Mission Lab

Unfinished work

Six years after writing her book on discipleship, Moses adds a final chapter

January 2nd, 2020 / By: Bonnie Pritchett | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

Unfinished work

Six years ago, retired SBTC Women’s Enrichment Consultant Shirley Moses authored a Bible study on discipleship. With a publishing contract in hand, the project was ready for the printer and promotion. Due to God-ordained circumstances, Moses said, the book was not printed. And, at that time, she did not realize it was missing an essential chapter.

The still-unwritten chapter is one Moses will discuss when she returns to the field of women’s ministry Jan. 25 to lead a women’s conference at First Baptist Church Whitesboro.

In 2013 Moses had contracted with a publishing company to produce the Bible study. With years of experience in women’s ministry, Moses filled the 200-plus-page book with Scripture, personal anecdotes, questions, and lists for consideration. But before the book could be printed, the company changed hands. Staff were let go, and some contracts cancelled—including Moses’s work.

Taking the cancellation in stride, she shelved the project and joined some friends at the beach. But there God told her to persevere.

“I have written in my Bible: ‘September 13, 2013. God gave me this passage,’” Moses told the TEXAN.

“So do not throw away your confidence. It will be richly rewarded,” she said, reciting Hebrews 10:35-36. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what is promised.”

“That’s the word he gave me. Do not lose your confidence,” she said.

Little did Moses know how much confidence she would need when she had the chance to publish her work.

In 2019, a friend suggested Moses “dust off” the long-shelved project. Eager to give the study new life, the two began paring it down to a concise 117 pages.

Then her husband, Truman—her “biggest cheerleader”—was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When all she wanted to do was care for her dying husband, God pushed her to complete the editing process and publish the study herself.

The project would become more than another Bible study about discipleship. The 13 months she spent caring for Truman provided a final, unwritten chapter on what it means to persevere. Moses had to practice what she meant to teach.

The study highlights seven traits that exemplify a “proven disciple:” the disciple’s call, path, devotion, character, confidence, comfort and fruit. Moses exhorts the readers to move beyond their confession of faith and commit to living solely for Christ.

She drew the title, All of Me, from John 15:8: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

Moses discussed with the TEXAN some of the character traits outlined in All of Me by answering questions from her book that she asks the readers to consider.

TEXAN: From Chapter 1. What was the most challenging aspect of simultaneously caring for Truman and finalizing work on All of Me, and how did Jesus lead you through that?

MOSES: Staying focused. He had been my cheerleader when we became Christians and were baptized together in 1990. The hardest thing for me to do was to keep writing when I knew he wasn’t going to be here to see what God was going to do with it.

If you could see him sitting in his recliner when I put the book in his lap. And he just smiled and he said, “I’m so proud of you.”

And I thought, I just want my husband, Lord. This book used to be so important to me. I know I want to bring you glory but I want my husband. And so, the hardest thing for me to do was to keep pushing myself. To finish what he wanted me to finish. God wouldn’t leave me alone about it—you’re going to take care of your husband and you’re going to do the assignment I’ve given you.

TEXAN: From Chapter 6. List times you felt comfort from God.

MOSES: I begged God to take [Truman] before he had to go in and out of the hospital. And I was sitting on the couch one night and praying asking, “God, would you please, would you please do that?” And then this peace just came over me and in my spirit I heard him say, “Shirley, I’ve heard your prayers.” And I knew everything was going to be okay. I knew that he was going to answer me.

Then on October 12, about two o’clock in the morning, he woke me up. His stomach was hurting. So, I sat him up and had my arms around him, and he died. God kept him out of the hospital. He never once went into the hospital from the
cancer. Not one time.

TEXAN: From Chapter 7. What words would you use to describe your current connection with Christ?

MOSES: At this moment I would have to say comforter.

He’s my teacher. He’s teaching me how to live in this stage of my life. It’s a new learning curve. If we will allow him, he will teach us how to live where he has placed us. And I know that when I get to the other side of this, I’m going to know him so much better. I’m going to be closer to him than I ever have been in my life. And we don’t get that kind of closeness walking on cloud nine.

I would have to say “healer.” He doesn’t just heal us physically. He heals broken hearts. He heals the pain of grief.

God as “healer” has become even more significant for Moses. The day she spoke with the TEXAN was the day she learned she had breast cancer. Assurances from her physician that the condition was treatable comforted her, but she said true peace in the midst of another cancer diagnosis came from God.

Moses’s book challenges readers to become a “proven disciple,” living out their faith to the glory of God. Her experiences the past 18 months—and going forward with her own cancer battle—testify that the challenge is ongoing. The unfinished last chapter of All of Me is still being written, and its author is still learning. 

“I think a different person is going to be teaching it,” Moses said of the book. “I think a different person is going to bring it to life. I think a different person is going to get up there and be able to encourage women not to give up.”  

Editor’s Note: Shirley Moses is also speaking at the SBTC She Stands Women’s Conference on May 2 at The Church at Quail Creek in Amarillo. Visit sbtexas.com/women for more information.