Information for Guest Post March 11.
The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is The Shepherd’s Song, Howard Books, March 2014.
Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures…
Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.”
Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. From a lonely dry cleaning employee to a soldier wounded in Iraq, to a young Kurdish girl fleeing her country, to a Kenyan runner in the Rome Invitational marathon, this humble message forever changes the lives of twelve very different people. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures.
With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
The Shepherd’s Song: Why Psalm 23?
Ideas for books come in different ways to different people. We knew we wanted to show the power of the Word of God to change lives and Psalm 23 seemed the perfect place to start. As we learned in our research, this passage of scripture is the best-known passage for Christians and non-Christians alike. It is the most commonly tattooed verse, and the one most often etched on dog tags.
Our collaborative books before The Shepherd’s Song all contained individual stories linked by an over-aching story. We saw this book the same way; stories about different people in different cultures reading the Psalm and interacting with scripture. When we started we didn’t know what the over-aching story would be, except that it would involve the Psalm being passed from person to person.
Psalm 23 is a scripture passage that we have known all of our lives, memorizing it as children in the King James translation. But it was also a psalm that was so familiar to us that we had stopped listening to the words and the promises behind the words.
As we read and studied we realized the importance of sheep in the Bible. There are over 700 references to sheep. God often refers to us as His sheep. The more we studied the more we wanted to learn. Our own encounters with sheep showed us how alike people and sheep are. We are stubborn and anxious. We are crowd pleasers and fearful.
From Philip Keller’s book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, we learned about a real life shepherd, and the words of the psalm took on new meaning. We learned that sheep need still waters. Left to their own devices they can drift into rushing water, dragged away by the weight of their wet wool. We learned that the shepherd anoints the sheep with oil to protect them from flies and gnats that drive them crazy. And so much more.
We never dreamed how much God would teach us about this psalm through our research in books, a visit to a sheep farm, and our personal circumstances. By the end of writing of the book, we were different, we had changed.
In the book, twelve individuals encounter Psalm 23, and like us they are changed forever.