I must confess, I agreed to review this book because the title caught me: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife.
I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the book virtually fell into her mind, as a complete piece, chapter titles and all. (I have had that happen a couple of times, but I didn't write the books. I could kick myself for that!)
But there was more I was looking for. I think by necessity a pastor's wife must be discreet, but often that discretion seems more like distance. It can feel like a barrier. Kind of like, I like you, but don't get too close to me.
I don't know what a pastor's wife goes through, but I can imagine the demands can be stressful. It has to be difficult to make friends you can trust on an intimate level. And still, you can't trust them with other people's confidences. Even if you just disclose your self, and the friendship melts down, it leaves a gaping hole from which the shared confidences will inevitably pour out. It's a risky business. I thought that the book was going there, but it really didn't do that as much as it documented her personal journey about learning to listen to God.
But anyway, when I saw this book, my interest was piqued. Kathryn Bonner has graciously consented to answer some questions which will tell you, better than I could, about her experiences with being broken, and how when she listened, God was able to put the pieces back together for her.
Her marriage fell apart, and much of this is the story of the man God put into her life, but the book is full of tidbits and eye-opening nuggets of wisdom that I keep mulling over in my mind. It's a great read!
Kathryn, when and how did you first get the inspiration to write "Confessions Of A Pastor’s Wife"?
I write about this in the intro of the book. It was literally like a burning bush moment for me. In 2004 God gave me all of the chapter titles all at once. He was literally speaking this book into me! I never expected it! It’s one of the reasons the subtitle is “He Speaks, Can You Hear Him?” I literally ran into my office and grabbed my prayer journal and began writing all of the chapter titles down as fast as He was delivering them to me. They came in perfect speed – it was overwhelming and awesome! I stood there in amazement staring at each chapter title - knowing what would be in every single chapter! Of course, immediately thereafter began to have all of the feelings of being unable, unworthy, and unqualified to do this work. But it was God who gave it to me and He who made the way for it to be completed.
What was the process of writing this book work? Was this an all-at-once kind of epiphany or did this take years in the making, collecting thoughts and ultimately putting them together?
I mentioned before how God gave me the book to write in 2004, but it wasn't until 2006 that I really began to write it. He had to build my faith further, nudging me along. One of the ways in which He continued the prompting was that He provided me with a life coach to hold me accountable, to push me. Then once I finally surrendered all of the self-doubt, unworthiness and fears I began standing it this beautiful place of faith, with His power. He gave me a joy around it and then I began to write. It was like opening up a vein, it just began to flow. There were times when I couldn't pull myself away from the writing, that's when the writing is great! That's when you feel the power of God, the Holy Spirit moving through you, Him speaking. That's the gift He gives me in it. I am so thankful for this gift. It's all from Him, all of it. I love it.
One of the chapters in your book that is titled “Discovering God” you say that there are “moments when God speaks to you through your dreams” does God still speak to you in your dreams?
Oh yes, He sure does, and I hope He never stops! He also speaks to my husband in dreams. Dreams seem to be one of the ways He has revealed major transactions that are headed our way. He speaks profoundly to me through the dreams. It’s not every day, but when it happens it’s intense. In the book I write about some of the dreams He has given me that have come to pass. He’s also done so with Bruce.
You talk about the many ways in which God speaks to us, do you hear His voice as an audible voice or is it an inner sensing voice? Also can you share a few ways in which God speaks and reveals Himself to us, while backing this up through Scripture?
I don’t hear Him in an audible voice, it’s an inner voice that I hear Him, and I hear Him through His Word. Some Biblical references in which God speaks to us are: Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ACTS 9:15: “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.’” 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
The book frequently takes a humorous approach; I found the chapter titled “The Bug Truck" to be deep and absolutely hilarious all at the same time. It has a kind of an intimate "ya ya sisters" kind of thing? Do you think of your book as something that will appeal more to women than to men? Why or why not?
Women love it, and they laugh as they fly through the pages and then they cry as they land on the very next sentence. It’s been very soul stirring. You know, at first I thought that it would have an appeal mainly to women; however, I am getting incredible feedback and actual responses from men. Men are really able to relate to this book on numerous levels. They have shared how parts of it have essentially moved them emotionally as well.
This book is about marriage, talks about becoming a blended family, and talks a lot about Bruce and his approach to our marriage, speaks to raising our children, financial concerns, and being a supportive partnership in marriage. So it has been speaking volumes to men, which I am glad to hear... God is good.
How did your husband Bruce support your efforts with the book?
Bruce was totally supportive. He was an encourager to me. He prayed for me, he knew that this was something new for me and he enjoyed the process along with me. I think he was rather fascinated with the way that God had spoken this book into me.
Was he at all curious of just how much "confessing" appears in the book?
I'm sure he was a bit, but interestingly enough he wasn't asking to read it, he wasn't asking me what I was writing. I found that interesting, because if it were him writing a book, I know that my curiosity would get to me, I'd want to read each page as it was written. He didn't do that at all. He just watched me as I wrote, sat back and smiled at it all.
What do you think is the essence of what you felt compelled to say?
Oh wow, that feels like a loaded question! There are so many things regarding faith, family, how God moves and so much more. I think the two main things that I want people to recognize is how God uses each of us, and the other thing would be the most beautiful and profound ways He speaks to us. He uses you to speak into my life, into my heart, to hear Him.
This book is a portion of my life story, (not all of it certainly and there are more books to come). In this non-fiction faith story, you will find pieces of your very own faith story as you turn the pages, you will hear the quiet whispers being spoken lovingly straight into your very own ears. God has a way of speaking; He has a desire to be heard, and to be trusted by us. He has such wonderful and glorious things to reveal to us, not only through His powerful Word, but also through all of His people.
I am compelled by God to share the ways in which HE SPEAKS to us, all of the many and wondrous ways… through Dreams, through Wise Counsel, through the Stillness of Meditation Alone in our Closets, through The Whisper of the Wind, through a Bumper Sticker, through Children, through the Clouds, and in so many other ways! None of them are farfetched at all! I want it to be known how the Holy Spirit works, in the holy and mysterious ways.
He wants us to hear Him so He uses the multifaceted ways to grab us, ways that He knows we will hear. The Bible reveals to all of us many of the ways He speaks. Through Clouds, through Donkeys, through Burning bushes and the list goes on and on.
Our lives are a walk of faith, struggle, joy, and more struggles and more faith, but we are never alone, never without El Roi – Our God who sees us.
How has the book been received so far by those who have read it?
It's been really cool for me. My sister called after she read it and said "Wow, I'm so surprised, pleasantly surprised!" She didn't realize the writing ability that I had; I laughed and said that I had no idea either. My mom and dad love it, and of course they would. My mother-in-law raves about it and says I should be on Oprah, which makes me laugh. Bruce loves it, of course. My kids adore it; my sons-in-law enjoy it and are proud of me, Of course each of my family members would respond that way.
What has been wonderful to see though is all the reader responses on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, all give it 5 Star ratings, even men have made comments on it. The other blessings are the emails and calls and notes that I have received telling me how the book has moved them, how it’s spoken to them, increased their faith walk, made sense in areas of their lives where they needed that exact Word from God. Others, tell me that there are so many places that they can relate, and still others tell me that they feel like they know me better, and understand the way that God Speaks because of it. This is the essence of the book, and speaks directly to the subtitle “HE SPEAKS CAN YOU HEAR HIM?”
What, in your opinion, will readers find most surprising about the life of a pastor's wife?
That we are just as human as they are, we make mistakes. I will make more mistakes, certainly not intentionally, just because I am human. I am very honest and candid in sharing my truth, my life, and my confessions of when and how I have messed up, done things the wrong way and what I’ve learned from it. I think that they can have certain expectations of who we are as a “Pastor’s Wife” or who we should be, that in reality we just aren't. And yet, they may also find that to be refreshing.
I am a leader among women, and enjoy that role, and I am a woman who loves the Lord with every inch of myself and want so badly for the world to love Him as much as I do. I hope that they find me to be normal, very real, and see that I am trying to walk out my faith the best I can. They may be surprised to note that in my daily living I am a bit ditsy, (OK, maybe that won't really be surprising! :)
What are your plans for the future in the publishing world? Think you have any more books in you?
Oh yes, there are at least four more to come. I have also written a Bible Study Companion to this book, it’s in the first stages of completion. I have written a guided Biblical Meditation titled “In The Potters Hand” which is derived from Jeremiah 18:1-5, and it is beautiful, and profound and straight from God. It can be found on www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com. I am also in the beginning stages of the second book now. This is truly a calling the Lord has placed right in the middle of my heart.
What else does God have you doing these days Kathryn, and how can our readers connect with you?
I am in the process of writing more books, and just finished the Bible Study Companion to this book. I am a Life Purpose Coach, and I do two day 1-1 individual retreats facilitating Life Plans for women, the part I love is which is an amazing thing to witness, is when a women discovers her purpose and passion. My husband also does Life Plans for men. We do couples’ Life Plans as well. I am an instructor through LPCCI for those who are interested in becoming a Life Coach. I am an international speaker and enjoy traveling to the various parts of the world encouraging and sharing the wonders of God!
My websites are www.AwakeningsLifeCoaching.com (based on Isaiah 50:5 “He awakens me morning by morning…) and www.KathrynBonner.com I am putting together Writers Retreat in September for Christian Women. They can register for this retreat and find out more about this opportunity by going to my website www.WomenOfPassionatePurpose.com.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I must confess, I agreed to review this book because the title caught me: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife.
thoughts from daisy at 11:22 AM