There are millions of books out there, many presenting the same ideas thousands of times over. With all this noise, it is tempting to think there is nothing left to say.
So why did I, Inés, decide to write a book?
People write books to share their ideas, stories, or knowledge, as a form of personal expression or to document their experiences, or maybe to make a difference in the world or leave a legacy. All these can be good reasons, but none of them are mine.
I wrote my book because I heard God’s voice.
Not an audible voice, but by the Spirit during a time of prayer and Bible reading, God spoke to me.
I became a believer shortly before my fortieth birthday, at a time in my life when my circumstances were a mess, mainly resulting from my own foolish decisions. For me, it was a “humble pie” season of shame. I came to Jesus profoundly broken, seeking peace and wisdom. As is the way of Jesus, he received me with open arms through a loving community at the church my family and I started attending. The pastor inspired me to read the Bible for the first time in my life.
And then, everything started to change.
As a New Year’s resolution in 2005, I decided to get serious about prayer. Each morning, I read a psalm and a section of the book of Proverbs. Then, without editing my thoughts, I wrote my own prayers, raw, honest, and unpolished. After a few months, I got into the rhythm of this new practice, and my prayers were becoming longer and more profound.
On March 12 of that year, I was writing a prayer after reading Psalm 15 and Proverbs 13:9. I was begging God to lead me into his righteousness and rescue me from my own foolishness. My sincere desire was to obey him and “keep his word whatever the cost” (Psalm 15:4). I’d already made a mess of my life. I wanted to change my ways and stop hurting people. Here is a portion of my unedited prayer:
“Lead me Lord to a blameless life, nurture me into a loving relationship; that I may do what is right, by loving others and telling your truth. May the light of your glory shine through your work in me.”
And then it happened. I sensed the Lord encouraging me and giving me a vision for my future. He assured me that he would always lead me. He reminded me that Jesus was my righteousness and that I could never reach a blameless life without his loving sacrifice. Jesus paid the penalty for my sins (past, present, and future) and gave me the life he deserved. As an act of worship and praise, I surrendered my life fully to him. In a pool of tears, I whispered to God using the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Out of that prayer, a dream was birthed, one of going on a journey of writing books and teaching the Bible. God invited me to join others in “equipping the saints” (Ephesians 4:11). Such a calling sounds wonderful, that is, until you start living it out.
My journey has not been an easy linear path from A to Z.
If you did the math, you’d notice that my calling to teach and write came almost eighteen years ago. During this long journey, I questioned myself, wondering if I heard God correctly. I reflected on my motivations to see if they were honorable and pure. I suffered from fear and struggled to shake the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. But I kept taking steps in the direction he set for me.
At first, I went to Bible studies. Remember, I had only recently started reading the Bible! The group studies needed to be faster. If I wanted to teach the Bible effectively, studying one or two books a year wasn’t going to work for me. Therefore, at the recommendation of my friend Matt, I enrolled at Fuller Seminary. Because I did not have an undergraduate degree, it took me two years to get accepted. And since I was still raising teenagers at home and had a very busy life, it took me six years to complete my degree.
All along, I was trying to work on the first subject given to me during my prayer, discerning the will of God. Reading every book I could find with “God’s will” in the title, I quickly realized how heavily debated this topic is—one causing disagreements between theologians for centuries. I was so intimidated but kept moving forward.
And for what purpose? To exalt his name and love his people. In the words of Jesus, to “Love the Lord [my] God with all [my] heart, with all [my] soul, and with all [my] mind… Love [my] neighbor as [myself].” (Matthew 22:37,39 CSB, edited in first person narrative)
Naïvely, after I sensed God’s direction in March 2005, I thought the journey ahead would be smooth, and I would arrive quickly at the “destination.” I expected to study the topic for a few months, write the book, and publish it. Viola!
Isn’t that how writers do it? Maybe some. But not me. Jesus was—and continues to be—more interested in forming, transforming, and renewing my mind than fast-forwarding me to a specific outcome. God was not calling me to a destination. He was inviting me on a journey.
As the Holy Spirit worked in me, the topic morphed into a study on the journey of faith. I soon noticed that my journey to write my first book would resemble the experience of driving through thick fog. Not only did I lack clarity on what steps to take, but the book’s subject remained unclear for a long time. Not to mention, I lacked the wisdom and understanding for such an important topic. Writing my first book took eighteen years because I needed to love God first.
Why did I write my first book, Uncharted: Navigating Your Unique Journey of Faith? Because I needed—and still need—to walk with the Lord, grow in my faith, and see him at work in and through me. Over the past eighteen years, God gave me a new heart that he is still molding. He is showing me how to love his people the way he loves them. He is teaching me about his nature and faithfulness. He is revealing his desire for every believer and calling me to equip his saints in humility and wisdom.
The Word (John 1:1) had to write me first.
If you sense God is calling you to do something, be something, I hope you say yes and walk step by step with his guidance. But remember, it’s a journey, not just a destination. You and I are part of God’s redemption plan. His mercies are new every morning. Walking with Jesus is the greatest adventure any of us could ever experience, and it’s not going to look like you expect. God’s presence, purpose, guidance, and love are better than life itself!
That is why I wrote this book: to remind me, to remind you.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37,39 CSB
My friend, embrace the reality that the faith journey is uncharted (at least to us) and that our sovereign God has good desires for his children, including you and me.
To him be the glory!
P.S. Send me a message at email@example.com and tell me what God has put in your heart so I may join you in prayer.