Marketing Love

Striding down the endless hallway of the Mayo Clinic, I passed hurting people on all sides.  This wasn’t about being heroic; I simply wanted to make my day about more than a doctor appointment.

“Okay, Lord. Who?”  My book felt sweaty in my hand.

Copy number one went to the sweet lady in a wheelchair. “Oohhh,” she said, pursing  fuchsia lips.  “It looks wonderful.  Thank you, Dear.”

Copy number two returned to me with the cold shoulder of rejection.  I kept walking because I couldn’t shake off the possibility that God might still want to do something. Besides, I was stubborn and didn’t want to go home with the book.  When I got to the end of the hallway, I discovered I’d inadvertently funneled into a large waiting room.

“Okay, God.  What now?”

Doing a three-sixty over a sea of people, I tried to look inconspicuous.  Then, with a puff of a prayer, I picked a pleasant-looking lady.  She’d be the one.  I took a deep breath and plopped myself down with only a chair between us.

After a minute of pretending to read my own book, I cleared my throat.  It worked.  We made eye contact.

“Hi,” I began.  “This may sound strange, but I prayed God would lead me to someone I could bless with this free inspirational book, and I feel it’s you.  May I give you this?  I wrote it.”

Her eyes lit up.  “Oh, bless you,” she said, glazing with tears.  No fanfare, just a simple exchange.  I went home happy and bookless.

Two or three weeks went by and apart from a few imaginations of finding “A Friend in the Storm” in a thrift shop, I basically forgot about my give-aways.  That is, until three days ago, when I received this heart-stopping email from Sara, a friend I hadn’t talked to for months:

Dear Cheryl,

I talked to my neighbor & friend about 2 weeks ago, Krista Flint.  She had an amazing story of being touched by God’s love through a stranger.  And that stranger was YOU!  It gave me goose bumps to hear of how she had been going through so much and that you sat beside her in the waiting room and gave her your book.

She was so blessed by your words, kindness, & the power of your poems. She said that she knew that God was near, but it was so comforting to hear it from someone! So I wanted you to know that your choice to follow God’s nudge to go to the waiting room and give “someone” your book was exactly what God planned for you & Krista!! It was so exciting to hear how God did that for both of you.

Sara’s P.S. explained that Krista was a breast cancer survivor.  Later, the same day I gave her my book, she was in a major car accident.  Although her car was totaled, she somehow managed to make it through it okay.  “A Friend in the Storm” gave her peace and reminded her that God has a purpose.

“Make use of every opportunity.”  Ephesians 5:16

When we ask God to go before us and use us for His glory, He makes a way.

Until heaven, we can’t possibly grasp all the ways God uses us to reach others.  We simply rejoice in these glimpses.

Giving away books is only one of many ways we can be God’s messengers.  We can also share personal notes, Scripture cards, and post cards or business cards with thought-provoking quotes or concepts from our books.

One time, when I gave a waitress a poem card, she threw her arms around me and burst into tears.  The Lord used a simple poem to reach into her heart and start a healing conversation.  Don’t you love how the Holy Spirit works behind the scenes?

How do you share marketing love?  I’d love to hear stories of how God used you and your words.


You’ve Got “Connections”

It’s a great privilege to connect with the world through our words and a greater privilege to connect with the Word about our worlds.

Connect with God about our writing

“God gave you this dream,” my pastor told me.  “You need to give it back to Him in prayer because He’s the only one who can make it count for eternity.”

One of my friends posted this on Facebook:  “I struggled with my writing for three hours, but after praying, I couldn’t stop the flow.  Why did I wait so long?”

When we’re not intentional about prayer, it falls by the wayside like everything else we’re not intentional about.

God wants to be our writing partner.  He says, “Let me have it!”

  • Lord, give me wisdom and direction today.
  • Inspire me and keep me focused.
  • Help me to persevere for your glory. 

“Commit everything you do to the LORD.  Trust him, and he will help you. ” Psalm 37:5

Connect with “the connected”

“You need prayer partners,” a well-known Christian author told me.  “Trustworthy, faith-filled people who will intercede on your behalf before God.”

Because we’re missionaries of words, the enemy stops at nothing to hinder us.  We need to call on our allies.

I took my friend’s advice and prayed for a little army of intercessors I could add to my email prayer list.  They encourage me to keep going, and I encourage them that they’re a key part of my ministry’s eternal reward.

“The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:8

Connect with God about our readers

If we’re missionaries, our readers are the mission field.

I wrote the poems in A Friend in the Storm, with only one reader in mind, my friend Chantale who was dying of cancer.  I didn’t know my audience would grow from one to hundreds when she asked me to read them at her funeral.  I didn’t know my audience would grow from hundreds to thousands when Zondervan published them in a gift book.  I simply wanted to be a faithful friend.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”  Luke 16:10

Here’s how I pray for my readers:

  • Father, draw the right people to my book today.
  • Anoint my words to jump off the page into their hearts.
  • Please bring Holy Spirit peace and transformation.

Connect with God about your agent

If we’re going to pray about our God-given gift, we’re going to pray for our agents because they’re a big part of the gift!  Just as they represent us before editors, we’re privileged to represent them before the Father.

  • Lord, may she stay close to you, in the Word and in prayer.
  • Please help her be balanced and manage her time wisely.
  • Give her favor, Father.  Please open all the right doors for her today.

Connect with God about other writers

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2

We need to pray for other writers the way we would want them to pray for us.

Here are three great groups to remember in prayer:

  • Writers that feed us
  • Writers in our immediate circles
  • Writers we DO NOT want to pray for

Who are we currently reading?  Karen KingsburyMax LucadoKathi Macias?  We need to ask the Lord to continually inspire and bless them.

If we’re a part of a writer’s group or literary agency like WordServe that shares prayer requests, we have a community opportunity to practice true, selfless love.

Are we envious or jealous?  We need to pray!  God even calls us to pray for those writers who wronged us.  It happens.  And prayer changes us ever as much as it changes them!

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

I’m wondering, dear friends, what is your experience with the power of prayer?