What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts
and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (TLB)
People need hope more than advice. What a freedom to know that it is never necessary to have our life all in order before helping another. God does not expect us to be experts but He does call us to come alongside each other.
All human beings have two things in common. We all experience pain and we all need a Savior.
A crisis can destroy someone or make that person stronger. How we face the crisis often depends on what kind of support we receive. Often the best comfort comes from one who has been there. Each of us has real life experience that could support another who is facing a crossroad.
We know from our own journey that comfort comes from large as well as seemingly small gestures. As we touch those who are in distress, we become a conduit connecting them with God’s unfailing love.
Life is a team sport. We have an enormous opportunity to be the hands of Jesus that reach out and bring hope and encouragement to a hurting world. As Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Lord, as you say in 2 Corinthians 1:4, when others are troubled, needing my sympathy and encouragement, I can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given me.
History buff and island votary PeggySue Wells is the best-selling author of twenty-nine books including Chasing Sunrise, and Homeless for the Holidays.
Marketing in today’s world takes a team—a well- oiled machine of wisdom– or at least a circle of friends committed to share each other’s PR and “street team” nuggets so everyone moves their ministry and business forward. This year at ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) the CAN Author Bootcamp was just that– a WEALTH OF WISDOM!~ ! In a wonderful “meeting of the minds” CBA (Christian Bookstore Association, CAN and Harvest House Publishers sponsored a very informative morning. I had the joy of kicking off the morning with a keynote on 7 Simple Skills to Success in Publishing where I shared the God-empowered story of how Bill and I have survived and thrived for three decades in Christian publishing. (watch here (video thanks to Linda Goldfarb)
I have always loved passing right along any wisdom, connections, links, advice others have shared with me because this world is so dark that it takes ALL OF US holding up God’s light of love and truth to piece the darkness. Because of the world’s great need, we cannot, not should not, be selfish with the information we have gleaned or the advice others have passed on to us. That is what I love about CAN! Each person helping encourage and equip the other for greater success.
I had the joy of hearing from so manty BRILLIANT leaders at the author bootcamp. Here is a quick list and my grateful THANKS! Because my husband and I learned SO MUCH TOO ) :
Ava Pennington shared a long list of organizations, affiliations, and networks that authors can join. Other than CAN, let me share four others that have been a source of encouragement, equipping and inspiration to me in this past year.
AWSA: Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. This group, started by author, Linda Shepherd, in 2011, is compromised of the top 10% of women Christian authors. AWSA hosts an annual summer conference the few days leading up to ICRS. In addition, they offer MasterMind groups for the more serious entrepreneur author; and a daily online “loop” filled with encouragement, equipping and positive support for the group’s members.
Bridge Builders: This is a new group to most, but it’s founder, Maria Keckler is a long term friend of ours. We first met Maria when she and my husband, Bill, were both working for Dr David Jeremiah at Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego . Everything Maria has ever done is EXCELLENT A+ quality! I had the joy of being a cheerleader to her as she penned her first book, Be a Bridge Builder. She has gone on to create a power-packed online program for entrepreneurs’: Business Breakthrough University (of all kinds of businesses including writers/ speakers) . She is brave, bold, and Biblical and she has the ability to synthesize information gleaned from some of the world’s most successful business minds into a use to access, easy to implement format. Maria is a brilliant encourager and equipper who can take a person’s hopes and dreams and help turn them into a successful reality.
CWEN: Christian Women Entrepreneurs’ Network is a local (San Diego) networking group founded by Rebecca Garcia. These women, from a wide variety of businesses, are joining together to equip one another, support one another but mostly grow in Christ so as they work their businesses they each reflect Jesus and glorify the God who gave them their talent, dream and platform. If you do a little research in your city or community, you may have a similar network of Christians in Business. I have three of four other local networking groups I speak for and am a member of– nothing like home town friends who you can hug, pray with and can pray for you! If you can’t find one, maybe God is calling you to start one!
This Christmas, I had the joy of speaking at many women’s teas and Christmas events. My message was on “Christmas Light” and it is based on our family’s Christmas Advent Wreath and Dinner and Dialogue tradition. We use Isaiah 9:6 as the center of our celebration and conversation because it is the center of the hope and light we all enjoy because of Christ’s birth.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”
This Christmas, which name of Christ are you leaning on? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father or Prince of Peace?
Those same four names can lead us to creative ways to bless back those who have been a blessing to us during the past year. In doing so, we reflect the light of God’s love.
For with you is the fountain of life; in yourlight do we see light (Psalms 36:9)
For those who have blessed you, not just personally, but professionally, let’s look at 4 simple ways you can boomerang back some of the blessings that have been extended to you:
Wonderful Counselor: Give those who supported you a little support too. Send them a book (video, conference scholarship, a meeting with a mentor or counselor, a day away at a conference grounds for solace) that equips them for an upcoming important event in their life (marriage, birth of a child, care for a parent), or comforts or lends wisdom for a struggle he or she might be working through (that they may have shared with you).
This can be a fun way to express your creativity too. For example, we often give our book, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, and wrap it in a pasta bowl with spaghetti noodles, waffle iron with waffle mix and the utensils needed to cook these up. On occasion I have a friend in ministry close enough to send a fun gift to– like our Red Hot Monogamy book wrapped in a set of sheets, or in a basket of fun “hot items” like Red Hot candy, hot tamales, a gift card to a Mexican food café, or a collections of hot sauce bottles.
Mighty God: Offer to pray them through a difficult situation or circumstance. Send Bible verses, prayers, or a Bible gift item with a verse they can hang their heart on to have hope. My friend, Lisa Copen, of Gutsy Goodness, has an invisible illness that keeps her in daily pain, yet she runs Rest Ministries to help others in pain and she also creates beautiful messages of hope on necklaces. During a difficult season in my life, God led me to Neh. 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Today, I wear that phrase to encourage me on a necklace Lisa made for me.
Everlasting Father: Good dads make life just a little bit easier. Perhaps your gift can help lighten the load or ease the work of someone who has eased your load. Options can include gift cards, but you can also add your logo (or theirs) to tools that people need for work as a small reminder that you care: usb drive, coffee mugs, water glasses, sticky note holders, coasters, desk accessories are all items we have received and given. (Often your local Christian bookstore is a great place to find unique gift items with some deeper scriptural meaning– and it is a terrific way to thank your bookstore with your business!) For example, to go along with my book Becoming a Brave New Woman, I was able to purchase a coffee mug with a verse on courage on it to give to some brave women who had helped me be brave.
Prince of Peace: One of the best gifts you can give a leader is to enrich their own walk with God. You might give them a beautiful book mark, a new Bible, or a new devotional. The year A Couple’s Journey with God book was released, some of our friends got a copy of that devotional with some travel items like luggage tags, flight ticket holder and passport cover. Our book Devotions for Men on the Go and Devotions for Women on the Go have been given with items to keep those friends “on the go”: coffee gift card, coffee thermos or dark chocolate espresso bean candy; gas fuel card; or cute key chain or fitness item.
To gain creativity, think of your life, and a walk a mile in your own shoes and ask, “What would make my life easier, stronger or better?” Make a list of those items, then put on your friend’s tennies or heels and walk through their life asking that same question. Chances are the circle of their life and the circle of yours will over lap and there may be items in your world or the books and resources of other author friends you know that could bless those around your ministry.
I’m wearing a crown to celebrate my new release: The One Year My Princess Devotions. I’m thankful for CAN as part of the team that helps me spread the word on new books like this one with retweeting my appearances, having me guest blog, and some group activities that include speaking and signing books at a retailer event.
Being part of a group is valuable in marketing. There’s so much competition with books that it helps to be part of a team. That’s what makes CAN work well, but you can also assemble your own team.
Last month I led a marketing clinic at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers conference. We’ve kept in touch via email and continue encouraging one another.