For years, Ann Schaer considered writing a book about her spiritual journey, so about a year ago she took a leap of faith and decided to do something about it.
“A friend of mine has a daughter who owns a publishing company and teaches an online writing class,” she said. “I decided to explore that and found a way to write.”
The title of her book, “He Knows My Name,” is a simple statement that sums up how Schaer feels about her relationship with God.
“The book is about my walk with the Lord,” she said.
Schaer started journaling after attending a Christian retreat called Walk to Emmaus in 1992. Her spiritual walk continued to grow through Community Bible Study in El Campo which she has been involved with for more than 20 years now.
“I was invited by a friend to be her guest,” she said. “What a blessing. Each week around 50 women of all denominations came together to study the Bible using a workbook and doing homework. When we came back together in class we shared what we thought the Lord had given us in that week’s lesson. At the close of that day, one member who was the teaching director would do a lecture or a wrap up.”
Schaer served in a leadership role during this time, but when asked to be the teaching director, she said, “I was pretty sure the Lord was not calling me to do that.”
She struggled with the idea, mainly because she felt she was not equipped for the task.
“Although I was always a Christian, I had not studied the Bible as a child,” she said.
Feeling unqualified to take on that role, she turned to scripture and prayer for direction.
“I believe that if the Lord calls us to a task, He will equip us for it,” she said. “As it turned out, it wasn’t all about me. I was being called and every week He gave me the scriptures and the words to do about a 20 minute lecture. It was an amazing and awesome time.”
This was also during a time of personal struggles, but she continued leading the Bible study.
“God was amazing ... every week I received scriptures He wanted me to share,” she said.
From those scriptures came lectures for each week’s lesson.
It was during about a three year period when she served as teaching director for Community Bible Study that she felt God wanted her to do more.
“I began to feel that the Lord wanted me to share some of the teachings He was giving me as teaching director for the El Campo ladies day group of Community Bible Study,” she said. “This time period was about 2010 to 2013.
I saved some lectures,” she said. “An even after the class ended in our hometown I kept thinking about how to do it in a book. I talked about it for years.”
Those lectures, along with her personal struggles of growing up with an abusive father, became the content written in the 11 chapters of the book.
“We decided I needed to tell about me,” she added. “I wanted to tell others and hopefully this is an encouraging book.”
While journaling was something she was accustomed to doing, being self-published and writing a book was a different and new challenge. But she admits keeping a journal gave her some direction.
“What helped me write the book was all those journals,” she said.
Each year, Schaer would look back over what she had written.
“Once a year at Thanksgiving I would read my journal and see so many prayers answered,” she said.
But to write a book, Schaer knew she needed some help, so that’s when she signed up for the online three month writing course last year.
“I would have never written the book without help,” she said.
The book was published in nine months, starting from the time she began the class until the finished work was printed. This process included several edits on her part and the publisher’s part before being released for publication.
Schaer’s book is available at Heavenly Helpers in El Campo and on www.amazon.com. She will also have them available at a book signing event at the El Campo Branch Library on Thursday, Sept. 13 starting at 10 a.m.
“I am hoping the door will open to talk to people about the book,” she said.
The book, she says, is real life experiences.
“It’s not all sweet and sometimes not pretty. I wanted to share ... for people who think it’s just happening to them.”