When I see a flock of sheep I see exactly that, a flock. A rabble of wool. A herd of hooves. I don’t see a sheep. I see sheep. All alike. None different. That’s what I see. But not so with the shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special. Every face has a story. And every sheep has a name. . . The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name.
When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd. Filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans. A flock of faces. That’s what we see.
But not so with the Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face has a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. . . The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. -Max Lucado, Experiencing the Heart of Jesus
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
I Corinthians 13:12
There’s something magical about seeing your work published – and you never know when that moment of joy will come. You stroll out to your mailbox one day, not expecting anything special; and voilà, there it is. You rip it open and beam with joy. After all that work, lots of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, your initial idea has been transformed, and you are face to face with your words in print.
When we first begin a new writing project we are filled with excitement and hope and promise. We have no idea what the finished product will look like, but we eagerly rewrite, get critiques, rewrite again and again – all the while watching a transformation take place. We eventually pass it on to an editor and illustrator, where more transformation occurs. Then eventually, it is finished.
The Shepherd’s Song was like this. When the idea came, we did not know what the final book would look like. We had to have faith that our work would be shaped and used by God. We got glimpses of the final book along the way. First the printed pages. Then the cover art. The bound galley. A jacket proof. Finally face to face we held the book.
The Christian life too, is filled with ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, joys and sorrows. Like a book, our lives are being written, edited and transformed. We start with great excitement and hope and promise; then transformation begins. It’s hard work, but slowly we are transformed more and more to the image of Christ.
Best of all, there is a moment coming when all the work will be done, and we will see our Savior face to face. It is hard to imagine what such a moment will be like – the magnification of joy and awe and wonder.
Our experiences in this world teach us about God, and transform us more and more into His image.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
What does it mean for God to be your shepherd? What does a shepherd do? Why would God’s people be compared to sheep? Research in books taught us a lot. But we needed more.
We found the sheep farm online and scheduled a visit with Keith Odom, a modern day shepherd in North Georgia. There is nothing like a road trip and soon we were on our way. What did we learn about sheep? Lots. But more important is what we learned about The Shepherd. (capital S!)
What captured our imaginations and hearts the most was “Bucket Time”. After Keith would feed the sheep he would take time to sit on the overturned feed bucket and watch the sheep. Some never realized he was there. Some ignored him. Others came looking for another bit of food. But some came, wanting to be with him. What perfect picture of God and our choice of interaction with Him.
It was moving to see how tenderly this man cared for his sheep. How he thought only of their wellbeing. Does God love us like that?
He made himself available to the sheep but never forced their affection. Does God wait for us, hoping that we will come to Him?
Keith rejoiced when the sheep came to him to nuzzle or be petted. He loved their gratitude. Does God rejoice when we remember to thank him for all that he does for us?
The answers that we discovered: Yes, yes, and yes.
Look at the responses of the sheep: Some never realized he was there. Some ignored him. Others came looking for another bit of food. Some came wanting to be with him.
Which response do you relate to in your spiritual journey? He’s waiting for you.
After twenty years of writing for children we felt called to make a change. We had not needed an agent before. Twenty years ago you could still have a manuscript read by a publisher without an agent, especially in the world of children’s books. Once we had a relationship with a publishing house we didn’t feel the need. Now that we were writing a book for adults, The Shepherd’s Song, and we were writing about our faith – the rules had changed. We needed an agent – but how could we find the right one?
Today we are on Vonda Skelton’s blog sharing 10 things we learned about finding an agent on our quest to write and publish The Shepherd’s Song. read more
Most writers are also readers. We are no different – we have always loved books. Our first library was the book mobile, a truck packed with books that came through our neighborhood once a week. Our most memorable library growing up in West Virginia was in the basement of the fire station. Our mother, writer and reader that she is, always made a great effort to put books into our hands.
Some of our childhood favorites had a direct impact on us and prepared us to become writers. We are telling about our favorites on Wanda’s blog:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Before we decided to collaborate on The Shepherd’s Song, we each had writing careers of our own. In those writing projects we had control of our own books. The thousands of decisions it takes to write and publish a book were all made by one person. Then the change. We decided to work together. Suddenly all those decisions had to be made by two people. That’s more complicated. Read more
Two great days of sharing Psalm 23 were the perfect launch for our book, The Shepherd’s Song.
God’s Word went out on chocolate, cards, books, tissue boxes, cupcakes, water bottles, balloons, cake, dog bandanas, stewed tomatoes and bouquets of spring flowers. Now that’s exciting.
We spent the days sharing Psalm 23 at an urban health clinic, a program for homeless women, a library, a fire station. a hospital, a local park, an urban school, a food bank, a group renovating houses, a retirement home and an ICU waiting room.
Here are some pictures of the fun:
And our favorite moment in video:
What a great two days of celebrating God’s Word and sending out the book and Psalm 23.
The Shepherd’s Song has stories about twelve people whose lives are changed by Psalm 23. When it was time to write about the rod and staff, we started with research. We learned that the rod and the staff are the tools that a shepherd uses to protect and discipline the sheep. The rod is a club that the shepherd uses to ward off predators. The staff is a crooked stick that the shepherd uses to guide the sheep and pull them back from danger. If we look at God as our Shepherd, the rod and staff would be his protection for us. How would we show this in a story? What does this look like in a real life? read more
The Shepherd’s Song has a cast of characters and all those many characters meant many names. Each name provided us with a challenge. Like choosing a name for a baby you want it to be just right. read more
There’s something magical about seeing your work published – and you never know when that moment of joy will come. You stroll out to your mailbox one day, not expecting anything special; and voilà, there it is. You rip it open and beam with joy. After all that work, lots of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, your initial idea has been transformed, and you are face to face with your words in print. Read more here…
Today we are sharing about that face to face moment on Renee’s Inspirational Moments. What can our face to face moment with our book teach us about being face to face with Jesus.