Some stories demand to be told, regardless if the storyteller planned to be an author or not. Dr. Velma Bagby didn’t see herself as an author in 2012.
After 38 years working as a deputy administrator for the state of California, she was ready to retire, but God had other plans.
“God has blessed me with all this wonderful experience,” Dr. Velma said. “I felt Him saying I needed to go bless others, to help other women experience God’s best for them.”
Her first book, Your Adam Is Asleep Until God Opens His Eyes, released in 2018. For her, non-fiction made the most sense. With a lifetime of experience from her career and even more experience from a beautiful 49-year marriage, Velma gladly stepped into the role of a Titus 2 woman.
“It’s my responsibility,” Velma said. “My heart is for women who are struggling to discover their mate.”
Dr. Velma has been able to speak truth into the lives of the young women of the Body of Christ, intervening in their hearts before they give them away to someone who God hasn’t called their mate.
“Don’t be in a hurry,” Dr. Velma said. “When it’s the right time, God will make it happen. Until then, be in fellowship with God. Be the person you’re supposed to be and work on yourself, until it’s time for your mate to come into your life.”
Dr. Velma shares with young women the truth about relationships out of Scripture, starting at the very beginning in Genesis. “Adam never declared that he was alone,” Dr. Velma said. “God did that. God recognized that Adam needed someone else in his life, and when it was time, God provided exactly the right person Adam needed. Until then, Adam remained in fellowship with God.”
As a Certified Christian dating-relationship coach and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), Dr. Velma has coached young women through relationship issues for more than 30 years. She constantly seeks to help women understand their worth, knowing and embracing their value to God so that they can avoid the trauma of a failed relationship because of poor self-worth.
“The modern-day dating practice is only a few hundred years old, and doesn’t have commitment in it,” she said. “That’s why it isn’t working.”
Modern dating discourages making commitments to each other. Dating apps connect people who are just looking for a fun time, but if you try to find a serious relationship in those environments, you will only waste your time and energy.
“With all the break-ups in an average person’s life,” Dr. Velma said, “you’ve gone through so many broken relationships that you won’t even recognize the right person when God brings him into your life.”
Dr. Velma initiated conversations with her daughters about dating, giving them examples straight out of God’s Word to explain relationships, both good and bad. The more she talked to her adult daughters, the more her daughters talked to their friends. And their friends talked to their friends. Those friends told others, until Velma realized a desperate need.
That’s how Dr. Velma began the Date4Marriage movement.
“It changes your approach,” she said. “If I’m going into business with someone, I need to ask questions. Are they who they say they are? Are they lying about their finances? Are they reputable? We are entering into a business contract with each other.”
If those questions matter for business, how much more do they matter for a relationship that is intended to last the rest of our lives?
“We just fell away from doing our due diligence when we meet someone,” she said. “We need to ask the right questions.”
Since 2018, Dr. Velma has released 15 books, and most of them are focused on dating and relationships for single women. Once a person has chosen to be married and that marriage has fallen apart, it is so much more difficult to pick up the broken pieces and try again.
“The place to intervene is before marriage,” Dr. Velma said. “God gives us clues. God has given us the keys to His Kingdom. We have just forgotten how to use them. That’s how I moved into writing this last series about dating and relationships.”
Dr. Velma’s books are all about dating and relationships, but not all of her titles are non-fiction. In 2022, the Lord made it clear to Dr. Velma that it was time to write a fiction story.
Dr. Velma recalled an instance from years previous where she met a woman who was stuck in a toxic, abusive relationship. This woman’s life experience could have been moving in non-fiction, but transforming it into a fiction story could highlight themes and choices about the situation that might resonate with readers who hadn’t gotten into a circumstance like that yet.
“This is a story I needed to tell,” Dr. Velma says. “Not another woman should fall victim to this ever again.”
Deciding to go down the road of writing fiction wasn’t easy. Many experts advise against splitting your author platform, but God made it obvious to Dr. Velma that this was the course He’d called her to walk.
“Jesus told over 50 parables,” Dr. Velma said. “He wanted to tell a story without becoming too preachy, so he used themes they would recognize. Jesus used fish. He provided redemption in the story or a way to change. He told a story, and He’d walk away. It was up to the listener to make up his or her own mind.”
Dr. Velma believes this idea of allowing a reader to make up their own minds is the greatest value of Christian contemporary fiction.
As a genre, it allows an author to reach an audience that is familiar with Scripture, but it also opens the door to reach an audience that isn’t.
And if Jesus used fish in His stories, why couldn’t she?
In 2022, Dr. Velma released The CATCH No One Wants, fictional stories about dating and relationships created by a father and shared with his daughter. And, yes, she uses different kinds of fish as metaphors for the different sorts of men to avoid dating.
Dr. Velma recently released the 4th book in her award-winning series The Catch, in response to demand and has since expanded to include three books, all stories about how to navigate the complex world of relationships from a biblical perspective.
“Fix your eyes on a fulfilling relationship with Christ before considering marriage,” Dr. Velma said. “Commit to Christ before you commit to a husband. Become the person God has called you to be before you yoke your life to someone else.”
Learn more about Dr. Velma Bagby, The Catch Series and read more relationship articles at her website www.drvelma.com.
INCLUDED IN THIS ISSUE:
The Cookie Extravaganza
What if My Mate Strays … from God
From Pushover to Powerhouse
CeCe Winans: Believing Together for Bigger Things
The P.O.I.N.T. of Being a Ministry Leader
Into-Me-See: The Heart of Communion
How Do You Know You’ve Heard From God?
FROM THE PUBLISHER: The Joseph Plan
FROM THE EDITOR: Everything He Wants Is Me
THE BIG Q: How Can You Overcome a Judgmental Attitude
PRAYER CIRCLE: Need a Next Level Emotional Breakthrough?
AT THE TABLE: A Family That Eats Together Stays Together with Bonus Recipe for Cowboy Casserole