Reflections on Surrender

Just in time for Christmas!

Reflections on Surrender is an adult coloring book, filled with truth about control, ourselves, and God–messages that closely correlate with my soon-to-be released book, Control Girl. While you don’t have to work through the Bible study to enjoy the coloring book, we thought it might be nice to offer them as compliments to each other.

“God never intended you to carry the burden of trying to control everything. Though most of us would agree God is in control, we find ourselves living as if he needed a little assistance from us. Let us entice you to a different perspective.

Inside these pages, you’ll be invited to surrender to an all-powerful, loving God. As you find a restful place to color and reflect on the truths contained here, you’ll find peace soaking into your very soul.”

The original artwork in Reflections on Surrender was done by  Janyre Tromp (who, by the way, was also the editor for Control Girl). Janyre and I hope that as you add color and design to the artwork, you’ll also soak your heart in the truth on the page.

Special Pricing for Groups:

If you’re interested in buying a lot of these books for your group, or as gifts, please contact me in the form below or at shannon@shannonpopkin.com. The price on Amazon is $9.99. However, I can offer you a rate of $5.99/book if you buy 10 or more, and $4.99 if you buy 20 or more. Thanks so much for your interest!

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Control Girl: What Christian Leaders are Saying!

Dear Friend,

We are just weeks away from the release of my book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control From Seven Women in the Bible. WOO HOO!! I’m so excited about this book. It’s amazing to me that I started on it with a completely empty file and a blank notebook. God gave me the idea, I took a step of faith to propose the book, and had to trust Him to fill the pages.

How faithful He was!

Over and over, God opened my eyes to truth in his Word, and guided my pen, as I wrote about a rather sensitive topic: women and their control issues! It was truly a worship-filled experience as I dug, struggled, listened, waited, and then rejoiced as God gave me just what I needed for each and every lesson. Thank you, Lord!

Endorsements

I want to share with you the endorsements listed below,which I am very, very grateful for, given by Christian leaders. Did you know that endorsements are biblical? Repeatedly in the New Testament, we see established church leaders endorsing newer leaders and commending them to the church. (Barnabas first spoke up for Paul in Acts 9:27 and then Paul repeatedly endorsed other leaders, such as in Rom. 16:1-16). This is essential because God wants us–his people–to be guarded about who we allow ourselves to be influenced by (Rom. 16:17-18). Relying on endorsements from those we trust is an important part of guarding ourselves against error.

Yet endorsements require a huge amount of time and sacrifice! I am so very thankful for each and every one of these recommendations below, given by trusted, faithful men and women of God. Thanks especially to Chris Brauns and Erin Davis for their help, as I sorted out several of the more difficult parts of this book. Their help was invaluable to me.

Know Anyone Looking for a Women’s Bible Study?

If you know of someone in church leadership, or a women’s small group leader, would you consider passing this email on to them? You could also point them to the “Control Girl” tab on my site for information about the book, a FREE downloadable discussion guide (coming soon), plus other resources related to the book.

Group leaders work tirelessly to find well-written, interesting, doctrinally sound resources for their women. (I know this because I’ve been on those committees!) I would love it if you could let your friends and leaders to know about my book, Control Girlas an excellent choice for their groups.

The book’s official release date is Jan. 27, but it is available for preorder now (here are links to AmazonChristianBook.com, and Barnes & Noble). Thanks so much, *|FNAME|*, for your help in getting the word out! I’m so thankful for this opportunity to share truth with women who long to go from “Control Girl” to “Jesus Girl”.

Warmly,


“Shannon has a wonderful ability to translate the truths of God’s Word into interactive Bible studies that speak to relevant issues women face today. Control Girl is a penetrating look at how selfishness and self- protectiveness wreck lives—and why surrender and trust are God’s life- giving pathways to true freedom and joy.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author and Revive Our Hearts teacher and host

“Psst . . . You there . . . the one with the control issues. I know you have a craving to control. We all do. We have since the garden of Eden, but there’s hope! In this funny, tender, and truth-telling book, Shannon Popkin peels back the layers of our control problem. If that sounds a bit like a root canal, wait until you crack the cover. In a tone that feels like coffee with a close friend, Shannon bravely goes first, letting us see the reality of her own need to control while simultaneously pointing us to the hope found in God’s Word. You will find your heart warming, your lips smiling, and your fists unclenching as Shannon leads you away from control and toward sweet surrender. A must-read for every woman east of the garden.”

Erin Davis, author, blogger, and recovering Control Girl

“Delightful. Insightful. Helpful. Popkin’s sweet blend of storytelling and Scripture helps the medicine go down. If you’re a control freak, this study is just what the doctor ordered.”

Mary A. Kassian, author of Girls Gone Wise

“In the style of Liz Curtis Higgs, Control Girl is an easy and entertaining read, yet Shannon Popkin packs a punch where we so need it if we are to be set free from the stressful habit that robs our joy and ruins our relationships!”

Dee Brestin, author of Idol Lies

“Authentic, relevant, and truth-filled, Control Girl is written especially for any woman longing for security, peace, and joy. Through her Bible-based teaching and humorous stories, Shannon reminds us God never intends us to carry around the burden of control, and instead offers us the gift of sweet surrender to him. I finished Control Girl being reminded afresh that for those who love God, there awaits the happiest Happy Ending imaginable. Hooray! Highly recommended!”

Cindy Bultema, women’s speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Red Hot Faith

“If you’ve ever struggled with control issues, read this book. With personal vulnerability, biblical depth, powerful personal illustrations, and pointed application questions, Shannon Popkin reveals how seven women of the Bible can teach us how to surrender our will to God’s design for our future. It’s ideal for personal use or for small-group studies.”

Carol Kent, speaker and author of Becoming a Woman of Influence

“Shannon gets painfully honest and to the point as she challenges all of us Control Girls to surrender that burden and experience the Happy Ending God has planned! . . . She takes us through the lives of seven women from Scripture to help us discern more readily when we are grabbing for control rather than walking in the rest that Christ provides.”

Kimberly Wagner, author of Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior and coauthor of Men Who Love Fierce Women

“No one wants to be enslaved to anger, anxiety, or fear. Yet many battle those emotions without making any headway in their struggle to fix themselves and others. In Control Girl, my longtime friend Shannon Popkin offers an alternative strategy. She shows how biblical thinking helps readers understand the conditions of their hearts so that they can find freedom in true spiritual growth through the wisdom of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. I highly recommend it.”

Dr. Chris Brauns, pastor of The Red Brick Church and author of Unpacking Forgiveness and Bound Together

“When you start out reading a book for an endorsement and it becomes your Bible study, that is a good sign. Instead of making notes about how good the book is, I found myself writing down how God was using Shannon’s words to address the heart of my own control issues. Control Girl is helping me solidify my foundation as a Jesus Girl, giving me confidence to practice surrender first and be OK with God not answering all my questions.”

Jen Ferguson, coauthor of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography

Christmas Idea for Your 8-14 Year Old!

Ready to start Christmas shopping? Yeah, me neither. My kids–and I’m guessing yours, too–already have so much… with one exception. Can you ever have too many GREAT BOOKS?

In past years, I’ve given you some book ideas for your kids, along with some book reviews from my tween daughter (here and here).  This year, I’d like to point out one book in particular.
The Radical Book for Kids is written for 8-14 year olds to read on their own, but I had some fun looking through it with my 13-year-old, Cade. I mean let’s face it. If you want a real critic (not someone who likes pretty much every book), ask a thirteen-year-old. So I did.

First, we looked at look and feel of the book. Cade and I both liked the size and heavy hardback feel of the book. The colors are “cool”–especially the gold foiling.

Next we went to the table of contents. There are 67 lessons; each is about 3-4 pages with lots of inviting graphics. Cade picked first, choosing #9, “How to Clean Your Room”. This lesson was actually just that. A guideline for a kid to clean his room (I hope my son was paying attention!).

img_1755I picked next, and chose, “What Ever Kid Needs”, which borrowed from J.C. Ryle’s very old book Thoughts for Young Men, to offer four important pieces of advice for kids my son’s age. When I asked what stood out to him most from this page, he said, “The part about how nothing has caused more misery, sadness, and pain in the world than sin.” Pretty profound, for a thirteen-year-old.

img_1754Next, instead of exploring the table of contents, we flipped through the book, looking for graphics that caught our attention. (The author gave us permission to do this, by the way. In the introduction he says, “Read the book anyway you’d like: skip around, or read straight through. But remember: all the roots of our faith grown out of the The Tree. The one on which Jesus died in the place of sinners.” page 1.)

So Cade picked a colorful page with a graphic about how many people own Bibles vs. how many people actually read their Bibles regularly. There was also a list of common phrases that originate in the Bible (like “a drop in the bucket”) and some that did not (like “God helps those who help themselves”). And then I picked a page with button-looking graphics which listed names for God. img_1753

As we flipped through the book, there was lots to grab our attention. I was impressed with both the quality of the graphics and the quality of the content. This book encapsulates the truth that I’d like my son to absorb and be shaped by, in a kid friendly way. So shhh…. please don’t tell him, but he’s getting this book for Christmas. And I’m quite confident that when he opens it up, he’ll have a big smile on his face!

FREE Coloring Page for You

free-giftHi friend. Have you signed up for my not-so-frequent email updates? I’ll keep you in the loop without filling your inbox. And right now, if you sign up, you’ll get this beautiful adult coloring page, with original artwork by Janyre Tromp.

Janyre and I hope that as you color this page, you’ll reflect on the God who invites you to a life of surrender, not control.

PS. We’d love to see your coloring page, once it’s finished! Share it, using #ControlGirl!

Sign Up Here




I Have a New “Due Date”!

A new Due DateI am so excited to announce that I have just signed a contract with Kregel Publications for my book, Control Girl: Putting God in Charge of Your Happy Ending. Rejoice with me!! I can’t wait to see what God will do!

If you’ve followed my timeline, you know that this news is doubly exciting, given the history.

A little over a year ago, I announced to the world  that I was “expecting”–not a baby, but a book! I had signed a contract with a publisher, and had a “due date”–about nine months out, circled in red on my calendar.

Then, after working on my manuscript for nine months, I got the sad news that my book was cancelled. Nobody likes getting that sort of news. And sharing it with others is no fun, either! It reminded me of the time that I waddled into church, two weeks overdue, and a man said incredulously, “What? You’re still here? Why haven’t you had that baby, yet?”

I didn’t have answers for him. All I could say was, “Yup. Still here. Still waiting.”

Waiting is the hardest part, don’t you think? Waiting is when the doubt creeps in. Or the discouragement. Yet, as I look back over these past months of waiting, I see that God was both blessing and preparing me. Yes, I’ve had to work through disappointment and doubting and sadness. But God has used this experience to help me grow in this area of ‘control’.

As I wrote the book, and as I’ve pondered its delayed publication, I’ve repeatedly come to the same conclusion: God is in control, and that is a good thing. 

Do you see it that way? Does the fact that God is in control bring you comfort, satisfaction, and peace? Or does the fact that you are not in control produce in you dread, frustration, and anxiety?

As long as I’m depending on myself to create the happy ending I’ve got all worked out in my head, I will be flooded with anxiety, frustration, anger, and fear. Why? Because I’m trying to take control. But God invites me to put Him in charge of my happy ending.

If I had my way, my life would one happy ending after another–all strung together in a boring, predictable plot, void of all challenges, conflicts, or plot twists.  But for every chapter and sublot of my life, God has a more thrilling and satisfying ending than I could ever come up with. He has a life of adventure and faith, all mapped out for me, and woven into the grand story He’s writing–that I get to be part of!

So, yes. God has control over books and due dates. Over babies and marriages. Over plans and hearts and projects and friendships. But this isn’t a dreadful thing; it’s a thrilling thing! And we get to be part of it.

I invite you to rejoice with me over my good news from Kregel Publishers. I couldn’t be more pleased! I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews from my friends who either work with Kregel, or have been published by them. My new due date is Feb. 1, 2016. I’m excited to get back to work on my manuscript with fresh eyes, and a rejoicing heart.

But also, I invite you to rejoice over the ways that God is in control of your happy ending, too!

My Cancelled Book on Control

A little less than a year ago, I announced to the world with great joy and exuberance that I was “expecting”–not a baby, but my first book!! My manuscript’s due date was June 15, and I already had the name picked out: Control Girl: Putting God in Charge of Your Happy Ending.

So, during the next nine months, I worked harder than ever before, knitting together my “baby”. (I certainly expended more effort than I did during pregnancy–which only required me to eat more!) I holed up in our office studying, writing, thinking, and praying. I shed many tears, as God showed me amazing things in the pages of his Word, about my struggle with control.

I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to introduce my book to the world! I longed to share with other Control Girls all of the ways God was helping me overcome my struggles with control.

Turns out, he wasn’t quite finished working on me, yet.

On June 2, with two weeks left before my ‘due date’, I called Ken and said, “I’m done! I just clicked, ‘save’!” I told him that I would put the next two weeks to good use–polishing, and putting finishing touches on everything, but I was delighted to have completed the project.

Ken congratulated me, and suggested we go out that night and celebrate. With a huge grin on my face, I hung up, and then opened my email.

My Control Girl heart sank.

My Cancelled Bookon ControlThere, in cold, black print was a message stating that Thomas Nelson had cancelled my contract. They were laying off the editors in the Bible study line which my book was to be part of, and cancelling several books that were scheduled to be published.

My first thought was of the timing. Only God could have put together timing like that! I had been working on this project for nine months, yet he chose the very moment after I clicked “save”, to release an email notifying me of cancellation!

My second thought was of the irony. Here I had just written a book about relinquishing control to God, and now he was asking me to do just that. I was not in control of this book’s publication. God was.

So…. sorry I’ve been a little slow to let you know about all of this. But, nobody likes to make “overdue”  or “still waiting” announcements. I remember being two weeks overdue with my first pregnancy, and having a man at church say to me, “You’re still here?” Yep. Still here.

I feel that way about my book, too. Still here. Still waiting.

I’m still confident that God put the passion and desire inside me to write this book. I’m still sure that God’s Spirit gave me guidance and help as I wrote it. And I’m still confident that he wanted me to finish, since he knew all along that I was working off of a faulty due date!

More than anything, I’m still convinced that God is in control. His pen is poised above every detail of my life–even the book I wrote about control! Will I trust him? Will I relinquish control? Will I put into practice all of the things I’ve just written about?

Yes, yes, and yes! Not perfectly, of course. But my gracious God is showing me how to live out what I’ve just written. I’m being pressed to loosen my sweaty grip on life’s controller, and put my happy ending into the big, wise hands of the one who truly is in control–God!

Praying friends, would you please pray with me about this? My agent, Karen (with Credo Communications), has endless optimism and hope about this project–which is such a blessing. She is pursuing publication by another publishing house as we speak. I remain enthusiastic about sharing the book with others–especially now that it’s complete! But ultimately, God gets to decide. He’s in control. He wants me to trust him with the end of the story, just as I’ve trusted him with the individual pages.

Many of you have asked, “When’s the book coming out?” You’ve said that you want to share it with your Bible study group or buy it for a friend or for yourself. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support! I have often pictured you at the finish line, hands outstretched, waiting for the book. You make writing worth it! And I would love nothing more than to give you the book’s ‘birth date’ to put on your calendar.

You're Invited!When- ---But as with all birthdays, God gets to choose. He hasn’t shared the date with me yet, but I promise–when I find out, you’ll be invited to the ‘birthday’ party!
Update: Check out my exciting update here!

I’m Due on June 15!!!

It’s true! I’m expecting….

…. my first BOOK! (Sorry, no baby… But books are exciting, too, right?)

I’m very, VERY excited to announce that, just last night I signed a contract with Thomas Nelson for my first book, titled Control Girl. I couldn’t be more thrilled!


I’ve learned, over these many months, that planning to write a book is a bit like planning to have a baby. You don’t tell everybody that you’re ‘trying’ because you’re not sure what will happen. But you have this hope inside of you that keeps building and building.

You start picking out names, and dreaming of what the cover might look like. You start reading up on what you’ll need to know. You solicit the help of an expert or two. And then you wait.

Months come and go, and you wonder if your little dream will ever come to be. And then, at long last, you get the news! You’re expecting!

My due date is June 15, which is just under 9 months from now. (Apparently books and babies have similar gestational periods!)

Here’s the proposed ‘back cover’ for the book:

Women struggle with control. They have this insatiable desire to make everything turn out right and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. But without realizing it, they evolve into controlling women who can make others miserable with their endless ploys and tactics.

That ‘without realizing it’ part is what alarms Shannon Popkin. Because while she tries to keep her inner Control Girl well-cloaked, she knows just how deep her desire is to keep her daughter’s bangs from hanging in her eyes. She knows just how far she will go to keep her husband from snacking in bed and getting crumbs between the sheets. She knows just how intense her emotions are about socks shoved into the couch cushions, muddy boots on the carpet, and nose picking in church. And these are only the small things she wants to control!

But there’s good news. No woman has to be a Control Girl.

With humor, candor, and passionate love for Christ, Shannon will help you mine the stories of seven Control Girls in the Bible for practical guidance on placing your life ‘controller’ back into the big, wise hands of the One who really is in control. Whether you are a ‘Fearful Control Girl’ or an ‘Angry Control Girl’, this book invites you to a path of hopeful surrender—where God is in control and you are free.

I would love to solicit your prayers as I embark on this project. Pray that God will empower, equip, direct, and protect me as I write.

And thanks for sharing in my excitement!

Update: 

Perhaps you heard my sad announcement about “My Cancelled Book on Control“. Through this disappointment, I had ample opportunity to savor all of the lessons I had just learned about control, and truly live what I had been writing about! And now, I’m so pleased to tell you that I have “A New Due Date!

 

Why Thirty Clapping Ladies Made me Mad

A few years ago, I wrote a story, first published by MomSense Magazine, which got a lot of attention. People passed it along in email chains and on blogs, it won an award for best humor, and it was used to create an animated video.

I would run into people at church or the grocery store who would say, “Someone emailed me a funny story that you wrote!” One woman even told me her sister had copied it off and was posting it in public bathrooms!

Being able to make that many people laugh made me smile. It was fun to google the story and find all of the places people had posted it, and read the various comments about people laughing until they cried.

But then, I found something that wasn’t so fun. On one person’s blog, I happened to notice that the ending of the story had been changed. There was an extra sentence that had been added about 20 or 30 ladies clapping for me in a public bathroom.

Well, that wasn’t true! It never happened! I was furious that someone had cheapened the integrity of my story by embellishing it. With an increased heart rate, I dug through various forwarded emails and blogs from people who had shared my story. About half of them had the embellished version–the clapping ladies version.

It made me so angry. One person (who probably never even considered how it would make me–the writer–feel) decided to change my story and pass it on. And now there was no way set things straight. I couldn’t signal the world and say, “But, wait! Just so you know, there were no clapping ladies!”

If I feel this way about an insignificant sentence added to a silly little story, I wonder how intensely angry God is about the changes made to his story–the adaptations and embellishments which have nullified the validity and truth of his Word. Entire false religions have been built on embellished versions of God’s story, which started with one person changing it and passing it on.

I think we must be so careful to not add to or subtract from God’s story–especially as we pass it on to others. We can retell it in our own words, and imagine what the missing details might have looked like, but the integrity of God’s Word must stand. His character must not be embellished. His story must remain unaltered.

Why? Because it’s his story. He’s the author. We don’t have the liberty to edit it.

Potty Talk

by: Shannon Popkin, published originally by MOMSense Magazine

Cade_age3My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does so quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we’re in the library, the grocery store, or at a drive-through window…

People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-three year old. And you never have to ask him to turn of the volume. It’s always fully cranked. There have been several embarrassing times that I have wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco.

Halfway through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the bathroom. If you had been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall:

“Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?”

At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when we walked in. Several stalls were full… 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they were all out before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity.

Cade continued, “Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren’t you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on da potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh.. Mommy! I’m trying to see in dere… Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!”

I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming newborn when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a good long while before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, “Why don’t you look in Mommy’s purse and see if you can find some candy. We’ll both have some!”

“No, I’m trying to see doze more stinkies… Oh! Mommy!” He started to gag at this point. “Uh oh, Mommy. I fink I’m gonna frow up. Mommy doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!” As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject.

I began to reason with myself: Ok. There are four other toilets, so if I count four flushes, I can be reasonable assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone…

“Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!” He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door.

“Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at, Mommy? You wooking at da wady’s feet?” More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation.

“Mommy, it’s time to wash our hands, now. We have to out now, Mommy.” He started pounding on the door. “Mommy, don’t you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!”

I saw that my “wait ’em out” plan was unraveling. As I sheepishly opened the door, and found an open sink, I thought, Where was the fine print on the ‘motherhood contract’ where I signed away every bit of my privacy?

But as my little herald gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, “I’d sign it all away again, just to be known by this little fellow as ‘Mommy’.

My Arms Aren’t Long Enough

Read my article in the latest MOMSnext E-zine (produced by MOPS):


The more roller coasters my 8-year-old rode during our day at an amusement park, the more he wanted to ride. (Just the opposite was true of me.) On our last ride of the day, he even offered to be the one to ride alone. So we piled in — Cade alone in his seat, and his sister and me in the seat ahead of him. 


As our car clanked up the enormous, rather rickety-looking mountain at the beginning of the ride, I could hear Cade behind me, giggling. He thinks the clinking and creaking is funny. 


I don’t. 


Then we were off with a big whoosh, followed by a series of dips that made you feel like the coaster was flying up off the tracks. Suddenly, I could hear Cade calling, “Hey, Mom! Hey, Mom!” But we were being jostled abruptly in various directions, and I couldn’t gather enough breathe to answer him.


“Whaaaaaaaaaat?” I shouted, as the coaster took another huge dive.


He yelled, “Mommy, my seat belt is undone and I keep flying up in the air!!”


Read the rest here.