Meet the Talented Josephine Walker
In Psalm 139, King David begins by telling us there is simply no place we can go that God isn’t already there. In verses 13-16, he points out the reality that God is even with us when we are being formed in our mother’s womb. He speaks to how wonderfully we are made, and goes on to tell us that every day of our life was recorded before one ever existed.
In Proverbs ch.3 v 5-6, King Solomon tells us to “Trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct our steps/make our paths straight.”
I share these scriptures because they are the cornerstone and driving force of my life. There is only one reason I write. God. It was never a dream, a desire, a want, a thought, or on my radar. You see, my dream was to be a wife and a mother. Once the nest was empty, I got a job selling cars in Portland, Ore., at age forty-nine. The fact I’d never been in a car dealership with my husband to buy a car didn’t deter me. I sold cars for eleven years—and God used me.
At age sixty, I got my real estate license. As much as I enjoyed it, and as much as God used me, I knew I didn’t want to do it forever. This prompted a conversation with God. You might say, a one-sided chat. Me to Him. I said to God. “God, I really don’t want to be selling real estate when I’m eighty-five years old. I must have some kind of talent. After all, even Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was eighty.”
I knew I had some artistic ability. I knew I could put a few descriptive words together, but as I mentioned before, writing was never on my radar. One thing for certain, I had no plans to sit on my duff watching television all day long, eating bon-bons.
Evidently God had something planned out for me all along. In late August of 2008, after my husband had his second stroke and I finished reading a poorly written mystery, I said out loud to empty space, “I could have written something that good.” Out of my mouth, into my ears and deep into my heart, the words took root and began to grow. In hindsight, it seems to me that this moment is where God’s plan for where I am today—began.
What does one do when it seems God is giving an answer, leading the way, but you know nothing about the process? I knew nothing about writing. I mean nothing. Nada. Nyet. Nein. I went to sixteen different schools by the time I graduated high school. Somewhere along the way, I suspect I missed a few rules of writing in my English classes.
Write a book. Ok. What kind? Mystery, of course, since it was my favorite genre. Oh by the way, I don’t think I fully understood that word then. What did I do? I talked to God. I asked Him to guide me. The end result by October 2010 was a 100,000 word first draft. My first in the HOPE’S SECRETS series. Up to that point, I still hadn’t read a book on writing or taken a class.
The almost two-year delay came from our move to Cody, Wyoming, and my getting a nighttime job as a CNA in a long term care facility. In October, 2010 I announced to my FB friends and family that I had just completed the book. I asked a simple question. “Now what?” Seriously, I really did that and got two answers. That was the start of my connecting to the writing world.
I won’t go into details except to say that in April of 2011, I learned about the online group, American Christian Fiction Writers. This partnership with ACFW opened a whole new world and my education began.
My fiction, HOPE, went through two full critique processes, I read recommended books and I took the ACFW writing courses. And I learned a thing or two.
In December of 2011, my world turned upside down. My husband of forty-nine years suffered his third stroke, and God took him home. Less than three months later, I received a phone call that changed the direction of my life forever. Up to the point of my husband’s passing, my life was wrapped with his. Now I was alone, still working nights to keep the bills paid. Still working on Hope and learning the craft.
On March 12, 2012, a gentleman I knew called and asked me if I would help his dad write his story. I knew some of the story and of course was honored. I had no intention of doing it unless God made it clear that was indeed His plan and purpose for me. I had gone through enough pain, so once again in a deeper way surrendered my heart and life to Him. I’d given Him my hopes, my dreams, my wants, my everything. The years between my husband’s second and third strokes were the most painful for him and for me.
I shared with the gentleman who called me and his father John, the facts of life about writing and that anyone who helped out would need to be paid.
They prayed, and I prayed, and in nine days God had made it clear to all involved this was of Him. During those nine days of waiting God gave me the Prologue, the first line of the first chapter and the last word of the Romania part of the story. Even with all that, I still wasn’t certain, so I waited for more confirmation. Because of how everything came together, I have always viewed the book as God’s work and His warning to America.
I quit my job and spent a month with the couple in their home in Costa Mesa, Calif. in the summer of 2012. I did over seventy interviews. Back home in Cody, Wyoming, I began the research and the writing. I won’t go into the details of how difficult this journey was, but it was extremely difficult. As good as their English, we had serious issues with clearly understanding what each was saying or meaning. Fortunately, I had twenty-six pages of John’s attempt at writing his story. It worked well as an outline.
By the end of Dec. 2012 I knew I had to get back to Costa Mesa. The attempt at Skyping, and John’s need to read each chapter at least three times for accuracy, slowed the process. I arrived in California on Jan. 26, 2013 and began to write eight to ten hours a day. I did an additional thirty interviews. Having John’s wife, Stela, to help with details and John’s and my interaction every night moved the chapters along.
One month later, on Feb. 26th, four-fifths of the book was finished. I had no publisher, no book proposal, had no synopsis, no query letter, no one sheet. I didn’t really know how to write any of these. One week later, Monday, March 4th, 2013, an edited book proposal, with edited prologue and three chapters was in a publisher's email. He read it and said he wanted it. By the first Monday of April, the complete edited manuscript was in the publisher’s email.
That my friends is God. God alone made this happen. Christians who understand the process call it a miracle. I agree. Non-believers think it was luck. I have no illusions as to my ability to write. There were times I felt lost, didn’t know what to do or write, so would stop and say to God. “I didn’t ask for this gig. If you don’t do it in me, it won’t get done.” God got it done.
I take no credit for “Willing to Die, the John Muntean story”. The true story of a man of simple but strong faith who was willing to die for his kids. A man who forced open the doors of safe, legal emigration out of communist Romania in 1980. Succeed or die, no compromising. Getting his children to freedom and safe from religious persecution was worth his life. The book shares his life under socialism/communism. It tells of the destruction of a country once called the Breadbasket of Europe. It also shows how God will use your enemies to bless you. And it also warns Christians and America of its future if we don’t understand and stop what is happening.
The book was picked up by a traditional publisher, who has been amazing. Working with me, an author, who still knows so little about the entire process of writing, and the work required after being published. The book was released as an e-book on Amazon, as well as Barnes and Noble in August, and as a paperback in late Sept. 2013.
These last two years have been glorious, extremely hard, emotional, painful and joyous. I have shared all the details of my journey because I want it understood that we are never too old to begin a new journey. We are never too old to be used by God. I just celebrated my seventieth birthday and am finally finishing up my first book in the HOPE series, which will be published this year. I also wanted to let aspiring writers know that you don’t have to know everything about writing, to write. Just get started. Yes, learn the craft, but don’t keep from writing because you are like I was—totally ignorant.
Writing is now the biggest part of my life. I am learning the craft. I am only interested in writing what He directs and gives glory to Him. I give God full credit for all He has done in my life. If the Holy Spirit does not lead my writing, I am not interested in doing it. I have nothing of value to offer but what He speaks through me.
This journey has been amazing. My life is in His hands and my heart is in His keeping. I am honored He chose me to write “Willing to Die”. Where it goes is up to Him. I am doing my part. Book signings, social media, visiting the smaller stores and getting the book on their shelves. As I do my part, God will do His part.
Psalm 139 says all my days were written before any existed. I treasure each day I am given. I love that He brought writing into my life. Daily, I trust God will lead me in His plan and purpose for my life. To God, be the glory.
Once again, life interrupted my planned-out life. I never ever planned on remarrying, but God. One day, in my youngest son’s living room, he introduced me to the song “Oceans” and I began to weep. “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me, take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.” those words gripped my heart and became it’s cry. I had no idea what I was bringing into my life with that prayer. His name is Steven Bryant, a man who rocked my world in many ways, ways I never dreamed of. A road of deep suffering, great joys and amazing love. It lasted six years until he passed in Oct, 2021. I was widowed again. There was no writing in my life during Steven because my life was filled taking care of him.
Now, once again, I find myself at the computer having committed to another Muntean book. Hope’s second in the series has been started a tiny bit and maybe, just maybe my own story will be written, only though if it gives God the glory.