Last week was a well-timed kickoff of my online virtual Zoom study for Discovering Jesus…
Friends introduce friends to friends . . .
I want you to meet a kindred heart. As you know, I (Pam) have co-authored Discovering Hope in the Psalms and Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience. For the past two years, as our collective stress rose, I have been busy praying, writing and speaking, mostly virtually, trying to help lower the stress and anxiety of those in my world.
During this same timeframe, I had the joy of praying with my friend, Julie Gillies , asking for God to direct her mind and heart to what He would want her next book to be. So today, I want you to hear the amazing outcome of this answer to prayer. So for any of you friends, wondering, “What’s next, God?” May this encourage your heart.
Meet my friend Julie …
- Julie, tell us the story. How did God call you to write this book BEFORE the covid crisis?
The strange thing is, Prayers to Calm Your Anxious Heart was originally another book entirely. It had nothing to do with anxiety. But I got about 20,000 words into that manuscript and it began to feel like pushing a boulder up a mountain. It just wasn’t working. So I decided to be honest. I talked with my editor about it and told her: “This manuscript is not working; it feels dead. I realize I’m under contract and it’s due soon, and I could probably force myself to continue on. But I’d rather write something that flows with life!”
Thankfully my editor heard my heart and agreed. We decided to shelve the book and that I would take a six months reprieve to think and pray and figure it out.
Months later I was literally on my knees praying for my daughter, who struggles with anxiety. I thought, “I wish there was a solid resource I could point her toward.” Boom. That thought became, “Hmm. Maybe I could write a devotional book for those who struggle with anxiety.” I wrote the idea down on a sticky note, plopped it onto my dresser, and went to sleep.
The next morning when I glimpsed that sticky note idea, I knew it was an idea that had merit. One I could get behind. And one that could potentially help a lot of people. Prayers to Calm Your Anxious Heart was born.
- What is the best way to use your book to calm our hearts and bring peace?
The book keeps it simple. After speaking to many people who wrestle with anxiety on a regular basis, I learned that focusing can be especially difficult, so short pieces of information were preferable. So each of the 100 devotions offers a scripture, a brief but meaningful teaching, and a prayer. It’s designed to help the reader connect with God’s Word so that it comes alive. Every prayer is Holy Spirit infused, reinforcing the scripture and the teaching. One of the cool parts of this book is the space at the end of every devotion where you can write your thoughts and prayers—where you can get your stress and anxiety out of head and onto the page—and ultimately leave it with God.
- What is a personal hint from your own life that you do that helps you when stress is rising?
When I’m seriously overwhelmed by all that’s going on in my personal life in general and in a world that’s gone crazy, (and girl, right now that’s often) the one thing I do that changes everything is flop onto my bed, shut the door, and play my current favorite worship song on repeat. I will sing it over and over, letting it wash over my soul. In response to my worship God’s very real presence then rushes in and that changes everything.
Julie K. Gillies is the author of Prayers to Calm Your Anxious Heart: 100 Reassuring Devotions; From Hot Mess to Blessed; and the devotional Prayers for a Woman’s Soul. Her books help readers know God, know Scripture, and know how to pray.
Julie is the joyful wife of Keith, mom of three adults and Grammy of five. She loves baking from scratch, any day without humidity, and hanging out with the entire family, especially on days when her house is clean. For FREE resources and to connect with Julie, visit: www.JulieGillies.com