Melanie’s interview on Arthelene Rippy’s TV show Homekeepers was scheduled to air for the first time at 5:30 am today. (The program also repeated at 1:00 pm later in the day.) I was up to watch it.
Although I was sitting in the TV studio when the show was taped last week I had not been able to concentrate on their conversation that day. 🙂 So I felt like I was tuning in for the first time as I watched. And I heard a couple of details that jarred me a bit as Melanie described the background to writing her new book.
She’s on the prayer team at church and remembers when her friend, Jennifer Alden, came to the chapel for prayer awhile back. Jennifer had been diagnosed with cancer. The prayer team prayed with her. Jennifer took her treatments. In due time, the doctors gave her a good report on her recovery. Soon, Jennifer had started writing out her story and creating several books. Early this year, Jennifer asked Melanie to make some contributions to a book of daily devotions she was putting together. Melanie had been posting short inspirational meditations on Facebook but this was the first motivation she had to write out something in a more formal way.
If I could end this anecdote here it would make a heart-warming testimony of God’s mercy and favor to Jennifer and to Melanie as he led them both into new opportunities of ministry. It’s a great story of encouragement to share on a TV interview!
But that’s just the first part. Last summer, Melanie’s dear prayer partner, Carol, was also fighting cancer. She’d had several recoveries going back several years but this summer would not turn out like those earlier days. Melanie set everything aside to help Carol get around to her doctor visits and, then, stay bedside with her at the hospital. We were seeing a different answer to our prayers this time.
The last week in August Melanie and I had planned to escape to the beach for a few vacation days. Melanie said her goodbyes to her friend and was at peace in the expectation Carol was going soon to the Lord. Indeed, the day after we settled in at the beach, Carol’s husband called us to say she was gone, finished at last with her battles.
It was sometime in the hours that followed that Melanie says she heard “that voice” speak as if reading a book title, “Listening for His Voice – Volume One!” Melanie realized she was now being given an assignment to assemble a daily devotional of her own (and, it seems, not just one!). She opened her laptop and started working on the manuscript that weekend. She drew on some of her brother’s poetry and some blog posts I had written and shortly had a full year’s worth of material. And, to our wonderment, she was holding a box of printed, completed copies of her book when her birthday rolled around on October 24th. To our greater wonderment, several doors opened up for her to offer the book for sale and sign copies. Her TV interview today is only the most recent opportunity given to her to publicize her book.
Did you catch the part of this story where, after seeing one friend healed of cancer, Melanie lost another friend to that same disease? One friend opened a new door of ministry for Melanie to step through. The other friend departed through her own door, to her Greater Friend. I’ve wondered if some of Carol’s prayers for us were a part of a final gift, releasing Melanie to a new season of ministry. It’s too much for me to even fathom, but true nonetheless, that the Lord was speaking to Melanie through it all.
We’ve talked together about the strange experience of hearing the Lord’s voice, sensing his prompting in our spirit, and not being absolutely certain what it all means because the circumstances around us remain hard to understand. Listening to his voice is a matter of paying attention, first of all, and then moving in obedience and trust in His direction. God did not explain his plans to Job and we have no reason to expect our experiences will be different. But we can end up in places that allow us to bring more glory to God. People say it’s the journey but I say it’s really that destination that reveals our purpose even if we feel confused at times while still on the journey.
There are glimpses from Melanie’s journey in a video clip of the TV interview and links to her book at her blog page.