Starting on Friday, September 11, I’m thrilled to start introducing you all to some amazing women of God whose life stories exude the faithfulness of God!
September 11, 2015
IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO LOST LOVED ONES IN 9/11
Susan VandePol founded the “Families of the Fallen” protocol for fire departments and the “Life After Breath” protocol for churches and faith-based organizations after the duty-related death of her husband on 2005.The protocols are used by fire departments and churches around the country, and are endorsed by experts. Susan is a certified Grief, Crisis, and Trauma Counselor, Grief Coach, Master Life Coach, and Mediator. She is also certified in Victim Response and Individual Crisis Intervention.
Who knew a book on grief and loss could be a “page-turner”? Writing with a style reminiscent of C.S. Lewis, Susan VandePol recounts the story of her loss—but so much more. Her account includes the spiritual and practical lessons she learned through “embracing the horrors” of a prolonged illness and the ultimate death of her husband. This book presents itself as a devotional (minus the predictable platitudes) with incremental chapters that are like windows into moments of her journey. Each chapter is rich in content, beauty and hope. Although the book is directed towards widows, I could see it being a comfort to anyone who is grieving—as well as a valuable resource for counselors.
September 18, 2015
BEST SELLING MUSIC ARTIST LAURA STORY RELEASES PERSONAL STORY
Worship leader and recording artist Laura Story’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, Martin, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Over the past decade, they have faced the logistical challenge of living life with disabilities resulting from Martin’s brain injury but have also wrestled with the deeper challenge of understanding why a good God would allow such pain and confusion in their lives. And yet, Laura has found joy and a deeper intimacy with Jesus through this and other broken dreams.
Laura Story is a Bible teacher, worship leader, GRAMMY award-winning singer/songwriter, and best-selling author. Blessings was certified GOLD in 2011 and inspired her first book, What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops? Laura’s music and writing show God’s love and grace intersecting with real life and serve as a reminder that despite questions or circumstances, He is the ultimate author of our story. Laura and her husband welcomed twin boys Ben and Griffin last September joining 2 and a half-year-old big sister Josie. Laura lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia, where she serves at Perimeter Church as a worship leader.
September 25, 2015
SEPTEMBER IS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Zach Sobiech’s story captivated the nation as the teen’s documentary My Last Days went viral with his song Clouds. Now more than two years after his passing, Laura Sobiech is sharing her story and gaining awareness for childhood cancer through her book Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way.
In addition to raising funds to further research, Laura’s reasons for writing are personal, driven by a desire to explore the true meaning of hope and to help people live for today instead of for a perennial tomorrow. The exercise of writing itself was therapeutic, and the glimpse into the ways in which she and the rest of Zach’s family and friends each continue to live and honor his memory is a testament both to them and to him.
Ultimately, FLY A LITTLE HIGHER is also true to its title – a window into an intimate prayer that was fulfilled in ways the prayer’s speaker could never have imagined: “Okay, Lord, you can have Zach,” Laura writes. “I want him, but you see a bigger picture. If Zach must die, please just let it be for something big. I want it to be for something big. Just one soul changed forever.”