Happy 15 years dear SUMites. Ian here from Sydney, Australia. I thought I’d share how I found this community that is very dear to me. Some of you may be familiar with my story but for all of you newbies you might find it interesting how a man from Down Under stumbled across this safe place.
It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.
My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started, and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.
It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.
Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen Miller. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.
On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.
The Lies of the Enemy
Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.
As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.
A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? A firm perception or belief that you've carried for years being zapped by the Lord as a lie of the devil?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)
The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. I continue to meditate on these verses most days.
I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed.
God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish. It really was a divine appointment.
He certainly is mysterious.
I joined (do we join?) the SUMite community almost eight years ago. I’ve always believed there is a special anointing over Lynn and this community. Even though we see less of Lynn these days, I feel Ann has received a similar anointing to carry the message of SUM into the future.
Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.
On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn (and Dineen) and Ann, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these 15 years. We love sharing this journey with you and each other and look forward to what the future holds.
And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of us.
I so look forward to what the Lord has in store for each other of us in the years ahead.