A few weeks ago I talked with Beth Guckenberger about her new book, Start With Amen. I met Beth through an adoption conference and was excited to get an early copy of her new book. Beth has a wonderful way of sharing God’s truths through stories and teaching. I’ve been challenged by the lessons in Start with Amen and am so glad God put this book into my hands. So it’s my pleasure to introduce you to this lovely author.
(You can win a FREE copy of Beth’s book by commenting on my Facebook post about Beth’s book!)
An Interview with Author Beth Guckenberger
Author Beth Guckenberger has learned over the years to surrender to what God wants, no matter how hard the journey is. Ultimately it’s that lesson that was the catalyst behind her new book, Start with Amen.
The book, which is a combination of Beth’s stories and Bible teaching, declares that “Amen is a moment of submission and worship, saying ‘so be it” to a Sovereignty that holds all things.”
But Beth’s road to living a “so be it” lifestyle has been fraught with challenges along the way. As a missionary in Mexico and co-executive director of Back2Back ministries alongside her husband Todd, Beth’s journey of surrendering hasn’t been easy.
“I can let my heart get all up in arms and say, ‘What in the world can I do to fix this?’ Saying that word (amen) plants my feet on spiritual ground rather than on earthly ground. It’s a stop button on runaway emotions. It reminds me I have a citizenship in a different place.”
In her book, Beth tells a story about getting her purse stolen in Mexico. When she later receives a package in the mail containing a gorgeous backpack from a friend, she is shocked. It was the same backpack she had picked out at a store, but hadn’t purchased due to the expensive price tag. Without knowing the situation, her friend sent it to her as a gift. Beth said that incident taught her a good lesson.
“I learned I spent a lot of time wringing my hands over something God already had in the works to redeem.”
Ultimately that’s what Start with Amen is all about.
“For at least ten years I’ve been praying ‘so be it’ at the beginning of my prayer time. It’s given me a rhythm to running the spiritual waves of our household. It provides a space to allow God to do his work. It’s saying I trust you, I don’t understand, but I surrender. It’s in your hands now.”
But this concept of living the amen lifestyle has not been easy, especially as they parent ten biological, adopted and foster children. When one of their foster daughters ran away, Beth initially felt fear, but was reminded that she was not her daughter’s shelter–God was. She learned to let go of her daughter’s situation and let God be her shelter.
“I get in trouble when I think it’s up to me. I have a role in every story, but my responsibility is obedience. Not as an author or architect, but an obedient partner.”
Beth’s faith continued to be stretched when she tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, which significantly increases a woman’s risk for breast and other cancers.
After wrestling with this new reality, she made a difficult decision–to have a preventative mastectomy and hysterectomy. Her recovery forced her to rest and brought her to a deeper place of gratitude.
“We do a practice with our kids where they name what they are grateful for each night. There was plenty to complain about [in that season]. The practice of gratitude made me realize how many good gifts God gives us. I don’t have the luxury of wasting emotional energy—my life is so full. This ensures me to submit to all circumstances. Amen brought me to grateful.”
Beth’s transparency in her book is refreshing. She shares her failings and flaws in the midst of daily life. But through it all, she is quick to show us that living the amen lifestyle is an intentional act of surrender, trusting God one hundred percent.
“Saying amen means that whatever God has for me, it’s going to be really good.”
Can I get amen to that?
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a free copy of Beth’s book on Facebook starting Wednesday night (4/12) around 8:30 pm and ending Tuesday at noon!
The giveaway has ended! Winner named in comments section. Thanks for entering!
More about Beth
Beth and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio where they serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. After graduating from Indiana University with degrees in education, the Guckenbergers moved to Monterrey, Mexico. Since founding the international arm of Back2Back in 1997, they have hosted thousands of guests on the ministry campus. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, they have raised ten children. Beth is the author of Reckless Faith, Relentless Hope, Tales of the Not Forgotten, Tales of the Defended Ones, Tales of the Ones Led Out and Tales of the Ones He Won’t Let Go.