I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Vanessa Myers. Vanessa and I met a few years ago at She Speaks, a conference for writers, speakers and ministry leaders. It was there while sitting next to each other at a table in a room full of women with a passion for telling others about Jesus that she told me of the book God had put on her heart to write.
I am delighted to announce that Vanessa courageously stepped out in faith and wrote the message God gave her share in her new book Rise up–Choosing Faith over Fear in Christian Ministry. Vanessa’s book gives readers an honest account of the trials and fears she’s faced while serving and working in ministry. Her story encourages us to let go of our fears and step into all God is calling us to do.
When she asked me to take part in her book launch tour, I was happy to help. I knew other women going through similar situations needed to read this message.
Vanessa was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book for me. I invite you to find out more about this fantastic book and its author in my interview with Vanessa Myers.
An Interview with Author Vanessa Myers
Kelly: Why is the book named Rise Up?
Vanessa: If you are an Atlanta Falcons fan, then I’m sorry to disappoint you but this book has nothing to do with the Falcons! (Rise Up, Falcons!).
As I was praying and thinking about what to name this book, I was reading in the book of Psalms. So many times David cries out to God, “Rise Up, O Lord!”. David is asking God to go before him and to defeat his enemies. For me, fear is my enemy. And fear is from the Enemy. I want each reader to let go of their fears and to cry out to God and ask Him to rise up and go before them.
Kelly: What is the significance of the butterfly on the front cover?
Vanessa: I wanted the butterfly on the cover for several reasons…First, I have a strong connection to butterflies because my name (Vanessa), actually means “butterfly” in Greek. Second, my grandmother loved butterflies so much. She had butterflies all over her house. So the butterfly on the front cover is in memory of her. Third, when I pictured someone rising up, I saw a butterfly coming out of its cocoon, breaking away from its old shell and rising up to become a beautiful new creation. So much like what happens to us when we receive Christ and become new creations in Him.
Kelly: Which chapter was the hardest to write and why?
Vanessa: The hardest chapter for me to write was chapter 4, the fear of change. This chapter deals with my anxiety. This has always been something hard for me to talk about, mostly because I don’t like to shine light on my weakness. This is something I still struggle with at times, too, but I’m so thankful that God showed me the way to freedom from it.
Kelly: In your book, you share about the fears and reservations you had before stepping out into ministry. How will your book help those who might be experiencing something similar?
Vanessa: While I wrote this book, after I finished it, and even now, I am praying that what God has written through me will encourage those in ministry. I want them to feel and know that they are not alone in their struggles. I want them to know that there is hope, even during the hard times in ministry.
Kelly: Imagine you’re sitting in a cafe with a friend enjoying a cup of coffee. While sitting there, your friend tells you God is calling her to start a new ministry. She’s excited to take that first step, but she’s afraid she will fail. What would you say to encourage your friend?
Vanessa: What a great question! First, I would be so excited for my friend!! I would probably squeal and get up out of my chair to give her a big hug! I would then tell her that I understand how she feels. I’ve been there. I have been excited about a new calling and worried about failure all at the same time. I would encourage her by reminding her that God is with her through it all. He has promised to never leave us. I would remind her that being in ministry is not an easy road, there may be situations where you feel overwhelmed or feel like you failed. But I want to remind her that first and foremost, Jesus never fails. Also, no matter what, I would encourage her to remain anchored deep in her faith. Make sure she seeks the Lord before she takes any step in her new ministry, and to always keep the Lord first.
Kelly: Do you have any bible verses you’d like to share with those who might be struggling to take that first step into ministry?
Vanessa: My favorite verse to share with those unsure of their calling and afraid of stepping out is one I discuss in the first chapter of my book, Romans 12:11-12 (CEB): “Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic – be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.”
I also love these verses…
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Kelly: In the first sentence of your book, you said, “In that moment, all I wanted to do was quit.” I can completely relate to your words. Ministry is rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming at times. What advice do you have for those already in the thick of ministry who feel as if they can’t do anything right and are worn out and ready to give up?
Vanessa: First of all….pray! Seek the Lord with all your heart. Go to God with all your worries, concerns and struggles you are facing. I would also suggest finding someone you can talk with and pray together about this. I have found it helpful for that person to be someone who understands what I am struggling with (and for me that is someone who is also in ministry). This person could be your accountability partner/prayer partner. Having a person to pray with is so helpful!
Kelly: Do have any bible verses you’d like to share with those who feel overwhelmed by working and serving in ministry?
Vanessa: Anytime I am struggling in life, whether it’s personal or ministry-related, my go-to verse is Philippians 4:4-7:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Kelly: Who would benefit from reading your book?
Vanessa: I believe this book would benefit any woman in ministry who struggles with fear, as well as struggling with the calling God has for her. I have found, though, since the release of this book, that many other women (who don’t serve in ministry) have told me this book has helped them in their lives. And that makes me so happy! All glory to God!
I loved learning more about Vanessa’s book, and I hope you did too! Thanks again Vanessa for being willing to answer a few questions about your book.
By the way, you can read my book review of Rise up on Amazon, and you can also purchase a copy of her book while your there.
Thanks for joining me today,
P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of Vanessa’s book. (See details below.)
More About Vanessa
Vanessa Myers has served full-time in the ministry for the past 17 years. Desiring to be a light for Jesus, she shares her heart, her struggles, and her life as a mom and a ministry leader. Be sure to visit Vanessa at www.vanessamyers.org. where she blogs about Faith, Family, and Ministry.
*Update* The Giveaway Has Ended
Would you like a chance to win a copy of Vanessa’s book, Rise Up?
We’re going to give away one copy of Vanessa’s’ book Rise Up to one winner.
To enter for a chance to win leave a comment in the comment section below. Not sure what say? Maybe this will help: Tell us about a time when God called you to step out of your comfort zone to serve him.