Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wings Of Glass Just Released!

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket and a PR professional. Her bestselling novels Crossing Oceans and Dry as Rain were both Christy finalists and won various literary awards. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass, released February 2013 and has earned a starred review from Library Journal, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Southern Indie Bookseller's Okra Pick. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visit

Your 3rd novel, Wings of Glass, has just released. Tell us a little about it.

I think this is my favorite book so far. Wings of Glass tells the story of Penny Taylor, a young wife who feels trapped and alone in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage. Besides her low self-esteem, she feels her Christian faith doesn’t allow for divorce. It’s not until she meets two women—one a southern socialite and the other a Sudanese cleaning woman—that her eyes are opened to the truth of her situation and she begins her journey to healing and redemption.

What made you take on the tough subject of domestic abuse?

As a little girl, I watched my mother being physically abused by her husband and then later, two of my sisters enter abusive relationship after abusive relationship and I thought that would never be me. . . until the day my boyfriend hit me for the first time and I began to make excuses for him. I know the mindset of someone who gets into and stays in an abusive relationship, because I’ve been there myself. It’s taken me years, and a lot of reading, praying, and talking to get to the heart of what brought me and kept me in toxic relationships and I want to pass on some of what I learned that helped me find boundaries and recovery from a codependent mindset and most of all healing.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

It’s my hope and prayer that those who are in abusive relationships will begin to see that the problem lies with them as much as with the abuser. That’s something I railed against when friends suggested it. I wasn’t the one with the problem! I was no doormat who enabled abuse or addiction… or was I?

I also hope that those who have never understood the mindset of victims would better comprehend the intricacies of codependency and be better able to minister to these women and men. And of course I’d love it if young women would read this before they ever enter their first romantic relationship to have their eyes open to how abuse almost always progresses and be able to see the red flags early.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

Each of the characters has a little of me in them or vice versa. I think years ago I was more like Penny, though tougher in many regards, at least I thought so. I’d like to think now I’m a little more Callie Mae. Because I’ve lived through what I have and have found healing, I can see in others the path that will lead to healing and the one that will lead to destruction. The difficult part once you’ve found healing is remembering that you can’t do it for others. You can offer advice, but you can’t make anyone take it. Each person has to learn in their own time, in their own way.

Who is your favorite character?

I absolutely love Fatimah. She had such a great sense of humor and didn’t care what anyone thought except those who really mattered. She was really quite self-actualized. She was so much fun to write and I actually find myself missing her presence.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

Favorite: making my own schedule. I love when I’m feeling bad one day knowing that I don’t have to punch a clock. I can just take the day off and then work harder the next. Of course, there’s a lot of other things I love about writing, like allowing others to consider another point of view that may be far different from their own.

Least favorite: There’s a joke that when you work for yourself you at least get to pick which eighteen hours of the day you want. That’s true. Working from home means I’m always at work. I work from about 7:30 am until about eight at night most days. Under deadline, it’s worse. Truly understanding how much the success of a book rides on the shoulders of the author is a blessing and a curse. Because I get that no one is more invested in the success of my books than me, I put in a LOT of time on the publicity/marketing end of things. It’s tiring but an investment that I think pays off in the long run.

You had written four novels before your debut, Crossing Oceans was published. Do you think those books will ever get dusted off and reworked?

Never say never, but I doubt it. I had considered reworking some but having gone back and re-read them, I realized they weren’t published for good reason. They just didn’t work. Now, there is one story I’m resurrecting characters from for a story I should be writing next, but the plotline is completely different. I started out writing suspensel but as my reading tastes changed, so did my writing tastes. I don’t see myself doing suspense again any time soon.

You’re known for your quirky characters, what inspires you to write these types into each book?

Honestly, I’m a pretty quirky person. The older I get, the more I embrace those quirks. I think everyone is quirky really. As a student of human nature, I pick up on those and like to exaggerate them in my fiction. I also like to surround myself with quirky people. My husband is quirky, my kids are quirky and so are my friends. Often in life, especially when we’re young, we hate about ourselves what makes us different, when really those are the things we should be embracing. Different is interesting. Different is beautiful.

If you could write anything and genre, marketing and reader expectations didn’t matter, what would you write?

Speaking of quirky… I read a book a few years back that was so different that it made me want to try something like that. The book was a big-time bestseller, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. What turned me on about that book were the characters. They were quirky to an extreme. In contemporary women’s fiction, I can get away with a certain amount of quirk. but I’m always having to play it down because it’s so over the top. In a fantasy, you can be as over the top as you dare. I’d love to play around with something like that one day and just let my freak flag fly! Will I? Probably not unless I use a penname. I realize readers have certain expectations and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel mislead. We’ll see. There’s lots in life I want to do but since I only get a hundred or so years (if I’m lucky), time won’t allow for every rabbit hole.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

My advice would be not to follow too closely in anyone’s footsteps. Yes, there is a certain path all writers find themselves on. There are certain things that we must all do like learning to write well, figuring out platform, going to writers conferences to meet the gatekeepers and figure out the way things have to be formatted and submitted and all that sort of thing. But it’s okay to veer off the path too and forge your own. There are those who have self-published who have found great success.

There are those who have written about subjects that they were told no one wanted to read about and found success. It’s smart to figure out what others have done before you to make them successful, but alter the formula to suit your needs and passions. It’s okay to be different, in fact, I think great success and maybe even happiness depends upon it. And by all means, read Novel and leave comments. It helps not only encourage those authors who have taken the time out of their day to teach us, but it also connects you to the writing community. Community is important. 

From the best-selling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny's happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn't the last, yet the bruises that can't be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meet Eddie Jones and His Dead Man's Hand

Today, I want to welcome Eddie Jones. He is great story teller and a great guy. Eddie's new book, Dead Man's Hand, hits the bookshelves and cyber-shelves today.

Eddie Jones is the author of eleven books and over 100 articles. He also serves as Acquisition Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is a three-time winner of the Delaware Christian Writers' Conference, and his YA novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Children's Book Award and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult Fiction. He is also a writing instructor and cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries. His He Said, She Said devotional column appears on ChristianDevotions.US. His humorous romantic suspense, Bahama Breeze remains a "blessed seller." When he's not writing or teaching at writers' conferences, Eddie can be found surfing in Costa Rica or some other tropical locale.

Tell us about your upcoming release, Dead Man's Hand, with Zondervan.

First, it’s a fun, fast read aimed for middle school boys, but we’re also getting nice reviews on Goodreads from teachers and mothers. But my aim is to give boys a book they can enjoy, one that taps into today’s fascination with the occult. This is the first book in the Caden Chronicles series and each story involves one element of the supernatural. Book one explores the concept of ghosts, spirits and what happens to our souls when we die.

Zonderkidz is a Christian publisher, so the paranormal aspect is surprising.

I added the paranormal aspect because I want parents and youth to struggle with eternal questions. We’ve created such a culture of blood-letting through books and movies involving vampires, zombies and survival contests, that the reality of death doesn’t carry the sting it once did. In high school my youngest son lost several friends to driving accidents. When another friend recently died, we asked how he felt and he replied, “I’m numb to it.” I fear that’s what we’re doing with our youth: desensitizing them to the horrors of death. In Dead Man’s Hand, Nick and his family discuss spirits and ghosts and the afterlife because I think it’s important for teens to wrestle with these questions before they’re tossed from a car and found dead on a slab of wet pavement.

You've spent the last few years dedicating yourself to helping others get published. Tell us a little about your publishing company and what motivated you to take on such a huge endeavor.

We started the publishing arm to publish devotional compilations for Christian Devotions Ministries. We wanted to give some of our devotional writers their own byline in print. Part of our mission is to launch new careers for first time authors. We wanted to create a publishing house for writers who were happy selling from 2,000, to 5,000 copies of their devotional book. There is a big jump from unpublished author to “three-book contract” author and we wanted to serve as a stepping-stone for those writers.

My problem is I hate telling people no, especially when they have a solid project. When it comes time to reject a manuscript, it pains me because I’ve been and continue to be on the other end of rejection. I will delay saying no as long as I can in order to rework the e-mail. I try to give authors good advice for how they can improve their writing. The problem is, if I’m too nice, then they keep coming back and asking to resubmit the same project. My advice to those authors is, improve your writing and send me something new.
We currently have forty authors under contract, have published over thirty books and distribute around four thousand dollars a month in royalty checks. We pay our authors monthly, not quarterly, because we want them to feel like writing is a real job. In fact, I teach a class on how, if an author will write five books a year, they can make over twenty-five thousand dollars. And these aren’t large books. Most are under thirty thousand words. The goal is to have five books that sell 125 copies, (print and ebook combined). a month.

I get jazzed when one of our books launches or sells well. I know what it feels like to see your book growing legs and garnering positive reviews so I get excited for our authors. Sometimes I think that’s how God feels when we’re doing the thing He’s called us to do. When we’re in our zone, doing the thing we love, we feel His joy. That’s what is great about working for God: sometimes you get paid for playing. J 

But the only reason I’m able to publish books and write full time is because four years ago I told God I’d work for Him full time. I figure if I was working for God I’d never be out of work. I may not make a lot of money, but he says there’s plenty of work and not enough labors so to me, that meant job security. I took a blank sheet of paper and signed it one day during my devotions and said, ‘Okay, God, I’ll do whatever it is you ask me to do, because I’m tired of working for other people. I want to work for You.’ Making up stories for boys, writing devotions, creating humorous romantic novels for adults, I get to do all this plus make dreams come true for other authors all because I agreed to work for God full time. 

You're passionate about getting boys interested in books. Why do you feel it's so important to get boys reading fiction at an early age?

I fear we’re on the verge of losing the male reader. I don’t mean men and boys won’t learn to read: they will. But the percentage of males who read for leisure continues to shrink and this could be devastating for our country. We can’t lose half our population and expect America to compete on a global level. Reading forces the mind to create. With video the scene and characters are received passively by the brain. There is very little interaction; it’s all virtual stimulation, which is different from creation. When you read, you add your furniture to the scene, dress the characters, add elements not mentioned by the author. This is why readers so often complain, “the movie was nothing like the book.” It’s not, because the book is your book. The author crafted the outline of the set but each reader brings their emotions and expectations to that book, changing it forever.

In general, boys would rather get their information and entertainment visually. This is one reason books have such a tough time competing for male readers. It can take weeks to read a book, even one as short as Dead Man’s Hand. Meantime, that same story can be shown as a movie in under two hours. So in one sense the allure of visual gratification is robbing future generations of our ability to solve problems. I believe Americans only possess one true gift, creativity, and it’s a gift from God. Other nations build things cheaper and with fewer flaws. They work longer hours for less pay. But the thing that has always set America apart is our Yankee ingenuity. We have always been able to solve our way out of problems. That comes directly from our ability to create solutions to problems we didn't anticipate. If we lose male readers and fail to develop the creative connections necessary for the brain to conceive of alternatives, then we will lose our position as the world’s leader. 

What advice would you offer parents to get their children interested in reading at a young age?

Watch for clues. If your child shows any interest in reading, reward the activity with trips to book fairs. I remember in grade school how excited I got when we were allowed to order books. All we had to do was check a box, (or so I thought), and wham! A few weeks later boxes of books showed up and the teacher began dealing them to the students. I didn't learn until later my parents had mailed the school money for those books. I still have most of them.

But not all children like reading and you can create an anti-reading environment if you push too hard. An alternative for boys are comic books, graphic novels, or simply cartoon books. I read a lot of Charlie Brown cartoon books and still remember the plot: Lucy has the football. Charlie wants to kick the ball. Lucy promises she will hold the ball in place but at the last moment… We know this story because it’s repeated, not in a novel, but in a cartoon.

Okay, we're going to be really nosey now, you've been married a long time. Tell us a little about your family, how you and your wife met and your family.

I met my wife at a stoplight in West Palm Beach, Florida. She was in the backseat of the car behind us. The driver honked and I crawled out the passenger window, a brown Pinto. The door didn't work so it looked like I was a NASCAR driver getting out on pit road. The car behind us was full of girls from Meredith College. They asked where I went to college and I told them I went to Meredith, too. "It's a girl's school, you dork," one of them said. I told them I was taking Old Testament that semester, can’t remember the professor’s name, now, and one of the girls yelled, "Hey! You're in my class!” I explained we’d been surfing all day and didn't have a place to stay and needed to hose off and asked if we could borrow their showers. They led us back to their hotel, my buddy and I washed off and left. Driving home a week later we came upon the same car in the slow lane of I-95. The girls were afraid we’d fall asleep driving home, my buddy couldn't drive at night, so they agreed to put one girl in the car to keep us company. She’d get in, tell her life story and at the end of the hour, another would get in the car. Our last passenger was this cute girl wearing a funny Gilligan hat. She never said a word, not for the whole hour. We put her out, the girls drove off and I finally got home, exhausted. The next week I invited that shy girl to a Warren Zevon concert. Four years later, I married her.

You've freelanced writing newspaper columns for the last few decades on boating. Do you have an interesting boating story you can share?

All my boating stories are interesting. I collected the columns into two books, Hard Aground and Hard Aground… Again. The column began in the late eighties when an editor read a couple of essays I'd written about trying to sail a boat with my wife. He seemed genuinely amused someone of my limited boating experience would think a woman of my wife's refined nature would enjoy peeing in a bucket in the cockpit of small sailboat. He informed me that I had correctly spelled the minimum number of words to meet his editorial standards and since someone on the staff had mistakenly sold one ad too many for the next issue, the publication was in need of some copy to balance out that page. I didn't know this at the time. I thought he was genuinely impressed with my writing abilities. I've been told I still suffer from this delusion."

The editor told me the column needed a catchy name. I purchased a few sailing publications and knew all boating columnist were subject matter experts. The only thing I was an expert on was running off the boat ramp, running aground on clearly marked shoals and running into the dock. I decided I would become an expert on making the best of tough times. When you run aground in a boat—in life—you have two choices. You can cuss and complain or you can grab a good book, kick back and wait for the tide to float you off. It's all a matter of perspective and pennies and I'm cheap so I usually wait for the tide.

Tell us about your ministry, Christian Devotions. How it got started, what you all are up to these days and what your plans are for the future.

Cindy Sproles and I started the ministry years ago to help authors publish their devotions. We’d go to writers’ conferences and on the last day find all these writers in tears because no one wanted their work. I had a web business and knew how to build web sites so I put up a home page and invited contributing writers. We figured we could at least give new writers a byline, even if it was only on the web. Cindy had been writing devotions every day for two years, partly because of something Alton Gansky said at a Blue Ridge Conference and partly as a commitment to God. The odd thing was, Cindy and I didn’t know each other at that first conference but we both wrote down Al’s words. It was like God spoke to each of us separately to work together. Weeks after that conference I was under my willow tree doing my devotion when I heard God whisper: I meant to register the domain but by the time I got to my upstairs office, I forgot. A few weeks later God spoke again. Once more, I forgot. A few more weeks passed and this time I wrote it down in my journal and marched upstairs only to find that was taken. I registered ChristianDevotions.US, instead. The dot com domain is worth over ten thousand dollars, now. Procrastination has a price.

For months Cindy and I were the only writers on the site, then slowly God grew the readership. Now we have thousands of readers, a ton of subscribers who get the devotions daily in their email and Kindle subscribers who receive the daily devotion on their Kindle eReader (99 cents a month). We have a teen’s ministry,, kid’s web site, and last year we purchased That’s our mission-oriented web site. We have a radio ministry, prayer team, finances ministry and of course the book publishing. We didn’t set out with a marketing plan to do what we’re doing. We simply responded to a need in the marketplace, walked the mountain with God and asked how we could help. Find a need and fill it.

What's one thing you wish I wouldn't ask you and pretend I asked you that question?

How I became a writer. I started my sophomore year of high school when I told my English teacher I wanted to write for Cat Talk, Millbrook High School’s newspaper. Mrs. Hough said, “Eddie, you can't spell and you’re a terrible grammarian.” But I wrote a couple of articles, and she seemed to like the way I could put words together, so I won a spot on staff. My senior year Mrs. Pollard begged me not to major in English. In fact, she was shocked I would even consider going to college because I’d never be accepted. She was right. NC State rejected my application. A few days later I made an appointment with the admissions office. The day of my interview I wore a pair of red and white checkered polyester pants my mom made me, white shirt and a red tie. State admitted me into Industrial Arts, which I thought would be pretty cool since I though Industrial Arts meant I’d get to paint buildings. I flunked English 101 twice before passing with a D. I graduated from N.C. State four years later with a degree in English/Journalism and four years of writing experience for the Technician. I’m still a lousy proof-editor but I learned long ago storytelling trumps grammar.

You're writing for children right now with Zondervan. Besides the upcoming Cadence Chronicles Series, what are your dreams for your writing future?

Each day I walk around my yard reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This is my conversational time with God. Part of that prayer time is me putting on the armor of God. When I’m about halfway fitted out I say, “Lord place across my chest your breastplate of righteousness that my thoughts may be pure, honorable and good and my dreams secure: my dreams of sailing around the Caribbean, writing a best selling novel and surfing reef breaks.” Beyond that I don’t have any grand writing goals.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write devotions, don’t focus on the praise, book sales and reviews. Forget about trying to find an agent and editor. Once you’re successful, they’ll find you. Explore the wounds in your life and minister to others through your writing. If God allowed you to be hurt, you can speak to that with authority. The rest of us cannot. Ask yourself where your passions lie. I love surfing. If I could do anything, be anywhere, I’d be in a hut on a beach surfing a point break alone. I love playing and hate work. This is reflected in the types of books I write. I love pulling for the underdog, this comes out in the ministry God gave me. Only you can write the stories God dropped in your lap and if you do not, they will die.

Where can we find out more about you?

Please come find me on

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dealing With The Stuff

by Bruce Brady

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16

Those of us who are business minded will read these verses and focus on seizing every income producing opportunity. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if we keep our focus on God. However, many of us will ignore the spiritual opportunities and only see the promised earthly rewards.
Now I’m not going to tell you that everything on earth is evil. In fact, things are neutral, neither good nor evil. Things are just things. They’re only evil if we allow them to steal our focus. To me, the greatest danger of things is in the accumulation of them. The more we own, the more time we have to spend maintaining them. They are great robbers of time.

I love stories that teach or make me feel good and gadgets that make life easier. I’ve accumulated a lot of books, DVDs and various “time-saving” widgets. Now I’m faced with what to do with my things.

I’ve spent countless hours working to get them, accumulating them, using them, cleaning them, storing them, rearranging them. Once again I find myself planning the best way to store and organize them, and deciding what to keep and what to give away. Wondering if I really need them, the Spirit gave me a glimpse of how much more time I’ll spend on these things in the future.

Then the Holy Spirit showed me the real problem. Every minute I spend in thought and action with regards to my things, I’m robbing myself of time with God. Time that could be so much more valuable to me. That’s when I realized that the time spent on the maintenance of things is one of Satan’s greatest tools. The Devil loves it when I’m focused on my “stuff.” And he uses this tool with great subtlety.

So, I’ve decided a major cleaning out is in order. I know it’ll take more of my time but I’ll realize a great time savings in the future, time I can spend with my Creator. And time spent with our Creator is always time well spent.

If you find yourself dealing with a lot of stuff, physical or emotional, it’s time for a “deep cleaning.” Give away anything you haven’t used in a while and give all your mental stuff to God who’ll deal with it much more efficiently. Then, you can seize the opportunity to spend time with the Lord and enjoy the peace and comfort that comes with relaxing in His love.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


by Bruce Brady

See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2

I’m currently struggling with a ministry calling that is meeting a lot of resistance. While I know the source of resistance is Satan, it is presenting itself through members of my church. Talk about a tough challenge.

The human response would be to lash out at these people with righteous indignation, but God has thankfully kept me from doing so. Instead, He’s given me a spiritual understanding of the situation and the assurance that it will all work out. He’s also constantly reminding me that this ministry is not mine but His.

To make things worse, the people who are resisting me are my brothers and sisters in Christ whom I deeply love and respect. This tries my patience because I don’t understand what is causing the roadblocks. But that’s the point. I don’t understand because I’m not supposed to understand, at least not now.

What I do know for sure is that God will work His purpose in this situation. I’m certain the call to this ministry is from Him, so I know He will make it all come together with His perfect timing.

Whenever we set out to follow God’s lead, there’s no need to be afraid. Every time He sends us to do His work, our victory is assured. There may be many obstacles and victory may not present itself as we expect, but be assured His purpose will always be accomplished. He never promised us easy, just victory.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


by Bruce Brady

Lately I’ve witnessed a lot of people behaving as if they were entitled to special treatment. They display this perceived entitlement by treating others as inferior people and talking down to them. It amazes me that many of us have come to believe the best way to get respect from others is to demand it. Yet, our human nature causes us to resent and even lash out at those who demand anything from us. So how can we justify mistreating others to get what we want?

In Matthew 5:7, Jesus says, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” There is no mention of God rewarding those who insist on having things their way.  We’re foolish if we expect others to love us when we our actions display disrespect and contempt for them. God very clearly teaches that to get what we want; we must first give others the love and respect they want.

Our call is not to half-heartedly follow Christ in order to obtain our selfish desires, it’s to truly serve others as a way of demonstrating our total commitment to living the life Jesus lays out for us. We are to display the merciful love of Christ toward everyone. It’s okay to hate poor behavior and misguided beliefs, but we must love all people as Jesus does. Rather than condemn, He lovingly corrects our sinful actions, and instructs us to interact with others in this same manner.

Throughout our day, we will encounter people who are behaving poorly. When we do, let’s remember that God loves them as much as He loves us and respond with love and kindness. Doing so will not only disarm them; it will also please our Father.

Amazingly, the self-help gurus tell us the key to success and the best way to get what we want is to help others get what they want. I wonder where they got that idea?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Note To Mom

by Bruce Brady

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day; a time when we all stop to remember mom. But do I really honor her as commanded in Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:3? Sadly, I’ve often only honored her the way most of the world “honors” their mothers, with material gifts and a quick phone call.

Today, God has placed a burden on my heart, for which I’m thankful because I need to reflect on all she’s done for me. Yes there have been those times when she acted selfishly, she’s human after all. But most of the time she sacrificed her desires and her time for my sister, my brother and me. And I don’t thank her enough. Even when I’m helping her, I get bogged down in the task and forget to let my actions show how much I love and appreciate her. So, I’m determined to change that.

Mom, I love you, more than I’ve ever expressed with words and actions. I appreciate all you did and the sacrifices you made to raise me. I’m sorry for those times when I dishonored you through my mistakes, and my half-hearted compliance with your requests. I regret the many times I disappointed you, and treated you with disrespect. Forgive me for all the times I’m sure I hurt you by acting selfishly.

I love you, mom. I would not be here, writing this note and pursuing a writing career if not for your encouragement and guidance. Left to my own devices, I’d probably be dead. I know you did the best you knew how. It wasn’t easy raising three children on your own, especially three very independent children. I appreciate all the times you comforted me when my heart was broken. I’m grateful for your efforts to ensure I had a happy and prosperous life. I understand you did what you did because you wanted a better life for me.

I also admire how, as a young woman suffering the pain of a broken marriage, you packed up a newborn baby and two very young children, moved us 1500 miles to a place where you only knew your brother and his family, and started a new life for us. Thankfully you instilled that same courage and tenacity in me. I’m thankful you never made choices that put us in harm’s way. I appreciate that you worked a second and sometimes third job to make sure we always had food, a safe home and clothing. I’m grateful that you sacrificed to allow us to pursue our educational and extracurricular interests. And I’m thankful that you devoted yourself to spending as much time as you could with us.

Mom, you’re a wonderful woman. And though I can’t be there, I want you to know that, in spirit, I’m with you this Mother’s Day weekend, admiring the amazing woman you are. I hope you can feel my arms embracing you as I say. “I love you, mom, more than words can express.”

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Life Calling

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other (1 Corinthians 12:7).

God has taught me many things over the past several weeks. Because He has demanded my full attention, I’ve been very frustrated. Frustrated because He has not allowed me to write anything except a few quick blurbs on Facebook. I pleaded with Him, but He made it clear that I would not write again until I understood what He was teaching, including being patient and God-centered.

Like many of you, I want to do what I want to do when I want. And I can almost guarantee this attitude will lead to long lessons in humility and waiting on the Lord. Fortunately, our Father won’t allow us to follow our own desires with peace and joy. He’ll fill us with a growing discomfort until we focus on Him.

The above verse has been important in my educational journey. I’ve learned that some would have us believe our spiritual gifts are only for the benefit of other believers. However, the Lord taught me that our gifts are for the benefit of all, unbelievers and believers. Our calling is to be and make disciples, students and mentors, of all people. Teaching the Truth of the Gospel and Christian living is essential to everyone, not just believers. It’s the departure from Biblical Truths that has our country and our world in such turmoil today.

It’s crucial that we teach everyone the ways of the Lord. It’s imperative that we remember we do most of our teaching through our actions, not just our words. We can’t live like unbelievers and “preach” the Word of God. Others don’t care what we have to say until they see that we are truly different, at peace with ourselves and life. We’re given our spiritual gifts to live an exemplary life that will cause others to long for what we have. We’re called to live in such a way that everyone will clearly see what a joy it is to follow Jesus.

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you (1 Timothy 4:15-16).