About six months ago, Taylor Mauldin (TJ's wife) came to me full of excitement with a new book that her husband was releasing. This book, a 30-day devotional, has sold hundreds of copies in our local community. All of the proceeds from the sale of this devotion help to fund their international adoption. So, I thought, let's do an interview with TJ to get his insight on the devotion. Enjoy!
Victoria: Why (and when) did you decide to write 30 Days of Desperation?
TJ: 30 Days of Desperation came out of an interesting season. Our foster child that had been with us for two years returned to his birth mother, which was our prayer As incredible as it was, it was utterly devastation for us. Additionally, I was diagnosed and dealing with a difficult medical issue all in the same few weeks. This was also when we needed to raise funds for our adoption. We were desperate to hear from the Lord. It was in the midst of this grappling with suffering and the love of God that we thought about compiling a devotion from the last several years of my writings that could serve other people walking through the same kind of desperation and serve as a fundraiser. Not all, but many of the devotions come from a time when I would write for my wife. I longed for her to see and cherish Christ with unremitting joy in every situation and wanted to take the lead in pointing her to the gospel every chance I got. Many of the devotions you will read have sat in her email from mornings or evenings that I felt compelled to share with her what God had shared with me. So, 30 Days of Desperation didn’t start out as a devotion for everyone to read. It started as a simple guy who sat with an extraordinary God and fleshed out life, suffering, and surrender with the tip of a pen.
Victoria: Of the 30 devotions, which one has the greatest meaning to you?
TJ: All of the devotions have great significance to me in unique ways. "Wounded People Fill Wounded Churches" would probably be the one that has the greatest meaning though. I wrote this in a season where I had just been fired from a church that I had planted with my best friend. I didn’t do anything unethical, immoral, or outside of the guideline of scripture. My best friend had transitioned from co-pastor along side me to senior pastor over me. He and I kept running into leadership roadblocks with each other. We were both pretty sinful in the way we handled it and ultimately we were both immature. He decided to fire me and I was, for the first time, truly wounded in church. Every band member I had recruited that were my friends I lost, every interpersonal relationship that was precious to me now had a deep tension attached, and there was this strange silence around why I was no longer there. It was some of the darkest days of my life. I had been deeply wounded. It was in this season that I realized the church was filled with wounded people. Some wounds unavoidable as others deride us, but some self-inflicted.
It was in this season that I penned this devotion. I was preaching a sermon to myself on how to recover from the wound, and continue to pursue Christ. I had to remind myself that there is no perfect church --- that we have to take the chip off our shoulder and remember we aren’t looking for churches that are perfect; rather, we are looking for somewhere to serve and be spent for the Gory of God, and that wounds either lead to healing or death and the only lasting healing available to us is in the person and work of Christ Jesus. I had to preach those three realities to myself over and over. I will say that I’m grateful that God trusted myself and my best friend with this kind of wound. I think we are both better pastors and men today because of it. God has since restored our friendship and I love to remind him that firing me was the best dumb thing he ever did. We are both thankful that God is sovereign over our stupidity.
Victoria: What are your future plans for writing?
TJ: I recently finished writing our churches membership curriculum and am in the process of writing another set of devotions for Crossfit and Arrow Up Outfitters. One is geared toward exercise and health, while the other is focused on the outdoors.
To purchase 30 Days of Desperation (which will help TJ and Taylor bring their beautiful baby boy home from India), email Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. At only $15 each, they would make great Valentine's Day gifts!
If this his interview was helpful to you, please don't forget to share it with your friends and like/comment.
Victoria Harris holds an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. She is a former Miss Florida Teen USA and Mrs. Florida U.S. Victoria is a lover of Jesus, a wife, biological mom of a toddler and soon-to-be adoptive mom of a tween. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vdharris, on twitter @VictoriaDHarris, or on instagram @VictoriaRatliffHarris
Victoria is a wife, mom, ambassador of Jesus, and a lover of all things that involve learning.