I was unqualified, I was inexperienced and I was out of my depth. I was a chartered accountant, that was all I did.
I wasn't creative or playful, and I definitely didn't have the ability to create something kids would like or engage with. Surely there were people more qualified…
In many ways, I had disqualified myself but God! In His infinite wisdom, He said, 'I am calling you, and I am qualifying you.' Unbeknownst to me, He was working a plan.
After giving birth to my first son, my life literally changed. Similar to many parents, I became a new person. I wanted the very best things for him and I wanted to become the best version of myself for him. I also wanted to share lots of things with him, including my faith.
I was watching my church's service online one day, and I heard God speak to me about writing Children’s devotionals, faith and inspirational books.
I remember looking around, thinking 'who'? I believe this was the first seed - I had been praying about wanting more and doing more with my life, but I had no idea what the 'more' was.
I forgot about what I had heard until a few months later on my way to work, I kept imagining scenes of a day in the life of a little boy from when he woke up, to breakfast time, to time at the park, to shower and bedtime.
He noticed and shouted out different things he saw as toddlers do, and his parents took the opportunity to share who made these things. That was it, that was my story.
It played in my mind repeatedly and I felt a nudge to write it, so I reluctantly did. Reluctant because I thought, ‘this is so basic, so simple, and is this book worthy?’ I went about my day and again forgot I had written this down. I would subsequently discover, that this imaginary scene was exactly what I wanted for my son.
At a later date, I began a search for books that introduced little ones to God in a very simple and relatable way.
I wanted a book that had gorgeous illustrations with everyday scenes in it. I wanted one that had diverse characters and was representative of the world we live in. I wanted one that was almost indestructible in the hands of a toddler, (my son had become a pro at ripping books apart!)
I wanted one that could stay in families for years and years to come; I wanted to share about God in a way that his big-little mind could comprehend. I purchased some devotionals, but still felt I wanted something really more.
It suddenly dawned on me that the book I was looking for was the one I had written!
This was all new territory, so I began the journey that took another 2 years to becoming a published author. Getting into the world of illustrators, editors, printers, and self-publishing was no easy task for me, but with the help of God it was done.
Unsurprisingly, when it was time to launch I was scared, I felt like an imposter. I didn't want to share the book with the world.
What if they criticised me? What if it wasn't good enough? Would parents like the simplicity of it? Would kids love it as much as I imagined? How about the price point? It was a board book, so it was more expensive to produce than a paperback. Would people appreciate this? I had lots of questions. I was happy to print one or a few copies for my son and his friends, but inside I was shrinking…
'You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that CANNOT be hidden.' (Matthew 5:14 NLT)
"Lara, you SHOULDN'T be hidden, and You CAN'T be. You can't hide light under a basket, it peeks out"
These were the words God spoke to me again and again, and as I eventually trusted Him, I figured - what's the worst that could happen anyway?
Today, I'm grateful that I heeded the call.
I've received some really heart-warming reviews and that one book has led to posters, bible cards and other products in the works. We recently had our first photoshoot, and I had to gift a little girl one of our new posters as she just wouldn’t put it down. My heart was so full.
If I were to do it again, I'd publish much much sooner. What’s the worst that could happen? But also remember to imagine the BEST that could happen!
So here I am, encouraging all those who will listen to go after your dreams and those visions God has given you! You are enough because God is enough. You really don't need to worry about whether you're qualified because He is qualified and He is your backing!
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