connected to Him as the Vine. (John 15)
So true! Being a writer brings this truth to life. As a writer, what would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
I live fulltime on a sailboat, so my ideal writing place would be in a secluded cove near an island off British Columbia’s coast. My actual writing place is at a little desk on my sailboat, tied to a dock in a marina near Vancouver, British Columbia.
I imagine a few of us would like to join you (raising my hand high!). Other than writing, what ministries are you involved in?
I’m involved in several ministries. First and foremost, my husband and I co-direct a missionary sending agency called International Messengers Canada ( https://www.im-canada.ca ). It has approximately 300 staff working in 30 countries. One of our roles is to provide staff care and encouragement. Another role is to recruit volunteers to partner with our overseas staff, using conversational English as a tool to share the Gospel. I’m also involved with Proverbs 31 Ministries as a member of its First 5 Bible study writing team and a co-host of the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse” that reaches listeners in more than 140 countries daily.
Why do I invest time and energy into these ministries? Because I believe in the life-changing power of the Gospel and God’s Word. It’s the foundation for everything I do, and I want as many people as possible to experience the freedom and joy that comes from walking in its truth.
Other than writing, what talents do you have?
I can bake amazing cinnamon buns and muffins in my teeny-tiny boat oven.
Now we really want to visit you on your sailboat! Living in all that beauty and being so busy, how do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
Typically, I get up early and stick to a pretty rigid schedule – spend time in the Word, exercise, and then start work. I also invite God to take control over my calendar. When my best-laid plans fly out the window for whatever reason—usually a family-related need—I refuse to panic. I choose to believe that God knows what He’s doing, and I adjust as necessary so I can be available to help while still honoring my deadlines. God has always come through for me when I’ve held my calendar in an open hand.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
Spending time with my kids and grandchildren is my absolute favorite activity. I also enjoy sailing and working out at the gym because I want to live long and strong for Jesus.
Live long and strong for Jesus—I think we need to print that on exercise wear! So what are you working on now? Please tell us about your next project.
I recently signed a contract with Aspire Press for a three-book series about the names of God. The first is scheduled for release in summer 2024. Time will tell whether the title changes, but for now it’s called Names of God Devotional Study: Overcoming Fear.
I’m excited to take readers on a deep dive into seven names of God in each of the three books. In the first book, the names we explore will help instill courage for those scary situations we all face sooner or later. Each chapter includes biblical teaching about one of God’s names, personal anecdotes about how I’ve experienced God by that name, and other people’s stories about how they’ve experienced God by that name. Each chapter ends with personal growth questions that makes the book an ideal resource for both individual and small group study.