Hey, wanna write for a Bible?

3/17/2014

LAUGH & LEARN
CATHY LEE PHILLIPS

About this time last year, an editor with Zondervan Publishing called and asked, “Cathy, how would you like to write for a Bible?”

That question stunned me into silence. I stumbled for an answer and finally said, “Uh, I thought that book was finished.”

She laughed and then invited me to write four short devotionals for a new Study Bible being published by the Zondervan Corporation. This publisher is well-known for their New International Version of the Bible. They also publish Study Bibles targeted for a multitude of groups – mothers, senior adults, men, women, youth, etc.  Zondervan’s recent research, however, revealed they had missed a large segment of the population – Single Women.

That includes me.

Being single is not a choice I made. Life made it for me when my husband, Rev. Jerry E. Phillips, died in 1992 due to complications from a heart transplant he received in 1990. Rejection of his new heart created blood clots and one abruptly lodged in his pulmonary artery. Everything stopped. No blood flowed and his new heart was stilled forever. The night Jerry died, I felt like a big W was plastered on my forehead and became part of my identity.

Widow. At 33? That was not anything I planned or expected as part of my life, but that didn’t matter. Life is what happens moment to moment – the joyous, the traumatic, the ordinary. Faith is believing … knowing that God loves, strengthens, and encourages me not only to endure, but to overcome the devastation. God’s grace has carried me into a new ministry of writing and speaking about the things I learned, including the days I simply survived as well as the days when I began to feel joyful and alive again!

Still, I desperately missed having my husband beside me. For a long time I felt like the only single person in the world because most of my friends were coupled-up, cheering children at soccer games, enjoying family vacations, and simply spending time with friends who had their same interests. No one knew what to do with a 33-year-old grieving widow. I didn’t know what to do with myself. This reality fueled my loneliness and depression and I became convinced I was totally alone on the planet.

Widows and widowers who once shared life with a loved one are shocked and dazed when they are suddenly alone. And not just those who have lost a spouse to death. Millions of marriages end in divorce, again, leaving people traumatized and suddenly alone. Some women have been abandoned by spouses. Many women (and men) chose not to marry at all. The latest U.S. Census reports that the number of single women in America (whether single, divorced, or widowed) is greater than the number of women who are married.

Guess I shouldn’t have felt so all alone after all! Too bad I didn’t know then that millions of other single women were sharing my joys and struggles.

We all face issues and challenges that make our lives unique. I am excited that a new resource is devoted to women experiencing the highs and lows of the single lifestyle.

“Fulfilled, the NIV Study Bible for Single Women,” addresses the emotions, challenges, and hopes of this segment of our society. Because being solitary is nothing new, several single women in the Scripture are profiled. We can be enlightened by women who lived centuries ago. In addition, significant verses related to the solo lifestyle are highlighted.

“Hey, wanna write for a Bible?”

Yes, that book has been finished. I am in no way qualified to add to the Sacred Scripture.

For this Study Bible, however, I was asked to be one of several women around the United States to pen devotionals written for single women by single women. With Scripture provided by the publisher, I wrote words I pray will speak to women around the world.

Long ago, when I played on a farm and dreamed of writing, I could never have envisioned such an opportunity. Because of my background, unique events, and life as a single woman, I was asked to share my journey and encourage others who feel completely alone.

I am honored. Humbled. And excited to be a part of this project.

But hear me! I am smart enough to know full well that my greatest contribution to making the Scripture come alive to others is not through my writing. These Holy Words have their greatest impact when I … when WE … study them, obey them, and hold them close in our hearts and allow ourselves to be molded into a living witness to the greatest love of all.

© Copyright 2014 Cathy Lee Phillips      

Cathy Lee Phillips is an author and speaker. To learn more, visit www.CathyLeePhillips.com. Call today to book her for your church program.