Could This Be a Nudging of the Spirit?

“Are you available for another writing project?” asked David Runk, president and publisher of CSS Publishing.

I’ve worked with David and his company on three previous collections of lectionary-based sermons: On the Way With Jesus, Ordinary Time With Jesus, and Led by the Spirit. I like his company’s focus on practical, field-tested sermons with pastors writing for pastors. I appreciate the freedom to write on the designated lectionary texts with minimal guidelines and a light touch in editing.

But when I received David’s email in January, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I already felt busy enough with other speaking and writing commitments. I already had a list of writing projects of my own that I kept postponing. And while my husband seemed to be doing well with his chemo, his care and schedule of medical appointments took a lot out of both of us.

Still I was tempted. Still I thought I should at least pray about this opportunity. Could this be a nudging of the Spirit to take on another new book?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When I shared this with my husband, he immediately said, “You should do it.”

Neither of us knew that just a few weeks later, his health would take a sudden turn for the worse and he would swiftly pass from this life to the next. By that time I had already signed the contract with CSS Publishing. By that time I already had a book deadline for October 1.

But I couldn’t work on it.

Instead, I set the book and everything else aside to grieve the death of my husband. I let myself go numb. I leaned on my family and friends, my church and my God. And I wondered too, whether subconsciously, my husband knew that he would be safely home with God instead of here with me. Perhaps that’s why he was so certain that I should say yes to another book—so it could help to ground me and move me forward even in the midst of grief.

Most days I still don’t feel ready to work on that book. But then I suppose no writer is ever really ready. So just as I’ve turned to readers before to help me choose a book title, I would love your help this time too.

I’ve already brainstormed pages of possible titles based on the designated lectionary texts, and I know the title could change several times before now and publication, but here are my top choices so far:

  • Every Day a Miracle
  • Ordinary Miracles for Every Day
  • When Miracles Happen
  • Living the Impossible Dream
  • This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life

If this were the title of a sermon series, which one would engage you the most? I invite your feedback, and welcome any other suggestions in the comments below. Thank you!

Writing/Reflection Prompt: Which of the above titles engage you the most and why?


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29 thoughts on “Could This Be a Nudging of the Spirit?

  1. Every Day a Miracle captured me, too! I like it because of its brevity, because it seemed freshest, and because its meaning can be interpreted in different ways.

  2. I would choose, “The Ordinary, Extraordinary Life” because I like contrasting words/phrases, etc

  3. This is awesome, April. May You have time, peace, insight, and the miracle of God impressing words upon your heart at the right time. “Seeing Miracles in the Ordinary”. I also love “This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life”.

  4. I was struck by the juxtaposition of “ Ordinary miracles for everyday “ —- we typically don’t see miracles everyday and therefore they are anything but ordinary.
    God be with you in your journey with this book and your grieving.

  5. I love This Ordinary Extraordinary Life. It holds the whole range in an appropriate tension. Peace to you, Carlene

    Carlene Hill Byron Topsham, Maine 207-504-0386


  6. I like Ordinary Miracles for Every Day. This title makes me feel like miracles are within my reach. I’m so glad you have another writing project which you know your beloved husband supported. I always value your spiritual wisdom.

  7. Ordinary miracles for everyday. As someone who has experienced a sudden loss of a husband, every day I have been desperate for ordinary miracles so my soul is daily turned toward gratitude and grace given resilience. Blessings on you as you begin your next story.

  8. First, condolences on your husband’s death. Hugs, a beverage of your choice and prayers.

    Second, the title that resonates is This Ordinary Extraordinary Life.

    Why? Because I have long believed that the Spirit manifests herself in the ordinary and we ignore this reality to our profound loss. After all, what aspect of Creation is not God-infused, therefore by definition extraordinary?

  9. My attention was grabbed by Every Day a Miracle. My second choice would be This Ordinary Extraordinary Life. Blessings as you work on this new project. May it give life to you as you also grieve. I look forward to reading it in the future!

  10. This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life is my first choice, then Ordinary Miracles for Every Day. I’m rethinking what life is all about, so these attract me.

  11. I really like Ordinary Miracles for Every Day. Who doesn’t want to be dialled in to some level of miracle every single day?? I like the simplicity of the title.

  12. Ordinary Miracles for Every Day catches my interest because we sometimes may be tempted to look for the extraordinary miracles and lose sight of the beautiful gift God gives every day.

  13. More responses received by email:

    Out of the titles you mentioned I lean toward “Ordinary Miracles for Every Day” because I think too often we look for the BIG miracles and miss the ordinary ones. Especially when we are going through difficult times.

    I favour the title “This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life” – You may see it as ‘ordinary’ and others might see it as ‘extraordinary’. Will be interested to learn what decision you make!

    Living the Impossible Dream

    I like This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life. I will be praying for you as you write.

    Ordinary Life IS Extraordinary, if only we open our eyes and see,

  14. I love “This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life” because I think it will encompass so many different themes of sermons.

  15. I like ‘This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life’ the best. It seems to capture the contradiction and complexity of how life can be both so ordinary and extraordinary, even at the same time and in the same circumstances.

  16. Every Day a Miracle would be something that would resonate with me. I thank God every morning for a new day. Love reading everyone’s perspectives on your title suggestions.

  17. This Ordinary Extraordinary Life.

    Often much of our life is very ordinary . . . yet there are moments/times when we see something that truly is extraordinary. Circumstances may still challenge yet we get a glimpse of how something very ordinary can be extraordinary. Moments of God opening our eyes which in turn encourages us . . .

  18. This Ordinary, Extraordinary Life captured my attention because of the tension between the two and the word play.

  19. I’m presently reading “Braiding Sweetgrass” and if there is one thing that is resonating with me, it is that every moment and every living thing is connected, has value and worth and is SACRED–even the things we usually rush through or consider a challenge (there is something for us to learn and celebrate in everything), and that we have choice and power in our interactions with all things as well. I have to go with “This Ordinary EXTRAORDINARY Life”! God bless you. Looking forward to reading the book.

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