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Posts Tagged ‘Christian bookstores in Sydney’

Jo 17Can you remember a time when you went somewhere with a particular purpose in mind, only to find God had some surprises in store for you—or perhaps even an entirely different agenda? What was your initial response? Did you perhaps feel a little ripped off, like I have at times? After all, what could God be thinking, to mess up my lovely plans!

A couple of weekends ago, my author friend and I were promoting our books in a Koorong bookstore. Our day started off well. On arrival, I found someone had bought one of my books already and was waiting for me to sign it. He also insisted on having his photo taken with us, so, for a few seconds at least, we felt like celebrities! While things were a little slow after that, we still had some lovely conversations with customers and sold a few books. Besides, there was always hope things would improve after lunch. But we had no idea of the special experiences God had in store for us.

Our first ‘God surprise’ came via a friendly man and his severely disabled teenage son who was in a wheelchair. I chatted briefly with them, before moving away to talk with someone else. But when I returned, the man and his son were holding hands with my friend and praying for her! Later, I discovered the man’s son had felt God wanted them to pray with her about a particular health issue, so, after ascertaining that this was indeed something my friend suffers from, they had done exactly that. I silently joined in the prayer then but also felt so humbled that this young man had listened to God and was so keen to pray for others. What amazing, compassionate people, so full of the light and love of God!

Later, when it was almost time to leave, a lady came by whom I had met several months earlier when we had last signed books in the store. She and a friend had subsequently met with me for coffee and, on that occasion, I had told them about some issues our grandson Zain was having at school. Now, as she greeted me, her first words flabbergasted me.

‘Hello—so lovely to see you again! How is your little grandson Zain? My friend and I have been praying for him by name that God will provide the resources that will help him.’

This beautiful lady, with so much else going on in her life, had gone on faithfully praying for our grandson. What’s more, while I could not even recall her name at first, she had remembered his name and was so eager to hear what was happening for him. Again, what a wonderful, humbling, encouraging ‘God moment’!

Initially, I saw these experiences as interruptions. I did not want to be side-tracked from what I thought was my much more important task of engaging with new customers and promoting our books. But how wrong I was—and how much more amazing were the things God had planned for us that day!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8-9

 

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I almost didn’t go to the meeting that day. It was on the other side of Sydney and I was tired. Yet, I loved the women I knew would be present. They are all very committed Christian leaders from different denominations who are doing amazing things in our city and nation and even internationally. I knew I would come home inspired, so off I went.

After arriving, I chatted with several women sitting nearby and was interested to hear the main speaker, but felt too tired to engage in any deep conversation as we later mingled over lunch. I was happy to stand back and observe, until a friend noticed me and announced: ‘Oh, I was just talking about you and your books yesterday to a friend!’ However tired I was, I couldn’t let an intriguing statement like that go, so enquired further.

It turned out her friend is the librarian at a large Christian school. While chatting at a swimming carnival, my friend had mentioned she knew me. Her librarian friend had then told her they had had trouble getting copies of my books for their library.

If anything is destined to grab my attention, it is a comment like that. You see, while bookstores might run out of copies of my books or decide not to stock them, I always have adequate supplies. How frustrating it is then when I hear that potential customers can’t source them! I therefore hastily asked my friend the librarian’s name so I could contact her and let her know her quest was over.

On arriving home, I decided to email her straight away, despite my tiredness, explaining how my books are available via my website and that I would also be happy to visit her school. I prayed something would come of our contact, but admittedly not with any great confidence.

The next day, I received an urgent email from a minister’s wife from the other side of town. She had chosen to review one of my novels at a women’s breakfast that coming weekend. She had tried to get hold of twenty copies to sell there but the bookstore had sent her the wrong book and had none of the right book in stock anyway. Did I have the copies she needed, she asked.

Later that day, she phoned. I had offered to take the books to her workplace and soon discovered this was at the same school as the librarian whom I had previously emailed.

‘That’s how I knew to contact you,’ she told me. ‘I was telling the staff about my dilemma when the other librarian mentioned your email to her.’

In the end, I was invited to attend the women’s breakfast myself, talk about my own book, then sell them! And I did—nineteen copies of that particular novel, plus a few others. All this came about because I ‘happened’ to go to a meeting I almost backed out of and ‘happened’ to talk with a friend there who had ‘happened’ to speak to her librarian friend who ‘happened’ to be able to tell her colleague I had supplies of my books!

Do you think God had a hand in all this? I do! After all, in Isaiah 55:8-9, God tells us:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I’d rather have God’s thoughts and God’s ways any day, wouldn’t you?

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