Signposts – Part V

Signposts – Part V

A tapestry, yes, something like that. A fabric with woven design—varied and intricate. And each interlaced thread part of a developing picture. I’m trying to describe my life, but specifically my life with God.

So far, I’ve mentioned some of the threads—how God led me into the writing life through a miraculous healing, several vivid dreams, a message in a dictionary, and prophetic words from both a pastor and a stranger. God made it exceedingly clear that He wanted me to write. But more importantly, He wanted me to unpack the mystery of intimacy with Him through simple stories.

I am no one, really. A Montana housewife. A person who loves to swim and play piano. A painter who dabbles on canvas to make Van Gogh-like landscapes. A cook with a pretty good chocolate sauce recipe. A feeder of birds—always watching for bluebirds, hummingbirds and chickadees. A wife, daughter, sister, mother and friend.

I’m not an authority, an expert, or a theologian. I don’t write from that kind of platform. I am an ordinary person with real experiences to share. Woven together, they form a story of a living God in a tangible world.

So I began to write and simultaneously discovered just how real God could be, even after twenty-five years of being a Christian.

Ironically, I once said I’d never write a book. The prospect felt too daunting. Then I came across Don Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz. His writing voice was conversational and funny, poignant and honest. He wrote about his unfolding journey to Jesus and even described a few brushes with God. But his story stopped there. He didn’t go on to the next chapter, the one that tells what it looks like to know God in everyday life.

As I closed Miller’s book, a thought swept over me. That’s where I’d start a book. When people come to Christ, is it happily ever after? What transformation does a person go through, what struggles? What does it mean to give your life to God? How does one get to know God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit? Arriving at the threshold of faith wasn’t enough. I wanted to go on.

Hence, I started writing my book, Closer Than Your Skin.

About that time, I had a dream that my husband and I were buying a piece of land. An older couple lived there in a small white farmhouse. We drove over to see them and check out the property. The man said they were delighted to sell their lifelong home to us. But the wife added a condition.

“Of course you realize you’ll have to run our business as well,” she said.

Curious, I asked what they did.

The man replied, “We’re fruit farmers.”

I turned to my husband. “Do you want to do this?” I asked.

He shook his head no. “I think this is for you.”

So the older couple led me out to their orchards. The trees towered over us like giant oaks and the orange-colored fruits looked the size of cantaloupes. I’d never seen anything like it. They showed me their harvesting equipment. Conveyor belts carried the fruit inside for inspection. Then came washing tubs and sorting tables. At the end, box after box of neatly packed fruit stood ready for shipping. I learned the whole business in one dream, but didn’t fully understand its meaning at the time.

Then in April 2006, I took a half dozen chapters and a book proposal to a Christian writers conference in California. There, I had the opportunity to place my work in front of two editors. One said my book idea “wasn’t a fit” for his publishing house. The other, Mick Silva, said—well—he said a lot of nice things. We met, and talked, and within a few months WaterBrook Press offered me a contract. At that point, my book wasn’t even half-written. I set to work.

The following summer, I received a postcard from a staff member on my husband’s team in Uganda. Her name is Kateh Alupo, but I did not know her then. The front of the card showed three photos of fruit markets in some Ugandan town. On the back she wrote these words:

“Dear Susan, Kateh here. Hi. Hope you are well. I pray for you and felt conviction to send you card yesterday, Friday, and today went to find one. This one stood out! I believe it has something to do with you and fruit already prepared for you to harvest.” I was floored.

Not long after Kateh’s postcard, WaterBrook Press started to design the cover of my book. In most book contracts, the title, cover art, and back of the book are the publisher’s domain, not the author’s. So you can imagine my surprise when my book’s cover displayed a stunning photo of a peeled orange. Within a few months, cases of Closer Than Your Skin arrived on my doorstep. “Boxes of fruit.” The dream and Kateh’s words manifesting in reality.

There are threads in your life too. Maybe you’re onto it. Maybe you long to see your tapestry taking shape—weaving together who you are with the purposes God has for your life. It’s all in the details. Noticing the little things, making note of it, treasuring each thread and waiting on God to make sense of His overtures to you.





  1. Beautiful reading to start a raining day in England… Thank you! xoxo

  2. Susan, you inspire me.

    All for him.

    • Thank you Mick and Maria! This Sunday is the climax of the Signpost story. Hope you’ll stay tuned in!