Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
It was my friend Judy, over coffee at Cafe Borrone, who offered the first encouragement.
We sat outside, drinking lattes from porcelain mugs. We were talking about writing and story. About the hard stuff of parenting and marriage. Of being known and messing up. Of connection and isolation. Of future dreams and gratitude for the now.
(BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL PRINT BY ARTIST RACHEL JACOBSON.)
I was in the middle of writing a series on my blog called Voice: A Journey Toward Life in 31 Conversations. And Judy said it could be more than just a series on a blog.
Here is how I described Voice to my readers on my old blog page two years ago:
“I wonder if you’re a lot like me. I wonder if you’re busy, with a calendar that is filled. I wonder if you want to live a life more fully surrendered to God but are intimidated by what a life of prayer is supposed to look like—particularly, what it may look like to have regular conversations with God.
Come participate in a back and forth conversation—a woman’s prayers and heart cries to God, and His responses back, as she listens and writes them down.
In the midst of a culture of busyness and to-do lists and trying to prove oneself and get ahead, can a busy woman’s regular conversations with God—her prayers and her listening to Him—be the key to claiming the life God has always intended for her to live?”
A journey toward life. I still like how that sounds. And when my husband, Justin, a few months later, who had heard me talk about this blog series but never knew the title of it, comes into the bedroom where I sit, laptop in my lap, and tells me he was praying and says, “I feel like God impressed upon my heart something about you writing and some project called ‘Voice.’ What is that?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
It felt too good to be true. Too beautiful.
Writing a book where I ask God to inspire me to write a story of a woman whom He loves, and then to listen for what He wants to say to her in response? My whole heart sang ‘yes.’
I wanted to do this. I wanted to give voice to women who may have not yet shared their story. I wanted to see how our hearts can be encouraged, more receptive to the Holy Spirit’s life in us. I wanted God to speak directly to our hearts, through His response to the women in these conversations.
More than anything, I wanted to see each woman God would paint a picture for me to see. I wanted to meet her. Get to know her. Hear her voice. Listen to her story. I wanted to take in the emotional-crazy-beautiful stuff. The heart cries of joy and pain. The questions with no answers. The worries and beautiful wondering of how, and where, and why.
Writing this manuscript was one of the wildest, most beautiful experiences of my life so far. It was one of the most emotionally exhausting and life-giving too. What I share with you here is the beginning of a book that was once called Voice. And then was called My Charlotte. And then was given the most beautiful title: Breathing Eden: Conversations with God on Light, Fresh Air, and New Things.
Today is the release day of Breathing Eden. This book that is more than a book to me. This book that is an invitation to go deep with God in the sharing of our own story, our own struggles and victories, our own circumstances and situations that need healing. With forty different woman’s stories and God’s personal response to each one, you will find yourself offered a new perspective on how to view a situation that formerly felt confusing or unhappy or hopeless.
God’s rewriting of each story, His unique way to see, is the view we are each desperate to receive.
Would you want to join in and celebrate with me? Would you want to help me get the word out about today’s release of Breathing Eden?
To say thank you for your help in getting the word out–and to celebrate today’s release of Breathing Eden, the publisher and I are giving away two $40 iTunes gift cards. When writing Breathing Eden, there was one sound track I listened to over and over again–The Undoing, by Steffany Gretzinger. It is an album about being called to awaken by our Father. It is an album of emotion and beauty and hope. In music, it communicates, what I believe, is the heart of Breathing Eden.
To win an iTunes gift card, this is what you need to do: share Breathing Eden: Conversations with God on Light, Fresh Air, and New Things on your blog and/or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can share any way you like. Or download and share one of these images from our launch team page right here. Or even repost an image you find on Instagram when you search for #iAmBreathingEden. After you have done that, leave a comment on this post and let me know what and how you shared! I will announce the two winners of the giveaway here on the blog on Friday.
Thank you so much, beautiful sisters. This book is inspired by your hearts, so beautiful and precious to Him.
Breathing Eden with you,
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com