Sharon Reed had a vision following a reconnection with an old friend. She was called to bring a group of women together for a book collaboration based on a similar theme. Reed’s friend was working on a similar project in Indianapolis but felt it was important to get the group of writers from Kokomo.

The book, Meet Me At The Well, is available for pre-order through the authors of the book. There will be a book distribution and signing at Indiana Wesleyan University, Kokomo Education and Conference Center (1916 E. Markland) on Oct. 28 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

“I began to think that it would be kind of odd being in with people in Indianapolis. I thought I could find ladies in Kokomo that had a book in them. I cast the net out, and we got 11 women to join us on the project,” Reed said.

Each of the authors was tasked with composing their story based on the theme stemming from Bible scripture. The basis of the writings stemmed from when Jesus had an encounter at a well with a woman who was very different from himself. Instead of turning away or sending the woman away, he talked to her and asked questions.

“I know all of us had some kind of encounter, and we could look back on that day where we were enlightened, look back, and see where we are,” said Reed. “We had meetings, but we left it up to each individual as to what aspect of their life they wanted to share. When you read the book, everybody is different.”

Reed brought together women, some she knew fairly well and others not as much. The diversity of the authors allowed for a wider range of personal stories and the understanding that while each one was different, they all shared a common bond.

Carolyn Loftis came to be part of the project after doing the taxes of one of the other authors. They were talking about the project, and Loftis jumped at the opportunity to share her personal journey.

“I knew in my spirit it was what God wanted. I was sort of jumping up and down inside,” Loftis said. “My daughter and I co-authored our section, my part, as a mother, of heartbreak and her side of the story on the choices she made. I had been talking to a woman at church. She had been praying with me about the situation, and she told me I needed to write a book about it. When Sharron’s opportunity came, it was like God said, ‘OK.’”
Essie Foster came to the project later in the planning stages but not as quickly as some of the others.

“Sharron and I were sitting here talking, and she said she wanted to do this book. I wasn’t all in at all,” Foster said.

“I went on, and she kept talking about it, telling me I had something to say. I said I didn’t know what to say. She told me I had a lot to say, but I wasn’t thinking about it. They had had several meetings before I came on. I’m always writing and leaving things down. Once I found out the title, I thought I didn’t know anything about that. I don’t see how that is going to be something I could expound on. After praying about it and really doing a lot of research, I thought I could do it. I would have something to say.”

Each of the authors was tasked with sharing a personal story, one that impacted their lives and emulated the encounter of Jesus at the well. Each story is different than the other, and the women (and lone man) authors shared their personal stories with the hope to inspire others.

“There are a lot of hurting mothers out there who are looking for hope when their children make poor decisions or choices different from your values and standards. Hopefully it gives mothers hope that there is an answer, and there is scripture you can stand on,” Loftis said. 

The authors did not share their work with each other until after the final draft was due in order to not have their stories impacted by the others. Loftis said that since she was co-authoring her story with her daughter, it was difficult in the beginning. She found herself answering her daughter’s words in her text, and her daughter was offering suggestions to change her text. Finally, Loftis ripped up her first draft and started over.

Loftis wasn’t the only author to partner with a family member for their section. The book also features a section co-authored by husband-and-wife team DeElla and Lewis Hall. 

Reed, Loftis, and Foster all hope the book inspires others and reminds readers there are others out who may be facing adversity and are empowered by the book to act.

“The book isn’t about me but what God has done in my life, and I think a lot of the women feel that way, that you can be a blessing to others,” Loftis said.

Reed added, “I wanted people to understand my relationship with God. A lot of people don’t understand relationships with God, and I thought if they could see my relationship with God, they could understand theirs better. The diversity of the women, it’s powerful. We’ve got a businesswoman; she’s a chef. The struggle is the same, the common bond. Hopefully when a woman reads this, it won’t matter where they are; it’s the same.”

Foster said the experience brought them together, and, regardless of who the readers are, those facing adversity can take comfort in knowing there are other facing similar trials.

“It doesn’t matter who you are. You can be going through the same thing, and you think you’re the only person on Earth going through it. You’re not,” she said. “A lot of the time you don’t think that He hears or that someone is there for you. If you just wait, things change. Nothing is written in stone. Things can change if you allow it.”