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WRITE: Escape the Lie, The Story Behind the Book, Part II

Today, I want you to imagine with me. Imagine you’re a research scientist. After working for years,  you can hardly believe it. You’ve discovered a pharmaceutical formula that cures cancer in all its forms. You know it works because of all your study. But you also know it works because you’re a cancer survivor yourself. Things looked bleak for you until you participated in a test of this drug. And now, you’re cancer-free—and have been for some time. You have a problem, though. You have no way of taking the drug to market. You’re a researcher, not a doctor. You’ve exhausted your funds and can’t finish all the FDA and other approval needed. And you can’t even begin to package it attractively or get it into consumer’s hands. So what do you do? You get help, don’t you? You do whatever it takes to finish the process and get the drug out there where it could save lives. You don’t quit. You persevere. Dramatic, yes, but both Walker and I feel this way about his Orphan Heart message. It has touched both our lives in specific, personal ways. And although it took us several years and a team of people to take the book from initial ideas to preached message to published book, we didn’t give up. We couldn’t. As you read the book, you’ll find his story. Wounded by a father he loved but couldn’t seem to please, he became an orphan who tried to fix himself and others by doing everything right. And things grew worse, not better, until he understood the truth he shares with thousands across the country and around the world: I am my Father’s favorite child. In brief, the Orphan Heart is the lie Satan implants in our hearts, often through a wound or perceived wound from a parent or other authority figure, which says we don’t matter to God or to other people. Sometimes we respond in rebellion, like the prodigal son we read about in the New Testament. Sometimes we respond by trying our best to be perfect, like his elder brother. Either way, we lose, and we lose big. We may know Christ, but we don’t live the abundant life He promised because we’re stuck in the past and afraid of the future. Our everyday lives are filled with “if only” and “what if” instead of the fruit of the Spirit. The Orphan Heart keeps us living as those who have no father, no identity, no purpose, no direction, and no destiny. And no, it’s not cancer, but it’s not life, either. So when I heard and responded to the Orphan Heart message, I knew I had to help Walker share it. I’ve been in...

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WRITE: Escape the Lie: The Story behind the Book, Part I

“How did you come to be involved with this book?” a friend asked. Escape the Lie: Journey to Freedom from the Orphan Heart released last week on the day I flew home from teaching at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I came home to two cases of the book resting on my office floor. And even though midnight had just passed, I had to hold one of the real-life copies in my hand before I went to bed. My writing partner, Dr. Walker Moore, and I agree that the path to publication has been a journey—a personal, spiritual one as well as a professional one. Escape the Lie is the third book on which we’ve collaborated (the other two are Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life and the award-winning Rite of Passage Parenting Workbook). We first connected when a friend recommended the student missions-sending organization he founded, Awe Star Ministries, as a great avenue for our two oldest daughters, then fifteen and sixteen. Since then, all five Pieper children have served multiple times with Awe Star, and I’ve also served with Awe Star teams in both Mexico and Panama. In 2005, because of our involvement with Awe Star, I was part of a group of thousands across the world who were praying for fifteen-year-old BJ Higgins, a committed follower of Christ who fell ill after serving for the second time with Awe Star in Peru. When I saw the potential for a book in his story, I wrote Walker and volunteered to help. The memoir that resulted, I Would Die for You, became a Young Adult bestseller and continues to draw people toward the God BJ served with such passion. But even before I had the opportunity to assist BJ’s parents in telling his story, I began editing Walker’s popular weekly column in the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger. Walker is a brilliant Bible teacher, but, like two of my daughters, he’s dyslexic. He doesn’t think of himself as a writer, but his combination of biblical wisdom, humor, and life-changing stories (many from his years of experience on the mission field) has a way of touching lives few writers can achieve. For his column, I have the privilege of making sure the words appear in the right order and the stories make sense. For his books, though, we have a different way of working. In fact, we wrote much of Rite of Passage Parenting before we ever met. At first, he sent me some of his old writing and workshop videos, asking me to turn them into something fresh.  He hated the result. And I hated that way of working. So since that time, I do the...

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WRITE: Relationships Matter

Although I’ve written for publication since my childhood, I took a L-O-N-G break after high school. My first homeschool article hit print in 2000. And my venture into the world of collaborative writing began in 2005. I mentioned earlier that God wired me as a word-person who loves to read and write. My tagline makes that obvious. In 2005, when God moved my work from small-time, part-time to full-time professional, I faced a huge learning curve. Much of what I did (which included revamping a book proposal in nine days to ensure its acceptance by Thomas Nelson), I learned as I went. I’ll let you in on a secret. Although I’ve become a student of both the craft and business of writing, the most important thing I’ve learned isn’t a technique or method. It’s not a plan or formula. My most important lesson as a writer is also the most important thing I’ve learned as a disciple of Christ: relationships matter. Jesus demonstrated this throughout his life. Read the Gospels and watch his interactions. He didn’t leverage relationships in the sense of manipulating others to get what he wanted. But he did approach people intentionally. His goals were not his own. He longed to draw people toward his Father, and it showed. What does this have to do with writing? My own relationships have meant everything from a writer friend’s suggestion that I submit an article about a homeschool project to an agent’s recommendation of my work. Relationships have brought me writing projects, speaking engagements, and some much-needed mentoring. But relationships have also allowed me to serve and to bless others. My first book project (third in order of publication) arose out of a relationship with a family I’d never met—a family whose son was critically ill. I’ll speak about I Would Die for You, the story and message of young BJ Higgins, at 1o AM next Friday at First Baptist Umatilla. If you’re a woman in or near the Lake County, Florida area, I’d love to see you there. I covet your prayers whether or not you can attend. Perhaps you’re not a writer. Still, I encourage you to consider relationships as you approach your day. Whose life does God intend you to touch? Whose life will he use to change yours? Relationships matter because everybody matters to God. You matter, too. Thanks for reading. Father, allow our relationships to make a difference today. Show us those who need a word of encouragement or more. Touch those who hurt and grant them your peace. Use our lives and our relationships to carry out your plans. In your name I pray,...

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