Monday, August 31, 2009
The call of God on the worst of sinners
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty 1 Corinthians 1:27
God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. And I am a prime example of that. Do not ever think you're not important enough or smart enough or attractive enough or good enough to be used by God in a powerful way!
I'm copying excerpts below from a recent interview I did on a blog. The questions I was asked were so deep and important that as I read over my answers, I thought that maybe they would be able to help and encourage other people, as well as give you a glimpse into the awesome power of God to change the worst of sinners (That would be me!)
In my last answer, I share the message that I'm trying to get across in all of my books. This is what I wish I could shout from the rooftops until everyone in the world believed it!
Did you ever doubt your calling to write; ever feel like giving up?
At least once or twice a week! I know that may sound strange coming from someone who has 6 books published, but even after God preformed a miracle getting me published, even after receiving the Christy nomination, even after all the books I've written, in my darkest hour when I'm tired and I'm struggling with a scene or I've gotten a bad review, I wonder if I'm truly meant to do this. Surely someone with a better command of the language or a more vivid imagination, or a degree in creative writing should be doing this. Surely someone who's a better Christian or a more benevolent person should be writing these stories, not some overly-sensitive, stressed out, no English degree, worry-wort person like me. But, then God reassures me in some small way, a kind word from a friend, an encouragement from a fellow writer, a good review, and I keep on plugging on, until He tells me otherwise.
Tell us about your awareness of the Lord in your normal writing day.
Each morning before I do anything else, I spend 45 minutes to an hour in prayer and reading my Bible. This is where God gives me my marching orders for the day and where I receive His peace and encouragement. This is the most important part of my day, of anyone's day. If you want to have success in your life, if you want to become a better person and impact the world for God's glory, then model what Jesus did when He was here on earth. He spent time in prayer every morning. Then during the course of my day I practice the awareness of His presence. He sits beside me at my desk and when I need help with anything, whether it be a word or a plot point or a character reaction, I sit back in my chair and ask Him for guidance. Without His help, I doubt I'd be able to write even one book, let alone six. I know to some this may sound crazy, but God's Word says the Lord delights in the details of our lives, that He sticks closer than a brother. So whatever your tasks are during the day, I challenge you to invite the Lord along, talk to Him often, lean on Him for strength, ask His advice. You'll be surprised at how your life will change for the better!
How did you first come to believe in Christ and His promises for your future?
Long story. But the short version is that I spent many years wandering away from God. Although I knew about Him and had learned all the Bible stories in Sunday school, I had a difficult childhood and decided I wanted to pursue my own happiness. I tried all the things this world has to offer in order to find fulfillment, but by the time I was 35, nothing had worked. I was miserable. My second marriage was falling apart, my teenage children were in rebellion, I had a drinking problem and I hated my job. One night in desperation, I dusted off my old Bible and began to read it from cover to cover. Somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel, I realized that what God had spoken of thousands of years ago was coming true in my time. As I sat alone in my bed in the middle of the night, I remember saying out loud "You're real" and instantly I was enveloped by this tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up from within me. I fell to my knees and gave my life to God. Things didn't improve overnight. My husband and kids were non-believers, but now, 15 years later, my husband (a staunch atheist) and half our kids are committed Christians!
Just briefly (I realize I told you this was the short version) But I need to say that at one point shortly after this, God spoke to me and told me He had something for me to do that would blow my socks off. A year later I got my first book published. God delights in blessing His children!
Would you be able to share with us your darkest hour, and how God brought you through it?
Some of my darkest moments have been dealing with the pain of past regrets and guilt. Because I spent so many years away from God, I did many things--things that make me cringe now when I think of them, things that hurt others and caused pain to people around me, even my own children. My darkest hours have been when those memories resurrect and I fall flat on my face on the floor in utter agony, assailed with the weight of my own guilt. Sometimes I just want to die and I feel so worthless and ashamed. Oddly enough it has been during those dark times that I have felt the Lord's presence even more powerfully than at any other time. It is as if He gently lifts me up, wipes away my tears, shoves away the enemy who accuses me, removes the chains around my heart, and cleanses me utterly and perfectly with His sacrifice and His love. And I am reminded that no matter what we've done, no matter how horrible it may have been, if we turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed and justified (Just as if I never sinned)
What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?
My tag line is "Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny". All my novels are interwoven with a strong spiritual theme but if I had to pick an overall general theme that I hope my readers get, it would be that God loves you more than anything and He wants to be intimately involved in your life, that He is as powerful and miraculous as He has always been, and that the good news of the gospel is that this fallen world with all its suffering and pain and heartache is NOT the whole story. There is another world, more wonderful and real and incredible than this one where there will be no suffering and where you will live forever.