Overcomers: Networking with a Group of Christian Women

 

Jo Ann Fore, the author who started an avalanche.

Jo Ann Fore, the author who started an avalanche.

Life has many surprises. I never expected to be on a team of women promoting another woman’s book. But here I was right it the middle of it.

It arrived in my email inbox. “Norma, I thought you might be interested in this.” The email was from the mother of my daughter’s friend. Hmmm. What is it? It looked like an application to join a group of women to help launch a book. I’d never been a part of anything like that. I had read about Michael Hyatt’s book and the concept of book launches. I didn’t give it another thought.

I arrive in Colorado to help welcome my grandchild. During my visit with my daughter and her family, I decide to reread the email about the book launch. This might be a good thing. Maybe I could make some contacts in the Christian publishing world, something I didn’t have. It might provide a way to meet other women. Why not fill out the application. No harm in that. The application takes me all evening.  I keep running into road blocks with the links as I cut and paste on my IPAD, not my favorite communication tool. But I persist. Finally done, I send it off, not overly optimistic that I’ll be chosen to join the 101 women to be selected for the book launch team. I remembered back to the year before, the writing of my book. I had been lacking in outside support. What kept me focused was a belief in my dream and that God could use my words for His glory. It would have been nice to have some additional encouragement. Writing a book is no small task. Even overwhelming when you’re new to the trade. The more I thought about it, the more I knew and believed it would be good for me to support Jo Ann Fore in her authoring efforts, to do what I could to help out, and also see  the process from a different view.

I’m in. Made the book launch team. I have no idea what to expect. I really hope I will like Jo Ann Fore’s book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice, since I’ll be helping promote it over several mediums. I’m particular about good writing and wouldn’t want to recommend something in which I have reservations. As a team member, I wait in expectation. The first communication arrives. I like Jo Ann’s “welcome” to the women on her “team.” Sounds on the up and up. Soon we begin the process of getting the word out through social media. At first, it’s getting acquainted. Next, it’s writing and making contacts. We are given an email attachment with a preview of the book’s draft. Ladies begin posting lovely pictorial quotes from the book. I am amazed at the creative imagery and quality of their work. I wonder, what do I have to offer that is unique? I decide to just be myself, whatever that means. I add my voice when I feel prompted to do so and write my blogs and tweets. I don’t have the base of knowledge in tech savvy, but that seems to be okay.

I download a preview copy of the book. The assignment is to preview the book and then write a blog with some quotes from the book. I choose Labor Day to do this. I stretch out on the couch with sheaves of papers and a pen in hand. I “star” the quotes that resonate with me. I find her story compelling. It’s interesting. A challenging journey. A woman who hides because she must in order to survive the situation, doubly hard as a Christian working for a Christian organization. She is also masking the pain caused by abuse earlier in her life. Her reactions have a similarity to my past. Now I’m tracking with her. She avoids friendships and outside contacts just like I did. I felt a similar fear, but mostly I had avoided situations where my emotions might engage, fearing the avalanche of tears if the dike should come unplugged through emotional connection. Her transformation I could relate to as well. I have gone through the same process and experienced the amazing healing touch of God. This would bring me wholeness, freedom, and joy—and also, a death to ugly strongholds like pride and self-righteous attitudes. Like Jo Ann, I found myself on a new journey, with its message of hope, healing, and God’s part in the process. We both had to be willing, to be serious with God, and open to His ministrations.

The gift of networking with other like-minded women. I have to confess, I was some-what skeptical about the whole book launch idea. I shouldn’t have been. What I found was a community of giving Christian women intent on helping one woman, Jo Ann Fore, meet her dream. A dream we could relate to, helping women find their healing and voices, and taking hours of their own time to do this. These women love the Lord, were willing to be vulnerable with their own lives, and grew with the process of launching this book. I observed us reaching out to each other as sisters, and caring, praying for each other, encouraging when someone needed some TLC. It was beautiful and still is happening. Beyond all this good stuff, I have seen a major positive. God is in this endeavor. The hand of God is all over the place.  We have realized the potential to change lives through the written words of this particular story.  Jo Ann and the women on the team persevere on, knowing this is God’s work. Although the book is launched and we don’t need to have contact any longer, we continue to support one another and the effort. Some of us are using this book to reach out to women in our churches and contacts. It is both a blessing and awe-inspiring to watch how this plays out. I am so glad God connected me with this circle of Christian women who know what it is to overcome in the thin places and then open the door for other women.

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N. L. Brumbaugh likes to write contemplative thoughts about authentic spiritual living. A lot of heart goes into every one of her posts. She is a mix of reading specialist, country woman, writer, church leader, and storyteller. Norma loves creative artistry and celebrating life.