Last weekend was my book launch. I know many of you have seen photos and comments from the evening, so please be assured that this post is not about that! I want to focus on the morning after, during which my husband and I preached at our church.
We had decided we needed to share our story together, as it appears in the first part of my book. Many of the congregation already knew it – some had lived through it with us – but we were conscious of the fact that there were newer people who had joined in the last few years who may not. We didn’t want anyone to have a shock if they bought and read my book!
God has been taking our whole church on a journey with authenticity over the years, and, just in the last few weeks, it seems that He has increased the emphasis on encouraging people to be vulnerable with one another. We certainly wanted to build on that, and, while we did talk about the book and our story, we moved on to explore how we believed God was nudging as a church family into deeper authentic relationships with one another.
I found the morning much more emotional than I had expected, and was choked up at one point while telling how Steve’s response to my actions had revealed Jesus’ love to me in a way I had never experienced before.
As we finished, one of the elders jumped up and asked people to gather round and pray for us. It was a powerful time of recommissioning us as a couple and there were many prayers and words spoken over us.
And then it was over. It had seemed like such a positive response, but you never quite know do you? But, bit by bit, those newer to the church began to approach me and it was then that I was totally blown away.
A few new couples came up to both of us and said they hadn’t been sure whether or not our church would be their spiritual home, but our honesty really spoke to them and they are definitely going to stay. One woman in particular was completely bowled over – her eyes full of tears as she explained why.
Steve had used the book design as the backdrop to our accompanying Powerpoint, and the lady said that when she saw the strapline to the book she couldn’t believe it. Apparently God had been saying to her for a good few weeks, ‘won’t you dare to be the person I have created you to be’? He had been gently asking her to remove her mask too. How amazing is that?!
Those particular few conversations at the end of Sunday were SUCH an encouragement to me and, reflecting on them since, I have been reminded of the power of telling our stories from the heart – and allowing God to do the rest. He uses our humble words to touch those we don’t even know. What a privilege it is to be a writer!
Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. She is currently Premier Christianity magazine’s freelance news and features journalist. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict, Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart, Insight Into Burnout and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes. She has two new books out this November: Taking off the mask: daring to be the person God created you to be, with Authentic Media, and Cover to Cover: 1–3 John Walking in the truth, with CWR. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.