To complete my first devotional, Earth Psalms (you can find it half off at Barnes & Noble for the holiday season), I collaborated with writer and editor Karin Stock Buursma. Karin was a pure delight to work with. But I have to admit, I held my breath a little to see how she felt about the experience. I invited her to tell you about it on my blog today:
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that a bestselling novelist would be a good storyteller.
But when I opened up the file that contained the kernels of Francine’s first devotional entries and read her story about a persistent woodpecker, I chuckled at its vivid detail and self-deprecating humor—and was touched by its simple, profound spiritual point. I knew right away that Earth Psalms was a project I wanted to be a part of.
Stories and humor haven’t often appeared in the devotionals I’ve worked on over the years, and perhaps that’s unfortunate. After all, when Jesus taught in parables, he disarmed his hearers and helped them to understand truth in a new way. Francine has the ability to draw in readers with her immense storytelling ability, and she has the depth of insight to follow each story with spiritual application that’s fresh and relevant. Most important, she loves God and delights in sharing what she has learned about his character and his ways.
As a freelance editor and writer, I’m always a little nervous the first time I talk with an author I’ve never worked with. And when that author is someone the caliber of Francine Rivers? Well, let’s just say I had to do some deep breathing before our initial phone call. But in that call and throughout the whole writing process, Francine was kind, generous, encouraging, and supportive. I think our writing strengths complemented each other well, but the main reason our collaboration went so smoothly is because of Francine’s unfailing graciousness.
As I worked on Earth Psalms, I found it rewarding to learn more about the mysteries of the natural world God has made. I hope the features—like hymn texts, questions to ponder, and prayers—will help readers slow down, think more deeply about the devotions, and reflect on what nature tells us about who God is and how he interacts with his creation.
My deepest thanks to Francine, Karen Watson, and Stephanie Broene, who gave me the opportunity work on this project. What a beautiful book it is, thanks to exquisite photographs and a stunning design by Jennifer Ghionzoli. My hope is that readers will come away from Earth Psalms refreshed, with a stronger understanding of God’s character, and with a renewed sense of wonder about God and his glorious creation.