Next Friday is the official release of A Girl and Her Warhorse. I cannot believe this is what God had in mind many, many years ago when I headed to Starbucks with my journal and Bible. It has been an enlightening adventure in which I have learned much about myself and the world of writing. Here is a little bit of the story behind the story:
Psalm 33:16-17: “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The warhorse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.”
While walking through a difficult season in my marriage, I found healing by reflecting on Jesus and His Word and writing in my personal journal. My husband had come to grips and full disclosure with sin struggle in his life, which left me wounded and confounded. It was through seeking healing in Jesus, that I realized my husband had been my “warhorse” and that I had been placing all trust, identity, value, and worth in him. It was through my husband’s struggle that God removed my spouse from his idolatrous throne in my heart. It was a painful process. As I later shared my thoughts and a few of my journal entries from these little sessions in the Word with both my husband and a counselor, I was encouraged to compile them as part of my own personal healing process.
I spent the next year looking back at previous entries, processing new thoughts and realizations, and seeing thematic connections. Psalm 33:17 became a theme verse for the lessons I was being taught by God during this time. “The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue” (Psalm 33:17). I began to ask myself hard questions as God revealed to me that I had a warhorse. I wrote each question down, so I wouldn’t forget to keep asking them of myself. This pulling together of journal entries, Scripture, and probing questions allowed me to see more clearly my sin and my Savior.
The finished product of that compilation follows the theme of war recognizing that we are constantly under attack by the enemy and that most of our lives take place on a battlefield. Our great rescue is not found in the fast, fleeting warhorse, but rather in Jesus who is our only true hope and victor. The warhorse is different for all of us, but ultimately is anything or anyone that we put our hope in other than Jesus. It is very simply idolatry.
As I shared this rough manuscript with my counselor a year later, she encouraged me to consider also sharing it with other women who might be struggling with some of the same issues. My initial answer was a resounding “no” in my head as I politely smiled and said, “maybe,” to her face. I didn’t want share my life with others, especially the weaknesses and vulnerabilities. However, God was teaching me that each of the unique paths He has guided us down are mere foundations for sturdy cobble-stoned paths that line cities built for glorifying God. I was learning that trials in life only pound down the dust beneath our feet so that bricks of wisdom and mercy can be laid. I was slowly seeing God pave a grace-ridden street leading myself and others back to His redeeming love.
I was still scared to share. I was still nervous about my story.
I did a few edits, removing the extremely raw things we write in only our journals, because no one is ever supposed to read them, and began sharing with a few close friends here and there. Years passed as I dismissed the idea or the need to expand my circle of sharing. However, again, I was encouraged to share the manuscript with a broader audience. Again, I hesitated, but started to work through the book as a bible study with a lovely group of women from The Well in Buda, TX.
As we were going through the study together, I also began a year of editing with an editor. I learned an amazing (and much needed) amount from her. (Thank you, Lynn!) After months of Skype sessions discussing word choice and punctuation, it became time to decide how to publish. I very quickly became aware that publishing a book in the absence of fame and Twitter followers is near impossible. Self-publishing became the most plausible route. That year-long process has also been eye-opening and more work than I thought I’d signed up for.
Therefore, it is with a simultaneous exhale of relief and a nervous inhale of the unknown that A Girl and Her Warhorse will finally be released on the 19th. I momentarily remember I can trust Jesus, because after all, He’s the one who led me here kicking and screaming. He solely bares all the weight of this book…lucky for me.
Out of my confusion, God answered. Out of my hurt, He healed. Out of my feeble and shaking hands, came His grace-filled and restorative words in my journal. Out of those stacks of Moleskin journals came an honest and raw, yet structured guide to identify warhorses and restore Jesus to His rightful throne of authority in my heart. I have spent wonderful hours going through this book with other women in small group bible studies. I have seen God’s beautiful daughters struggle to let go of their warhorses and I have seen Jesus gently wooing them with His love. It has been amazing. Seeing how the Lord has used my story to draw others to a deeper knowledge and love of Him has been the motivation to finally agree to open the personal pages of my life to more women.
My desire is that we all realize the importance of our stories. We are woven into the great tapestry of His love story. All of our different pasts and paths ultimately point to Him, the great Rescuer. His unwavering pursuit of us, His sacrificial love, and His beautiful exchange of newness of life for our sin and death are only fragmented sentences in His great romance novel written for us. He has so much for us. He is penning us into the lines of His masterful writing. He is the story behind our story.