Sweet Relationships Preface

When I was in my forties, the Lord gave me a vision to some day write this book. I have always personally loved Titus 2:4-5. Then, as our family studied all of Titus 2, we saw it encompassed not only older women and younger women but also older men and younger men—all of us. Titus 2 became our family’s ministry vision and name.

I expected to be sixty before being called to write this book. Through the ensuing years, I looked forward with expectation to that time. I was learning, growing, and treasuring in my heart the interactions with younger Christian women who came for help. They came because they knew of the failures and struggles from my past, and they related to those problems. In me, through Jesus Christ, they saw hope for their futures. While at fifty-seven I didn’t quite make it to sixty, the Lord whispered to Steve and me that it was time to write this book. It is the fulfillment of that long time dream on my heart.

Sometimes it is hard for me to write because I am not perfect, and I don’t want my readers to think I am or that I have it all together. I fail every day. I ask forgiveness of the Lord and others. I desire continued spiritual growth. When I express my concerns to my husband about whether I am qualified to write to encourage Christian women because I still need spiritual growth in my life, Steve gives a little chuckle and says, “But look where you were and where the Lord has brought you. He is using those failures and His work in your life to help other women. Be at peace, my dear.”

So I listen to my husband, and I share what the Lord has taught me through His Word and what He continues to teach me. I want to help those hurting moms who come for encouragement.

I never have a book project without much family support. We are all a team, working together with whatever need there is. Steve and I talk through each book at length. He reviews the outline and gives his input. He reads the chapters multiple times with helpful suggestions. He even sets aside his writing time to invest in my writing. Sarah, our oldest daughter, also helps. Her keen eye for detail is a blessing.

Anna (20) took over the meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. While I know that is good experience for her for when she may have her own family, she did it willingly, and it freed up many hours for me to write each week. Mary (16) was Anna’s righthand lady. She went shopping with Anna and helped in the kitchen. She also did my cleaning responsibilities. Joseph (23) designed the cover and inside layout, while Anna put the text into the software from which we could publish it.

Each one took on those extra responsibilities with joy, often sending me out of the kitchen if I lingered, asking how my back was feeling, and wondering how the book was coming along. I am grateful for their investment, prayer support, physical help, and emotional encouragement.