Christian Children’s author Catherine Zoller is featured on my blog today. Please take time to read her post and check out her wonderful and very unique children’s books. Please share this post with anyone who has children and grandchildren. Books make perfect gifts, especially Christian books.
If there is one Scripture that sums up my life more than any other, it would have to be Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.”
To be sure, we are all born with a sin nature, but some of us seem to have more of a propensity than others to take it to its limits! I was one of those.
As a child I was extremely talkative, wildly hyperactive, and into everything. It wasn’t that I was trying to irritate everyone around me; it just seemed to happen as a matter of course. I also found school tedious and boring and hated it from Kindergarten on. As a result, I never did well, which only added to my crumbling sense of myself.
The older I got the angrier I became. By the time I was in junior high I was acting out on a daily basis. Doing any drug I could get my hands on. Cutting classes. Running away from home if my parents dared to try and discipline me.
The summer I was fifteen they ‘d had enough of all the chaos and disruption I had brought into the family system. In a drastic move, they severed their parental rights, had me declared a ward of the state, and put into a home for juvenile delinquents in downtown Oklahoma City called, ironically, The Sunbeam Home.
Instead of reforming me, it simply made me a better juvenile delinquent! There were kids there who also loved drugs, hated school and knew how to steal cars. What fun!
The fun ended the day we stole a car that had a government license plate. The next day we were arrested by the FBI, hand and leg cuffed, and taken to jail. After a few days my mother came and reluctantly paid my bail. I was sent back to The Sunbeam Home where I promptly ran away and began hitchhiking toward Florida.
At one point, I was picked up by a preacher who asked me if I was a Christian. I said, “Yes, I’m an American.” Apparently that wasn’t the answer he was looking for! He took me to a Dairy Queen and bought me a hamburger and while I ate, he opened his Bible and began to read the Scriptures to me. He read Romans 3:23 where it says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He read several others as well.
When he dropped me back off at the highway, I prayed my very first prayer and said, “God, if you are like that man says You are, I just hope I get caught tonight.”
God heard and answered that prayer, and I was arrested that very night and taken to a juvenile detention center.
It was there that I cried out to God and asked Him to come into my life, forgive my sins, and change the direction of my life.
I was sent back to The Sunbeam Home just in time to face the list of charges against me: drug possession, truancy, arson, and six counts of grand theft auto. The judge’s gavel fell and he imposed an eight-year prison sentence pending a six-month probation. In other words, I had six month to “be good” or I was going to be sent to a girl’s reformatory until I turned eighteen and then to a women’s penitentiary to serve out the remainder of my sentence. I knew I couldn’t do it.
God must have known it too, because in His providence, he arranged for an aunt and uncle to take me to live with them in Wilmington, Delaware. Six months later all the charges against me were dropped. I was able to double up on my classes and graduate—barely!—with my class.
After high school I spent three years at Youth With A Mission and during that time I was beautifully reconciled with my parents and family. It was my intention to be a full-time missionary to the countries behind the Iron Curtain.
However, I eventually returned to Oklahoma in a backslidden state and attempted to go to college. I got pregnant my sophomore year, married and dropped out. The first of our three children was born.
At one point my mother-in-law invited me to a Bible study she attended. I hated all the rules, but couldn’t figure out how to tell her I didn’t want to come to her Bible study! I ended up staying seven years and going through each of the studies that were offered.
The night before “sharing day” after we had studied the book of Genesis, I was lying in bed and rhyming couplets began coming to mind:
This is the true story of how it all began,
God was talking to Himself and came up with a plan.
In six short days when He shouted the command,
Up popped the stars, the trees the seas and land.
Then He let loose with His vast imagination,
And invented all the animals and all the vegetation.
By the time I’d finished, I’d put the entire book of Genesis to rhyme. When I read it to the women the next day, they burst into applause! Afterward they clamored for copies and one woman asked me if I’d ever thought of making it into a children’s book. To which I replied, “I hadn’t thought of any of it until 3:00 this morning.”
But I couldn’t shake the thought, so I began the tedious, thirteen year, nearly impossible task of getting published. I continued putting each study to rhyme, and in October 2009 “Genesis: The Rhyme and Reason Series” was released. “Matthew”, “Exodus” and most recently, “Acts” followed.
I tell people to think of the books as, “Dr. Seuss meets the Bible.” The series has also been awarded the prestigious Focus on the Family Seal of Approval.
In addition to completing the series, I travel around the county sharing my story and examples from my life of the power of God to redeem everything.
I thought I’d blown the call of God on my life to be a missionary and I carried that disappointment around with me for way too many years.
When I found out publishers were interested in translating the books into various languages, I went into my living room and had a hallelujah shout-down! In the midst of my excitement, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Catherine. You are a missionary!”
In that instant, I knew God had completely redeemed the call on my life in the most beautiful, unexpected and far-reaching way.
My life purpose is two-fold: I want to help children and adults alike become familiar with the themes, concepts, stories and chronology of the various books of the Bible. And I want to inspire audiences everywhere to take their regrets, disappointments and everything they think they have squandered over to the living God and watch Him redeem it all—for their good and His glory!
He can and He will. I am living proof.
Rhyme & Reason Ministries International, Inc.