Nora St. Laurent runs three book clubs outside of Atlanta and has established a successful model that has made her a resource for others who would like to establish clubs. To Nora, Book Clubs are a Ministry that revolve around relationships and through this, the Lord would love the women that He put in her life extravagantly. She facilitates a safe environment where women can enter into relationships. She says it best: "This is not about what church you belong to or how well you know the Bible. It also is not a matter of whether or not you go to church. God has called you into relationship with Him and with me and the other ladies in this group to love, to be loved and to encourage each other." She has a vision to duplicate the model to reach as many people as possible and is writing a book about how to do just this. Visit her blog at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/
Confessions Of A Book Club Leader
I’m a book club leader. What I have to confess might surprise you. I find myself amazed that God has chosen me to be a leader in the first place. I confess I’ve never hoped or dreamed I’d be in the position I find myself in now—ever!
I didn’t even know book clubs existed until I started working for a Christian bookstore, and now I’m running two of them and I help run an online club. God has me blogging—who’d have thought?—on Finding Hope Through Fiction, where I feature author interviews, book reviews, and so much more. Okay, I admit none of this is really anything extraordinary unless I confess to you: I’m dyslexic.
I was diagnosed when I was twenty-six and had agreed to participate in a family study. It was a relief to find out why I had struggled with learning to read, why I couldn’t concentrate on the page I was looking at, and why reading out loud was always a hilarious adventure for my classmates. They laughed as I read words that weren’t on the page! I only knew I was reading the wrong words because of the teasing. I still struggle with reading like this, especially when I’m tired.
When my friend asked me to run a book club, I looked behind me to see who she was taking to. It couldn’t be me. I’d only started to read because I was working at a bookstore and loved talking to people. The problem was the only thing to talk about at a bookstore, besides several gift items and a few hundred cards, were books. Lots of them! I had to start reading on a regular basis if I wanted to talk at work! I confessed to her, “I love talking to people. Reading gives me something to talk about.” Since it wasn’t my passionate desire to read for reading’s sake, I advised my friend that she might want to seriously reconsider someone else to run the meetings, but she refused. She told me I was the one. I went to the Lord in prayer—complaining. I couldn’t believe He agreed with my friend. I didn’t argue.
Everything was fine until one day my boss asked me the same question. “Nora, we’re making some changes around here. We’ve talked about you and we’ve all decided we want you to run book clubs at the store. What do you say?”
Was he kidding? I knew he was talking to me because he used my name. Okay, God, this isn’t funny. Is there anyone else up there I could talk to? You know I’m dyslexic, right? Reading and I haven’t exactly gotten along! Remember? What gives? You know I can’t read as fast as everyone else on the planet. I haven’t read all my life; how am I supposed to play catch-up?
At that moment I realized that God had a sense of humor. He was putting Scripture to test my life that said, “All things are possible through Christ that strengthens me.” He was serious about this stuff. I cried and pleaded with God to find a replacement. I felt like Moses when he asked God to send someone else because he didn’t talk eloquently.
When I realized that God was sticking to Plan A, and there was no Plan B, I said to Him, “I really, really can’t do this. It freaks me out. I’m terrified. It’s like standing up in front of the class to read out loud and everyone laughing at me. Please don’t ask me to do this. I can’t go through that experience again.”
Then I sensed God saying in my spirit, “I know you can’t do this by yourself. In your weakness, people will see me, I will make you strong. Trust in me. I work all things out for my glory and your good. Can you lean on me? Trust me—I love you!”
“Yes, I can do that.”
“All I want you to do is love the ladies I put in your path. Love them the way I have loved you—extravagantly. Can you do that? Love them extravagantly?”
Suddenly a huge weight lifted from my chest and my mind became peaceful. Why didn’t He ask me that in the first place? God, You have loved me like no other. Yes, I’ll gladly sign up. The next day I went to my boss and confessed. My boss was in total agreement with what the Lord laid on my heart about loving people extravagantly. He told me the Lord had shown him that kind of love too! He wanted to pass it on.
I’ve been running book clubs and having authors speak at them for almost three years now. I’m constantly reminded of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The task ahead of us is never as great as the power within us. Oooh, I love this Scripture of hope. We don’t have to be intimidated if we’ve felt nudged to start a book club or when someone out of the blue asks us to start one. God moves in mysterious ways. I’m living proof!
Until next time.