God graces each of us with gifts for use in advancing his kingdom.

Laurie Kehler began her career in advertising as an art director but always enjoyed keeping her hand in copy writing. The work helped hone her talent for using the written word to influence the perspectives and actions of others, to write with purpose.

But it was during her battle with infertility that she discovered how use her gift to reach others for Christ. During her struggle to conceive she found herself spending a lot of time in her garden. Finding comfort as she worked the soil and nurtured her plants, she realized that gardening offered an outstanding metaphor for the struggles of life. That idea became the topic of her first book, “Gardening Mercies: Finding God in Your Garden.”

The goal of her latest book, “This Outside Life: Finding God in the Heart of Nature,” is two-fold: To reacquaint non-practicing believers with the church, and to reach non-believers by exploring the glory and meaning of God’s creation. Or as her tagline reads: Delight in Nature and Discover God.

“Thirty to 40 million Americans consider themselves Christians or born again and don’t go to church. What are they doing? Many of them are outside most weekends. Those people belong to God. They love the outdoors. So, I want to reach them,” Laurie said. “My second focus is to help close the huge nature deficit growing in this country. And I want them to fall in love with this outside life. I want them to become more nature literate, and I want to help them uncover God’s creativity, design in this amazing world. So this book is sort of a trail guide for discovering God’s signposts in the world and revealing his fingerprints on our lives.”

Laurie notes that the first step toward using gifts to glorify and grow God’s kingdom is to acknowledge them.

“It’s important not to deny the gifts God has given you,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t realize their talents are really gifts. We all need to work together to help the body of Christ bloom. When you discover your talents or gifts, and what the needs are around you and where those meet—there you discover passion and deep satisfaction.”

Laurie is a member of the Mariners Church steering committee. You can learn more about her books at www.LaurieKehler.com .

By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller