Trust God’s Timing with Zalea Dold (Re-Air)
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- How Zalea found a message that wouldn’t let her go
- The importance of praying specifically for what we need
- How Zalea learned to wait for God’s timing – and how everything fell into place when the timing was right
- Why we must teach our children to hear God’s voice
- Zalea’s advice for the writer who feels overwhelmed and discouraged by obstacles in their journey
Answering God’s Call
In Christian circles, the topic of sexuality tends to be seen as uncomfortable. As a result, it’s often simply not talked about.
But when Zalea Dold attended a workshop with a sexuality specialist at Bible college, she realized how important this topic is for Christian parents to discuss with their children. At the same time, she also discovered a passion for helping parents approach difficult questions and raise their children to adulthood with a healthy attitude toward sex and sexuality.
“I couldn’t not get involved,” she explains. “I was drawn to it. And that is when God deposited the calling in my heart. It was just something in me, and it never left me. And here I am 20 years later, and I had to write about it.”
Now, after 20 years of studying, growing, training other parents, and parenting her own children, Zalea has written The Birds, the Bees & the Bible: How To Practically Parent Sexuality, a book that equips Christian parents to address this topic in practical, biblical ways.
While it can feel overwhelming to teach children biblical truth in a world bombarded with sexual imagery, Zalea wants to give parents hope and guide them in having these important conversations with their children.
Starting to Write
Zalea’s story is a powerful reminder that when an idea or subject refuses to let us go, it’s a sure sign of a calling from God. Interests come and go, so when one sticks with you through the years, don’t ignore it — even if it takes time, God will make a way for you to do what He has called you to do.
Often, God does this by bringing people into our lives to nudge us in the right direction. In Zalea’s case, this person was a friend who recommended she write a book.
Having recently emigrated from South Africa to the Netherlands, Zalea was struggling because she knew she was ready to offer workshops and spread her God-given message to parents in her new community, but she couldn’t speak the language. That was when her friend suggested she write her message down, and Zalea realized she’d been experiencing tunnel vision.
“It was like the fog lifted,” she recalls. “I had this idea in my head that this was the only way to get my message out, and I was stuck with that image. And when my friend said, ‘Why don’t you just write a book?’ it just made sense.”
Zalea started writing the very next morning. For months, the words poured out of her at all hours of the day. She paid no attention to organization or formatting — all she wanted was to get the words in her head out onto the page.
Then, when she was finished, she worked on sorting through the ideas, adding and removing sections as needed until she was ready to move onto the next stage in the book’s development.
“One day, I woke up, and I knew I was done,” she says. “It was like the tap had closed. And I knew God was saying, ‘Okay, the writing part is over. Now let’s get to the point where we can present it as a good manuscript, Let’s start making it a refined, excellent product to put out into the world.’”
Praying for the Right Person
Zalea had written her book in English — her second language — but during the writing process she didn’t let herself get caught up in worrying about grammar. Instead, she did her best to write in a clear, practical way. And when she was ready, she looked for an editor to help perfect her writing.
After being rejected by the first editor she tried, Zalea realized she needed to work with a very specific kind of person. She needed someone who understood the urgency of her message and who shared her passion for spreading it. Even more specifically, she wanted someone who was not only a Christian, but a Christian parent. So she started praying that God would bring this person into her life.
And that’s exactly what happened! Through her former church’s Facebook page, she connected with a woman who had all the qualifications Zalea was looking for, and then some. Not only was she a Christian mother with excellent English skills, but she also spoke Afrikaans, Zalea’s native language.
Even better, this editor understood the importance of Zalea’s message — so much so that she told Zalea that reading the book had set her free of old, harmful mindsets, and as a result, it was changing her marriage for the better.
“When I heard that, I knew that even if she was the only one that ever read what I wrote, it was worth it for me,” Zalea says. “It made a difference to one person, and that made the whole journey worth it.”
Learning to Wait
Even after Zalea found her editor, finishing the book wasn’t all smooth sailing. Zalea admits that patience is not one of her strengths, but now she had to learn to wait, as her editor explained that juggling home, family, and editing responsibilities were difficult and time-consuming.
Finally, when lockdowns occurred because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Zalea’s editor informed her that the original timeline to complete the book would likely be impossible to meet. Zalea was disappointed, but after praying, she felt that God wanted her to stick with this editor, even though it would take much longer than she had hoped to finish her book.
As Zalea has learned, sometimes the doors just keep closing in front of you, and there’s nothing you can do about it but trust that God closed them for a reason. And when the timing is right according to God’s plan, the doors open right up — and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
“I don't know why it took so long,” Zalea says now. “But in those nine months, when nothing was happening, I painted some of the most beautiful paintings I've ever painted. There was no working on books at all, and I shifted and involved myself in a different type of creativity. And in that, I found God in completely different ways.”
Teaching Our Children
Just as Zalea learned to trust and follow God’s lead throughout the writing process, she believes it’s essential to teach children from a young age to recognize and obey God’s voice in their own lives.
“As a Christian adult, we have the whole of the Holy Spirit in us, not just a little portion of Him,” she explains. “And a child doesn’t have a different Holy Spirit, or a smaller portion of the Holy Spirit, just because they’re younger. So they can also hear God’s voice. In fact, I think they can hear it even clearer than we can.”
Zalea adds that when children learn to know and trust God’s voice from a young age, they learn to help themselves in dangerous situations when their earthly parents are not around. This applies to sexual safety, as well as making good choices in all areas of life.
We can’t be with our loved ones all the time. But God is always with them. And if we can teach our children to listen to God’s voice, then we can be confident that they are well-equipped to stand up for themselves and others and that they won’t be easily led astray.
Pushing Through Overwhelm
Since publishing her book, Zalea has branched out to other ways of getting her message out to the world. Sometimes, she still feels overwhelmed by all the things she doesn’t know how to do and new skills she needs to learn.
If that’s how you feel about your writing journey, Zalea advises pushing through the difficulty and uncertainty and just doing what you know you’re called to do. Sometimes this can mean letting the words flow out of you onto the page, but other times it can mean spending money on resources and training to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.
“It's worth it to invest money in certain areas so you can equip yourself to make the right choices as you go forward,” she says in closing.
And, above all, listen for God’s voice and follow His lead, trusting that, in His perfect time, He will open the right doors for you.
Zalea Dold is a published author, teacher and mom, and she teaches parents how to practically parent sexuality – God’s way. After working with sexuality education experts for 20 years, she wrote The Birds, the Bees & the Bible as a guide to practically assist parents who struggle in this ‘panicky’ area of their parenting. Zalea believes that if you deliberately and intentionally parent your child’s sexuality, you will raise a generation who will not only make wise sexual choices, but will also influence others to do the same.