Good gravy. As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough, tornados ripped through the Southeast during the wee hours of Monday morning and deeply impacted friends in Tennessee and South Carolina (our previous home states). Our kids’ former school was demolished. Homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Another friend whose daughter is getting married had to change their plans after #COVID19, and then change those plans after a coastal tornado. Who’s ever heard of a tornado at the beach?
With all the chaos in our world, couldn’t we all use a happy little story right now?
I have goosebumps right now. Literally, goosebumps. if you were sitting by my side, you’d see the tell-tale signs–downy arm hair standing at attention and dimples on my skin. It has nothing to do with the temperature or weather, but a little to do with you.
God just blew me away.
(Stick with me through a few weeds, sweet reader-friends, because the wildflowers are spectacular.)
For my entire childhood and even well into adulthood, if asked, I would tell you my favorite number was seven. Now, who knows why a child picks a favorite number? (Do you have one?) All I know is I never deviated from my choice. Today, I’m decidedly more fickle, and my preferences are rather fluid, but still…”seven” is what comes to mind if questioned about my favorite number.
Years ago, I remember learning that seven was a number of completion in Scripture, that it has Biblical significance. We know God rested on the seventh day following Creation and that He commanded His people to observe the Sabbath. In a conversation about forgiveness, Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,”Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18:21-22 CSB) Read about the fall of Jericho in Joshua 6, and you’ll find the number seven 14 times (incidentally, seven multiplied by two).The book of Revelation is rife with mentions, and one source I stumbled across took a closer look into the number seven’s significance (I haven’t taken time to verify his references, but at a minimum, we see an intriguing pattern).
Bottom line, the number seven is special to me because of my childhood affection for it, and based on what we see in scripture, God must feel the same way.
So, what in the world does this have to do with, well, anything? This is where I begin boomeranging off the wall…!
It all started when I started sifting through (in)courage archives to write a post announcing our newest book club. Longtime (in)readers may remember Bloom, the former bookclub lead by Jessica Turner and Angie Smith. I had joined them behind the scenes for the last few years of it, writing content, scheduling all the posts, and connecting with readers in comments. When I looked back to refresh my memory, I was flabbergasted–
- The first book club I worked with was Prayer by Richard Foster, and my first Bloom post published on January 21, 2013. What’s so special about that date? It was seven years ago; plus, seven times three equals 21. But, even more astonishing to me, the first book club I participated in for someone else was exactly seven years and seven days from the eventual release of For All Who Wander, which released January 14, 2020!
- I previously wrote content for six Bloom book club studies, and I recently finished writing and recording video content for my seventh (in)courage book club.
- The book club selection just before I started working with Bloom was Jen Hatmaker’s Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.
I practically fell out of my chair when I noticed the dates and details. I don’t care if it sounds silly–all those “sevens” made me feel cherished and known and loved by God. This was one of those lifelines I talk about in For All Who Wander, an affirmation that, indeed, it was the Lord who called me to write the book in the first place. Isn’t it always a beautiful gift when God reveals Himself to us?
Because of the incredible initial response to the book, we were super excited to put together an online book club, both for the (in)community and beyond. Because Books-a-Million chose it as one of their Book Club selections (see May’s Faithpoint selection!!!, and since LifeWay included it in recent emails to subscribers as a helpful resource during this season, we knew new friends might be finding their way to (in)courage.
DaySpring and (in)courage made lots of plans, (in)courage community manager, Becky Keife, and I recorded six video conversations to guide readers through the Book Club, and our editors fine-tuned the content to assure wonderful value.
And on the very day the book club went live…coronovirus and COVID-19 tried to stop the world from spinning. For weeks now we’ve held our collective breath, sheltered in place, remained glued to updates, washed our hands raw, homeschooled our children, prayed for those on the frontline, cared for our neighbor, sanitized like crazy, and have had most of our plans cancelled. I know many of us have battled anxiety and fear. We’re frustrated with all the uncertainties that are out of our control. We have cabin fever. Some of my Asian-American friends have been the target of racism. Some of you have have wrestled the virus, and some of you have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to everyone, in this hard-to-believe place we find ourselves.
To say the least, it’s an odd time to have had a book released (let alone your first book….). We’re all dealing with So Many Things and processing the best that we can. But, based on the daily emails and messages I’m receiving from readers all over the place, For All Who Wander is a hopeful, helpful message of encouragement for those who are bewildered and beleaguered. Might it help you if you find yourself in a spiritual desert or wandering in circles in your faith? I can’t answer that, but this book club might just be a really helpful gift right now, maybe even a Godwink for you….
The For All Who Wander (in)courage book club is free and convenient;
you’ll receive a weekly email for six weeks and can watch the videos
whenever it works for YOU.
God is still at work in our world, and He’s eager to be found when we seek Him. I think most of us know “gospel” means “good news,” and I’ve shared some of mine.
I’d love to hear your good news, how you’ve seen and sensed and celebrated God over the past few disconcerting months. Will you please take a moment to share how God is winking at you, giving you goosebumps, or otherwise making Himself known? For fun, I’m going to choose one commenter to receive a copy of For All Who Wander and the companion Journey Guide journal for free!
Note: you can find For All Who Wander anywhere books are sold (online or in-store when they open again), or if you’re one of those kind souls who likes to offer your support for an author, you can find my affiliate links on my book page on the Wander Book tab above.