Normally quiet-spirited JoAnn Vicknair grows animated when telling her story about how God is using her “to tell His stories.”
“I have something I want to say and a story to tell,” she explains. “I am not a creative person, and never thought to write a book. But God has made it clear that it is because of that He has used me, since it’s totally clear that this is of Him, not me.”
And while she admits to being surprised to discover herself an author, she is not surprised that the Lord of her life might lead her on an unexpected path in a way that brings glory to Him, and exhibits His creativity.
JoAnn’s faith has grown during her life, beginning when she gave her life to the Lord at age 14.
She grew up in Anahuac, Texas, a small town on Trinity Bay, about an hour east of Houston. She learned about the Lord at a tiny Baptist church she walked to each Sunday, and it was there she accepted Christ.
For college, she stayed in her home area to attend Lee College in nearby Baytown to study nursing.
After receiving her Registered Nurse degree from Lee College, she began her 30-year nursing career. Through the twists and turns of life, she worked in hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana in specialties including the surgical floor, intensive care, and later the post-anesthesia recovery room.
By the time she retired in 2014, she and her husband were living in Reserve, Louisiana, about 45 minutes west of New Orleans. They enjoyed their boat and fishing and camping, and time with family.
Between them, they have four children and now 10 grandchildren.
She reflects on how her faith has really grown since Jesus became Lord of her life when she was in her 30s, and she’s continued to walk with him, and remembers experiencing God’s special closeness on a trip to Israel in 2019.
But she believes her most significant faith adventure has been producing this book with God’s direction as led by the Holy Spirit.
That journey really started a few years ago, when JoAnn was helping her daughter with caring for her two little ones, then ages four and three. They love hearing stories and would say, “It’s storytime, Memaw!”
As she began telling them stories to teach them about God and creation, she says she prayed for more stories and God answered. But then she heard Dr. James Dobson speak about the importance of reaching children for Christ by age five and that changed her prayer. She intensely prayed, “God give me stories of You. They need You in their lives.”
She began writing down the stories to keep them for her grandchildren. By early 2020, her handwritten journal was worn out, so with extra time on her hands during the spring Covid shutdown, she began typing up the stories on her computer.
As she continued to pray about the stories, she had an experience with the Holy Spirit and God giving her more and more stories and telling her she was to publish them.
Reflecting on this journey she said, “I don’t believe I’m a ‘real’ author. I simply stepped out in faith and did what God told me to do. I truly believe and want people to know that this is of Him. He gave me the stories. He told me to have them published. And He has seen to it that, amazingly enough, the books are now in my hands and I can brag on God and say, ‘See. God did this.’
“I am especially thankful that I didn’t think about it. I didn’t say, ‘God, how will I…? or How much will it cost…?’ I’m thrilled I said ‘You want me? Yes! This is so exciting.’”
“I believe God is in everything and if we look for Him, we will find Him. I have prayed the prayer of Jabez for years. I even prayed it in Israel. It’s Storytime, Memaw! is an answer to my simple prayer of ‘Give me stories of You,’ because God answers our prayers above and beyond anything we hope for or imagine.”
Now the quiet woman who had never spoken before a crowd loves to “brag about God” and looks forward to more speaking and storytelling opportunities.
In the dedication of her book, she includes this:
“I insist all the praise and glory go to God, for these are His stories given to me about many of my life’s actual events, to share with you. Your children will be compelled to see God in their everyday lives because He is in everything. God is in the good, the sad, the heartache, the joy, the anger—everything!”
“He gives strength to the weak and power to the powerless. I am living proof. Praise God!”
It’s Storytime, Memaw! (ISBN-10 : 1952025192, $19.99) from Carpenter’s Son Publishing, is available from selected bookstores and online retailers. For more information, visit www.JoAnnVicknairAuthor.com.