Speaking for the Lord

GFM-1
Showing the women how to draw creation days from the Answers in Genesis website.

What an incredible week! Last Thursday, I did a book party in the Chicago area. On Friday and Saturday, I spoke as the keynote for a women’s conference at Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI. And on Monday, I met with two publishers in Grand Rapids.

As I drove on Thursday toward Chicago, a tune kept running through my mind. I couldn’t think of the words or identify the song, but I thought it might begin with, “Speak to me” or something similar. When I arrived at my host’s home, I asked her about it. She’s an accomplished pianist and organist, and she immediately identified it as “Speak, O Lord.” She printed off the lyrics, which I’m pasting here so you can see how they fit with my experiences.

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

(Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend)

My prayer about the “Soul Rest: Resting in God” conference had long been that God would speak through me, feeding the women through His Word and planting His truth deep inside each of us. My desire was for God to shape us in His likeness that we might go forth and show His love, fulfilling His purposes for His glory.

Presentations spoke about obedience, humility, as well as developing thoughts and attitudes that contribute to rest. The radiance of God’s purity reminded me of the last line of my final presentation, about how “the pale moon of each individual I must fade in the blazing sun of the great I AM.” I had written my talks with a view to showing hearers not only God’s power and authority, but also His great love. The presentations were saturated with Scripture’s “words of power.” I had written at length about renewing our minds to focus on God’s plans and His eternal truths, His gracious promises, and our walk in the Spirit. It seemed the song had been written for me and all the women at the conference.

That Thursday evening, I enjoyed fellowship with about a dozen women at a book party, and I left the next morning for Michigan. I was able to check into my hotel room early and had lunch with a woman with whom I’ve communicated for years regarding my books published by Reformed Fellowship, for which she works. It was great to finally meet this forever sister in person, and she was extremely helpful, showing me the church and helping me set up (and tear down after the conference). I had a light dinner (I was too nervous to eat much for a few days before the conference) with conference organizers, who were a terrific bunch of friendly and kind sisters in the Lord. Then women began to arrive for the conference. What a joy to meet many I’d communicated with by email, but met now for the first time face-to face! Two I met were the wife of my editor at Christian Renewal and the secretary for that magazine. After the first presentation, I had the opportunity to chat with my editor, when he and the secretary’s husband came in to pick up their wives.

The next day, I presented twice and signed books when I had free time. While I was signing books before the last session, some women gathered at the front of the sanctuary for an informal hymn sing. Suddenly, the strains of “Speak, O Lord” wafted out to me. Tears filling my eyes, I explained the connection to the women standing by my table and we all agreed how amazingly God sometimes works in our lives. I was still signing books as women filed into the sanctuary and found their seats. The song leader asked several women to come forward and sing a song before the afternoon presentation began. Can you guess what they sang? Yes, “Speak, O Lord.”

By the time I got on stage, I was pretty emotional. I shared how God had been speaking to me through that song, although I wish I’d taken time to go through the lyrics and point it all out, as I did earlier in this post. But I’m not sure I had my copy of the lyrics with me, and I might not have made it through that process without breaking down.

Throughout the conference, God blessed me with many meaningful interactions with women, including times I prayed with some and times others prayed for me.

That Saturday evening, I was incredibly blessed to spend some time with the Christian Renewal people. For one thing, I could actually eat! But primarily because this was the first time ever that the editor and secretary and I were together. I felt like part of a visible team of which I’ve been an invisible member for years.

On Sunday, I worshiped at a Sovereign Grace URC in Grand Rapids and had lunch at the home of a couple I know. The husband had edited my book on infant loss, and the wife had edited both my published devotionals. I also spent some lovely time with a nephew and his wife who live in Grand Rapids.

On Monday, I attended meetings at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (the home of Reformation Heritage Books). After a tour of the beautiful building, I joined everyone present for their usual 10:00 prayer meeting. Then Dr. Beeke and a few others met with me to discuss a proposed project. Before I left the Seminary, I signed a contract to write with Dr. Beeke a book called Puritan Heroes. The goal is to publish this in a similar format to RHB’s popular book, Reformation Heroes. It may come out at the end of 2017 or in 2018. While at PRTS, I had the opportunity to do some research in its extensive library of Puritan resources.

That afternoon, I also met with an acquisitions editor at a different publishing house. I’ve been communicating with her for some time regarding Exoneree (a memoir collaboration with Uriah Courtney, who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over eight years). She and her team had already reviewed the manuscript and expressed an interest, but preferred that it be cut down by nearly 20,000 words. She wanted to hear about my January trip to San Diego, when Uriah and I met with the California Innocence Project’s book club and participated in their discussion about the memoir. She shared some promising information about possible opportunities, and I’m more eager than ever to focus on revising the manuscript and book proposal.

In God’s providence, I was able to avoid the busiest Chicago freeways during rush hour by driving down into Indiana to spend the night with a friend. She and another friend and I enjoyed a great evening together, and I was blessed with a good night’s rest. The next morning, I drove on secondary roads until I got on I-80 at Morris, IL, far past the heaviest traffic that makes me feel like a bug boxed in by trucks. I arrived safely home yesterday afternoon. My husband was already home from work and happy to see me (as I was to see him). My little lapdog, Libby, nearly licked me to death. She always mopes around and barely eats while I’m gone. My husband says she must think that if she fasts and prays enough I’ll come back home. But she ate all her food last evening.

God spoke. He was with me every step and every mile of this amazing adventure. It was exhausting, but exhilarating to see Him working through everything!

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Local Book Launch

MMAFasten your seat belts! Books 2 & 3 of my Matthew in the Middle series will officially launch this afternoon at 5-4-3-2-1 PM.

Patricia, whose melodious voice and godly spirit warm listeners’ hearts, plans to interview me at 1:00 CT today on KCWN 99.9, where hope shines. If you’re out of range of the station’s reach, you can listen live on the website.

on air
General Manager Bev De Vries took this picture through the production room window while Patricia and I were on the air on December 19, 2014.

Having grown up as a pastor’s daughter, Patricia feels as affinity for my book boy, Matthew. After she read Matthew Muddles Through, she said it seemed like I must have been in her childhood home. She interviewed me about that first book of the Matthew in the Middle series last December (you can read about that day here.)

Matthew Makes Strides and Matthew Moves Aheadthe second and third books of the Matthew in the Middle series, are far more exciting, so I’m eager to hear what Patricia thinks of them. Tune in at 1 PM today to find out!

Local people, send all your friends and relatives over to the station at 304 Oskaloosa St in Pella to get signed copies of these and my other published books. Thanks for supporting this official launch and helping place quality literature into the hands of middle grade readers!

If you or your children have already read the books, what are some things you enjoy about the stories?

 

Matthew is moving ahead!

MMAFew things thrill a writer more than holding a hard copy of a finally-published book. It’s a rush to see your name on the cover, but it’s also such fun to see how the colors and artwork look in real life. With all three of my Matthew in the Middle books, I’ve been pleased that the actual books look even better than the PDF cover files. Ken Raney, over at Clash Creative, did the artwork for all three novels in this series and he did a fabulous job.

What a pleasure to receive this afternoon my first hard cover copies of Matthew Moves Ahead, the third and final book of the Matthew in the Middle series! All three novels are now available on Amazon: Matthew Muddles ThroughMatthew Makes Strides, and Matthew Moves Ahead. Check them out!

If you enjoy them, please leave a review. Any reader can review a book, and it’s easy to do. It takes only a few minutes, but it means a great deal to the author because reviews drive ratings and sales. And being able to pay for groceries thrills a writer almost as much as holding a hard copy of a published book.

Wind of the Spirit

How can you describe the wind? You cannot see it or capture it, but it tousles your hair and caresses your face. Jesus said, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8, ESV).

God’s Spirit moves through Rockville Correctional Facility like a mighty wind. You see it glow in the eyes of Christian sisters. You feel it touch your heart and lift your spirit.

What a privilege to come alongside Divine Hope staff to minister to these sisters in prison! As you bend your will to the Lord’s and reach out with the compassion of Christ, you find yourself equipped and blessed beyond your imagining.

Grace Barnes and I spent five days ministering to women in an Indiana prison.
Grace Barnes and I spent five days ministering to our Christian sisters in an Indiana prison.

Who can capture the wind? We can only stand amazed at its power and in awe of its Maker.

Extraordinary Endorsement

It’s a wonderful Wednesday because I just received this extraordinary endorsement for my upcoming middle reader novel, Matthew Makes Strides:

Glenda Mathes writes with energy and intentionality. When she writes about a coming tornado, it feels so real, I start glancing nervously out the window. Young people will feel like the author knows them, is inside their heads, so intimate is her knowledge of her readers. This is a frank and honest portrayal of growing up a preacher’s kid, but one that speaks to the extraordinary struggles and challenges of ordinary growing up. Highly recommended.
~ Douglas Bond, author of Duncan’s War and many other works of historical fiction

This endorsement means a great deal to me, especially since Douglas Bond is an interesting blogger and writes exciting novels that appeal to readers of all ages. You can check out Duncan’s War and his many other books at his website.

Douglas Bond in Scotland (photo from his Facebook page)
Douglas Bond in Scotland
(photo from his Facebook page)

Faithful friends

The OOFPAs
The OOFPAs

My friend, Susan, and her husband, Gary, regularly bicycle with a group of friends. They call themselves the OOFPAs, which may sound like a Greek drinking salute but actually stands for Ornery Old Folks Peddling Along.

A biking club of faithful friends sounds like a hoot, but these folks do more than peddle around together. They also study the Bible together. And they pray together.

Susan frequently shares with them my progress or struggles with writing projects, and they pray for me. What an amazing friend she is! That’s going above and beyond the usual friendship call of duty. But Susan’s done even more than that for me.

When she and Gary invited the OOFPAs to their home for a New Year’s Eve party, she gave each couple a gift: a copy of my newest devotional, Discovering Delight. Susan truly is an amazing friend. She understands how much authors need support and encouragement.

She understands that because she is an author and an extraordinary storyteller. Her story about The Atonement of Emily Adams will tug your heartstrings and lead you to assess your own relationships as well as the way you live your faith.

Need an additional reason to buy her book? All author proceeds go to Pour International to help build a home for abandoned babies in Swaziland. That demonstrates the genuine character of Susan’s love for God and others.

On this wonderful Wednesday, I’m thanking God for faithful friends like Susan.

Local launch and book signing

Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing
Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing

This Friday, Lord willing, I’ll be interviewed by Patricia on KCWN 99.9 FM and will be signing books during the station’s Christmas Open House from 11:00 to 1:00. The station is located at 304 Oskaloosa St. in Pella. Local people, come over between 11:00 and 1:00 for some cookies and conversation!

And if you’re still looking for Christmas gifts, you can’t go wrong by giving someone an opportunity to dig into God’s Word. Discovering-Delight-front (1)Copies of my new devotional, Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law will be available for $10.

Searching for a gift for a middle grade reader, aged 8 to 12? Why not foster their reading skills with a novel that conveys truth in an engaging story? Matthew Muddles Through is about an ordinary but imaginative kid, the middle child in a minister’s family, who faces trouble on every side. Matthew’s humor and imagination help him cope with his problems, and in the process he learns more about loving others and trusting God. Copies of this juvenile fiction novel, the first is a series of three, will be available on Friday for $10.

PrintI’ll also have available copies of A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God and Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss for $10 each. One fortunate person will be able to purchase my singular copy of Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism for $15. This is the first volume of the popular Life in Christ catechism curriculum, which has sold in several countries and is being translated into eight languages.

Save shipping! Buy any of these books on Friday and the author will be happy to sign them for you.

Those of you who don’t live nearby may be interested to know that I’m scheduled to be interviewed on the Janet Meffert Show on Monday, December 20, at 2:30 Central time. You can listen online at the show’s website.

Discovering Delight

Discovering-Delight-front (1)In this Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful I don’t have to go away on this snowy day, and I’m thankful to finally announce that my newest devotional is available.

Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law is available from Reformation Heritage Books or Amazon. Don’t believe the Amazon listing if it says it’s temporarily out of stock or that only one is left. You should be able to get all the copies you want.

And you’ll want several. Where else can you get such an affordable and meaningful Christmas gift for all the adults on your list? This book explores each of the twenty-two sections of Psalm 119 as well as other Old Testament and New Testament texts that speak about delighting in God and his word.

Cornelis Venema, president and professor of doctrinal studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, writes, “This collection of meditations on loving God’s law by Glenda Mathes is a jewel. Mathes’s primary aim is to encourage her readers to discover delight in God’s law and commandments, especially as this is expressed in Psalm 119. She fulfills this aim admirably in a series of brief meditations, each of which brims with helpful insights into the riches of the good gift of God’s holy law. While Mathes observes that loving law clashes in modern ears like clanging cymbals, her meditations invite the reader to joy in God and His good commandments.”

Aimee Byrd, author of Housewife Theologian and cohost of the Mortification of Spin podcast, writes, “Discovering Delight focuses on a timely subject, the relationship a Christian has with God’s law, in an accessible way. If you like the idea of daily devotionals but wish they went a little deeper, this is the book for you. Glenda Mathes offers a commendable style of commentary-meets-personal-devotional. She provides the context, meaning, and personal application of Scripture that will lead the reader to greater pleasure and true joy in God’s law.”

I’m thankful for those terrific endorsements, and I’m thankful to share with others the joy of finding delight in God and his word. Discovering Delight truly was a delight to write. May it ignite your delight in the Lord to his glory!

Matthew on Amazon!

PrintMy book boy has gone out into the wide world. The world wide web, that is.

Matthew Muddles Through, the first book in my “Matthew in the Middle” series is now available on Amazon.  Click on this link to go to the book listing.

After all the surgeries and hospitalizations Matthew has undergone (see more about that here and here, oh, and here, here, and here), it’s wonderful to launch him into cyberspace.

Here’s hoping he soars!