A Book By** Sophie June
Updated: May 1
** Truth is, I'm writing a book, not Sophie, but Sophie's short, sweet life is one of the reasons this book is coming into existence. You can read the title and see the cover; as you can guess, it has everything to do with my experience of being fired from a previous church and the refining process of becoming more like Jesus through it all. I'm really excited to work with and be published by Morgan James Publishing #MJAuthor #MJBooks
But I first want to share how all of this came to be...
Many of you have already heard my interview on the Riskers Podcast with Caleb Breakey as I shared parts of my "Refined by the Fire(d)" experience. Caleb also owns a publishing company and throughout 2021, him and his team wanted me to work with them to put this story to paper (or computer). The irony is that back when I was fired in 2017, I did search for books or resources about this and there were absolutely none! Only a few random blog posts that I could find, but nothing helpful. So, I had a desire to write a book someday to help those (1 in 3 pastors...low estimates of 200,000 people) who would be fired or forced to resign in just the American Church (not including churches all over the world). Not only that, I wanted to help create a better way forward for leaders in churches, the staff who saw their co-worker here one day and gone the next and the people in the church who are unsure how to process their pastor or staff not being their leader in the blink of an eye. The crazy thing is within a year of being fired, I had written a solid first draft of 125 pages, 50,000 words...I couldn't believe it! I never wanted to write papers in college or seminary, but this just flowed out of me! Yet it was still very painful to put these words, wisdom and experiences to paper (technically computer, but you get the idea). So, I had this manuscript ready to go, but as we headed into the Fall of 2021, I still didn't have the desire to focus on something like this with Sophie coming into world, nor did I think I would have the time.
Three days after Sophie passed away, Caleb and his team from Renown Publishing sent me one more email. They had no idea what had happened, they just wanted to see if I would join their new writers cohort and work on developing a book proposal that would be sent to various publishing companies for a possible book contract. After talking and praying with Maria, she encouraged me to do it, knowing that it would be good to have something else on my mind in these beginning stages of processing our own immense grief and sorrow.
So I did. And because of their help in the cohort and the wisdom and encouragement from Maria, this book is becoming a reality.
As I reflect on the last year and a half, I would, in a heartbeat, still forgo writing and publishing any book so that Sophie could be here. I don't believe her death allowed me to publish, but it was her sweet life that God is redeeming in this particular way to allow people to work through their own pain and church hurt. God is always in the business of redemption even when we don't see it in the midst of our suffering and pain. We have seen Him redeem her sweet life in various ways, and it's a blessing to see, but also a painful reminder of not being able to see her right now.
God is the ultimate author of all our stories and I'm grateful to have a small part of displaying His redemption to those who need a little help, hope and healing. Maybe my name will be on the book, but I think Sophie has a divine role in authoring and publishing this story.
P.S.- If you want more details about when and how to get my book, leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll connect with you.
P.P.S.- If you know of a pastor, ministry staff, etc who's gone through this painful reality, share this with them so that they can experience the hope and healing as they are Refined by the Fire(d).