What led you to write Awaken?
The majority of what you’ll encounter in Awaken are personal whispers from God’s Spirit to my own soul over the last decade. I didn’t initially write them with the intention of publishing them, but simply to chronicle my own personal time with the Lord, captured in store-bought spiral notebooks filled with wide-ruled paper. To be honest, I’ve encountered far more insightful and discerning devotional books than this one—rich and timeless compilations from generations past, volumes that have been the framework for my own spiritual formation. But that which I do have I willingly and humbly offer to you.
As I shared bits and pieces of these devotional thoughts with friends and smaller circles of ministry in past years, I was encouraged to share them with others. And so now, finally, I am. I hope these entries will be a blessing to anyone who might read them.
How has your walk with the Lord been affected by understanding God to be “the God who speaks?”
Knowing that God speaks and being more acquainted with hearing Him has revolutionized my Christian experience. It has shifted my sense of anticipation and eagerness. For example, prayer has become a less vocal, busy exercise where I spill out a litany of requests. Now, there is joy in silence – margins of stillness while in prayer or even throughout my day – where my spiritual eyes and ears are piqued in holy anticipation. I’m anxious and expectant to see Him sovereignly maneuver circumstances to point out His will and illume the Scriptures by God’s Spirit to direct me to His best for my life.
As you were writing, did God reveal anything new to you? Were you surprised that He did?
Of course! He always does and every time I’m grateful. His word is replete with riches that can never be comprehensively mined. So, as I explored new devotional topics and revisited old ones, I was refreshed in a very personal way – a way that I hope will translate to anyone who grabs hold of this devotional.
How did you choose the topics for each devotion?
These passages and devotional thoughts have often challenged me, at other times encouraged me, but every time they have transformed me in some significant way—redirecting my focus, shifting my perspective, compelling me to action, and purifying my inner motivations. But that didn’t happen without investing time and quiet into the process. Somewhere along the way as I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered how much treasure is available beyond the surface reading of a Bible verse. I’ve learned not just to scan it but to do business with it—to wait underneath the revealing spotlight of God’s Spirit until some aspect of my frailty is exposed and brought to the tenderness of His sanctifying work.
What are some practices that have strengthened and inspired you in your spiritual journey?
There are many but one of the most important has been to record and truly treasure the work of God in my life. When He speaks, I’m trying to become more diligent to write down what I sense Him saying to me instead of hoping to remember it (because I probably won’t). When something stirs in my heart while reading Scripture or He points out an element of His character through nature or gives me an illustration of His grace during an interaction with my children, I want to capture it so that I can have a continual reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life and also accountability to remain obedient to any directives He has given me.
What advice would you give to women struggling to have “alone time with God”?
Relax. God is not mad at you. Refuse to let your quest to find devotional time stem from guilt or fear. That would be exactly what the enemy would want. Instead, talk with God about your priorities and ask Him to stir in you a continual passion for intimacy with Him. Let your meetings with Him emanate from this place of holy passion.
And then, give yourself permission to meet with Him “all day long.” When you’ve missed the time that you intended to have devotions, don’t throw up your hands in despair and give up. Instead, talk to Him while you are washing dishes or folding laundry, jogging or riding the subway. Carry this devotional in your bag so that you can carve out time for Him in unconventional places. He is everywhere.
What is your hope for this devotional? How do you hope women grow from using it?
I pray that these passages bring an added layer of dimension, or even just some renewed direction, to the reader’s own exchange with the Savior over the next ninety days. Whether young or old, I hope women will be encouraged and realigned toward the simple beauty of sitting with Him, hearing Him, speaking to Him, and being enlightened by His love letter to them.
I’m praying women will be be beckoned away each day from the fast-paced, temporal whirlwind of lesser (though necessary) tasks and be refocused on greater things—things that aren’t applauded and appreciated by most, but are eternally recognized by One . . . the One who makes life worth living. The One who wants to Awaken you each day to the sound of His voice.
Is there anything else about this book that you’d like to share with women who might pick it up?
Use the journaling space provided to keep a track record of what God is saying and doing in your life. Write down the shifts in your perspectives and the transformations in your circumstances. Make plans for accountability and obedience and keep a running tab on your prayer requests and God’s answers. At the end, you will have a beautiful record of this season of your journey with God.