A few months ago, a mysterious illness infiltrated my body. (No, not covid.) The signs were subtle at first. Some swelling in my ankles and aching in my arms. It rapidly progressed through my body and currently holds me hostage with severely swollen, aching arms and legs and sometimes debilitating stabs of pain. Test results are all normal. I have no other symptoms apart from fatigue and an occasional headache. The doctors are stumped. I am on a three month wait for a specialist.
Whether I am afflicted or healed, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has made every day, and I choose to rejoice and be glad in it.
As Jesus believers, we pray each day for healing, believing and claiming that by his stripes, I’m healed. And I believe I will be. It may not be today or tomorrow that my healing manifests, but it will be one day according to his plans. Plans I don’t understand, but that are always good.
So far, I’ve learned to trust him more. I’m learning to wait well. My mind is a battlefield, and I can choose to embrace God’s presence, hope, love, and joy, or I can believe lies and be filled with fear, anger, despair, and self-pity. Each day, and sometimes multiple times a day, I have the choice.
Days are better when I choose Jesus.
Today I watched the memorial service for a blogging friend of mine who went home to Jesus on December 30th. He wrote a blog called Unshakable Hope and lived with ALS for 24 years after the doctors gave him three to five to live. I met him because of this blog. He has been such a source of encouragement and faith building to me. As his two daughters shared some questions they asked him, and played his robotic responses while he was confined completely to a wheelchair with no voice and no ability to move, I was once again inspired.
Bill talked about the passage in Scripture where Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh. He commented that our trials here are fleeting and temporary in light of eternity. Now as I wait on the Lord for healing to manifest, I am encouraged by this man’s incredible life. His wife, Mary, has been his caregiver all these years. Her grace and patience humble me. Bill reached tens of thousands of people through his blog that he wrote with eye recognition software. How can I live my life daily in this affliction so that it has eternal value?
How can I consider my current situation close to what he’s lived with? I only hope that I can live it with faith, grace, and unshakable hope like he did no matter how long it lasts. In light of eternity we live a fleeting moment.
Today is the only today we have. Tonight it will be gone, and tomorrow will come. What will we choose today?
I don’t know what the rest of my day or my tomorrows will be. We don’t even know how many tomorrows we’ll have. But today, I live for Christ in response to his love for me. No matter what comes, his love, his presence, peace, joy, and hope are beyond measure.
Will you choose him today? Whether you know him or you don’t, he loves you. He chose you. He has a plan for you.
In honor of my blogging brother Bill Sweeney. He chose Jesus.
The passage in John 11:17-27 tells the story of when Jesus found out his friend, Lazarus was dead. Had been dead for a few days. His sisters were lamenting and questioning his timing…
One of my former pastors and friend, Hilary Millikan penned this great post on hope based on this passage of scripture and graciously allowed me to re-post it here. Hilary is an exceptionally talented writer who gives us a great dose of “wow!” laced with humor. I hope you are encouraged by her words.
Let Hope Arise by Hilary Millikan
I had the privilege of writing and recording a message on Hope for the beginning of Advent at our church. Most of you know that hope is my main “lane” in life. There is always hope. But only because we have THE Hope. How filling it is to rehearse and articulate what we have lived and become convinced of in the Lord. May hope arise and re-arise for each of us…
Now hope… is tricky.
There’s that verse in Proverbs that says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is the tree of life.” So simple. So short. So catchy.
But anyone who has spent any time in the first half of that Scripture, who has lived out the carving of that first phrase is familiar with what a desperate, lonely, painful place hope can be.
The very presence of hope in my life means that I have unfulfilled promises, unanswered pleas, unhealed woundings. Especially right now, when my hope is basically on its “last leg.” The ropes that tether hope to my heart and keep it from flinging wildly away from my soul are strained because my everyday is now filled with unfamiliar and new “hopes” that I now have to navigate.
I hope my children come out of this pandemic emotionally unscathed. I hope this is just a cold and not something trying to kill me. I hope when I go to the store I don’t accidentally pick up an extra carton of COVID.
It’s hard to keep a “stiff upper lip” in my day-to-day, much less give any sort of trusting thoughts or faith-filled prayers to the deeper, longer-lived, farther away hopes. And as in this story, it is especially hard to hope when it is just plain too late.
I’m always struck by how Jesus asks Martha and Mary to trust Him even though Lazarus is ACTUALLY DEAD. There’s not much more to do here, nothing left to hope for. And yet, Jesus comes offering them hope–Hope in Me, can you trust Me, do you believe Me?
I don’t know how you’ve reacted to Jesus when He’s tried to touch your “too late” spot with His hope, but I’ve reacted much like Martha and Mary. “Lord,” they BOTH said, “if You had been here–if You had come when we called for You, if You’d answered us. You, Who we DO hope in, Who we DID hope in, because… You could have… I know You could have, if You’d been HERE where we are, where Lazarus was, where it was all going down, in that moment, if You’d been HERE WHERE I AM, then it wouldn’t have happened this way.”
The implication (at least in my heart) being, “But You weren’t. And I don’t understand why. I trusted You. I hoped in You. I put all of my hope in You. And You didn’t come when I needed You. It’s too late. You came too late.”
When things don’t go the way we had hoped, when things are so far away from what we believe would or should be true of our lives, it has a way of sometimes even making us question what is true of the Lord.
I remember a time when I just couldn’t reconcile the goodness of God with the gaping loss in my life. When I couldn’t put together this God that I had trusted my whole life and given my every moment with what had happened. How could He allow this to be? He could have stopped it. He could have fixed it. He could have… He could have… Why wouldn’t He… How can I trust a God who didn’t when He could have?
Jesus’ answer to Martha? Do you believe Me? Do you believe that I AM the life? Do you believe that I AM your hope? Not just something to hope in, but I AM hope itself? Do you believe this?Martha’s like “don’t come at me with all Your there’s-hope-in-the-end, it’ll-all-be-fine-in-Heaven stuff. That doesn’t help me NOW. That doesn’t help me HERE.”
Again, but before He has done anything, before anything has changed, Jesus stands before her and says, “Yes, but Martha… Do you believe Me?” Martha says, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are everything I hoped You were. You are God. You are my hope.”
The Lord asked me in my moment, “Do you believe Me?” And immediately my spirit cried out Yes! I believe You. I don’t know what to do with You, I don’t know how to trust You, but I know I believe You.
And it was enough.
Somehow the formation of what I DO believe quieted all the unanswerable questions that had caused me so much disbelief, and the faint whispers of hope began.
I also have experienced times in the midst of my darkest, farthest, not-sure-I-will-make-it-out-alive places, when the Lord’s words and promises, it’s like they hurt. There was a time when I was so desperate, so close to the edge of myself, that I told the Lord, Enough! Enough promises! Stop. I can’t take one more promise from You. I can’t take the presence of one more unfulfilled thing that I have to hold onto. I can’t… I can’t do it. I can’t hope. I’m like Lazarus, Lord. My hope is dead. And I’m not far behind it. I can’t hold on anymore.
I need hope to hold onto me.
Sometimes we say to our souls–like Martha and David and so many others–“oh my soul, trust in the Lord, hope in the Lord! Let hope arise!” And our souls respond.
Sometimes we are like Lazarus himself, where there is not even the option to hope anymore. Still Jesus stands outside the tomb of our heart and calls us forth. He calls hope to arise from places that feel long gone. Because, He has been there. That’s why He is our hope.
He has been to hell and back again. He has experienced the utter betrayal and abandonment of the Lord. He has born our grief, our sorrows. He has been unable to lift even His head. He has been to the unimaginable edges of His heart and life. He has asked God why. He has even heard nothing in return. He has been here. He knows this place. But more importantly, He knows the way.
He IS the way to hope everlasting.
He is the life to our long-gone places. He is the truth that makes that way. He is our morning star, a promise in the darkest of our nights that MORNING IS COMING.
He IS coming.
Though you be bones in a valley, though you be a body in a tomb, though you be grieving an unbelievable actuality, though you be living a hell. Do you believe Him? It is enough.
And may He who IS our Hope arise in your heart, in your situation, in your soul, outside your tomb, in your yesterday today and tomorrow. May hope arise.
“God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” Psalm 46:5
An author friend of mine from California writes great blog posts about hope. I swapped with her this week since we both share our findings of hope in our world from opposite places in the nation. I pray you’re blessed by her wonderful post this week. You can read more of her posts, and see mine this week on her site at www.carolshope.com.
Blessing in an “Annus Horribilis”
By Carol Nicolet Loewen
In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her succession, Queen Elizabeth II referred to 1992 as an “annus horribilis,” a horrible year. Many of us would say the same of 2020.
Our country is in the midst of an ever-expanding pandemic as we wait and pray for an effective vaccine. We have isolated, masked, attended church, family, and business meetings on Zoom. We are hitting new highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations and are cautioned against being together with family members for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holidays. Fires and floods have taken lives, homes, animals, property. And our election results are still in question, with the media quick to step in with their interpretation before waiting for the final electoral vote in December.
We need hope. And out of that hope we need love that goes beyond our differences.
I heard a statistic recently that more than 80% of Americans–whether Democrat or Republican, Christian or non-Christian, church-goer or non-church goer–say they have no friends who see the world differently than they see it, politically and theologically. We prefer to stay in our own comfort zones rather than deliberately choosing to know and learn to love someone who is “unlike” us. And nothing divides us like fear. Fear of loss … of control, safety, rights, freedom, health, power, economic stability, and on and on.
We look for affirmation, security, and love in a variety of ways, many of which are not only unproductive, but potentially dangerous.
The sexually abused daughter who grows up to become promiscuous, believing physical intimacy is the way to gain security through the approval of men.
The son who has never been able to please his father, continues to push himself, trying ever harder to get an “atta boy”. He becomes a workaholic who is almost an absentee parent.
The tycoon who thinks his business success will buy him security.
The perfectionist who continually beats herself up because she could have “done it better,” never satisfied despite awards and recognition.
The rioters and looters who attack and destroy businesses of those they claim to defend.
What we’re looking for is a blessing. “Blessing” is defined as God’s favor and protection; a special favor, mercy or benefit. Three thousand years ago, God gave Moses a blessing for the people of Israel, which my lovely mother sang at my wedding. It still carries deep meaning.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Only in the blessing of God do we find unconditional love which remains constant, not because of who we are or what we do, but because of who HE is.
“Thy love is uncaused and undeserved. Thou art Thyself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved.” (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 97)
God has chosen to delight in me. What an amazing, life-altering fact! I don’t have to earn His love. I can’t. I simply need to receive it, bask in it, find my security in it. And when I am secure in His love, I am able to love others and fear begins to evaporate.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18
So then how can I GIVE a blessing to others? In a video, an impatient man is given a pair of “all-seeing” glasses. People who before were irritants or interruptions are seen through a new lens—recognizing one needs a hug, a woman just lost a dear friend, a man lost his job. Seeing their pain, the man responds very differently than before.
I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear, so I can bless those around me … with a warm smile, a listening heart, a “thank you” to store clerks, health care professionals, and others. I want to intentionally affirm those I love and those who need encouragement.
I have needed a blessing these past weeks. Have you?
What choices will you make this week to receive and give the blessing? I’d love to interact with you at carolshope.com.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17b-19
Carol Nicolet Loewen writes of hope from the depths of her own loss. She resides in San Jose, California with her lovely second husband and their dog, Paige. Marrying a wonderful man at age 36 and losing him twenty years later taught her to value every moment, that we can survive loss, move ahead and even love again. It also allowed Carol to experience God’s faithfulness during the hardest time of her life. She is working on her first book, a historical novel of hope set in Bolshevik Russia, and loves to connect with her readers at carolshope.com.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”John 3:8
When my last book was in its finishing stages, I sensed a stirring in me to write a sequel. I’ve never been a series writer, and haven’t considered it before, but the wind blew this mysterious woman into the end of When the Wind Blows, and I knew I had to tell her story.
Her name is Tyrina Lousie Duvall, and her story isn’t easy, but it will offer hope and healing to someone.
It’s interesting how book ideas materialize. No sooner had I thought about the mystery woman, than I realized Bailey Crenshaw, a twenty-year-old character in When the Wind Blows would need a book of her own as well. So a third book in the now series will follow Tyrina’s story. The two characters will end up being intertwined so how could they not both have a book? Besides, some who have finished When the Wind Blows want to know more about how Jessica’s character has changed too. She’ll pop in here and there in both books.
But the two new books, Where Blows the Wind – Tyrina’s story and Winds of Change – Bailey’s tale (the current working titles that may end up changing) were added to a list of books I’ve already started. I’m pretty sure the word I sensed from the Lord was prolific writing. Wow. Here we go!
Faith’s Song, based on the best friend of Sara Matley in A Deadly Silence, walks with Faith when she receives devastating news and can’t seem to rally her faith to handle it. How will she deal with the ramifications of this shocking news?
And then there’s The Fisherman’s Wife. Simon Peter is impulsive and brash, spending long hours fishing in often stormy waters. When Jesus calls Peter to follow him, how will Abigail handle another one of Peter’s crazy plans – this time to leave her for an undefined time? A couple of readers mentioned that they hoped I’d write more along the lines of Rachel’s Son. Here you go.
Bed and Breakfast isn’t what it seems. Two activist inventors clash in a contemporary romance when they each believe they have the perfect answer to create housing for the homeless. Can they combine their talents and innovations to alleviate one of the world’s worst problems?
And that’s not all! The list continues…oh, my!
On the back burner is Silk Stalkings, Out of Egypt, a possible yet-to-be-named sequel to Voices of the Past, and a couple of middle school series featuring Perry Trotter and Justin Case.
Not to go crazy or anything about book writing, but Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Meets Reality, the continuing saga of my Aussie husband, Brendan, and me is also in process.
That said, let me take a survey. I”m curious. Of the books I’ve mentioned here, what would be your first choice? Anyone who responds will have their name entered in a drawing for a signed print copy of A Deadly Silence. Let my know in the comments below that you submitted your vote.
Thanks for participating! From my desk chair of piled notes, proof copies of books, and computer manuscripts, I thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and following! It means so much.
In a world of so much division and hatred, I thought I’d share a little short story that reflects how we might choose to handle life. This week, I want to be one that shows the love of Jesus in my reactions.
I’ve also made October the month of FREE books. With fall moving in, don’t you want to curl up with a good book and a cuppa (Aussie for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate)? Even here in balmy Southwest Florida, we’ve had a few nights of “cooler” (70 – LOL) weather. So after you read this little short story, head on over to Amazon where you can pick up the Kindle edition of Voices of the Pastthis weekend. It’s FREE starting yesterday, October 9 until the 13th.
New Release, When the Wind Blows, will be FREE October 20-24th. That’s a month of great reading! Starting with the story below. And don’t forget to show a little love…
Joy Wurshop yanked on the handle of her rolling briefcase. For the last time. The handle came off in her hand. The impact nearly threw her off her black high heels. Walking was no longer an option. She’d have to call a cab now. Ten minutes before her meeting started. Only a miracle would get her there.
“Taxi!” She scanned the crowded street for yellow while attempting to shove the bag’s handle back in place.
You’ll have to be aggressive in the big city. The unsolicited advice from her previous boss incited her to take a step off the curb. Without looking. A cab screeched to a halt inches from her black pencil skirt. Joy’s free hand flew to her mouth while her purse slid off her shoulder and down the grey and pink floral silk blouse adorning her arm.
“Lady, what the heck’re ya doin? Trying to get yourself killed? Do you want a cab or a coffin?”
“Cab, please.” She let the coffin remark slide. Gripping her broken briefcase and purse, she fumbled with the door handle. The driver turned, facing her, and yelled out the passenger window.
“Come on, lady. I ain’t got all day.” His booming expletive carried over honking horns blaring behind him.
Joy threw her belongings through the door and slid in beside them.
“Where to? Where to? Let’s get a move on.”
“27th Street. The Town Center Building. Please hurry. I have a meeting, and I’m already late.”
“Oh, miss fancy-pants wants me to hurry now. Dawdled getting in my cab, and now I’m the one to get her to her meetin’…”
Joy closed her eyes against the pooling tears as the man carried on. Not what she needed. Not today. Not when her career hung by a thread.
Drawing in a deep breath, she dug in her purse for a tissue, settling for a wadded piece at the bottom. By the time she removed mascara smudges and reapplied lip gloss, they turned onto her street. Joy prayed she had enough cash for the fare.
Flipping through all her cards, her heart plunged. Bank, credit, medical, pharmacy, Sam’s Club, library. Nothing. Opened her change purse. A couple of folded up ones and two pennies. They were pulling up to her building. Praying for a miracle, she peeked in a little, side pocket, fully knowing she never kept money there.
“That’ll be $17.50. No charge for not runnin’ ya over back there.” He howled a laugh.
Tucked inside the pocket was a folded bill. Thank God! But when she pulled it out, the sight elated and crushed her. A fifty. Since when…she never had that kind of money. But she knew what she needed to do. She closed her eyes with a sigh. A moment later, she opened them and handed the bill over, offering a shaky smile.
My latest novel, A Deadly Silence, soon to release, tackles the subject of pornography, sexual addiction and its potential for leading to domestic violence.
This deadly force lurks in darkness and silence. Only by speaking about it, can we find hope, healing and redemption. Families are being destroyed, and while we might focus on the spouse of the addict or the person struggling with the addiction, our children reap dire consequences as well.
This letter reveals how much our children suffer. First seen and re-posted from Faithit.
I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this affects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well.
I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing.
Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.
As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.
As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face.
When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.
I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.
If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us.
Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.
*This has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic.*
Look for A Deadly Silence coming soon!
When Sara Maree Matley uncovers a box of questionable material while unpacking after their family moves, she’s forced to examine the ideal life she’s fought so hard to portray as perfect. Surely her successful, popular husband, Brad, can’t be the owner of the contents. But when Brad’s behavior continues to digress, and Sara deals with her own past, life unravels, and Sara must make one of the hardest choices she’s ever faced.
Today I have the pleasure of re-posting an impactful message written by my dear friend and mentor, Janie Garber. Janie is a life and health coach who has pastored churches with her husband, Ken, been a missionary in France and walked with hundreds of women through challenges in every area of life. I highly recommend connecting with her!
We all live in such a social media driven society today, where our daily lives are often on display for the world to see.
I’ve noticed in talking with people the last year in particular, that comparison to others is a bigger trap than ever before. It taunts and mocks, saying things like…
“You can never get to where so-and-so is…”
“You aren’t worthy of good things in your life like they have…”
“It will take way too long to accomplish so-and-so has done so don’t even try…”
“It is too much work to make changes to better yourself…”
“So-and-so has been given everything on a silver platter and has had it so much easier than you…”
What we are actually doing when we compare ourselves to others is measuring up our inside with what we see of their outside. We don’t know their struggles and pains as intimately as we know our own.
Ultimately, comparison keeps a person feeling driven and alone in many ways.
If you struggle with comparing yourself with others, I’d like to encourage you to remember that YOU are unique and so wonderfully made. Your own life experiences and the places of your heart where you’ve grown and been healed are just what someone around you needs today.
“I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains…” Nahum 1:13
This verse from the old testament prophet spoke of the ancient oppression of the Assyrians. The Lord promised his people that their freedom would come from his hand. So what does that have to do with us today?
We can be chained by pain from our past. Wounds caused by the actions of others whom we still haven’t forgiven or poor choices we made and their consequences, but often our bondage comes in the form of patterns we’ve developed to cope with daily life.
I love what author, Mary DeMuth, wrote in her devotional Jesus Every Day. Her words grabbed me with their simple truth.
“…the chains and yokes have become terribly familiar to me, like companions I nurture instead of anomalies I should shun. They are my normal. And so without even knowing it, I walk around shackled, and I can’t even see where they’re cutting my soul anymore.”
We all have those places that we don’t even recognize.
They can cause us to:
Get stuck in unhealthy ways of relating
Excuse our destructive behaviors
React unreasonably to the words or actions of others
Over react in common situations
Become isolated or suspicious of others
Feel haunted by our past
God wants to free us.
He uses his word, his presence and other people to do so. Connecting with a trusted, wise leader or good friend who will speak truth to us even if it hurts can reveal those hidden places of bondage and start us on a road to freedom.
Unfortunately, that can be scary.
We don’t like to be nudged outside our comfort zone. And as Mary writes in her “Chains” devotion Day 179, we like what has become normal for us because it’s how we navigate our lives.
“It’s like a comfortable blanket.”
The thing is, we might think those chained areas are secure, but they keep us from the abundant life God has for us. They keep us from good, healthy relationships with people who love us. They rob us by making our world very, very small.
So, I’m asking God to reveal those places to me that need to be freed up and changed. I’m trusting God can and will do it.
I’m excited to be giving away two (2) three book sets to two people who love to read. Included are The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater, Voices of the Past and my new release Rachel’s Son.
For four days, you’ll have the opportunity to enter and rack up points. Let your friends know too- remember sharing is caring (unless you’re afraid of a little competition…)
What a way to add to your library 😉
It’s my prayer that readers find hope, healing and redemption in my books. Nothing is impossible with God. Even when things look hopeless, he is faithful to bring us good.
It’s easy to lose hope when faced with hardship, broken relationships, illness or a crisis. Or perhaps we’ve been waiting for something to happen – a relationship restored, a loved one to be healed, a wayward child to come home – and it’s been a long, long wait.
But what if we can find hope in the midst of and as a result of those broken places?
Deborah is no stranger to the trials of life. She takes us on her real-life journey beginning with being her mother’s caregiver, to the rocky time of caring for her severely disabled daughter and finally to the disappointment and trials of an abusive marriage that left her broken and feeling worthless.
But Deborah’s journey doesn’t stop there. Through healing and a gradual realization of God’s unlimited love, Deborah discovered how He could use her despite her limitations. In her book, Deborah delves into how numerous women from the Bible were all used by God, even while they were in broken places.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Deborah. It was great to get to know her a little better.
First, a couple of easy questions…
Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
Definitely tea. However, I do love my one cup of flavored coffee in the morning with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
Where do you write?
I have two places I like to write. If I’m not on a deadline then I will write in the family room sitting on the couch with my laptop. If I’m on a deadline then I will write in the office, at the desk, where it is quiet and I can concentrate.
I think people don’t realize the time that goes into writing a book. How long did it take you to write Blooming in Broken Places? In what ways did you find it healing?
Love this question. This book is so dear to my heart. Many have asked me to write my story for many years. I wasn’t in the right place at the time. I didn’t want it to be negative or depressing, and I didn’t want to breathe life into long buried feelings. I was asked to speak on my life to a group of women who needed some encouragement. So many came up afterwards and told me I should write about my life to share with other women.
I didn’t write it then, but it sparked a flame in me. While I was writing my third book in the Skye Southerland Cozy Mystery Series, I was led to write Blooming in Broken Places. I came up with the idea of weaving my story between twelve women from the Bible that were broken, but whom God used in a mighty way even in their darkest times. In this way it would encourage those who read it. It took a year from conception to publication.
I am not going to say it was easy. After my first draft my editor and publisher both said I needed more me in the story. I knew then I could not get away with writing the bare bones. I would have to dig up feelings long buried for the story to be authentic enough to touch others. I never realized in the writing process I would find the healing I had been longing for.
From the reviews of your book, I would say people really appreciated the “you” factor. Well done delving into those difficult areas.
If you had to pick one women from the Bible that you wrote about, who would be your favorite? Why?
Oh my goodness. You would have to ask this question. During my research and writing I fell in love with all the women and came to admire their tenacity and faith. I call them my posse now. But, if you insist, I would have to pick the Samaritan Woman at the well as my favorite. It is such a beautiful story. Jesus went out of his way to put himself in her path. He had a plan for her life – and he didn’t wait until she was perfect to use her in a mighty way. This tells me I don’t have to be perfect for God to use me, too.
She’s my favorite too! She even ended up being one of the secondary characters in my new book, Rachel’s Son. I love the way Jesus interacted with her.
So what’s the most important message you want your readers to get from your new book?
We are all broken in some way. God can and will use us mightily even in our darkest moments. Also, if our goals haven’t been met yet it doesn’t mean they won’t happen. God’s timing isn’t always our timing. I was 57 when my first book was published.
Hope you don’t mind a final personal question. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
Well, I guess it would be walking on trails in the woods. It’s a great way to get outside and get some fresh air. I’m looking forward to warmer weather. I still enjoy reading, but I don’t have a lot of time to read.
I completely understand. I’m an outdoor kind of girl myself. Maybe outdoors with a good book. 😉
If you’re like most of us, in need of hope, you can find Deborah’s new book on Amazon. Visit her blog and let her know you read this article. Deborah is also the author of mystery novels set in Georgia.
Deborah Malone’s first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest. Deborah was also nominated for 2012 and 2013 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer for the historic magazine, Georgia Backroads, since 2001. She has had many article and photographs published, and her writing is featured in Tales of the Rails, edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the “Christian Communicator” and “Southern Writer’s Magazine.” She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association, Advanced Writer’s and Speaker’s Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers.