What inspired you to begin this project?
In studying the Old Testament of the Bible, the story of the twelve stones memorial stayed with me. I considered how I might pursue a project about memorials in general, the purpose behind them, and how and why they are important to us today. I visited Valley Forge and on the same trip, I heard Shaylia’s story about how she and her children recognized someone who was hungry and gave him food. God helped her see and fulfill his need. I started looking for such stories of people who were approaching the financial crisis with faith. Both projects melded together in my research as I saw the need for personal memorials that witnessed of God’s hand over us, just like it was over the children of Israel.
How did you find people to interview?
Some stories, like Shaylia’s, found me. Others came from connections I made as a blogger. Then, I sent out emails to my contacts telling them about the project and seeking recommendations of people I could interview. I also used social media, but that usually worked best only when I directly messaged an individual rather than made a blanket call for interviews.
You interviewed people and wrote this book while you were going through the most difficult financial struggle of your own life. Did the stories of the people you interviewed provide you with strength for your own challenge?
Absolutely. The interviews took a year to conduct and transcribe. I was working full time during most of that year, and I felt like our situation had stabilized. But when I interviewed Tracy early in the process, she said something that perplexed me. She said that when they ran out of savings, and still hadn’t found employment, that that was when her faith really started to grow. Since our situation had not come to a conclusion yet, I held on to the stories as examples and focused on trying to help my faith to grow.
What has been the biggest takeaway from your own financial challenge?
Challenges are part of life. God isn’t trying to punish us with them. He is ready and available to be with us and close to us in those trials. Remembering brings us to Him.
How did your financial challenge help you in other areas of your life?
I am more emotionally resilient and less reactive to negative situations and circumstances after going through this challenge and seeking a positive way to heal from it.
Any other wise words?
No matter what our challenge, learning to trust God, rely on Him, and express gratitude to Him is paramount to spiritually coping with that challenge. Twelve Stones to Remember Him shows people who are learning and doing that in a day-to-day way.