Tag Archive | sanctification

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 1 of 4)

I asked some of my Facebook friends to ask me questions . . . so the next few weeks, I’ll be answering!

Why romance fiction? How long have you had the passion to write?

I’ve always enjoyed sweet romances. In my late teens early twenties, I was enamored of Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney’s Regency romances. Clean stories without the explicit sex. I guess you could say I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that. My characters get the love and romance I don’t.

What made you choose writing? What keeps you writing? What motivates you?

I believe God led me to writing by telling me in a dream to do write for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) in 2009. I think I had always been afraid to try and once I started the dam broke and I found out how much I love the process of writing a story. I haven’t stopped. Once the characters start forming in my mind and that first scene or general story concept and I start writing, I can’t stop until I’ve come to the end. It becomes like an obsession for me.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire the wit and whimsy of writers like Jen Turano, Mary Conneley and Karen Witemeyer, Brooke Williams, Sandi Bricker and Jan Thomson. I love the characters that Dee Henderson, DiAnne Mills, Ronie Kendig paint in her writing. Combined with suspense it is amazing. Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Loree Lough, and Lisa Lickel . . . I wish I could write like all of them, but I’ve had to learn that I have my style and I need to be okay with that.

How is fiction writing a reflection of your Christianity?

I love to encourage others. Jesus told parables and there is power in telling stories that can show the process of sanctification which I hope my characters will go through. I also believe we need to grow emotionally as well as spiritually. I hope I encourage others to persevere in their own journeys, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. And hopefully the reader will see biblical truths in a new light based on the journey of the characters to motivate them to persevere through the trials that come their way.

Pothole road damageWhat inspired the idea for this story?

For Pesto & Potholes I actually started with the concept of the potholes based on something I learned in my undergraduate studies. The idea that healing—whether emotional or physical—can be a rocky journey out of the pit and not necessarily an upward smooth trajectory. I labeled it potholes, my prof was a little surprised but to me, it stuck.

For the entire Orchard Hill series, for which Pesto & Potholes is the first book, I wanted to explore one of the things I didn’t understand early in my faith journey was why the church was so important. Especially when so many young adults walk away. Beyond worship and teaching, I realized it was about the relationships. While I agree that the theology of origins and understanding how science supports Scripture is important, but I believe the disenfranchisement of younger adults is deeper than that.

Peter Scazzero wrote a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and he posits that when we come to Christ we are born into a new family and need to learn the new rules. Not the “do’s and don’t’s” but how to relate to others in a way that honors God and His other image-bearers. Many times the way we’ve been raised has not been as healthy as the design God has for us in relationships. We are not mature if we only grow spiritually and not emotionally. So . . . I hope that my stories show the value and importance of the new “family” how valuable those relationships are for us to grow up in Christ as well as cope with the ups and downs of life.

More questions will be answered in the weeks to come. If you have some, please write them in the comments below!

Word of the Year

A few years ago on KLOVE radio I heard about the concept of having a “word” for the year in place of resolutions. I don’t like resolutions anyway. F0r the past few years I’ve been doing this. Previous words have been: courage and shine.

I prayed and journalled and tried to figure out what word God would  give me for this year. Finally, I had it.

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Image by Tom Otte Photography, Fond du lac, WI

Dignity.

Proverbs 31;25 says. “She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs at the days to come.” 

I want to be that woman. I think I have, over the years, given away my honor and dignity as criticism, opposition and attacks have come at me from all directions. It’s hard to stand in confidence in who God has created me to be when so many people around have tried to shout down those truths with their own version of reality.

A reality that is really a lie.

I must be really important for people spend so much energy criticizing me. But being created in the image of God is a terrifyingly beautiful thing. When someone attacks me and tries to tear me down for my personality, or my gifts or even my appearance, they are really attacking the Lord of the Universe, Jesus, who created me in HIS image.

I’m far from being as much like Him as I long to be, but I’m growing. And I’m trying to scrape off the dirt that has buried parts of me and slowed me down in my journey to do all He has called me to do.

I’m still scared of some of these things, but if I weren’t I wouldn’t need God to walk me through.

More attacks will come from people who don’t know me. They already have.

I think a large part of walking in dignity is not only realizing my value as a child of God, but also recognizing that in others as well. I’ll admit my own thoughts are not always as edifying as I would like them to be and I am at battle within to stifle those internalized attacks so as to level them at others. Usualy this is a battle no one, other than God, really knows about. But they are stains on my own dignity when I hold on to them.

I’m going to stumble and fall and I expect to be challenged repeatedly by the Holy Spirit through this year which will be a turning point in my writing and one I have labored and prayed for.

Do you choose a word for the year? If you have, what is it? Please share in the comments below!

You are a WIP (Work-in-Process)

My pastor made a cool statement in church recently. He had been talking about the respectable sins and how we all struggle with some of these in certain ways (i.e. materialism, pride, unbridaled passions). He finished up the series by saying words any writer would latch on to. He said “We are all a work-in-progress.”

Sigh.

It’s true, isn’t it? A writer goes through a long arduous process to get published. You will often hear a story that is being written as a WIP (work-in-progress). Because it is. The initial ideas gets written down, research needs to be done, extraneous adverbs deleted, plot twits tied up neatly and if you write romance like I do, a happily ever after that will satisfy. Ultimately though we want a character who starts out one way and grows through the course of the novel in spite of or maybe because of the challenges he or she faces.

God is working on us too. We are set apart as a story of His grace in our lives. He is the author that decides the plot twists we will experience and how we will grow through it all. The difference is that we don’t get a rewrite. We cannot edit or delete misspoken words.  In one story I wrote I ended up deleting close to 8,000 words, taking my character back to one decision that changed the trajectory of the story. We don’t get to do that in real life although God, through the righteousness of Christ, erases our sins. We are still left with the consequences but he doesn’t leave us alone or without help to deal with them.

And like a loving author of a beautiful romance, we do have a happily ever after to look forward to.

Sometimes when life is hard I forget all of this and I need that reminder. Life isn’t whipping me around – but God is sovereignly writing His story of redemption and I get to be one of His characters, loved and important for the particular role He has placed me in.