Jennifer L. Lane was one of the hundreds of women I joined in taking up the Write 31 Days challenge. A few months ago I was given the great privilege to be among the first to read her now newly released Faith Adventures: Stories of Learning with an Unseen God. You can find my own review here: “He is in the deep end with us.”
Today, I welcome Jennifer to my blog to share part of her journey with you, to inspire, challenge, excite and encourage you to step further into your own Faith Adventures.
Jennifer, thank you for joining me today. Can you perhaps start by telling us a little about yourself and your family? Where do you come from? Where do you live now? And what ministry are you now involved in?
I grew up in a small Texas town, that’s not so small anymore. It’s tripled in size in the past decade. My family still lives there, but I moved to the panhandle of Texas in college because I was chasing my boyfriend. That story ended the opposite of how most stories like that end. We were married after two years of college, and we have been married 18 1/2 years now. I’ve been in Amarillo, Texas for 20 years, so I claim it as home. While we were dating, my husband’s family started an inner-city ministry to children in an old brick building in downtown Amarillo. It is hard to believe that our ministry is almost 20 years old.
What was it that drove you to share your personal journey of faith with the world? And where does the title Faith Adventures come from?
I stole the title Faith Adventures from my father-in-law, Don Lane. He used many of his adventures in his sermons, and he always encouraged the congregation to have faith adventures of their own. I had the idea of putting together all of my faith adventures on the way home from a Christian conference. I had talked to people all week about my life as I was introducing myself to new people. My stories were so unlike the other people I met, they almost sounded like I was making them up. There were a few people I met who had unusual stories, where their life was atypical. Those life stories, those people, could easily point to Christ’s influence in their life and how God was working in them and through them. I realized that their stories were faith adventures, and my stories were faith adventures. Maybe my stories could inspire people just like a few stories had inspired me. I heard about Write 31 Days on September 30th, the night before it begins. I’ve only been blogging since January, so I had never heard of it. I saw it on my Twitter feed, and I signed up on a whim. I didn’t know what I was going to write about, but that next morning I remembered that idea I had thought of on the way home from that conference. I decided to write about my life stories of Faith Adventures. By day 4, I knew I could make what I was writing into a decent book. I ended up writing all 31 days and about 15 more days into November.
In reading your book I was personally greatly encouraged by your willingness to be vulnerable before both God and your readers. Can you share something of this with us here? And how you have seen God use your struggles, heartache and fears in your life to His Glory?
I struggle with social anxiety. I’ve always cared way to much what others think of me. Blogging this past year has helped me come face to face with that fear. I know that people connect to others through vulnerability, so I tried to not shy away from it while I wrote. I was also afraid of making myself into the hero of the story, because I’m not. I want the hero to be God, because He is the hero. In pointing out my weakness, hopefully, I make sure that I haven’t painted myself as righteous or someone who has it all together. I am neither.
What would you say has been your biggest lesson in your Faith Adventures thus far? And why?
I would say that I have learned to recognize what ministries God wants me involved in, because the opportunities are endless and overwhelming. I’ve mostly learned this through trial and error, not by receiving some big sign or prayer answering. For me, the Holy Spirit is most easily heard in the middle of serving. I’ve learned that as long as I am serving where God wants me to serve, that God is not going to leave me out in the cold. God is going to provide what I need physically and emotionally to accomplish the ministry that He wants to accomplish. I believe the same is true for all of us.
What one piece of encouragement would you like to leave with our readers here?
My father-in-law wanted to preach until he couldn’t preach anymore. He wanted to have one last chance to lead others to Jesus at his funeral, so he insisted on being buried with his finger pointing to John 3:16 in an open Bible. We honored those wishes when he was laid to rest almost 6 years ago. I believe his preaching continues through his children, who are all three in full time ministry. I’m going to tell you what my father-in-law would tell you, have a faith adventure. Trust the Lord, and try His splendor out. Get to know God by serving Him in some wild, offbeat way. God calls every Christian to the Great Commission and to love others. In those commands, there is something you can do for His Kingdom.
Jennifer describes Faith Adventures as: “a book of essays and scripture studies centered around the allusive idea of faith. It is full of real-life stories meant to encourage your courage, dwindle your fear, and cultivate your faith in a faithful God. Local missions, foreign mission, adoption, social anxiety, spiritual growth, loss, friendship, and leadership are just some of the topics covered in this inspiring book. Faith Adventuresreminds us that childlike faith isn’t shallow. So let this book spur you into a deeper faith, that remains simple and pure.”
Pick up a copy at Amazon now, for yourself, or for someone who you would like to inspire, challenge, excite and encourage in their own journey of faith.