This is a follow up to the post earlier this week “My Husband Doesn’t Have a Calling from God, How Can I Follow Him?”
When I dreamed about being a Christian missionary as a teenager, there was no internet. I could never have imagined that God would use me and my future life story to reach thousands and thousands of women (and men) around the world from about 200 different countries from my living room. I eventually prayerfully decided that God was leading me to become a pharmacist. But I always longed to be a missionary for Christ, too. It just seemed impossible for many years – the same years that I was cherishing a lot of sin in my heart, coincidentally, and not fully submitting myself to the Lordship of Christ Jesus.
I could never have imagined in December of 2008 – when God first opened my eyes to what an ungodly, controlling, disrespectful, prideful, selfish, self-righteous wife I had been – that He would use me to reach anyone at all. Ever. In fact, at first, I just wanted to go live in a cave and hide by myself for the rest of my life. I had no idea how to stop all of my sin, control, and disrespect or how to become a godly wife. I couldn’t even think or talk without sinning at first. It all seemed totally impossible! And it WAS totally impossible in my own strength.
There were excruciatingly slow steps. I spent 2.5+ years practically being a hermit – studying, reading, learning, growing, and praying alone with just God, myself, the Bible, over 30 books (about godly femininity, being a godly wife, respect, submission, and godly marriage), and my notebooks – every day for hours and hours – begging God to help me understand and to change ME.
GOD LED ME INTO MINISTRY THROUGH GREG
Greg surprised me in April of 2011 when he looked into my eyes and announced sincerely, “I think you need to share what God has taught you with other wives.”
WOW! I didn’t see that coming! What an amazing encouragement! That is one of the moments I cherish most in all of my life. Makes me cry tears of joy every time I think about that night. God led me through Greg as I trusted Him to do so – even though I had no idea where we were going. Greg did not have an elaborate long-range plan – but God led us one step at a time. He is the One who has the long-range plan.
Of course, every couple’s story will be different and unique. Different husbands will have different personalities and leadership styles. Maybe some husbands will have things planned out way ahead of time. That’s great if that is what God shows them!
HOW GOD HAS USED GREG TO CONTINUE TO LEAD ME IN MY BLOG MINISTRY OVER THE PAST 3 YEARS
First, I began to write emails for the women in my Sunday School class at church about what I was learning. Eventually, I started sharing my ideas on my personal Facebook page. In January of 2012, God clearly showed us both that He wanted me to start a blog through the suggestions of two friends of mine – something I had never done before and had no clue about how to even begin, at first.
Greg was very involved behind the scenes – researching blogging, helping me with the technical aspects that confounded me, finding guest writers for me (in the beginning), giving me his perspective and advice when I got stuck, protecting me when someone on the blog got out of hand, listening to me talk about people I was meeting online, giving me advice as I fielded difficult comments, suggesting topics for posts, and listening to me hash through ideas. It was very much a team effort.
I could not have done this without Greg – or without God, even more importantly.
I was floored when Greg decided to start his own blog, www.respectedhusband.wordpress.com for husbands. God completely blew my mind that day again! (Greg named his blog based on something I had said when I started my journey, “I don’t really know what all this respect stuff means, Honey, but someday, when I figure this out, I want you to feel like the most respected husband on the planet!”)
I started out on Peaceful Wife with about 10-20 hits/day – mostly from friends on my Facebook page and from my Sunday School class. I soon decided to leave the numbers up to God. I knew enough to know that I didn’t have much control over that kind of thing.
“Lord, just bring whomever You want to bring here. Speak through me by the power of Your Spirit. Flow through me like Niagra Falls. Use me to point everyone who comes here to Christ, Your Word, Your healing, and Your truth! Use me for Your glory. Use me in Your kingdom’s work. I am totally available and at Your disposal. I’ll do whatever You want me to do. I am not seeking money. I am not seeking fame. I just want You and Your will.”
That first year, there were about 100,000 views. Greg and I were very surprised. The second year, there were over 1 million views, and this past year, there have been over 2 million views – for a total of over 3.3 million views. Peaceful Single Girl has had over 1.3 million views now, total, as well. My Youtube channel, “April Cassidy”, has had over 335,000 views at this point. I have had the honor and privilege of watching God draw thousands of people to Himself and change many, many women’s (and men’s) spiritual lives and marriages here.
Um. This is so obviously completely a God thing, not an April thing. I have to give Him all the glory and praise! I am extremely blessed and greatly humbled that God allows me to be part of this in any way!
GOD LED ME THROUGH GREG TO BEGIN TO WRITE A BOOK
Around January of 2013, God lead me – through Greg’s suggestion – to begin to write my first book. Yikes! I had never written a book. It was a bit overwhelming at times and VERY different from writing blog posts! The first book I wrote, I later completely scrapped and had to start over completely from scratch. God continued to lay His message on my heart and refined it over a year and a half as I constantly sought His wisdom, message, leadership, direction, and His words.
Last year, Greg encouraged me to slow down. I was still trying to email all the wives who wanted to email with me like I had done when the blog was much smaller. I was spending many hours per day just on emails. We prayerfully decided that I had to stop the emailing ministry (even though I loved it dearly) and that I needed to cut back on the frequency of my blogging. Greg helps to keep me grounded – and sane. I’m so thankful for him!
OUR JOURNEY TO PUBLISH MY BOOK
We weren’t sure how we should publish the book. Greg and I researched every possible option. There was a LOT of waiting and praying. Things moved at a snail’s pace, in my view, if they moved at all. But that was ok. God had taught me to wait and to be content in the waiting over the past several years. I knew that God would direct us in His timing if this was His will. I knew my tendency to run ahead and I knew that if I did that with this – I would make a big mess. I sure didn’t want to attempt to publish a book if it was NOT God’s will! And I didn’t want to rush things and miss hearing God’s voice and direction and publish a book that was not Spirit-led.
I thought for sure we would self-publish about a year ago, but Greg stopped me – thankfully – after carefully researching the company we were looking into. He just didn’t find any positive information from authors who had used them. That was a God thing, too. I was disappointed at first. But then I was so thankful that God (through Greg’s wise leadership) kept me from leaping into something that would have cost our family thousands of dollars (during a time when my pharmacy hours had been drastically cut) that may have not ended well.
Last February, I googled “Christian literary agents” and found the Steve Laube site at the top of the list. I liked what I read on their blog and their site. They seemed to be well grounded in God’s Word and well-respected in the world of Christian writers and publishers. I read about each agent and read everything I could about their expectations and how to present a book proposal. I prayed about which agent I should contact, then decided to submit a book proposal to one of the agents out of the blue.
I had never been to a writer’s conference. I had never spoken with any agent before. What I was doing was rather unconventional and not the “normal path” most writers take to finding an agent.
God led me to an amazing agent there, Dan Balow. I sent my proposal and was surprised to hear back from him quickly. I knew that it could be many weeks before he might get back to me if I ever heard back from him at all. Dan suggested that my book needed to be professionally edited, but that he might consider representing me if it was properly edited. That was great news!! But – whew! Professional editing was going to cost $1,000-$2,000. That was a challenge. I thanked him and prayed about God’s will and for His provision for this need.
A few months earlier, God brought a new friend into our lives who is a professor at the University in our city and a member of our church. She became a reader of my Peaceful Single Girl blog when we first met. One Sunday, I told her about my book and what Dan had said and was shocked when she generously offered to edit my book for free. She has publishing experience as a professor and did an incredible job. I am beyond thankful for all of her diligence and hard work. What a blessing she has been to me! I cherish her friendship greatly.
When the editing job was done, I got back in touch with Dan Balow. God opened the door for me to sign a contract with him last July. Then, there was more waiting and praying (on my part) as Dan pitched my book to various Christian publishers. What a blessing to be able to just rest in God’s peace and sovereignty during this whole process and trust Him to open and shut the right doors. I’m really glad that God prepared me to do a lot of patient waiting years ago at the beginning of this journey. That ability has been invaluable during this process!
God opened the door for me to sign a contract with Kregel Publications in November!
And guess what?
My first book should come out sometime between this November and next January!!!?!?! God-willing, of course!
I don’t know the end of this story yet. I don’t even know the next step. I don’t know what all God has in store for Greg, our marriage, our family, our health, our finances, our vocations, our ministries, the blogs, or the book. Greg doesn’t have a written plan. I’m ok with that. I trust the Lord with all of it – every detail. I want to hold everything loosely in my hands and allow God to orchestrate things for His purposes. I want to be content in Him alone no matter what else may happen. I will continue to pray for God’s will and nothing but His perfect will. God is already in the future. He already knows what is coming. He is already lining things up for our lives. He already knows His plans for each of us. He is perfectly capable of orchestrating every detail.
This same sovereign God already knows His plans for you and your husband, too.
God could change things at any time. That is entirely His prerogative. Every day is a grand adventure with Him as my Lord. He surprises me constantly. It is such an exciting, fulfilling way to live in the center of God’s will!!! God reveals His will to us a step at a time, usually. All we really need is His light for today. Just like God can lead me through Greg, He can lead you through your husband.
We can trust God to work in our husbands’ lives and in our lives to accomplish His will and His purposes. We can rest in His sovereignty and ability to communicate with our men and with us. Yes, He can even lead a believing wife through an unbelieving husband! I have seen that happen many times. We don’t have to try to take over or run ahead. Our husbands don’t have to have everything all mapped out for months or years ahead of time. Human plans don’t always work out when we make them 1 hour in advance, much less months or years in advance. God’s plan is what is most important! We can wait on God and His timing. We can serve, love, and praise Him as we wait. And we can pray for His wisdom and direction in our lives and our husbands’ lives for His greatest glory! I can’t wait to see what God has planned for your life and to see how our stories all come together for His glory!
NOTE: If your husband is involved in serious, unrepentant sin, is not in his right frame of mind (due to uncontrolled mental illness, drugs, or alcohol), or is actually abusing you and you are not safe – please seek godly, experienced, biblical counsel and appropriate medical, police, or legal help if necessary. It may not be wise to submit to a husband in such situations. If this is your scenario right now, please don’t read my blog but seek appropriate help. (The Salvation Army, Celebrate Recovery, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Alcoholics Anonymous, a trusted pastor, a trusted godly wife mentor, a trusted Christian counselor, etc…)
April and Greg – January 2015