I Will Step Up, I Will Be Faithful–I Will Even Stay Home

HOME-E-O-STAY-SIS — We will not be using the typical spelling or implied definition of the word. (Just didn’t want you to think the editor had lost her marbles!)

My first royalty check on the second book, Beyond Belief: Jesus Saved You, Now What? was less that $15. When they tell you that being an author is not lucrative–take them seriously. Of course there are exceptions; I’m not one of them. And perhaps that’s in part, or mostly my own fault. Let me start back at the beginning.

When my second book came I out, I was tired of writing. I felt God leading me toward editing (which I love) and He opened wide several doors. I stepped through with enthusiasm and God has blessed my new endeavors. So I quietly allowed the door to close behind me, effectively closing the chapter on my books.

To be quite honest, I hate promoting my books. I think every author does really, but I simply decided not to do it. Other than requesting a few reviews and a handful of comments on Facebook, I left that job to my agent.

Suddenly, I was swamped with discontentment and insecurity. I lay in bed Monday night and felt a familiar wash of melancholy and panic: What am I doing with my life? What if I don’t receive any more clients for editing? What if my books really go nowhere? What was the point of writing? Maybe I shouldn’t even call myself a writer. I can’t even come up with blog posts anymore. Maybe I should go back to school. Maybe I should get an outside job. Maybe my life is just pathetic. What am I here for, Lord?

All I do is stay home and keep myself busy with what–work that maybe doesn’t even matter? Suddenly, my contentment at home, my home-eo-stay-sis was interrupted. 

Forlornly, I took my tears the the Father the next morning. Gently, as He always does, he layered answers from His word with sermons and affirmation from friends.

I listened to a sermon from Elevation Church the other day, a guest sermon by the author of Through The Eyes of a Lion. 

I won’t give it away, but his comments about focus, vision and sticking with it–doing the same things a new way–instead of “calling envy” and longing for a more important, significant calling, struck me. 

Then, God’s Word in Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work … will complete it.” God doesn’t stop halfway. And Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.“–Don’t give up! And then the clincher that tells me I am expected to be faithful too: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Next, in Bible study this morning, a sweet friend confessed to feeling the same way recently. That night as she prayed with her husband, he voluntarily closed the prayer (which apparently, he rarely does.) His words: “Thank you for my wife, thank you that she is such a good friend.”

Her heart soared. No matter how low she felt in the eyes of the world, no matter how small her calling felt at home, her husband’s affirmation that she was his friend confirmed to her that she is smack in the center of her calling. And it encouraged my heart as well. That’s why I stay home–for the sake of my marriage, for the sake of my home, because this is the first and highest calling God has given me. Everything else that He’s blessed me to do falls neatly under that banner of wife, homemaker … friend.

Finally, God prodded my heart concerning faithfulness to the good work I began–faithfulness to work diligently to put the books He wrote through me into the hands of as many people as possible. A crazy idea occurred to me, and mustering my courage, I grabbed a copy of my book and marched into a local, Christian-owned coffee shop.

“Hi! I recently wrote a Bible study and I was wondering if you would permit me to place a few copies in your coffee shop for free. I’d like to put a business card in them in case readers would like to buy some. But would you permit me to simply offer a few free books to your customers?”

Their response was overwhelming. First of all, the only people working that shift were the owners (exactly who I needed to talk to). Then, not only did they agree to let me place some books in their store, but they offered to host a book signing. A women’s Bible study group meets there every Thursday night: “Would you want to have a book signing on a Thursday evening? You could start before they arrive and then you’d have an audience that is exactly suited to your book … ”

The rest of the conversation was equally uplifting. We briefly shared our stories, our desires to further God’s kingdom and our understanding of His call on our lives.

Only God could have suggested that idea to me and then prepared the way for my request to be received and blessed.

Oh! and one more thing. Out of the blue a wonderful Christian radio host asked me to do an interview with her this Saturday on Beyond Belief! (Details to come!)

So, I will step up. I will be faithful. I will be content in my home, diligent in and proud of my calling.

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Book Review, “The Preacher’s Bride”

7685228Are you tired of Cinderella stories? You know, the ones with their saintly fair maidens and angelic buxom brunettes. The characters are flawless from the start in every way, from their moral fortitude to their physical attributes. The Preacher’s Bride, by Judy Hedlund, is a refreshing exception. Perhaps that is what makes the book so cogent—the invitation to identify with the heroine, finding grace in her imperfections and confidence in her strengths. Surely this comes from the fact that the story is only partly fiction.

From the first pages of The Preacher’s Bride, the protagonist, Elizabeth Whitbread, treads common ground with us lowly, average, homely, self-conscious, dutiful women. Through the course of the book, Hedlund expertly uses Elizabeth to empathize with each varied and mystifying roll a woman may play in her life: from a young, single woman to a new bride, an unloved wife to an independent woman, and finally to a wise, seasoned, valued and respected mother and wife.

Hedlund is skilled at sharing the perspectives of each the primary characters, but Elizabeth drives the story. This is particularly fascinating, as The Preacher’s Bride is ultimately based on the story of John Bunyan, the tinker turned preacher in England during the 1600’s.

The book is well-researched, and accurately portrays the cultural and political climate of the times; the tension between the Puritans and the Royalists. Then, adding a good dose of creative license, Hedlund explores the emotions, trials and victories of Bunyan’s second wife, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s defining characteristic is her strength. In spite of persecution, poverty, overwhelming responsibility, loneliness and pain, she emerges victorious. I liken Elizabeth’s story to a item submitted to a tinker such as John Bunyan.

Tinkering, according to Wikipedia, is essentially “the process of adapting, meddling or adjusting something in the course of making repairs or improvements,”. It must be painful. There is twisting and bending, heating and filing. But the end result is always finer than at the start.

The Preacher’s Bride shows how God uses many challenges to “tinker” with each of us. But like Elizabeth, there is a reward when we remain faithful. I found myself with Elizabeth, experiencing each of her trials, and somehow, I believe, emerging with her refined, purified and improved.

A New, My Favorite Review. Thank you, Megan Cyrulewski

I have never, ever been so touched by such a kind, honest opinion of my story.

Megan Cyrulewski’s words affirm the desire of my heart as I wrote my book. Please, please, go read the whole thing. Also, Megan’s own story will be out very soon. When it is, I will lay aside everything I’m reading to devour her book, Who Am I.

How can I say how much I love this book? It doesn’t seem right because in between the covers are words that were written by a woman about her struggle with Anorexia. This is the type of book that when I finished reading it, I put it down and just stared out the window. I needed to take the time to process the pain and agony, and finally, contentment in Abby’s life.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE…

 

The Shift Book Tour With M. Ann Ricks

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The Shift Virtual Book Tour with

Melissa Ann Ricks

March 3-31, 2014

Purchase Link from Authors Website

http://www.mannricks.net/products/default.html

About the Bookbook cover

There is a sense of urgency in the atmosphere as God is transitioning what the world has deemed impossible and unbelievable into the possible and the believable. Don’t be alarmed by the “sudden” moves of God.

Pastor Douglass and his family have been positioned for such a move but because of the dense fog of deception that seems to surround them, some in the Douglass family have created their own beliefs, fabricating their own sense of self; negating the truth, God’s truth, even when truth is staring them in the face.  They, like many, are living lives devoid of the knowledge of who they really are and robbing themselves and those they love of their true identity and freedom. Deeply embedded lies from enemy have blinded eyes, impaired hearing and hardened hearts and Angels from the army of God have been deployed. The assignment: the execution of God’s divine design.  Dreams, supernatural revelation and actual attacks from man’s ultimate foe will expose all and confirm God’s plan for Xion, Veronica, Zeborah, Bo and Pastor Douglas. Can they handle the truth and surrender? Will the infrastructure of unbelief crumble?  The lives of the Douglass family will never be the same and neither will you, because of THE SHIFT! Head shotAbout the Author M. Ann Ricks, (Melissa Ann), is a Christian Fiction novelist residing in Bear, Delaware with her excellent husband and two awesome sons. She is a graduate of Rider University and formerly a national accounts insurance executive. Using Jesus Christ as her example,  as He shared many parables, she creates stories with fictional characters that contend with real life issues and inserts the Word of God to communicate the genuine and unfailing love of God while making it abundantly clear that Jesus is the ONLY answer.  M. Ann is determined to tell the world how wonderfully awesome Jesus Christ is and can be in our lives if we just allow Him to be.   She is honored to be used by God to spread His message with the stories she creates with the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will provide her with stories and the insight that will lift up the name of Jesus as He promised that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him. She is the author Awesome Wonder: The Gift of Remembrance, The Son and THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME. Social Links: Email Address: godsauthor@mannricks.net Website www.mannricks.net Twitter link: https://twitter.com/Hisblessings4me Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/pages/M-Ann-Ricks-Literary-Creations-Author-Melissa-Ann-Ricks/33259926513 Buy Link Pre-Order on Authors Website: http://www.mannricks.net/products/default.html Guest Post by M. Ann Ricks Why Did You Write This Book?

Believe it or not, I didn’t choose the awesome and life changing story of THE SHIFT. It chose me. It seems, that no one, not even the so-called leaders of the Body of Christ are getting to the root of the matter and unapologetically saying what God says. We are tiptoeing, afraid of persecution, afraid losing friends and being ostracized.  Christians have shut their mouths while Hell is increasing daily. We, the Body of Christ are doing so many a disservice because we haven’t to put the enemy on notice. So many need to find out who they are instead of letting the world or man define them. So many need to consult their creator. The truth is, only GOD can define who we are.  This book is different because it is true. It is chock full of the word of God and as a result it will get to the heart of the heart of the matter. THE SHIFT will cause people to reflect and really think.  What is so wrong with saying that the wages of sin is death but because of Jesus we don’t have to allow sin to rule us?  The good news is that Jesus has deprived the world of anything that could harm us because of His love and His sacrifice. It is up to the people of God to tell others about the love and the blood and its freedom. We must lovingly and boldly tell the story of Jesus and not be afraid to say that He is a God of love but does not tolerate sin and neither should we. We must point people in the direction of the Cross, Christ and the empty tomb so that the lost can be found, the truth can be revealed and that people can walk in the newness that Christ affords.

 

Hosted by: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour

Book tour

Author Tour Schedule http://wnlbooktours.com/melissa-ann-ricks/

Upcoming Events for “The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story”

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Things you won’t want to miss:

Live and interactive radio show with Ella Curry

March 31, at 8:00 p.m. EDT
The Call-in Number for this show is: (646) 200-0402)
Chatroom:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network

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Thank you so much to the blogs listed below who helped me spread the word about my new book. Thank you also to Paulette Harper at WNL Book Tours!

BOOK TOUR BLOGS

Thank you also, for being a regular reader here at Predatory Lies and I hope you’ll enjoy and find encouragement in my book:
The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story.

 

An Interview with Brenna Simonds of Living Unveiled

Brenna's bookAn interview with the indomitable author, Brenna Kate Simonds! Welcome!

Abby: What is your book title, and when will it be available?

Brenna Kate: Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps
It’s been released on Kindle. The paperback release will be in late January.

A: What is one word that sums up this book…Why?

BK: Freedom! What freedom is and how it plays out in the life of a Christian is one of the most misunderstood topics in Christianity. But Jesus died so that we can experience true freedom, and it’s worth taking the time to discern what that might look like in our lives.

A: Is this your first book? If so, what was the inspiration that led you to begin this project? And if you’ve written others, what are they?

BK: This is the first full-length book I’ve written myself. I’ve been involved in a few other projects in the past. I began to compile this book for the ministry I direct and while gathering the material, I felt God saying that this book was for a broader audience. It’s certainly been a labor of love, but I trust God will use it as He sees fit.

A: Who is your intended audience and what do you hope your readers take away from your work?

BK: My intended audience is everyone! One of my biggest fans is not even a Christian. I really think anyone could gain something from Learning to Walk in Freedom. It’s for people whose heart’s cry is telling them that there is more to life than they have experienced thus far.

A: What was the hardest part of writing this story? What brought you the most joy?

BK: One of the more difficult pieces of writing this was sharing my story so publicly. The book is not centered around the details of my story, but I do share it at the end to give readers context. It’s all stuff I have written before and even spoken publicly, but putting it in print for all eternity is a different story! But the same thing has brought me the most joy. I already know from the times I’ve shared both my story and these five freedom steps, this is God’s story and He is using it to impact lives. If I can help one person with my transparency, then it’s all worth it.

A: Who has inspired you most in your writing career? Personally? Professionally?

BK: I was mentored by Mike Olejarz; he also wrote the foreword of Learning to Walk in Freedom. Mike began pouring his life into mine when I attended the campus ministry he directed in Boston. Even beyond our years of serving side by side, Mike has taken an active interest in my development and in me in general! He’s a fantastic man of God, and I pray I can influence as many people in my life as he has. My husband and I find ourselves quoting him on a regular basis!

I have a long list of unofficial mentors, some of whom I’ve met, some I’ve only emailed, and some with whom I’ve never spoken.  I’ll list them in no particular order: Nick Fatato, John Ortberg, Russell Willingham, Gary Thomas, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley, Richard Foster, and Bob Hamp.

A: Tell us a little about yourself:

What was your nickname as a child?
Banana Cake! Kind of sounds like Brenna Kate, doesn’t it?

Favorite color?
Burgundy – because it’s so pretty ☺

Preferred writing attire? (Jammies? Yoga pants? Three piece suit?)
I don’t have preferred attire. Whatever I’m wearing at the time is fine, but I have a preferred beverage. Coffee!!! Mostly decaf. I’m high-energy enough as it is.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee! I drink it black. I do try and alternate it with herbal tea.

Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?
Though I’m originally from New England, I have to say Starbucks. Their coffee is just better. Their food is, too!

Favorite author?
I have to pick one? This is far too difficult a question. But I’ll try. I’d have to say Russell Willingham. His concept of core beliefs is one I’ve shared more than any other concept. It’s why I asked him to read my book and possibly endorse it (if he liked it – which he thankfully did!). I can’t wait to see what else he has to say in future writings. Gary Thomas is a close second. I always give his book Sacred Marriage to newlyweds, and his book Sacred Influence to struggling wives.

Thanks for being with us, Brenna! Best of luck on your book!
If you’d like to purchase Brenna’s book, the e-version is available on Amazon now: Learning to Walk in Freedom: A Journey in Five Steps.

If you want to pre-order a paperback copy of Brenna’s book, you can do that here: Pre-order!