The story where the snake hissed low and questioned God’s goodness, and the woman doubted one and believed the other and reached for the fruit. And still it’s one of the lies we believe about God, seed of doubt planted there questioning God’s goodness. It’s one of the many lies women believe, and even deeper as a whole of humanity.
This story marks us as women, as people.
The question being asked, stated, demanded, ‘But if God was good, He wouldn’t (fill in the blank)’.
We don’t even know often we are believing a lie until it’s exposed. We have to replace these subtle deceptions with truth; through God’s Word and the words He’s revealed to others, because it’s by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony we overcome. And we even see that lamb’s blood being spilled in Genesis; a foretelling of this overcoming.
I love Joanna May Chee’s new book, ‘Forever Loved, A Creative Retelling of Eve’s story’. It’s not that she drags out these lies and forces us to confront them, but through out her incredible story telling, they are gently unearthed and just in that there is the power to break their hold over our lives.
First, in case you don’t know me, I’m Lizzy Ainsworth, a wife, and mother of 2 little girls who consume about as much glitter and paint as they do food. My husband is somewhat of a creative genius, and you’ll hear a little bit more about him later as we discuss how to refute the lies over your life. I live in a noisy house, on a noisy highway in a quiet village in South East QLD Australia, and I’m the author of Dad and Me in PNG which was published in 2012 through Creation House. I’ve been so excited to be on Joanna’s launch team and see what an incredible job she did organising the whole thing.
Hi Joanna, I’d love for you to introduce yourself. . .
Hi Lizzy! Thanks so much for this interview opportunity! I’m wife to an amazing man, and mum to 4 wonderful teens. We’ve lived and served in Malaysia, Bosnia and Turkey, and are now settled back in UK, near London. We’ve had lots of incredible experiences as a family – lots of hard times, but wonderful ones too. My heart is really to encourage and equip women to love their families and meet with God. I’m desperately hungry for more of God, and long to bring others into his presence too. Ways I do that are through my blogs MumsKidsJesus.com and JoannaMayChee.com, my online Knowing God Video Series, and most recently through my book Forever Loved: Eve’s Story.
One of the things that first piqued my interest when you told me about this book and invited me to be on your launch team is how it was birthed out of a SOZO session. I’ve actually worked with Inner Healing ministries for over ten years, including SOZO, and seen just how powerful they are not only in my life but also in hundreds of others.
The word SOZO is simply the Greek word for Salvation but encompassed in that word are the words salvation, healing and deliverance. Salvation is more than just a one stop shop on our way to heaven, it’s just the beginning of a huge journey to wholeness through the cross.
One thing that we discover on our journey is that we’ve believed lies about God that are shaping how we receive from Him.
Could you share a little bit about this and how this contributed to this book being born, without giving away too much of the book?
Joanna: I grew up in a Christian family, and gave my life to Jesus when I was very young. However, several years ago I realised, I didn’t really know God as Father. When I thought of him as Father, all I could imagine was someone far away, right out in space. This surprised me, as I have a close relationship with my own Father. In that moment of realisation, I cried out, ‘God, I want to know you as Father.’ That was the beginning of an incredible journey.
Shortly after, I received SOZO prayer, and God revealed something that had happened to me when I was a child, that I’d forgotten all about – a time a male teacher accused me of something I didn’t do. (Read the introduction of my book to find out what!) God showed me this had affected many of my other relationships with male leaders, and with him as Father. It was an amazing revelation moment. God brought deep healing to me, and by the end of that SOZO session I saw Father God sitting with me, his arms tight round me.
The book came a few months later, literally as words pouring through my head in the night. It was the story of God’s love for Eve, and of his love for me. It opened up my heart to a whole new perspective of God as loving Father.
So as God revealed His truth to you about how you see Him, it made a way for you to hear and discover truths about Eve’s story that really I’d never seen before. What surprised you most about Eve’s story? Can you also talk a little bit about the process of how you studied out Eve’s story in the Word?
Joanna: I thought I knew the story of Eve before! But what God has shown me the last few years has blown my mind!! It’s been so exciting. I’ll just share a couple of things now.
First, did you know that Eve was with God before meeting Adam? Genesis 2:22 says that God created Eve and brought her to the man (just as he brought all the animals to Adam), so Eve must have been with God first. Of course, we don’t know how long God spent with Eve before bringing her to Adam, but just imagine God’s delight, holding his first daughter in his arms, so proud of her, and overwhelmed-in-love with her!
1 John 4:19 says, ‘We love because he (God) first loved us’. I can just imagine God pouring his love out on Eve, just because he loved her, but also because he was preparing a bride for his son, Adam. Eve was able to love, because God first loved her!
Another thing I discovered was that Eve wasn’t called Eve until after the Fall. This actually messed up my writing, and I had to go back and change what I’d called Eve in the first part of the book! Genesis 3:20 says, ‘Then the man – Adam – named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of many.’ This occurs after Adam and Eve have sinned, after the cursing, and just before God clothes them. The significance of this is incredible and worthy of a whole sermon. Eve means Life. Adam changes her name and speaks Life over Eve in her darkest moment. It is a prophetic utterance of Life in the midst of death and despair, and echoes God’s promise, in Genesis 3:15, of a saviour to come. Wow!
Because much of the book came as revelation in the night – some of which I could hardly believe – I often had to go back to my Bible and check it actually fit with scripture. Amazingly, it did! Theologically, anyway. (The book is an imaginative retelling of the story of Eve, so there’s a lot of creative story-telling too.) There were points in the writing of the book, that I really didn’t know what was going to happen next. For example, I knew from the Bible account that Cain killed Abel, but why exactly, and how did that affect Eve? At points like this, I actively asked God, ‘Show me what happens next!’ And he did!
Your book is really quite small and I read it within an hour immediately after downloading it as it was quite gripping, but it’s not just for women, is it?
Joanna: I wrote the book as an expression of God’s love for Eve, God’s love for me, and God’s love for women, and for that reason have marketed it to women (pretty cover)! But the revelation of God as Father in the book is just as much a message for men as for women. In fact, the men I know who have read the book have been moved to tears! My favourite Amazon review so far is from a 67-year-old-man:
I didn’t expect the visceral impact of this book. Eve’s story is our story. It’s God’s story. The connection is not only emotional, but opens such a rich view of our Creator, Saviour, and Lover. Our beginnings seen in this form make sense of so much otherwise abstract theology – practical, first person insights rush into your mind and turn black and white doctrines into multi-colored rainbows of promise and hope. If you think I’m being overly effusive, you haven’t read the book yet. I’m ordering more copies for family, friends and neighbors. I’m 67 and have been a Christian for 45 years. This book? WOW!
Practically Refuting Lies
I read it to my husband a few days later on a car trip and he was just as profoundly impacted by the truths in it because they are truths that are foundational to all of us as humans.
And he’s actually given permission to share a story about a lie that he was believing for a long time and how it kept him bound and how to practically see it removed.
See my husband couldn’t read or write to comprehend as a teenager and was severely dyslexic, and even though he had grown up in a wonderful supportive Christian home, he believed the lie that the only thing he was good at was computer games and designing firearms. And he was very good at both.
At 18 he enrolled in Bible College but his parents were essentially doing his assignments. It was during this time period that he recognised this lie that he was believing and was set free and miraculously began to learn to read and write enough to do assignments though it was still not a strength.
All it takes is recognising that you are believing something that doesn’t line up with God’s Word and saying, ‘I refuse to believe the lie that (. . .insert lie here…) and I replace it with God’s Word which says . . .”
Ask God to show you the lie and ask Him to give you the truth.
God can redeem that lie you were believing, even as He redeemed the first lie we believed.
My husband is very creative and genius at problem solving. God is using that intricate knowledge of firearms to troubleshoot with the machines at work that have very similarly designed mechanisms that others can’t figure out how to fix. My husband is also currently inventing some mechanisms that haven’t been created before and a number of people are quite excited about.
I’m his spell check machine but recently at his younger brothers 21st he beat out a whole bunch of A+ students at mini golf, billiards and chess.
Your smarts may not be the same as the person next door to you, but you are unique and intelligent. You are fearfully and wonderfully made! Embrace your strengths and ask God to help you with your weaknesses and to reveal lies you are believing.
All right that was a bit of a detour, but I really believe people need these tools. Let’s get back to this book! Why and how did you self publish?
Joanna: I investigated both traditional and self-publishing. Traditional publishing is almost impossible as a first-time author who no one’s ever heard of, and you don’t have so much control over your work, you earn lower royalties, and still have to do much of the marketing yourself. So, in the end, it was an easy decision to self-publish! There is so much support online these days for self-publishers. It has been incredibly hard work, and I’ve had to learn a lot, but it’s definitely worth it, and next time round should be easier! I’ve published my book through Amazon, and through IngramSpark (a book distributer and print-on-demand service) which gets it into bookstores around the world.
What is your best advice to someone wanting to do similar?
Joanna: Go for it! Connect with other self-publishers online. There’s incredible community out there. Join Facebook groups. Learn from and ask of others. Build up a website alongside writing your book, and offer free samples of your book, or other related free resources, so that you begin to build an audience who is interested in your work. Join other book launch teams to gather ideas on marketing and how to launch your own book. Above all, ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.’ Proverbs 3:6
Thank you Joanna for your time, it’s been such an incredible time to partner with you for this launch. Your book has really made waves across Amazon. Just to name a few categories, it’ #1 Christian Literature. #1 Women’s Spirituality! #1 (Adult) Bible Stories.
Thank you Lizzy for having me! Yes, I’ve been overwhelmed by what God is already doing with the book. It is incredible to think he chose to give this story to me, and now it’s an amazing thing to be able to share it with the world. I am forever grateful to God.
I just want to add that a launch team is so essential. So if you ever want to publish, whether self or otherwise, find a couple of launch teams to be on where you help another author. (Pray God leads you to them). If you want a comprehensive guide to self publishing, I’ve had a couple of friends successfully use Chandler Bolt’s Self Publishing School, though he also has tons of free content.