Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marion Stroud--Stepping Out In Faith

If a blog can beam with pleasure, then Everyone's Story is definitely smiling widely with the introduction of author Marion Stroud. Marion journeyed all the way from her UK home a couple of years ago to attend the ACFW conference and we were roomies. She's a sweet, gracious woman with a big heart; someone who really takes extra time to offer her supportive shoulders.

In her new non-fticion release, IT'S JUST YOU AND ME, LORD, Marion will inspire and uplift women (and I'm sure men too) in prayer. A woman who has spent a lot of time on the mission field and as a guest speaker in various countries, Marion has put her many experiences and insights into her work.  This week, Marion shares with us a prayer excerpt from the her new release, plus a story. So, cuddle up with your cat, pup, a warm mug of cider and enjoy!

Book Giveaway Special:

There’s a lot to be said about women and their relationships, responsibilities, and concerns. It’s Just You and Me, Lord addresses many of these everyday issues and challenges through practical prayers that inspire and encourage women of all ages. Discover how you can draw closer to God, have heartfelt talks with Him, and build and maintain an honest, genuine prayer life. A perfect gift to share with the women in your life.

Marion is graciously offering one copy of IT'S JUST YOU AND ME, LORD to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced on October 5th between 4-5 EST.

Something Beautiful for God by Marion Stroud

What if … I obey God’s prompting, and step out in faith, but nothing seems to happen as a result? I saw a beautiful example of the kind of dogged determination that ‘keeps on keeping on and gives up giving up’ when I was in Bulgaria last year. It moved me so much that I wrote about it in the form of a prayer for my new book ‘It’s just You and Me God’ published by Discovery House in a few weeks time.

Huddled against the early April chill
she sat there in the doorway of that little church
muffled in gloves and scarf,
her shabby winter coat was barely thick enough
to keep her warm.
And yet she sat there in the early morning chill
pulling the rope that reached the bell tower,
so that the single bell tolled out its message,
‘The church is here
God is waiting
Come and worship’.

The building has survived dear Lord
throughout the years
that  aetheistic forces ruled the land.
But now perhaps God seems quite unfamiliar
and  church attendance,
is deemed both dull and out of date,
 to those who’d never known you.
For though I watched her for at least an hour,
as far as I could tell from where I sat ….,
no one came.
The Bulgarian church that inspired Marion

Did her arms ache, dear Lord
and was her heart discouraged?
Feeling perhaps
 that it was hardly worth enduring
the cold, the early rising,
the tuneless clanging
of that solitary bell,
when no one came?

For Lord you couldn’t say it was a lovely sound.
Unlike the joyous peals that thunder out
from churches and cathedrals,
created by a team of eager ‘campanologists’,
a thing of beauty in and of itself,
Especially when in this small village
 no one came.
And little seemed to happen
to reward her work.

And yet Lord
when you whispered to my heart
“You don’t see what is going on
 within the hearts of those who hear”
I realised 
that at the very least
she had an audience
of two.
You, Lord, who saw her sacrifice of love
and treasured it.
And me,
to whom you spoke so clearly.

So thank you Lord
for all the hidden people,
who faithfully rise early
and labour late,
doing the little things you’ve called them to,
in spite of difficulties and disappointments.
‘Tolling’  their particular bell,
so that the people all around them,
whether they seem to listen and respond
or not,
can know that God is here.

They faithfully repeat the news
He loves and values them
And waits with arms outstretched
For them to find their way back home,
To worship.
What If … God speaks to Individuals today? by Marion Stroud

Some people would say that ‘voices in your mind’ require prompt medical attention! Others would call it wishful thinking or an overly vivid imagination. But I had been arguing with God about what He seemed to have said to me, all summer long.

It was Ethel’s fault. A young mum, who had expected to go to Africa as a missionary nurse, she was frustrated by life in suburbia with three under fives.

She had suggested that we hold a coffee morning for our friends who would never go to church. We could have a talk about something of interest, but the speaker would be speaking from a Christian worldview. Initially I thought it was a good idea. Then Ethel dropped her bombshell. “We could have it at your house,” she suggested. “You have a sitting room and a room we could use for a crèche”

Now that was entirely different. My neighbours knew that I went to church but a coffee morning with a speaker … that was rather too public a step of faith. With three children under five, lots of church activities and the beginning of a writing career to nurture, I had plenty to do. “We’d have to wait till the autumn “I said looking at my 3 month old daughter cooing happily in her pram.  I hoped that Ethel would have forgotten by then, and she may have done so. But God did not…

 “Who would come Father?” I prayed. “Most people think that God-talk belongs in church.

“What did Jesus do?” God whispered

I thought about that. Jesus often taught in homes , and had one of his most life changing encounters with a woman while he was just sitting by a well when his disciples went shopping. We don’t have any wells where I live but there are supermarkets where women gather. I shuddered. A coffee morning sounded easier.

“But Father,” I said. “Who would I ask? And what would I say?”

“Trust Me. I’ll point you to the people and give you the words.”

“But Father, we have 6 children under 5 years old between us. What if they get sick? We’d have to cancel.”

“Trust Me.”

The summer slipped by and I kept pushing all thoughts of coffee mornings to the back of my mind. Then, one Sunday morning, the sermon was on the call of Moses. As I listened to Moses’ reasons for not confronting Pharaoh, I heard my own voice. I squirmed as Moses pleaded ‘Lord please! Send anyone else!’
“Ok! I get the message,” I prayed rather ungraciously. “But You’ll have to do it Lord, because I can’t see how it will work.”

And so the adventure with God began. For two years we jogged along happily, meeting fortnightly during term time. But nothing obvious HAPPENED spiritually until Doreen came to speak to us. She had come to faith eight years after she was married and her husband was not happy. She told us about the ways this had impacted her marriage, and her audience bombarded  her with questions afterwards.

What do you do about the children?” asked one.

“I’d love to have a faith but I’m afraid of what it would do to my marriage!” said another.

What do you do about going to church when he wants to go out for the day?”

On and on the questions flowed, until finally I asked the assembled company "Isn’t there a book that looks at marriage from this perspective?’

“Oh no!” they assured me. “All the books on marriage we’ve seen, assume that you share your faith.”

“You write a book for these women,” God whispered.

“How can I?” I protested, not really believing what I was hearing. “Gordon and I were both Christians when we got married. What do I know about such a challenging situation? Anyway I write fiction for children, not adult non-fiction.”

“Step out in faith and I will help you.”

It was another ‘I am sending you to Pharaoh’ moment. I wriggled and struggled but this time I wasn’t quite so slow to respond, and wrote a book that changed the course of my life!

Author Bio:
Marion is married to Gordon, a retired dentist. They have five adult children and sixteen grandchildren, ranging in age from 19 to 2 years old. One of the joys of living in a town that many races call home, is the sheer variety of cultures and lifestyles that they see every day. Marion enjoys entertaining, walking, going to concerts and the theatre, reading and travel. With her husband, they lead a small group from church, where together they learn more about applying their faith to every day life. 
Marion, who has also lived in the Far East as a child, is a cross-cultural trainer for Media Associates Int.     
You can find Marion on the web at:


  1. Thank you for posting this. I spent forty years hearing that "bell" and running from God. People spoke to me about God's love and shared their testimonies. I'm sure many felt as ineffective as that woman pulling the bell cord. Yet they also had an audience of two - them and God. God knew that they planted the seeds that would be watered at the time God knew was right fro me to come to Him. Had they not planted those seeds, I wouldn't have been ready when He drew me to Him.

    I'm glad you were obedient to God and answered those tough questions, even writing the book It is hard to step out in faith, but God can move mountains with our little steps of faith.

    I look forward to reading your book.
    HM at HVC dot RR dot COM

    1. Heather, as always, it's nice to see you. I'm glad Marion's heart for God and His ceaseless love for us, resonated with you ♡

      Marion is traveling the US on a book tour. She'll do her best to reply within the next few days. You may want to check back then.

      Have a blessed weekend.

    2. Just caught up with you all after a thrilling ride across the USA in the California Zephyr. Thank you for your encouragement. God is so much more patient with us than we are with ourselves - the Hound of Heaven never gives up thank goodness.

    3. Marion--so happy to hear from you and that all is going well. I've enjoyed the California Zephyr a few times--lovely ride, especially when you go through the Sierras.

    4. We loved the Sierras too and the fall colours in the Rockies. The roomettes put your mobility to the test tho! The sight of my tall husband trying to climb into the top bunk reduced us to helpless giggles.

    5. You're bringing back fond memories for me, Marion. Well, not too much of the roomette (I'd taken the top bunk, feeling sorry for my husband), but overall travel by train lets you see so much more--of course--than flying does. One day I'd like to take the train across Canada--such a beautiful country.

  2. Beautiful prayer, thanks for sharing this. You can tell just by Marion's picture that the love of God shines through her.

    1. Cynthia, I always smile when I see you here :) I agree with you--Marion is as warm and genuine as her photo shows.

      She'll probably be able to reply in a few days if you'd like to pay another visit then.

    2. Looking in briefly from beautiful San Francisco.I'm so glad that you could relate to the prayer Cynthia. It's exciting how the ripples of little acts of faithfulness can touch our lives across the miles isn't it.

  3. Sadly for us, Marion's time has ended for us...though Marion, I sure hope you'll come back again as a guest and viewer ♡ Thanks for being my guest this week--and this on a book tour week for you!

    The winner of IT'S JUST YOU AND ME LORD--Marion's generous book giveaway--is Cynthia. Marion and I will be in touch directly with you.


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