By Latayne Scott
I remember the sudden silence around me in the lobby of the Wells Fargo bank where I was in line waiting for a teller. What had been bustling with voices now echoed my unrestrainable crying. I had in my hand a copy of The Aeneid I was reading to teach it to middle schoolers in the classical Christian academy where I was employed.
People stood around me in respectful silence. My sobs were only sound in that bank lobby as I read to myself of Queen Dido’s crashing realization that the love of her life had left and would never return. She looked at the place where he’d slept alongside of her just the day before:
hung the place with garlands, and wreathed it
with funereal foliage: she laid his sword and clothes
and picture on the bed, not unmindful of the ending.
I didn’t know it, but my reading of that passage that so undid me was a kind of rehearsal of emotions for when a few years later, both my mother and my husband of almost five decades would die, just months apart in the middle of the pandemic, as I embraced them each in a bed.
And I knew what to joyfully tell them: “I am so proud of you! You endured! God is going to reward your faith!”
And at the last moment my husband who had been unresponsive for hours looked directly into my eyes when I told him, “You get to see Jesus!!”
And then he did.
And I’d had other rehearsals too. Rehearsing with Ezekiel as he lost the love of his life and knowing how to mourn in the middle of another, exterior crisis. I had rehearsed betrayal by joining with David in his lament for Absalom. I rehearsed national disaster with the Old Testament prophets. So many of the psalms had similarly been rehearsal for me.
Now, two years after those losses, I’ve been doing “deep research” for months of how ordinary people on social media and around me describe their feelings of despair:
- The frustration in a waiting season is so hard.
- I’m lost in stress, anxiety and anger.
- I’m weary of trying to piece it all together from teachings and the Bible and counselors.
- I feel isolated, fragmented, polarized.
- There are too many ideas– I need a framework to filter them through
And that’s what they were saying during the pandemic.
Now, that crisis compared to the threat of world war seems itself a rehearsal, doesn’t it?
I’m training people, men and women, to know what to do. It began five years into caregiving for my quadriplegic husband and elderly mother, when a woman in my congregation read my historical novel (perhaps it might be useful to see the reviews of A Conspiracy of Breathbefore you pitooey all Christian fiction.)
This woman, Beth, wrote me a deeply personal and vulnerable letter. In it, she told me she wanted what I had. The kind of faith she saw in the novel. The kind of faith that she observed watching God keeping me from frantic despair during decades of crises.
(I’d stopped teaching for a while because I was holding down three jobs and trying to survive what eventually totaled over $6 million in medical bills and our loss of almost everything we owned.)
“I’ll teach you,” I told her, and with her permission began a core group of women weekly who came for “Beth’s class.” It was based on my decades of prior study for my doctorate, the numerous books I’ve written that have come out of 70 times reading this precious distillation of the mind of God, the Bible.
One core of that teaching is the concept of The Phases of Faith (described in this book) that I also describe as Faith Mapping. Through the book and my own personal teaching and that of others who have also taught it, hundreds have said it has changed their lives.
One example: Keith Lancaster of Acappella said: “Without exaggeration, Latayne’s teaching on the Phases of Faith has literally changed my life.”
I just turned 70. Recently I’ve invested hundreds of hours in formal training about how to catch the attention of a world that is lost in sorrow, using some innovative ways to reach people based on my research of what they’re saying.
I’ve learned not to apologize for some extraordinary gifts I can provide for people.
One innovative method is a “spiritual roadblocks” quiz to start conversations. It’s working.
Another is a webinar to introduce people to Faith Mapping training that has resulted in transformed lives (and I document some of that in the webinar which is recorded. Send me an email at Latayne@Latayne.com and I’ll provide you a link.)
The best part, though, is that the thousands of people so far who’ve learn these concepts – memorable and transmittable—are thoroughly equipped to talk to Christians and non-Christians about their faith.
I’m more excited about my life and my ministry than I’ve ever been, seeing the fervor and joy in the eyes of people.
Is this unabashedly a commercial for my training?
My experience with people in our fellowship, sadly, is that unless they know me, most don’t want to pay even reduced prices for formal training, even from a woman PhD with decades of publishing and speaking. That’s just a reality I’ve choked down.
But maybe there’s something practical for every Christian to learn from the process that’s bringing so many to the training that hundreds of people say has changed their lives.
I welcome all! Let’s learn together about a way to rehearse for the Big Performance that’s coming!
Dr. Latayne C. Scott is the recipient of Pepperdine University’s Distinguished Christian Service Award for “Creative Christian Writing,” and is Trinity Southwest University’s Author in Residence. Guidepost’s newest book release is Angels All Around Us: True Stories of Encounters with God’s Heavenly Messengers, in which her essay, “The Warrior Angels” appears. The author of over two dozen published books including those released by Simon & Schuster, Harper-Collins, Zondervan and Baker; guest appearances on radio, television and podcasts; and thousands of published short essays and poems, she lives and writes in New Mexico. She maintains (sort of) three websites: Latayne.com, mapmyfaith.org , and Representationalresearch.com.