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(Yes! It’s the FINAL DAY to take advantage of the free gifts that come with pre-ordering the book! Click here for details.)
Oh, Sweet Friend,
Today is the day. The long awaited day. Merry Christmas!
Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God is no longer a thought or idea but a reality, and one that happens to arrive on the day we celebrate the arrival of Christ. The thought alone nearly brings me to tears.
Over the last few years, I’ve invited you into this journey—writing the book, realizing what was lacking, and rewriting it. Word. For. Word. Then wrestling the words and ideas through another 50 or so drafts.
I have ached and cried and listened and laughed with many of you along the way. . . and you with me.
Above all, during this time, I’ve been praying for you. I’ve been praying that the Holy Spirit will awaken something so holy and beautiful and breathtaking inside of you as you read. If you read Wonderstruck and think, “Margaret wrote a nice or fine book.” I have failed miserably.
My prayer is that when you finish reading you cannot, you will not stay the same. My prayer is in a handful of pages God will awaken you to His presence in a whole new way. The book isn’t about my story—it’s about your story, and how God is chomping at the bit to reveal His power, glory, and might in your life.
Now this is a tall order. One only God can do. So I pray and pray and pray for you.
As you pick up and thumb (or index finger, if you’re a Kindle or Nook user) through a copy of Wonderstruck, may I encourage you to do the following:
Sip. Don’t gulp. Allow the words and imagery to ignite your imagination. Permit your mind to wander. Give yourself permission to pause and reflect. You don’t have to finish the section or chapter in a single sitting. Allow yourself to savor the stories and Scriptures, the colors and hues.
Invite the Holy Spirit. God graciously gives us the Holy Spirit. When we pause to invite God into our lives, our hearts, our thoughts, we can’t help but become more sensitive to the work He is doing in and through us. Ask God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to speak to you and be expectant for how He answers as you read and as you go through the day.
Pray for wonder. The original title for this book was And I Prayed for Wonder, and those words represent the heartbeat of the book. Not that I would pray for wonder, but you would pray for wonder and live wide eyed to how God might answer. Don’t just do it today, but tomorrow and the next and so on until God answers. And when He does, keep on praying, because you never know how God is going to expand your capacity to know and experience Him more.
Join with a friend and take the 30-Day Wonder Challenge. At the back of the book, you’ll find a 30-Day Challenge with simple activities to awaken you to the wonder of God all around. Some are simple. Some will ask you to be silent. Others to dive into the Scripture. Still others to take photos. And more. But all ask you to begin living awake to the presence of God in your life. Grab a friend and do it together so you can share the joy. Take a dive into the Wonderstruck Bible study together come the new year. I assure you, God is closer and more intimately involved in your life than you ever imagined!
On this day, know you are loved and I’m wildly grateful for you.
Praying for wonder on your behalf!
*Original photo found here
Let me introduce you to my friend, Scott Erickson. Scott is the Artist-in-Residence at Ecclesia Church in Houston (led by Pastor Chris Seay). I recently featured Scott, Chris, and Ecclesia in a blog post about Tattoos and the season of Lent. Check it out, here.
Scott is probably the only person in the world who is an artist-in-residence at a church. He also travels around the world with various organizations, conferences, and events painting live for the audience.
Throughout this year, I want to introduce you to some of my friends. People whose voices I know, respect, and appreciate. Their words often challenge me in my thinking and faith. I hope they’ll challenge you, too. Enjoy!
To whom it may concern and to whom, more importantly, it should concern:
Over the last few months I’ve met so many of you. Maybe I haven’t met you, but I’ve met others with enough similarities in their stories that I thought I should write. You’re over 40, and you’ve been in the church for years.
If you have children, then more than anything you want your kids to have a strong foundation, to grow up knowing the Lord. I think that’s beautiful. But now your kids are older–either following the Lord bravely or choosing to sin boldly. Depending on the day, your heart celebrates or mourns with your kids. It probably always will.
As the years have passed and the nest grows emptier, you’re no longer going to church for them, you’re going for you. And that creates a void. Deep down inside, you’re wondering whether you really should bother going at all.
Over the last few years, I’ve fallen in love with Lent. The opportunity to set apart time specifically to seek God for forty days and grow in my relationship with Him in the weeks preceding Easter has become like a balm to my soul-providing healing, comfort, all the while removing places of brokenness and disconnect from God.
One of the ways I’m celebrating Lent this year is by going through the Gospel of John in the 40 days preceding Easter. I’ve invited you to join along as I’ll be posting each week as we go through the Pursuing God’s Beauty: Stories from the Gospel of John 6-week DVD Bible Study.
Spoiler Alert: The sixth lesson ends with the resurrection!
As I’ve prayerfully considered what I want God to do in my own heart over the upcoming weeks, I’ve circled around one word: contempt. If I’m truly honest with you, this word has been nestled in the back of my mind as something to give up for Lent since last year. At the time, I just wasn’t courageous enough to give it up. So I gave up prayer instead-which led to a profound spiritual transformation in my own life-but you’ll have to wait for the next book to read more about that (sorry).
I’m just in the beginning stages of figuring out what it means to give up contempt. I’ve started with the basics, namely, figuring out what contempt means.
Dictionary.com defines contempt as: The feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
Contempt is also the state of being despised, dishonored, or disgraced.
One of the most common understandings of contempt is found in the court of law whenever someone shows disrespect for the judge or rules of the court aka “in contempt of court”.
In my own life, I’m praying and asking God to show me all the places-big and small, mountainous and crevice-some where contempt bulges and hides below the surfaces. I’m also asking God to reveal the differences between contempt and concern and contempt and discernment. To be honest, I’m a bit afraid for all the Holy Spirit will reveal when we faithfully ask Him. But I’m also wildly expectant for the goodness and love of God to infuse my heart in greater measure.
I plan to keep you updated each week throughout Lent as to what spiritual rumblings take place. And I pray for God’s grace as you begin your own Lenten journey.
*Photo courtesy of here