I was driving to Columbus Ohio to speak at the Igniting Souls Conference about The Immanuel Quilt. I'd be taking the stage with about forty other authors from the AAE tribe who would also be promoting their books. It wasn’t the thought of the stage that frightened me---it was the thought of getting there.
Yes, I still struggle with traveling anxiety. I absolutely did not want to go to Ohio alone. I thought I’d found a solution when fellow tribe member, Suzanne Stearman offered to pick me up on her way through Indiana from Missouri. It apparently was not God’s plan. The logistics weren't working out for me to meet up with her. I knew the Spirit was telling me to drive myself this time. And so for the first time ever, I ventured out on a road trip alone.
The main question I was asked at the conference was, “How did you come about joining Author Academy Elite?” I can honestly tell you it was a God thing.
I was traveling about and sharing His Story in a unique quilt. People began asking that I blog the journey of the Immanuel Quilt. I quickly learned that telling a story and writing one are two different art forms. And for me, writing is hard. Very hard. However, I've been plugging away at it so that you can know what God is doing.
Later as I heard many of you tell me that I should write a book about the Immanuel Quilt I would tell you that maybe God would have someone do that someday. Then I began seeing the signs that I was the someone.
For six months I struggled to string words together for a book. I was spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. I prayed, Lord, if you really want me to write this book string a few words together for me. Send me some help.
One day shortly after I was scrolling Facebook and saw a post by Jeff Goins saying to watch his next podcast if you wanted to write a book. Now keep in mind, I didn't want to be an author--I only wanted to be a storyteller. But I watched the podcast because I felt God was calling me to write the story of one ordinary woman, one unique quilt, and one extraordinary God. And there was where I first saw Kary Oberbrunner and heard about Author Acedemy Elite; and the alternative to standard and self-publishing processes.
A long story short, I submitted my application to AAE. Through a phone interview the following day the story of The Immanuel Quilt was one of only twenty-five accepted into the program to help authors publish their stories. Thrilled, I submitted my payment. Now that is faith forward.
Immediately I began to wonder what on earth had I just done. I consider myself a compulsive researcher yet I hadn’t even checked the credentials this bald man with a girl’s name offering his coaching services. Maybe he was just someone wanting to scam me for money. I questioned how I could know for sure that Kary Oberbrunner was the real deal. Folks this is faith backwards!
On the very afternoon I'd signed up this is what happened:
I was having lunch with my sister telling her about this bizarre crazy thing I had just done and how I was second guessing my decision. Since many years earlier she used to live in Columbus, where Kary Oberbrunner lives, I pulled up a picture of him on his website and she started laughing. She said, "Oh my gosh! It's Kary. We know him well. Joni you are going to love working with him. He is the real deal. A man on fire for God."
My sister then pulled out her phone and sent Kary a text congratulating him for signing her sister. What more of a confirmation does a gal need to know that she made the right decision?
When I was working on the quilt and needed help God sent me seven experienced quilters. For writing a book, God knew how difficult the assignment would be for me and so... He sent me an entire tribe!
Attending the conference allowed me to meet Kary and the other members of the tribe face-to-face. Like me, and likely you, each of these people had their own doubts, fears, and struggles to overcome. Yet we had all learned that in facing our adversary, by taking a step of faith forward, it is enough to ignite a soul on fire.
What adversary, or fear is preventing you from taking a step of faith forward? Let me encourage you by reminding you that Immanuel, God is always with you!