19 Jul My Small Part in God’s Epic Story
My Testimony of God’s Faithfulness: (Originally Posted in January of 2016)
This past year leading up to Book Launch Day has been an exciting journey. It all started at the IF Gathering in Austin, Texas that was held in February of 2015. The IF Gathering is a weekend-long Christian women’s conference hosted by Jennie Allen. The vision and purpose of the IF Gathering is to gather, equip, and unleash women to live out God’s calling on their lives. For me, the conference turned out to be life changing. The message I heard clearly from God that weekend was that He was going to use my unique talents, gifts, trials, resources, education, and love for the Lord to Glorify Him. I was not to question how but simply be obedient to His calling and He would equip me and lead me, one step at a time. Over and Over again I began to hear the Lord speak the following words through the Holy Spirit, “Tell your story Emily. Tell your Story. Tell your Story. Tell Your Story.” No matter how hard I tried, I could not shake it.
I could not figure out what that meant for me. Was I supposed to write a book? Maybe that was the story that I was supposed to tell. “That surely could not be it.” I often thought to myself. “I did not have time to write a book. I am not a writer. I am a full-time mom and Financial Advisor. I counsel people in my home on how to handle their finances in between carpool and bath time. My plate is too full to write a book! Besides, I don’t know how to write a book!”
I continued to pray and asked God to clearly reveal His plan for me. I was not going to move forward and do anything unless He made it 100% clear that writing a book was exactly what He wanted me to do. And so I prayed, and waited for direction, and then prayed some more.
Not long afterwards, I received an email inviting me to attend a conference in North Carolina hosted by Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries called “She Speaks.” The purpose of this particular women’s conference was to encourage and equip women as they communicate God’s Word through writing, sharing their testimony, leading a Bible study and speaking from the podium. There was a Speakers Track and a Writers Track for attendees to choose from at the conference. The Writers Track would help attendees learn everything from basic writing guidelines, to preparing an article or manuscript for submission, and everything in between. In addition, attendees would have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with some of the top editors, publishers, and literary agents in the Christian market. WHOA. Hmm. “What should I do? This could be big. This also is most likely for people who already have written a book.” Hmm.
I paced around my house a bit and then finally asked my husband what he thought. He encouraged me to go ahead and sign up for the conference and go explore what God had planned for me. We were both in agreement that this could very well be God’s way of providing the tools, resources, and people I would need to “figure out” how to write a book.
And so my journey began. After hours of research and online classes before I even attended the conference, I learned how to write a book proposal. This was no small task. It quickly became apparent to me that I was supposed to equip individuals and couples to manage their money God’s way. I had been a Financial Advisor for over 17 years. I had learned through years of experience that everyone you meet has some issue with his or her personal finances. Financial issues do not discriminate. They cross all genders, races, and age groups. I also knew that many people consider finances to be a very scary topic. God clearly laid it on my heart to write a book that would be a soft place to land. This book needed to teach readers that I would never meet in person, about how to manage money wisely. However, I knew that I did not want to write a textbook about financial planning. I wanted to write a conversational book that would be easy to read, extremely educational, faith-based, and relatable to everyone.
As I mentioned before, attendees at “She Speaks” have the opportunity to present a book proposal to up to three publishers and/or agents. Months before the conference takes place, attendees receive bios on all publishers and agents that will be accepting book proposals. Their bios tell about their background and what types of authors and/or genres they are interested in reviewing and specifically looking for. After much analysis, you choose your top 5 picks. It is a lottery and matching system. You are not guaranteed anything except two appointments. They may or may not be your first two picks.
I found out just a week before the conference that I would be pitching my book proposal to literary agent, Esther Fedorkevich, who is the owner and founder of the Fedd Agency in Austin, Texas. She was my first pick. That day, my life got very interesting.
I had done my research and I knew that before Esther started her own literary agency in 2003, she had worked for Dave Ramsey in his publishing department for many years. I knew that she would understand my niche of the market and my professional background as a Financial Advisor. What I did not know before our first meeting is that her experience working for Dave Ramsey had planted a very big seed in her heart. Ever since she opened her own literary agency, Esther had been specifically looking for a female, Christian that was an accredited Financial Advisor with experience, charisma, and knowledge to back up their personal financial planning advice. She knew that most women would respond better to a female voice. She also knew that women were the majority of the people buying books on financial planning. Men want respect. However, women want love and security. Part of feeling secure as a woman is knowing whether or not your finances are in order.
The best way to describe a book proposal meeting with a literary agent is to picture the popular television show, Shark Tank, except the contestants are pitching book proposals rather than ideas for new business opportunities. Each aspiring author has 15 minutes to sell her idea and clearly articulate why THIS book will be unique from anything else on the market, and life changing for future readers.
To say that I was nervous going in to my meeting with Esther is an understatement! After about five minutes into my well-rehearsed speech, Esther suddenly interrupted me and told me to start over. Evidently, she had been listening to book proposals all day and was not the least bit interested until she heard my background. It was completely shocking to her. She then blurted out words I will never forget.
“I have been waiting for you.”
Honestly, I looked over my shoulder because I did not know whom she was talking to. “You have been waiting for me?” That was definitely not the response I expected. I was trying to sell her on my book proposal and I never even finished my next sentence. She immediately asked me how quickly I could finish the manuscript and when could I come to Austin and meet with the rest of her team to further discuss this opportunity.
Friends, I cannot even describe to you the shock that I was in when I left that meeting. “Tell your story, Tell Your story. Tell your story.” All of the serendipitous events over this past year that led me to Austin for the If Gathering, back to Fort Worth to write a book proposal, on to North Carolina to pitch my ideas to a literary agent, and then back to Austin to sign a contract to help publish my book all became very clear. God had led me on a path that He had orchestrated specifically for me. Today, on LAUNCH DAY, we are collectively celebrating all that God has done and will do through this book: Faithful Finance: Money Essentials and Biblical Principles. Nothing that has happened up until today, Launch Day, has been an accident.
So why did I really write this book? Because God has called me to. Throughout 2015, there were many long days and nights of writing, edits, re-writes, tight deadlines to meet, Skype calls, focus groups, social media platforms to create, personal interviews to conduct, photo shoots, covers to design, and finally today: BOOKS to SELL. Had any single detail not been orchestrated by God, and instead by mortal man, today would not be launch day. It would just be Tuesday.
I am so very excited for you to go on this journey with me. I humbly ask you to purchase this book today at Amazon.com or on my website. I would be so honored for you to read what God has laid on my heart to share with you. I cannot go any further on this journey without you. I need your support to help spread this message of hope. People need to hear that God does indeed love them and that He does have a plan for their finances. Will you help me today by purchasing a book for yourself, your co-worker, your friend, or your family member? My sincere hope, desire, and prayer is that God will use Faithful Finance to bless you and encourage you!