After I finally got a book contract for When God Says “Wait”(the whole process took approximately 17 million years), I joked to my husband that I was going to name my next book When God Says “Yes” Immediately.
Well, I didn’t name my next project that, but I did name it When God Says “Go,” and—well . . . I’m thrilled to announce that God has said go!
When God Says “Go” is all about overcoming fear and insecurity when God pushes you out of your comfort zone—when God calls you to go, to give, or to grow in ways that scare the pants off of you. We’ll take a look at Bible characters whom God called—how God called, what they feared, what God said.
Honestly? I’m scared to death to write this book, because it means facing my own fears, staring down my own demons. But I’m embracing it, and I’m diving in with my whole heart. (Note to self: “Stop writing books about your weaknesses. It’s both difficult and humbling.”)
I’m super grateful to the wonderful team at Barbour (Shiloh Run Press) for saying yes to this project! And I hereby declare my agent, Jessica Kirkland, the Book Contract Ninja.
In the meantime, I’d appreciate your prayers as I get started. I’ll be wearing a lot of sweatpants and—of course—drinking a lot of coffee as I write my little brains out this summer. And next summer, I hope you’ll go on this fear-fighting journey with me, when the book hits stores.
When God Says “Wait”hits bookstore shelves today! (Here’s where I stop typing and indulge in an embarrassing jig that can only be described as “Riverdance meets Rhythm Nation, but without the rhythm.”) I am SO EXCITED, but wow, what a long journey it’s been.
Fourteen years ago, a vicious case of jet lag kept me up all night and gave me a strange gift: an idea for a story I had to tell about characters I met that night, but felt I’d known always. By the time sunrise set the Atlanta skyline ablaze, I had penned the first two chapters of a novel and outlined the entire plot. By the time my fellow Atlantans were stumbling to their coffee makers, my career path had changed; life had changed. I was going to become a writer.
If you had told me that night that I would spend the next fourteen years pursuing that crazy dream (and seriously, writing is a crazy dream), I don’t know what I would have done. I suspect a truckload of chocolate would have been involved.
In the past fourteen years, I have written more hours than I could count (I suspect the hours actually add up to years of life at this point). Spent thousands of dollars on coffee and conferences. Run over one laptop with my car. (ACCIDENT. Seriously. I can explain.) Worked another laptop so hard it finally just choked and died.
Along the way I have indie published two books, The Thirteenth Summer and The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers (coauthored with my wonderful mom, Geri), and those valuable experiences taught me so much about hard work and the joy of simply sharing words, and life, with readers.
Meanwhile, after an agonizing struggle with infertility, Kevin and I had three kids in less than three years and lived to tell the tale. (The tale involved more poop and vomit than one sentence can describe, but even so, it was a life worth living. A tale (mostly) worth telling.) After a while we had a fourth child, because hey—what’s one more?!
Along the way I have discovered that my husband is THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE UNIVERSE. I always knew that, but now I know it more. He loves all of my work—even the stories aimed at twelve-year-olds. He has always taken this writing thing seriously, long before anyone besides him was ever reading my words. He generously gives me writing time. He sends me to conferences and views every dollar spent as investment, not expense. He tolerates my coffee habit, having accepted that creativity requires caffeine (and occasionally champagne). He doesn’t get hurt feelings when I trail off mid-sentence, lost in a sudden plot-twist revelation. When I get manic, he takes away my coffee and makes me take naps. And all the while, he’s just so daggum cute and funny and faithful.
Along the way I have found the greatest BFF-slash-writing-partner any writer could have, who knows what I want to say and how I want to say it better than I do; whose soul-stirring writing takes my breath away.
This is my writing partner, Emma, in Barnes & Noble yesterday, with copies of my book! This is the same B & N where we met and have shared countless happy writing hours! Also, I helped her pick those fabulous boots. 🙂
In the past two years I have discovered the joy of connecting with people through words and scripture and silly stories right here on Lizzy Life. I cannot describe the joy this community has brought me. How I have loved sharing life with you here—giving you glimpses into our wacky world and hearing how our stories intersect with yours. You have helped me not write alone, not learn alone, not live alone.
Along the way I have found joy in writing with God. I cannot describe the intensely intimate and transcendent spiritual experience it was to write When God Says “Wait” with God. Every day writing was a day spent in constant communion with Him. Every day I prayed, “Fill me up and empty me out.” Every day, mystical as it sounds, He whispered words.
Along the way I have had the privilege to work with godly people whose courage, excellence, and giftedness blows my mind: my agent-slash-book-warrior Jessica Kirkland, who fights on no matter the odds. The entire team at Barbour: Kelly McIntosh, who is ever encouraging; Shalyn Sattler, whose heart and talent echo through every email; Mary Burns, who laughed and plotted with me and Shalyn and helped make marketing fun; Liesl Davenport, whose gifts for detail and design had me nearly weeping with gratitude; Laura Weller, copyeditor and comma-wrangler extraordinaire; Ashley Schrock, who designed the brilliant book cover; Jeane Wynne, publicist, cheerleader, and inspiring go-getter; my book launch team, who have made the “preseason” of the book launch such a joy with their enthusiasm and generosity.
Amazing friends have taken time out of their insanely busy lives to read and endorse the book—their generosity with their time and words has meant the world: longtime friends Chip and Pauli Wade, who we met when we were newlyweds and they were both cheerleaders at Georgia Tech; now they serve God in multiple capacities, as talented designers and HGTV stars; Lara Casey Isaacson, a writer friend whose ministry, example, and transparency are inspiring; Andy Lee, a local writer friend whose book, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called is a beautiful blend of Bible and storytelling; beloved friend Laura Whitaker, who has shared so many waiting seasons with me, and whose work with individuals with special needs is heroic; and devoted friend Marilisa Schachinger, who has also shared my waiting seasons (she was even brave enough to babysit the three-under-three, way back in the day!), and now honors God with her work as a business owner and entrepreneur.
And then there are our parents, Sam and Geri and Bill and Glenda, and our delightfully quirky family members, who have not just tolerated, but supported and encouraged, from the beginning. They have fasted, prayed, babysat, read drafts, given ideas, and picked me up off the floor a thousand times over. My sister Alexandra was enduring a horrific waiting season of her own the entire time I was writing, and her struggle inspired and guided me as I wrote—her spirit, too, is on every page. I could go on for pages about every single family member, but I am every day thankful for every one of them.
And my fiercely loyal friends, who have prayed with me and chosen to walk this journey with me even when the whole process was just so weird and confusing, and they secretly thought I was nuts (and of course they were right). Every girl should be so lucky to have such friends.
And my church family, who have prayed and listened and cheered me on for years, who have not made comments when I showed up to midweek wearing sweatpants, a hat, and crazy eyes. (Sorry about that.) They even let me share their poignant waiting stories in the book.
Much as it pains me and humbles me to say it—this is me, eating my words; Father, are you reading this?—these past fourteen years have taught me the value in waiting. I have seen that good things—maybe even the best things—truly come to those who wait.
The victory is all the sweeter for taking so long. The joy all the richer for following so much rejection, heartache, and doubt. The satisfaction all the more meaningful because it has been shared by so many—and it would not have been shared so meaningfully had it not taken so long. I recognize that; I celebrate what unparalleled joy it is to share joy. The thousands of prayers others have willingly offered on my behalf are staggering. Humbling. Overwhelming. I owe a prayer debt I could never repay.
Above all, I am so grateful to God for allowing me to write this book with Him and for Him. It’s all for you, God… do with it as you will.
Want to check out the book trailer, starring my beautiful friends, and put together by my brilliant brother-in-law? Here it is!
Want to order the book? It’s available anywhere books are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, even in your local Lifeway. I’d love to hear what you think when you’re through—I deeply appreciate every response, every story, every word you send my way. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
You guys! Or as we say here in North Carolina, y’all!
My newest book, When God Says “Wait”: Navigating Life’s Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, Or Your Mind, is now available for preorder! (Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance! Okay I should sit down. People in Starbucks are inching away from me.) I can’t wait to share this book with you. You can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.com. Take your pick. 🙂 The book officially releases March 1, 2017, so unfortunately, you’ll have to—well, wait a bit before your copy arrives. But I hope you’ll feel it was worth the wait. Okay, I’ll stop being punny now.
Author Lysa TerKeurst has called writing a book “a sacred adventure with God,” and how true that is. Every day writing this book was a day spent in constant communion with God, asking him to fill me up and empty me out again. I’ve written books before, but this was a different experience. A spiritual rebirth. Exhausting and exhilarating, mind-blowing and life-changing. I will always look back on the experience of writing this book as a “before and after” moment in my life.
So what is When God Says “Wait” about?
Here’s a sneak peek at the summary from the back cover:
A job, a true love, a baby, a cure . . . We’re all waiting for something from God. And the place between His answers can feel like a wasteland where dreams—and faith—go to die. When we’re waiting, we wonder, “Why?”, “Why me?”, and “How long?”
But the truth? . . .
When God says, “Wait,” He doesn’t tell us for how long.
When God says, “Wait,” we face one of life’s greatest tests.
When God says, “Wait,” we have decisions to make.
When God says, “Wait,” we can control only two things: how we wait, and who we become along the way.
Author Elizabeth Laing Thompson invites you to walk alongside people of the Bible who had to wait on God . . . imperfect heroes like David, Miriam, Naomi, Sarah, Joseph, and others. Their stories will provide a roadmap for your own story, helping you navigate the painful, lonely territory of waiting, coming out on the other side with your faith, relationships, and sense of humor intact. They might even help you learn to enjoy the ride.
This book is about the journey of waiting, the space between answers, and the people we become while we live there. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
If you’re super-dee-duper excited about this book, and you want to apply to be part of the book launch street team, please send me an email at alizzylife at gmail dot com. I’ll keep you posted as we put the team together!
Here again are the preorder links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com. (And if you’re wondering, YES, preorders are definitely helpful to authors, and to the book’s future. So if you plan to order the book anyway, I’m grateful if you go ahead and place your order now! 🙂 )
Sending you lots of love and heartfelt thanks for your prayers as I was writing.
Isn’t she the cutest? And I have serious typewriter envy.
Andy is humble, honest, insightful, compassionate, and funny—the kind of woman you want to have deep talks with over coffee. I loved reading A Mary Like Me. Andy dives deep into the lives of the Marys of the Bible: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene. Andy’s fresh insights into their stories and personalities cover such modern topics as women’s role in ministry, mental illness, grief, messy motherhood, and strategies for in-depth Bible study. In her interview, Andy shares more about who she is and why she wrote this book. I know you’ll love getting to know Andy (and the Marys!) as much as I have.
You wrote this book in part to inspire and empower women who have been called to ministry. What are some of the inner obstacles women may have to overcome when choosing to answer God’s call for their lives? What obstacles have you had to overcome?
Andy: Oh my, so many obstacles! The enemy of our lives is threatened by us, and loves to discourage us in our calling. A huge obstacle is comparison. That’s why I wrote this book. If I compare my speaking, teaching, writing, mothering, cooking (which I’m not a fan), decorating, gardening (which I don’t do), cleaning (which I don’t want to do), etc. to my friends’ and virtual friends’ cooking, writing, speaking, mothering, etc. I’m sunk. Comparison throws a blanket of discouragement over my soul, and I want to quit. I fight comparison by admitting my imperfectness and thanking God for the opportunities He puts in front of me everyday, and I ask for grace to do my best for Him, not for Pinterest or Facebook or the Mother of the Year Award.
For women called to preach and teach and perhaps pastor, there will be many obstacles. All I can say is, “Trust God.” Trust that He will open and close the doors. Go where He leads. Know that He is creative with His calling. It may not, and probably won’t, look like you envisioned when you first knew He was calling you into full-time ministry.
Finally, don’t despise small beginnings, the hidden places. God’s economy is not ours, nor is His timing. Live and serve right where you are with the people He has put in your life. They may be smearing jelly all over your television with chubby fingers. Pray for grace. Kiss those fingers. Thank God for today, and use the hidden places, the small beginnings to grow deeper into Him. Practice His Presence. And practice your calling right where you are now.
We tend to read Bible characters as flat, unrelatable characters, distant from us because of time and cultural differences. How do you hope your book helps modern women to better connect with the Marys of the Bible?
Andy: Oh . . . this is such my heart. Yes, they were from a different culture and spoke a different language, and they lived so long ago, but I am convinced that all of the biblical characters, men and women, dealt with the very same heart issues we do today. We see it easily with Peter and Paul, but for some reason, the “good girl” biblical characters have a holy glow when we read their stories. This detaches them from us, which distances God from us in our hearts because we don’t think we could ever serve Jesus as they did. It’s that comparison thing again. But when we find someone who can relate to our struggles, we are no longer threatened by them. Camaraderie encourages us and draws us closer. I also think that once we connect with the Marys’ human hearts, the thousands of years, language, and cultural barriers disappear, and the Bible becomes more real and applicable for today.
I love the way you incorporate the Bible’s original languages, Greek and Hebrew and even Aramaic, into your study of these women. Your book gives great pointers on simple, non-intimidating ways anyone can add this kind of study to our own Bible reading, even without a Bible degree. What does it add to our Bible study when we explore the original languages?
Andy:Oh my gosh! It adds LIFE to our Bible study when we study this way. It is incredible. My husband says that my goal is to turn everyone into a Bible nerd. It’s true, but only because digging under our translation has brought so much excitement and joy and life into my walk with God. Nuances have been lost in translation that can be discovered by word studies, and exploring the ancient language also brings a fresh understanding into familiar scripture. If the Bible seems dull or hard to understand, you’ve got to try studying this way. You’ll never read the Bible the same, and you’ll find the truth of Hebrews 4:12, “The Bible is alive and active . . . .”
You use the Marys’ experiences to address deep topics like grief and mental illness, with stories from your own life and ministry. How can an encounter with the Marys in the Bible help Christian women who are grieving a loss, or wrestling with mental illness?
Andy: It goes back to camaraderie. You aren’t alone. We find comfort when someone shares what we’re going through. It also takes out some of the power of the grief or depression when we realize someone else knows our pain. But what I really hope the reader sees in these stories is how Jesus interacted with these grieving, mentally ill women. He was loving, caring, and desired to heal them. He cried with them, and He understood their human heart. What kind of God does that?
I love what you wrote about Mary the mother of Jesus: “Mary wasn’t a perfect mother. This gives me hope. . . . My mommy failures won’t wipe out my kids’ destinies either. And neither will yours.” What advice can you give to moms like me who are painfully aware of our own shortcomings—we are striving to grow as Christians and moms, but sometimes we long for perfection and feel overwhelmed by Mom Guilt?
Andy: None of us are perfect mothers. None. Of. Us. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. I knew I’d be a better mom when my kids were teenagers than when they were babies. (And I was.) It’s probably a miracle they came out as good as they did. I prayed a lot. I prayed for God to redeem my mistakes. And He has. Comparison gets us here too. If Pinterest makes you crazy and depressed, don’t do it! I remember watching a friend get up from where the mommies were sitting and walk across the yard to whisper into her son’s ear, and that day I thought, “Oh! What a great idea. Instead of yelling at my kids I should get up, walk over to them, and talk to them.” It took energy. Everything about being a mom takes energy. So, I prayed for energy and creativity in the discipline department, and I did my very best to enforce quiet time in the afternoon so that I could do my Bible study while they were resting. The kitchen sink was filled with dirty dishes, but I was a much better mama when I had my time with the Lord.
See? I told you Andy was amazing! I know you’ll love reading A Mary Like Me as much as I did.
To stay connected with Andy, visit her website and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. (Tell her Elizabeth sent you!) Andy offers a free chapter of her book here after you sign up for her newsletter. You can purchase A Mary Like Me on Amazon and at your nearest Lifeway Store.
My first-ever YouTube parenting series is underway, talking about five key foundations to establish in the early years with our kids!
In the series, we’re talking about love, obedience, respect, honesty, and responsibility.
If you haven’t seen the new LizzyLife YouTube channel yet, here are the first few links:
In “First Comes Love,” we discuss the importance of putting lots of love in the bank with our kids, creating an atmosphere of expressiveness and affection. This gives us the confidence we need to parent strongly, and the comfort of knowing that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
In the second video, “Establishing Obedience,” we examine what godly obedience looks and sounds like. (Hint: It doesn’t look like eye-rolling and slumped shoulders, and it doesn’t sound like moaning and wailing and muttered complaints.)
If you’d like to be automatically notified with an email when I post a new video, it’s easy to subscribe to the YouTube channel! You’ll need to visit YouTube directly—click here to watch “Establishing Obedience” from YouTube. Once you’re there, just click on the little red rectangle that says “subscribe,” found right underneath the video. I’m shooting to post videos twice a month for now, then we’ll see how my sanity and marriage are holding up! Heh heh. (Okay, but really.)
Hi! I'm Elizabeth, and Lizzy Life is all about clinging to Christ in the chaos of daily life. As a minister, speaker, and novelist (The Thirteenth Summer), I love finding humor in holiness, and hope in heartache. I live in North Carolina with my preacher husband and four loud children. I believe the recipe for a happy life is simple: laugh-cry daily, pray continually, caffeinate constantly. My new book, When God Says "Wait," is now available from Barbour Publishing. READ MORE.
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Great food for thought, especially for parents with older children: "I wish we could all focus on the victories that we scored during each season. Mistakes and down times seem to pull at our memories so often. And if at some point our kids don't embrace the good teaching we tried to instill, we can be drawn even more toward the trap of guilt." ... See MoreSee Less