We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Saturday, May 5, 2018

When God Opens the Door . . .

"I'm sure you could borrow my mom's notes," my youngest daughter offered.

When Elisabeth told me of her conversation with a fellow intern last summer, I hesitated. "That would be fine, but . . . I'd have to re-work them, you know, so someone else can make sense of them."

"Oh, she won't mind. Whatever you have will be fine."

Fine? While I doubted it, my mind began to race with possibilities which led me to a ten-month journey of faith. This week, I finally crossed the finish line!

Here's the backstory: After Penned Without Ink was released in September of 2016, I had the privilege of leading a small group through the study of my book chapter by chapter. We dug deeper into many relevant themes presented in Penned and linked them with biblical narratives and principles. The discussion was rich as we connected the promises of God with our own personal lives. I loved preparing for our group meetings each week, drawing truths from God's Word and learning even more about trusting God to write your story. I typed up my notes as I went along, never dreaming they would someday form the basis of something more. 
After Elisabeth offered my notes to her colleague, I began to organize and add to them, finding even more pertinent material to augment my original thoughts. One thing led to another, and soon I designed a consistent layout for each lesson. (At this point I sent what I had to Elisabeth's friend.) Yet the final presentation still remained fuzzy to me . . . Study guide? Leader's guide? Both? I talked it over with my writers group, attempted several different formats, and prayed. 

In early January, my son-in-law suggested I include two sections: a leader's guide and one-page study sheets for group participants. BINGO! That was it! I went right to work, asked my writer friends to critique each page, and ironed out the bumps.

Each lesson/chapter for leaders includes:
  • A REVEIW from the last lesson 
  • DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (and answers with supplemental material) and GROUP ACTIVITIES based on the text and additional Scriptures 
  • A TAKEAWAY summary statement
  • A suggested MEMORY VERSE. 
The REPRODUCIBLE STUDY SHEETS encourage group members to prepare for each session's discussion at home. There are 13 lessons or chapters yet the material is flexible so a group may combine chapters if desired. The book measures 8.5 x 11 and is 60 pages in length.

When I contacted my publishing company, they were excited about the project and suggested I publish my work through Create Space. I knew nothing about gutter margins, bleed, ISBN numbers, or formatting the interior much less an attractive cover. Yet again, God provided a wonderful team of people to help - including a group to pilot the material. After several of us proof-read the book (over and over and over!), I finally clicked the button last Tuesday that made the finished product available for purchase on Amazon.com! 

If your group is looking for material to study this summer or fall, I invite you to consider this study.

Only the group leader will require the Leader's Guide. Each group member will need a copy of Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story, a Bible, a notebook or journal, and the study sheets (distributed in your group). To learn more, click the Amazon link HERE. And feel free to email me with any questions (sarahlylnnphillips3@gmail.com). 

When has God surprised you or opened the door to an unforeseen opportunity? 

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