A few months ago I responded to a Facebook post inviting writers to contribute articles to a newly launched Christian magazine for 'mid-life' women. I didn't necessarily think of myself as being part of the target audience, although on later reflection I thought 'Mm, maybe that's exactly what I am!' I'm nearly 48 and have two teenage children, one of whom is likely to be leaving home for university/college next year. I no longer have the work of raising a young family, nor do we still lead the local church we were involved in for nearly twenty years. This new-found freedom has resulted in me taking pen to paper and finding a new joy in putting words on pages. And so, maybe I was just the person to submit an article.
I contacted the founder of the magazine, Claire Kerrigan, who responded immediately by suggesting I send whatever I had in mind through to her, and we could take it from there. My article and poem were accepted, and I became a contributor for the first-ever edition of ' Oh Wondrous Grace' magazine.
'Oh Wondrous Grace' is unique, both in its quality as a print and digital publication, and in its vision. It is beautifully presented with a wide-range of articles offered, from devotional writings such as my own right through to short stories and prayer guides. Stunning artwork and timeless topics make this a magazine to return to over and over, rather than just quickly whip through the pages and then discard.
Can you tell I like it?! I wanted to share more of the story behind those pages with you, and so had a chat with magazine founder and editor, Claire Kerrigan. Here's what she had to say. I hope you'll be as inspired as I am and find new encouragement to pursue the plans and purposes God has whispered into your heart.
Me: How did Oh Wondrous Grace come about?
Claire: For the last five years, I faithfully prayed that God would use me to help share his word and make a difference. I was coming up on 50-years-old and felt that a new career and direction would be out of reach. It was a time where I wanted to dream big, but I was unsure. God revealed to me this fresh start with the magazine and brought together an incredible group of writers, artists and photographers. It was miraculous how it went from an idea to print in just 3 months.
Me: What is your vision for the magazine?
Claire: I had a vision for doing things differently with this publication. To provide a magazine that didn't rely on ads for success and with the content based on Bible teachings. I didn't want to have the focus on current events, but instead offer a magazine that is timeless and can be just as useful in our daily walk with God today as in ten years from now. I base the issues on themes, so if one needs some encouragement and renewed strength, they can purchase the issue with the theme of "Renew My Strength." It will be just as helpful today as in the future regardless of what we are going through because the foundation is of God's word and his teachings.
Me: What obstacles did you encounter along the way?
Claire: I can't think of any obstacles. Everything fell into place beautifully and while there were times that I didn't have any idea how this could all possibly come together, I promised to work hard. It was a wonderful experience of total trust. I gave it to God to take care of the big picture, and I just showed up each and every day giving my all to this project. Sometimes getting out of your own head and just getting to work in God's plan can make all the difference.
Me: How has God surprised you on the journey?
Claire: Every step of the way has been a surprise with daily moments of joy. A few other things I prayed for were to be surrounded by Christian women that could become friends and to be able to focus more on God's word. How blessed this project has been from the relationships that have been formed. I tell people that the relationships that are being formed with the writers and the readers and are just as important as the content of the magazine.
Me: What would you say to anyone else who feels God has given them a project or a plan, but it doesn't seem to be happening right now?
Claire: Continue to give it to God and realize that his timing might not be the same as your timing. I've heard people say that if things don't work out "perfectly" with a project, then maybe it's not the right project or perhaps it's not your spiritual gift. In my experience, it might just be that God isn't ready for you to take on a certain project or a new job. I can look back over the years and see many experiences, both good and bad, that I've gone through that have helped me get to this point. I'd wanted to start a magazine for as long as I can remember. However, I truly believe that if I started this magazine even five years ago using my same spiritual gifts, the results would have been different. And my being almost 50-years-old allowed me to have all those life experiences that are now helping me. I might have had more obstacles if I hadn't waited for and followed God's voice saying "now you're ready."
Are you now keen to read 'Oh Wondrous Grace' for yourself? You can get all the details at https://www.ohwondrousgrace.com/