Author Interview/Giveaway with Stephanie Shott…and a winner has been chosen!

Post update: A winner for Stephanie’s book has been chosen!

Yay! We have a winner of Stephanie Shott’s wonderful Bible study Ecclesiastes:Understanding What Matters.

Drumroll please…and the winner is Jeanne!

I want to personally thank everyone who stopped by and left a comment for Stephanie. I encourage you to check out her book, which is available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ecclesiastes-Understanding-Matters-Following-Discipleship/dp/0899570240/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302225333&sr=1-1 Stephanie has such a heart for God and ministering to the needs of others.

Read on for the interview:

I am thrilled to have Author Stephanie Shott as a guest on my blog. She has an amazing and touching testimony that I know will bless all who read it.  Stephanie’s new book is the first in her Following God Through the Bible Series and is titled Ecclesiastes:Understanding What Matters.

Stephanie is going to be giving away a copy of this fantastic book to one lucky commenter. So be sure to leave a comment! The giveaway will end April 7.

Ecclesiastes:Understanding What Matters (Following God Discipleship) (Following God Through the Bible Series)

And now…without further ado, please welcome Stephanie Shott!

Hello Stephanie. Thank you for being here today. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.  I’m married to my best friend, Donald – mom to two adult sons, Karl (30) and DJ (23) – mother-in-law to Kristina – abuela (Grandma) to Kaitlyn Jewel. My hubby and I are empty nesters and to be honest, I don’t like it one little bit. I wish someone would have told me you have to give them away after you’ve raised them! 🙂

But I really want to talk about what Jesus has done for me, so here’s a little bit of my back-story…My life didn’t begin with a well planned pregnancy – my mom was raped and I was the result. I was adopted by two wonderful parents. So, I was born “Baby Salvatore” but I left the hospital four days later as “Stephanie Tyler.”

I had two wonderful parents who loved me as their own, but from the age of 3 until the age of about 12, I was repeatedly molested by two different people in my family.

At 17 I was pregnant – then married. At 19, I was divorced and a single parent. I spent the next four years as the poster child for the ‘Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” During that time, I met Donald in a bar. He was the drummer in the band and we were in love. I became pregnant again and we decided to get married in January of 1987

In October of that same year, God saved me and radically changed this girl with a bad past and a bleak future.

Since then, He has opened doors of ministry that were way beyond my wildest dreams and definitely beyond my own abilities!  In my journey with Christ, He has taken me from speaking to classrooms to speaking at conferences and from local ministries to international missions. My journey hasn’t been an easy one, but God has given me an opportunity to use the broken pieces of my life to encourage others and to glorify Him.

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing that with us.What a wonderful testimony of how God can use all of us, no matter what our past held. I am excited about your recent release titled “Ecclesiastes:Understanding What Matters.” Please give us a short blurb about your book. We are all trying to figure out how to best live this thing called life. We want our lives to matter. We want to know that there was significance to our existence.

Understanding What Matters Most is a six week journey through Ecclesiastes giving the reader an opportunity to personally sift the gamut of life experiences and define their lives by what matters most. With questions designed to examine the heart and inspire application, this ladies’ Bible study will ignite intentional living and give significance to the days we are given under the sun.

What made you choose to write a study on the book of Ecclesiastes? It’s funny, but writing a book wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t begin writing it with the hope that one day it would be published. Understanding What Matters Most was birthed from my own place of need during a time when God had called us to the mission field and my 19 year old son didn’t feel led to go.  My maternal heart began to wrestle with the details of the call – Who was going to take care of him if something went wrong?  What if he got hurt?  What about our parents?  I tried desperately to make sense of that which didn’t make sense at all.

That’s when the Lord gently led me to Ecclesiastes and gave me a bird’s-eye view of Solomon’s own attempts to make sense of the details of his life.  After he ran the gamut of life experiences, he understood what matters most.  I knew I needed that kind of clarity.  Not only for the circumstances surrounding our call to the mission field, but to help me walk through life knowing how to chose to live a life of significance regardless of my circumstances. 

 My study of Ecclesiastes gave me the tools I needed to filter the essential from the non-essential in light of eternity. 

When God put it on my heart to send it to a publisher and they said yes, that’s when I knew  He wanted to use it for more than just notes for a conference. It changed everything! I began to write with readers in view and began praying for those who would read a book I never intended on writing.

“Ecclesiastes:Understanding What Matters” is a Bible Study and the first in a series. Can you give us some insight as toupcoming books in the series? I’m working on Bible study series. My next book in that series is a study of Philippians. It’s so much more than a book of joy! I’ve been walking through the bones of it on an online Bible study that I host on my website. 

I’m also very excited about a project I’ve submitted to a publisher recently and am anxiously waiting to hear back from them. I can’t go into detail yet, but it’s definitely a labor of love and I believe the Lord is going to use it to change lives.

What was your inspiration behind your book and what do you hope readers will take away from the study? When God began to expand my ministry borders and place writing in my lap, I knew it was an extension of His call on my life to communicate Him and His Word to women.

Ecclesiastes is an interesting book. Many avoid it because they feel it’s too pessimistic or because they just don’t feel they can really understand it. But it’s a book that gives clarity to the days we live under the sun. It helps us define our lives with significance.

I hope women will walk through this study together in a small group or Sunday School class so they can encourage and challenge each other along the way. There are so many truths wrapped up in those 12 chapters of wisdom Solomon wrote so long ago.

***1. Since we’re all trying to figure out how to do this journey called life, and we’re trying to understand how to properly view the events that come our way, Understanding What Matters Most was written equip each reader with necessary tools to filter everything they face through the lens of what really matters most. Ecclesiastes really helps us understand how to make decisions and deal with our circumstances based on what is and what is not important in light of eternity.

***2. I hope that readers will grasp the concept of eternity and the reality of our ultimate day of reckoning. I pray the awareness of that reality will help them live in light of that day.

***3. That readers will see the grace of God at work in Solomon’s life and understand that same grace is available to us.  Solomon was the wisest man to walk the planet earth, yet he blew it big time!  But the lesson here is that God still used him even after he failed.  I hope readers never forget that God is so much bigger than our failure – that as long as we have breath, He still uses us.  He will not forsake us, even when we blow it.

Wow, Stephanie! I love your heart sharing God’s grace. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?  Philippians 3:7-14 have been my life verses for years. Not long after I became a Christian I read through that power-packed Pauline epistle and found those verses beautifully tucked in the pages of Scripture.

They remind me that nothing can be compared to the privilege of knowing Christ; that nothing is more important than my pursuit of knowing Him and making Him known; and that no matter what my painful past may whisper to my heart…no matter how things shake out in this life – that my job is to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In other words, what are your hopes, dreams, and goals? Oh wow! That’s a loaded question! Because we serve a big God, I tend to vision big! I desperately want my life to be about making Him known and I readily walk through every door my precious Savior opens. 

I know God has called me to serve Him through serving women in the Word – by communicating His truths whether that is through speaking, writing or one-on-one, hands-on ministry. I believe every encounter He gives me is an opportunity to convey His hope, His peace, His salvation and His sovereignty to women everywhere.

As a woman who has walked through my own painful past, I want women to know they are never too bad, too broken, too battered, too unlovable, too unforgiveable or too anything else for God – that He has a plan for their lives that far exceeds anything they can plan for themselves – and that He wants to make beauty out of the ashes of their lives.

I’m not sure what that will look like in five years, but I’m praying for my project that is sitting on a publisher’s desk right now to make a significant impact on the lives of women, not only across this country, but internationally, as well.

If you were given a million dollars to start a charity, what type of charity would you start and why? Because I’m also a missionary, I’ve seen many worthy charitable organizations impact the living conditions of people in the United States as well as around the world.

But while our heart-strings are pulled to make things better for people, if the foundation of our service is not motivated by our desire and a strategic plan to share Jesus with them, we are only making them comfortable on their way to hell. Because of that, I would love to start a mission organization that equips, trains and prepares missionaries while, at the same time, connecting them with local churches who can partner in the Acts 1:8 call to be witnesses to our own Jerusalems, Judeas, Samarias and to the utter most parts of the earth.

When I first read your comment above, I was so convicted. You are so right, Stephanie. We so need to focus on making an eternal difference, rather than just a temporary one.

So, what’s next on your writing agenda? I’m working on the study of Philippians and on the project I mentioned earlier. Speaking, writing, doing ministry with my husband and a full time job keep me busy beyond my 24 hour schedule – but my study of Ecclesiastes has been a huge inspiration to make each minute count for eternity. So, I’m doing all I can while I can.

 Where can readers connect with you? (website, blog, twitter, FB, etc.)

 Website: http://www.stephanieshott.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephanie-Shott/1303068879

Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephanieshott

Thank you, Stephanie, for being a guest on my blog. God’s blessings to you and your family.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a bit about my story with you! You are a huge blessing, Penny!

Don’t forget, readers, that Stephanie will be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter. So feel free to leave an encouraging word for Stephanie to be entered in the drawing…and check back on April 8 to see if you are the winner!

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44 thoughts on “Author Interview/Giveaway with Stephanie Shott…and a winner has been chosen!

  1. Stephanie, Your testimony is a true blessing. I have an adopted daughter who has a similar background to yours, one of the differences is that she also became addicted to prescription drugs during the time that she birthed three illegitimate bi-racial babies. She is now 41 and has had a very rough life, having lost one of her sons to suicide two years ago. I would tell you more, but this message is about you and God in your life. I plan to show her this article and your interview. Thank you for this giveaway and the chance to win your helpful book. You definitely have much insight to write on Solomon’s word. I sure hope I win.

    Sharing His Faith,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

    • Barb ~ Thank you so much by honoring me with the privilege of reading a bit of your story! It breaks my heart to know anyone has had to walk down a similar path as mine. Some things ought not be!

      Please know that I am praying for her now and I’m also praying for you, as well. As a mother of a prodigal, I know how bad our hearts hurt when our children’s hearts hurt…no matter how old they are!

      Don’t give up! God placed that beautiful young lady in your life for a special reason and I know you’re a shining light that is consistently pointing her to Jesus – the One who will love her just as she is and make her better than she ever thought she could be! The One who longs to make beauty out of the ashes of her life and give her hope…and peace. The One who will restore her soul! This is my prayer for your sweet daughter! May it be soon!

  2. Stephanie, you have an amazing story! It amazes me to hear how God chose to use you w/o you necessarily setting out to have a book published. In addition, it intrigues me that the book is not the overall goal for you. It is the message. And you cease every opportunity to share it. That is awesome! I especially love the conviction you share about our motive needing to be intentional in sharing Jesus Christ. I would love to work through this study!

    • Hi Theresa ~ I’m so thankful God takes us on the ride of our lives! It’s such a grand adventure serving Him, isn’t it!

      I popped over to your blog and see you are a sister with a passion for our Savior. LOVE THAT! LOVE your blog too!

      You inspired me to do the five minute challenge and I truly love what you wrote… “I savor waking up to my fresh brewed coffee and devotion. My taste buds crave the creamy fresh bean coffee and my soul craves a fresh Word from my pocket book bible. This is the way I start my day.”

      May we never cease craving Him or His Word!

      (What a great encourager you are! I’m subscribing to your blog!) 🙂

  3. Stephanie’s testimony is amazing. I’ve really enjoyed being part of her Philippians book study too. She is such a feminine woman of God – evidence of God’s healing and work in her life.

    • Karen! Hi sweet friend! You are such a bright spot in my day, my Bible study buddy! Thanks so much for popping in over here at Penny’s place! Don’t you just love her!

      I love how technology bridges continents where God’s girls can gather together…from Florida to somewhere in the midwestern United States and all the way to New Zealand!

      You know Paul would have had a blast with all this technology! He could have just emailed the Philippian church! 🙂

  4. Hi Patty ~
    Thanks so much for popping in to Penny’s place and visiting me here! And thanks for being one of those sisters who is walking through the Word with me! What a treasure you are, my friend!

  5. Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing your testimony. It’s so amazing how God transforms lives. He has also transformed my life. I just love hearing about the miracles in other people’s lives! God is so good.

    Your study sounds like a perfect fit for my life right now and I look forward to working on it this summer.

    Kris Dahl

    • Kris ~ Don’t you just love how He loves us! Thanks so much for your sweet comments. Ecclesiastes certainly is an exciting book to study and it reall gives perspective to the dailies of our lives! 🙂

  6. God is good!!! I love the book of Ecclesiastes and would love to read through it as a bible study on my own. I enjoy your posts and your blog too.
    You have such a testimony and so glad that God gives you the strength to share and give hope to others. God Bless.

  7. Nereida ~ Thanks for popping in at Penny’s site! She’s an amazing woman and I’m honored to be here today!

    I’m so thankful you have been walking with me through Philippians! It’s been eyeopening, for sure!

    You are such a blessing, sweet friend! I see your posts on Facebook and the way you encourage others! Beautiful…just beautiful! 🙂

  8. This book is proof of a blessed life after rape and other mistakes we make. Thank you for being so transparent.

    I’d love to win your book on Ecclesiastics. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Linda ~ I really am so glad the Lord delights in making beauty out of the ashes of our ruined lives. Sometimes they’re ruined by no fault of our own, but because of the choices others make…sometimes they’re ruined by our own foolish choices. Mine was an ash heap of ruins because of a lot of both!
      What a gracious and good God! 🙂

    • Hi Leanna ~ This is my first book and I’m very excited about it since I never really started out with plans to write a book in the first place…but God had plans for my life that are definitely way beyond me. Speaking in front of others has always made me shake in my shoes, but God has called me to teach women His Word and to speak at conferences and retreats! I didn’t do great in school, but God has placed writing in my lap. He truly does exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think! 🙂

  9. Joy ~ It was such a privilege to be highlighted on Penny’s site this week! What a blessing she is!

    Thanks for popping in and allowing me to share a little bit about myself with you! What a wonderful God we serve!

  10. Hi Stephanie,

    What a powerful testimony you have to share with everyone. Even though you went down quite a rough road, G-d is using you for His glory. Thank you for so for being obedient and opening up and telling your story.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

  11. Jo ~ Thank you so much for the encouraging and kind words. It’s a privilege to use the good, the bad and the ugly for His glory! His redemption is so great and so complete, His healing is beyond our comprehension and His grace is AMAZING! What a glorious God we serve! What a wonderful Savior! 🙂

  12. God bless you Stephanie and thank you for sharing your testimony it was truly a blessing to me. The Lord is using you to reach so many people and through your testimony many may come to know the Lord. Praying that the Lord will continue to lead and provide and bless your ministry. The book sounds awesome. Blessings to you.

  13. I especially loved the answer given concerning a charity in this interview!!!! How awesome and how important!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!
    Many Blessings and Smiles:)
    Charlotte Kay

    • Charlotte ~ When we were on the mission field, we saw a lot of people trying to do a good work, but they somehow got caught up in trying to help meet the physical needs and forgot that the people they were helping were still going to help if they didn’t receive Christ. May we always remember it’s all about Jesus! 🙂

  14. Penny, thank you so much for the great interview with one of my most favorite people…and I’ve never met her!

    Stephanie, you are always a blessing to others. Love you!

  15. Thank you Penny and Stephanie for a great interview and to Stephanie for sharing about your past. Sometimes it is difficult to do that, but with God, He gives us the courage to share and so often it leads to touching the hearts of others and changing lives for Him. I have a desire to write, but just don’t know where to begin, but whatever I end up writing about I want it to be a blessing to others who read it and that it will lead them closer to Christ.
    I would enjoy winning a copy of your study on Ecclesiastes – I love a good Bible study! Blessings!

    • Lori ~ Thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words! If you really have a desire to write, I want to encourage you to start by writing how the Lord speaks to you during your time with Him – kind of like journaling your walk with the Lord.

      Just writing on a daily basis will help you begin to develop your writing personality and you may be able to form a devotional from your journaling. You’ll never know if you were meant to take a journey in writing unless you take the first step. 🙂

      • I want to thank everyone for stopping by my blog and for giving such an encouraging and warm welcome to Stephanie. She is such an inspiration to me and I have been beyond blessed to have her as a guest.

        I hope you all have a blessed week in the Lord!

        In Christ,
        Penny Zeller

  16. I don’t want to make light of your testimony, but what you said about Ecclesiastes really spoke to me. I am one that avoids it as being too pessimistic. But I will read it. I am doing the Bible-In-A-Year plan, so I know I will run into it! If it is a book that can help you, I will look at it that way also. Even if I don’t win the contest, I will buy your book because I think it is probably something I need at this time in my life. So, even before reading it and doing the study, Thank You for writing it!

    • Jeanne ~ It’s funny, but I was one who avoided it because I thought it was too pessimistic too! I probably would have never studied it had God not dragged my heart to it every time I opened the Word of God during that season of my life.

      I will have to tell though, it is so much more than we see on the surface! It really does help give clarity to these days we live under the sun. Of course, it’s blunt and sobering – but that gives us a little extra jolt we need to life this life more intentionally on purpose.

      And thank you for your interest in the Bible study! Please be sure to email me when you go through it! I’d love to hear from you. stephanieshott@me.com

    • Donna ~ You’re sweet! But it is YOU who are a lovely lady! You encourage so many and I’m so glad I’m one of them! You bless me, sweet friend!

  17. Really enjoyed the interview. Your testimony is really an encouragement to young women who feel like they have really messed up their life. Looking forward to reading your book.

    • Sheila Anne ~ Thank you so much for your kind words! I was just thinking about how great God is and how He mends broken lives and shattered dreams…and how He makes beauty out of ashes! What a great God! 🙂

    • Patsy ~ Thank so much for popping in and leaving a comment! I’m so honored that Penny would have me on her page! She’s such a blessing! 🙂

      • As the giveaway for Stephanie’s wonderful book starts to come to a close, I want to thank everyone who stopped by and left Stephanie a comment. I have been blessed beyond measure to know Stephanie. I know God has big plans for her writing and I am excited to see how He uses her words for His Kingdom.

        May God bless you all today, tomorrow, and beyond.

        Penny

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