Since publishing Silly Sophie’s Summer Sunday Morning, the most frequent question I am asked is what inspired me to write a children’s book. While it is true that both my growing faith and precious dog, Sophie inspired me to write the book, it all started with a-clear-as-day answer to a desperate prayer.
About ten years ago, I became involved in the pro-life group at my church. As part of the ministry, we attended the annual Roe Memorial Mass held at the Cathedral Guadalupe in Downtown Dallas. It is held every year in January on or around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, and it is a deeply moving experience. For every year since Roe V. Wade, someone – the age of each year passed – brings a red rose to the altar to signify the lives lost due to abortion. The service is always followed by the March for Life that begins at the Cathedral and ends at the Dallas courthouse where the ruling for Roe v. Wade was decided. It is a day when people of all faiths and those of none – who believe in the sanctity of life – come together to peacefully pray for an end to the violence of abortion.
The first time I participated in the Mass, my heart was deeply touched.
Scripture tells us that we are ALL created with a Godly purpose:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremaih 29:11
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalms 139: 13-14
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
If God creates all things through Him and for Him, then He created each human being in His image and for His purpose. I sat there in that Mass with tears in my eyes thinking about those sweet babies — 50 million of our potential brothers, sisters, colleagues, and spouses have never seen the light of day since the decision in 1973 – and I thought about how broken our world is and realized how very broken I was.
I had been experiencing a long season of brokenness, and I was struggling to find my own purpose. As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted was to be a mom. I desired a family with a houseful of kids more than any career, and since that prayer had not been answered in the way I wanted, I felt lost.
Among my prayers that day was a desperate prayer for God to show me my purpose, and it was in that moment that He answered my prayer. He spoke to my heart as-clear-as-day and gave me the idea to write a children’s book. I remember being surprised about the idea because it was the last thing I expected and did not feel qualified at all to do.
I realize now that during that season of my life God was working on my heart in a life changing way. Scripture tells us that God is Love, and that we are made in His likeness and image. As much as I desired a family and wanted love, nothing I was doing was really coming from a loving place – at least not really. It certainly wasn’t coming from hate, but the things that were motivating me were coming from a selfish desire to achieve. I was striving to earn enough money, for recognition, and for worldly possessions and status which included wanting to be married. All of these things are not bad in and of themselves. But they were all for my selfish wants for me, myself, and I.
When I returned home that afternoon, I sat down at my computer and wrote my first draft of Silly Sophie. This was the first time I really did anything out of love. My growing faith in the Lord had ignited a spark in my heart and God was fanning the flames. I began to think about those sweet babies that deserved a chance to find their purpose, and I felt called to write a book for children to hopefully foster a love of family, God, and the sweetest of all creatures – dogs.
Once I decided to follow God’s urging and seek his will and purpose for me things started to fall into place. I am not saying it was easy and I that I had or have everything figured out, because I absolutely did not and do not. However, I know if I ask, God is faithful and will always show me the way. I just need to be open, patient, and listen.
At the end of 2018, I decided to take a hiatus from my career in non-profit work to focus on publishing and promoting my book. Taking risks is not in my DNA, but I will never regret the first six months of this year or investing in this project with all that I had. It was the first time money didn’t matter and it was the first time that what other people thought of me didn’t matter. For the first time, I felt like I was doing something God called me to do not for my own purpose, but for His.
P.S. I feel compelled to share that while writing this post, I started to feel very insecure almost scrapping the whole thing. But two things happened that confirmed that I needed to see this to completion – imperfect though it may be.
First, last week I attended the Salvation Army luncheon in Houston with keynote, Terry Looper author of Sacred Pace: Four Steps to Hearing God and Aligning Yourself with His Will. His story is an example of how God works through our struggles and seasons of brokenness to change the course of our lives. I am already almost done with the book and I highly recommend it if you feel like you are on the hamster wheel of life.
Second, out of nowhere the Bible app on my phone notified me about a new study entitled “Finding God’s Purpose for Your Life.” The devotional differentiated between proximate purpose (right here and now) and remote purpose (ultimate). I read the devotional and I learned that writing Silly Sophie was my proximate purpose and though I am still working on understanding my ultimate purpose, I will continue to seek God’s will and ask Him to show me the way.
1 thought on “Finding Purpose”
Beautifully written from the heart, Alex. Thanks for sharing your special talents!