Two Special Announcements!

Good morning! Today will be a different kind of post. I’ve been busy preparing some things that I hope will be a blessing to my readers. But before I share what they are I wanted to share a bit of my heart with you.

Some of you are new here, so let me first say that I still sometimes find myself wondering how I got here– writing a blog that points people to God and His Word and includes sharing about my life so publicly in the process. (The following will be familiar to those of you who are longtime readers, as I’ve written bits and pieces about this in past posts.)

When I started blogging in 2010, it was without much expectation. It was a place for me to write (and I’ve always loved to write since I was a little girl) and that was about the extent of it. But then I started feeling like I should “market” this blog. After all, wouldn’t that be the good? Isn’t that what I was “supposed to do”? It certainly was, according to podcasts and conferences about blogging.

I soon realized something: A biblical blog is generally not going to be a very popular blog and will both create enemies and let you know who your true friends are. While I never expected people to agree with me all the time, I was happy to agree to disagree. I don’t dislike or bear ill will towards anyone who doesn’t agree with what I have written.

It’s also important to note here that I have no illusion that I am right all the time. As I’ve said so often here on the blog: It doesn’t matter one little bit what my opinion is. The question for any Christian must always be: what is God’s opinion? That is the only opinion that matters. And the place we find that opinion is in His Word. It’s so important to examine what anyone says (or writes or sings) against what the Bible says.

But so many people–even many Christians– don’t want to know what the Bible says. Because it costs just too much to submit and to obey. I do understand the difficulty and I have much grace for the believer who has that battle raging within them. I’ve fought and continue to fight that same battle. But we dare not give up or reject God’s Word. We must keep fighting. We must hold on to the anchor and guide that God has given us for this life and seek to obey His Word.

But I found that many people did not have grace and understanding for me and what I believed God had called me to do. I have tried my best to point people to the Word for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) but I have to admit that I have been stunned and deeply hurt over the rejection, antagonism, and misunderstanding I have received because of this blog through the years. But I am fine. Please don’t feel bad for me. I did have some rough years but God continued to encourage me through His Word and through encouragement from many of you and I have been able to feel at peace about this (Studying I Peter recently has also been a great encouragement to me regarding this!)

I would also like to add here how much I especially appreciate those of you who have afforded me grace and have continued to read (or to be my friend), despite the fact that you don’t agree with me on every point. I am grateful for you.

Around the same time I was realizing the hard truth of the cost I was probably going to pay in writing, I was also feeling a bit uneasy about “marketing myself”. I was so relieved when I heard someone in ministry say something about this. The wisdom of what they said struck me profoundly. This person had committed to never marketing their ministry in any way but to instead let the increase up to God. This struck a cord within me. Yes, I would leave the increase up to God. I became content with the small readership that God had given and just wanted to faithfully serve God through this tiny little platform.

One morning, a few years later, I sat down to write a post. I wrote it in just a few minutes and hit “publish”. Imagine my surprise when this post went viral. Over the course of the next year and a half, this post would make my blog known to people across the world. I was shocked and not a little disconcerted! God, as only He can do, had used that post to grow the blog to where it is today. Not really all that huge in the scope of things but much bigger than I ever expected.

I am truly thankful for each one of you who has taken your precious time to read the blog. I hope that it points you to the Bible, encourages you in your walk with God, and gives you hope in the midst of all that is going on in this world. I do believe God has called me to encourage the saints through this platform specifically and it is with this calling in mind that I share these two announcements–

First…

I can think of no other thing that is more important for a believer than to be in the Word, studying for themselves. This is why I started the Growing4Life Bible Reading Challenge seven years ago. I am excited to announce that the 2023 Bible Reading Challenge is up! (You can find more about that here.) I will write a special post on the upcoming challenge at a later date, closer to the end of the year. But I did want to let you know about something I’ve been working on related to this…

In December of last year, I had the very last-minute idea of creating a corresponding workbook for the challenge. I created it quickly, found a local printer, and went to the work of sending each one out individually to those who wanted it. Personally, I found the workbook very helpful in my own personal study. It made me dig a bit more and really figure out what the passage was saying. And so I decided to do another one for this year. But I wasn’t sure how to go about making it available to Growing4Life readers who may be interested in it. Especially those of you who live in different countries. At the suggestion of a few friends, I looked into making it available on Amazon. Lo and behold, this was not impossible and so I got to work. I am happy to say it IS available there. It should be available to you, no matter where you live in the world. You can find it here–

Second…

When I realized that publishing on Amazon wasn’t all that hard, I set about the task of compiling my Christmas stories into one book for you, my readers. I know many of you are not interested in this, but I think there are a few of you who may be. I have no grand illusions of this book’s success. I know that there will be a very select few who are interested in this. But it was a really great way to wade into the publishing world. I didn’t do everything perfectly, that’s for sure. There is a lot to think of and there is much by way of formatting that is complicated (and annoying, too!) It took a lot of work, but the reward of seeing the book listed on Amazon was worth it. In the book you will find all of the stories I’ve featured on the blog so far, along with one new story that has never been published before. You can find that book here–

Quite honestly, I have not grown any more comfortable with marketing myself than I was all those years ago. And I am not writing to earn money. In fact, my generous husband has footed the bills for running this blog each year (it costs me several hundred dollars each year to keep this blog ad-free). And so it goes against my grain to “sell these books”. But it is my prayer that both of these resources I’ve made available may be of great encouragement to some of you. And I really hope that An Extraordinary Christmas will plant seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of those readers who don’t know Christ personally. And this is why I published these two books– to encourage believers and to plant seeds of the Gospel in those who would never read the stories on the blog.

And one final note–if you used the workbook last year and found it beneficial or if you have read the Christmas stories through the years, would you consider writing a review on Amazon? Books without reviews on Amazon look so forlorn and lonely… I would appreciate so much if some of you would take the time to do this. Thank you so much in advance!!

I hope these brand new resources will be a great blessing to you!

8 thoughts on “Two Special Announcements!”

  1. Leslie I love your blog…it’s right up there with Michelle Lesley and Elizabeth Prata…great company indeed. I also enjoy your daughter’s writing when it appears in your post. I don’t do Facebook, so it’s very special to read her articles when you include them with yours.

    The workbook to go along with the upcoming reading plan is perfect for me. I need structure and assignments, rather than read and stop. Thank you so much,
    Jana Walczuk

    1. Thank you so much for those kind words!! And you should be able to click on the picture in the post. If that doesn’t work, just search for Growing4Life in the Amazon search box 😊

  2. I just found your blog this morning as I was searching for a Bible reading challenge for 2023. If I am not on facebook can I still participate in the challenge and just leave comments on your blog of where I am in the reading?

    1. Sure! I do post quite a bit on the facebook group but if you don’t want to join but would like more structure as you do the challenge you can click on the link for the 2023 Bible Challenge page (found at top of this page) where you will find a link to buy the 2023 Bible Reading Challenge workbook. That would probably be the easiest way. But if you want to comment on the blog, that’s totally fine, too :) Glad to have you here!

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