close

Seekerville: The Journey Continues | category: Faith

home

Seekerville: The Journey Continues

seekerville.blogspot.com

Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?

 by Diann Mills


Kaleidoscopes show us the many characteristics of light and color. With the twist of the wrist, mirrors and colored pieces of material, usually glass, reflect beauty in various shapes. Each glimpse of the art becomes a gift for those who appreciate a dynamic creation. Much like each one of us is a unique gift to the world.

How we react to life’s ups and downs reflects how we examine and process life. Every experience fuels an emotion that adds light and color to our image. We can choose to enjoy the splendor and cultivate hope, or we can block every hint of it.

The most ordinary of shapes are made spectacular through a kaleidoscope’s lenses. Similarly, ordinary lives become extraordinary when courageous people choose to defy odds that could otherwise keep them chained to a dull, formless worldview.

A display of lives explodes across the horizon. People empty themselves of selfishness and greed to let goodness mirror their actions.

  • An underprivileged youth works hard to attend college and help his siblings continue their education.
  • A woman forsakes a life of abuse and seeks counseling.
  • A retired couple forms a nonprofit to help military personnel who are struggling with PTSD.
  • A wealthy businessman sells his firm to serve as a missionary.
  • A group of neighborhood teens does odd jobs for shut-ins.

To live a kaleidoscope life, we use all our resources to war against the dark, ugly shapes that have the power to stagnate our mental, spiritual, and physical growth. Our yesterdays do not define us, and we are determined to turn heartache and pain into a life lesson that makes us stronger.

We need setbacks to help us focus on what is important. Most of the time, the critical need isn’t ourselves. We accept truth as reality and apply it to the way we react and respond to every life happening. With new information, we can reevaluate how we spend our time, love our families, work successfully in our careers, push forward in our goals, and allow kaleidoscope living to shine with light and purpose.

An object viewed through a kaleidoscope never appears the same way twice. Don’t we want the same distinction? Don’t we want to examine the world new every morning?

While we want to ensure our faith, morals, and values remain intact, we also need to examine our core values. If they line up with truth, we are standing on a firm foundation. If they need adjustment, we find the strength to change.


What is one way we can show kaleidoscope living?


ABOUT DIANN


Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her FBI: Houston series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014. Her upcoming novel, Trace of Doubt, releases from Tyndale House Publishers in September 2021. Connect with DiAnn at diannmills.com.




ABOUT TRACE OF DOUBT


Are We Living a Kaleidoscope Life?
Bestselling and award-winning author DiAnn Mills delivers a heart-stopping story of dark secrets, desperate enemies, and dangerous lies.

Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

Audience interest points:
  • While working undercover to solve an embezzlement case, an FBI agent becomes convinced of the wrongful sentencing of Shelby Pearce, who served 15 years in prison after confessing to the murder of her brother-in-law.
  • Bestselling Christian author DiAnn Mills releases another action-packed, suspense-filled romance novel for fans of Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, and Dani Pettrey.
  • The importance of treating all people with honor and respect, regardless of what their backgrounds may imply about who they are.
  • The value of seeking out truth and justice, lifting up the voices of those who have been silenced in the past.


GIVEAWAY


Tyndale Publishers is giving away a copy of Trace of Doublt to one reader today. Just leave a comment below for DiAnn and you're entered.

(Seekerville's Giveaway rules applied. Open to US residents with a US mailing address only.)

Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

Please welcome guest Jennifer L. Wright as she shares a bit of her writing and faith journey with us.

I have always wanted to be a writer.

Even from a young age, I had a love of books, and I wrote my first “novel” in the seventh grade. For the longest time, I believed my future lay in journalism, but it took only a few short months of working local news to realize it wasn’t a good fit for me. After my son was born and I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, I decided it was time to take my passion in another direction: I was going to write a book.

So I did. Then I wrote another one. And another one.

But none of these novels went anywhere. I couldn’t get a publishing deal. I couldn’t get an agent. I couldn’t even to find someone outside my family to read my writing.

I knew—just knew—writing was what God had called me to do. It was the only thing I’d ever felt drawn to, passionate about, inescapably bound to pursue. But if this was God’s plan for me, then why was every door slamming in my face?

One particularly depressing day, I found myself at my kitchen table, Bible open in front of me, tears streaming down my face. I’d received another pass from an agent I’d been so sure was the one. Another false start. Another dashed hope.

It had now been six years since I’d begun my writing journey. Six years of constant disappointment, heartache, and rejection. The secular marketplace was looking for particular types of books—and they were not the books I was trying to write. I wanted to believe I wasn’t wrong, that I hadn’t misinterpreted God’s calling for me, but my spirit was crushed beneath the weight of my own failure. Surely God’s plan wouldn’t involve this much pain, right? I was at a crossroads; I could no longer continue down this path, and yet neither carrying on nor quitting seemed to be the right answer.

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
So that morning, as tears wet the thin pages of my Bible, I cried out to God in my grief: “Lord, I can’t do this anymore. I was so sure this is what You wanted me to do, but maybe I was wrong. I am broken. I am lost. I am confused. What am I supposed to do?”

And then a voice answered me from inside my head, so loud, clear, and concise—so different from the muddled indecision clouding my brain—that I froze.

Wait.

If you’ve never had a moment with God like this, I don’t expect you to understand. But I knew I was hearing His voice. He had met me in my pit. He had heard. And He had responded in a way I had never experienced before.

Wait.

And so I did. I kept writing. I kept querying. I kept waiting.

Three more years went by . . . and still I was waiting. During that time, I had more rejections, more heartaches, more disappointments. But I remained steadfast, buoyed by the memory of that long-ago encounter. I knew I had heard God’s voice; doubt wasn’t the issue. Instead, my grief manifested itself as something else: impatience.

Sometimes, even with the assurance of God’s promises, we can grow impatient and irritated by what we see is a lack of action on His part. You said You were going to do this, Lord. So . . . when?

Or in the words of David, “How long?”

In Psalm 13, David writes: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (verses 1-2).

In just two verses, David asks “How long?” four times. The man had been anointed by Samuel, destined for kingship . . . and yet fifteen to twenty years had passed. In his waiting, he was pursued and persecuted, chased into the wilderness and hidden in a cave, fearing for his life. It was such a stark contrast: his eyes were on the palace, but his body remained in a pasture.

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
It’s no wonder he began to get a little impatient.

But it was precisely in this waiting where David became equipped to become king. His courage was tested. His character was refined. His faith was strengthened. Faced with what could have very easily been perceived as at best inaction and at worst faithlessness on the part of his God, David chose to lean in to what he knew to be true instead: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).

David couldn’t see an end to his waiting. He couldn’t see how this seemingly unwinnable situation would play out. And he certainly couldn’t see how he would ever move from a cave to a throne.

What he could see, however, was God.

Our waiting can often bring forth a type of “spiritual amnesia” where our present circumstances overshadow the ways in which God has been faithful, not only to His people, but to us personally in the past. During those years between that fateful morning prayer and when I finally signed with agent, I was tempted many times to discredit what I knew to be God’s voice. Leaning in to what I knew to be true about who He is and reminders of His past goodness were the only remedies for a present that didn’t feel quite so good.

God loves me . . . and He has told me to wait.

God has a plan for me . . . and He has told me to wait.

God has delivered me in the past . . . and He has told me to wait.

God is faithful, merciful, all-knowing, and all-powerful . . . and He has told me to wait.

My debut novel, If It Rains, will be released July 6 from Tyndale House Publishers—a full ten years after my writing journey began and four years after that fateful morning in which God told me to wait. I will not sugarcoat the experience—it was brutal. And yet, holding my first published novel in my hands, I can so clearly see how God used the experience to ready my heart. Ten years ago, I wasn’t ready for the plans and purposes He had for me. He used this time not only to grow me as a writer but to strengthen my faith and mature my spirit for this moment. 

Because this experience wasn’t just about finding a publisher. It was about finding Him.

What about you? Is there something you’ve been waiting for? You may not experience God’s voice the way I did that morning, but you can rest assured that He is just as much there with you as He was with me. Don’t let your impatience or frustration in your waiting distract you from the answer you’ve already received: Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who sees every tear, hears every cry, knows every longing. As we struggle through our waits, never knowing when or how or if the deepest desires will be fulfilled, we can still find peace in the arms of the Savior. By focusing our eyes on the God who holds our past, present, and future in His hands, we can boldly proclaim the words of David, who, while still in his waiting, penned this verse: 

“I am still confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14

 

One commenter will win a print copy of Jennifer's debut, If It Rains! (US only)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright

Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. 

A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home. She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.

Visit her website.


ABOUT THE BOOK

If It Rains by Jennifer L. Wright (Tyndale, July 2021)

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. Wright
A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.

Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home. Learn more... 


Those Flaming Arrows

Those Flaming Arrows

by Mindy Obenhaus

Ever felt as though you’re under attack? You know, going through life, kind of enjoying your comfortable little routine and then along comes something to throw you off balance. So you address that issue, then, before you know it, here comes another one. And then another, none of which are catastrophic, yet they keep bombarding you until suddenly all of those little things start to feel huge.

Yeah, that kinda sums up the last month for me. Not that I should be surprised. After all, Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.”

Well, that doesn’t make me want to jump up and down for joy, but the good news is that Jesus didn’t stop there. He went on to say, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Indeed He has. Yet while He’s called us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), I can easily spend more time whining than conquering.

Those Flaming Arrows

You’ve often heard it said here at Seekerville, “If He calls you, He will equip you.” Yes, we’re talking about writing, but the same holds true for every other aspect of our lives. So how do we deal with those flaming arrows when they take aim at us?

Faith.

Ephesians 6:16 NIV says, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Yes, right there we see that God has equipped us. He’s given us a shield of faith to have at the ready. Except sometimes we leave our shield in the closet or tuck it under the bed. Even if it’s only in the corner of the room, it takes effort to walk over and pick up our shield.

The King James version is a little more direct. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Not take up but taking. As in always having it with you. And it doesn’t just say “in addition,” but “above all.” Hmm, Paul is really stepping on my toes now.

Those Flaming Arrows

So what is faith? Faith is confidence. Trust. In some ways, faith is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Unlike muscles, though, you can choose to have faith at any time. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or be part of an intensive Bible study or even quote scripture verses. You simply have to believe that God is bigger than whatever you’re facing and that, no matter the outcome, He is with you and will guide you through it.

Why am I sharing this today? Because my posts usually reflect something I’ve been struggling with since we last talked. And I know that somewhere out there one of you is facing the same battle. So sister, I’ve got your back. Let’s take up our bedazzled shields of faith (because let’s face it, why have a plain old shield when you can have a sparkly one?) and quench some fiery darts. 

And while we're at it, let's giveaway something. Giving and/or receiving always brightens my day. So how about this? Leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of my March release, A Brother's Promise, OR the 2-in-1 anthology with Her Colorado Cowboy. Your choice. US mailing addresses only, please.

Those Flaming Arrows
Those Flaming Arrows


Those Flaming Arrows

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

 

When God Says "No"

When God Says


By Amy R. Anguish

 

We all have plans. After all, from the time we can talk, we’re asked questions like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”

It’s ingrained in us.

And we think our plans are good, right? Otherwise, we’d change them.

But what do we do when God decides our plans aren’t what He wants for us?

Let’s all be honest here. If our plans were fulfilled, we’d all be best-selling authors, right? And while some of the beautiful writers here have achieved that, most of us are still working on it.

If all the plans my husband and I made had come true, I’d possibly still be living in Austin, Texas. Or at least have moved to Tennessee more than three years ago.

And I’d have a child about to be a teenager (I’m rather glad that plan didn’t pan out right now. My five-going-on-sixteen-year-old has enough sass for the here and now).

Instead, after only a few years in the Austin area, my husband lost his job. And instead of getting pregnant at twenty-five, I had to wait more than six years to be able to see those two lines on the pregnancy test.

I could be bitter about that. I could dwell on it and wish my life away, wanting the original plan instead of what I got.

But that’s a waste of time and energy. It won’t change anything. And it would take away the blessings I received because of going through all that.

Like the amazing friends we made in Tyler, Texas the six years we lived there. Like the closeness we gained in our marriage while we went through fertility treatments. Like the wonderful children we have now and the friends we have due to their children being the same age. And like the appreciation we have for my husband finally having the job he always wanted.

When God Says


It’s not always easy to see the good that can come from what we consider a bad situation, but it’s there. And provides us with tons of good story fodder, too. Maybe that’s why in my new book, Saving Grace, my character Michelle has to deal with her plans not going exactly as she planned them. As she goes through the story, she has to realize that sometimes the plans we make for ourselves aren’t the best for our lives, and God has a better idea.

For a chance to win a copy of my book, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear of stories in your life when your plans didn’t work out exactly like you planned, but maybe had an even better result because of it.


Saving Grace...

What if saving Grace doesn’t mean what she thinks it does?

 

Michelle Wilson’s one goal in life was to become a top journalist at the local paper back in her hometown of Cedar Springs, AR. But on the way to bringing that dream to reality, a life-changing wreck interrupts Michelle’s plans and adds an orphaned baby into the mix. Now, she has tough decisions ahead—did God put her in that accident to save baby Grace? And if so, why is it so hard to convince everyone else she should be the baby’s new mommy?

Greg Marshall has been Michelle’s best friend his whole life. He’s thrilled she’s moving back home, but not so sure about her sudden desire to be a single mom. His feelings for her have grown through the years, but she’s never seemed to notice. Can he help Michelle with the adoption and grow their relationship at the same time?

****

When God Says

 

Amy R Anguish

Author of An Unexpected Legacy, Faith and Hope, and Saving Grace

Amy R Anguish grew up a preacher's kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.

 

Follow her at http://abitofanguish.weebly.com or http://www.facebook.com/amyanguishauthor

 Or https://twitter.com/amy_r_anguish

 

Learn more about my books at https://www.pinterest.com/msguish/my-books/

 

And check out the YouTube channel she does with two other authors, Once Upon a Page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEiu-jq-KE-VMIjbtmGLbJA)

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

Fellow authors, writers and readers, we don't want to belabor the current situation, but The Seekers are a group of Christian authors and bloggers.

Key word: CHRISTIAN.  That comes first, before the word author or blogger.

From Love Inspired author Mindy Obenhaus:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

We are believers.

We are women of God, believers in Christ, sisters of the Spirit, bound together not just because we love good books and great stories and romance...

We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord... and they'll know we are Christians by our love...

So that's what today is about.

Everyone reading this has a story right now. We are living in the pages of a coming history book, the Covid 19 Pandemic of 2020, and students will look at graphs and curves and numbers and they'll see that we were willing to risk one of the best economic booms we've had in decades to save lives.

A verse that brings solace to Missy Tippens:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times


But that doesn't come without pain and sacrifice and worry as millions of people are told to stay home from work and millions of others lose their jobs as schools and businesses face a mandatory closing order.

So here are some beautiful sayings that help us keep it in perspective because that's what God expects us to do.



From Debby Giusti....

Dear Friends, I select a new scripture verse each day and write it on a 3x5 card that I place on my kitchen counter. I also open my Bible to that verse and keep both close at hand to pray throughout the day. The verses are from the daily readings. 

My verse today is Psalm 34:7
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.

Nature is nature. Nature will change things. Nature is not always predictable, and sometimes awful things just plain happen.

And we learn to take up the yoke and walk with it.

Here's a beautiful verse from Carrie: (meme by Beth Jamison)

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

And here is a favorite from Winnie Griggs, one that I think we all love and embrace: 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27
BE NOT AFRAID...
Someone once said that there were 365 exortations to "not be afraid" in the Bible. This gal checked that out and found 145... And that's still a lot, my friends! And you know why? Because we're human. We get nervous. We don't like change. We're normal. Simply put, we are not God. And so we get anxious and we fear and the Lord, our God says "Fear not!"

Annie shared these three verses that bring her comfort when life and the world get out of hand: 

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
- Romans 15:13


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
- Romans 8:28


"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 
And Mary Connealy said offered up one of my favorite verses, too:
Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times
 And Mary sent this along with the meme.... 

This makes a wonderful prayer. Isaiah 40:30b-31

And I try and remember when  you pray for someone using this prayer that, when someone doesn't survive whatever this life hands out, then God lifts them up, as if on eagle's wings. He takes them to himself to a place and renews their strength. A place where they can run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.

That is what we believe.
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, his son, our Lord. We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

In this time of anxiety, nerves and reflection, when it seems like our world has been put on pause, or flipped upside down, we are blessed to have God.

And blessed to have each other.

I'm pretty sure I have one more copy of Sarah Young's  "Jesus Calling" and let us know if you'd like it... it's absolutely lovely and I'd be happy to put your name into the candy dish.

No cat dish today.

We're going full tilt on candy, and we are happy to share with all of you.  Leave a comment or tell us your favorite verse in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

And may God bless you, all of you, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

And a beautiful way to draw this to a close is with this verdant reminder from Jan Drexler:

Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough Times

The Seekers are a great bunch of gals who love great books, who write great books and who are blessed to call one another friends... and who enjoy welcoming people into their lives. 

Thank you for being here with us today.

Faith and Fiction Bible Study


Happy Friday, Seekers! Carrie here.

Forgive me for being late with this post today - I blame post-CFRR brain fog ;) 

Today I am honored to host a blogging friend of mine, Beckie Burnham, from By the Book! I love Beckie's blog, and if you haven't yet checked it out you really must.

She's here today to talk about her Faith and Fiction Bible Study/Book Club, which I think is one of the BEST ideas EVER...


***

Faith and Fiction Bible Study


“Just because it isn’t real, doesn’t make it not true.”

That is my standard answer when someone says *gasp* they don’t read fiction because it is not real. This maxim is especially true for Christian Fiction. I am an avid reader, a book-pusher, who manages to work books and reading into just about every conversation and activity. When my church’s book club was looking for something a little different to pique interest and encourage attendance, we came up with a combo book club/Bible study. I had just read Charles Martin’s Long Way Gone and knew that this excellent reimagining of the Prodigal Son would be just the thing for our new experiment. When it was met with great enthusiasm the Faith And Fiction Bible Study was born. Studying the Bible plus reading fiction — what could be better!?

Faith and Fiction Bible Study
The Faith And Fiction group always chooses Christian fiction to accompany its study of scripture. Christian fiction is not only unique in its world view, but CF authors are committed to excellence in writing and research and producing a work that not only entertains, but is written with an audience of One in mind. Across many genres, truths are expressed in unique ways. With hundreds of books to choose from, my group is set for many more studies to come.

From the earliest days our goal was to study the Bible first, but the addition of a complimentary novel has opened our imaginations to dig even deeper into the Word. We have chosen a number of Biblical novels to accompany scripture study — Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith and Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt are just two. Other genres have also offered extraordinary insight into the stories of the Bible, but application in a modern world — How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells and For Such A Time by Kate Breslin. Whether we are studying a specific Biblical figure (Miriam by Mesu Andrews) or broader topics like the the healing ministry of Jesus (Madman by Tracy Groot), the novels we have chosen add details of life that we sometimes overlook while reading our Bibles. We find ourselves questioning and researching to ferret our what is truly real. Creative twists are also a wonderful surprise. Many of us were forced from our reading comfort zones when we studied the role of Old Testament prophets and lost ourselves in the fantasy world of Prophet by R. J. Larson.

Faith and Fiction Bible Study
The format of Faith And Fiction is quite simple. We meet once a week for three weeks of Bible study, and then on the fourth week we have book club. Those book club meetings are great for discussing the usual — character, plot, setting — and also what God was and isup to! Food often plays a role in book clubs, and our group is no exception. We have had middle eastern honey cake, lentil stew, and Hamantashcen to add our own bit of authenticity and fun.

What do you need to start a Faith And Fiction Bible Study / Book Club of your own? Just a love of books and the Book. The following are the topics/people we have studied and the novels we read. Along with the novels listed, there are many, many more CF to choose from.

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt
For Such A Time by Kate Breslin (Esther)
How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells (Tamar)
The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee (Solomon and the Queen of Sheba)
Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (The Prodigal Son)
Madman by Tracy Groot (healing ministry of Jesus)
Miriam by Mesu Andrews (Miriam and Exodus)
On This Foundation by Lynn Austin (Nehemiah)
Prophet by R. J. Larson (Old Testament prophets)
Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith (Jacob and Rebekah)
Reign by Ginger Garrett (Ahab and Jezebel)

***

Faith and Fiction Bible Study

Beckie Burnham is a wife, mom to grown kids, and an avid book pusher! A blogger of Christian fiction for almost 10 years, she also leads two book clubs, one of which combines Bible study and a fiction discussion (Faith And Fiction Bible Study). When not reading books (when is that really?!?) she enjoys spending time at her cabin in the north Georgia mountains.  

***
 
What are some other books you think would be great candidates for a Faith & Fiction Bible Study? (tell us the book & what theme it would be great for)
Have you participated in something similar?
How does this appeal to you as an author? As a reader?

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

Welcome (and Happy Release Day to) guest blogger, Heidi Chiavaroli! 

(and ten bonus points to me - Carrie - for spelling her last name right in one try. I have no proof. You just have to believe me) ;)


3 Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
by Heidi Chiavaroli
  
Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I remember the moment clearly, as if it were yesterday instead of eleven years ago. The kids were taking naps and I lay on my bed, sobbing, thinking of the conversation I just had with a person I respected. In the last hour, this person had seemed to effectively disprove the evidence of my faith. I was a new Christian and I couldn’t deny the hope my recent faith in Jesus had given me. Now, though, looking at what appeared to be true evidence that discredited the crux of my faith, I wondered if it had all been a lie. I wondered if I’d been fooled, duped. If I’d only conjured up this sense of peace and light and hope enveloping my being. Doubts gained entrance to my soul, and there, I plummeted into a pit of darkness. 


I remembered crying out to God.
“If you are who you say you are, then show me!”
It wasn’t that hour, but very soon after He did just that. With a lot of seeking, a lot of counsel, a lot of prayer, God did indeed show up.
After coming out of that spiritual battle, I felt I had scars aplenty. And yet I knew I was stronger. God had not abandoned me. Instead, He not only proved Himself, but He shone His light and hope into a deeper place in my soul.
That battle, that time of doubt, was not pleasant, but it was real. As an author, I can’t imagine portraying characters—portraying what it means to be human—without exploring what it also means to doubt. I think it’s important in our stories to allow our characters to have questions about their faith. Here are three reasons why:
 

Our characters and our stories should speak truth and authenticity. 
Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I think if we’re honest, we all struggle with doubts and questions once in a while. It’s that in-between dilemma—that place between the now and the will-be promise that God has given us, where our real selves are hidden with Him. If we ignore this truth in our fiction, then we are not creating true-to-life characters, but merely neat cardboard cutouts. Yes, many people in real life have amazing faith and they are to be admired, but how did they obtain that faith? More than likely, it was through trial and perhaps times of doubt and questioning. 

To reach more readers for what truly matters. 
I consider my stories far from preachy, and yet I hope they gently weave the message of the gospel in between their pages. In my sophomore novel, The Hidden Side, the Abbott family tries to come to terms with the unspeakable actions of one of their family members. Quite honestly, as a mother, I can’t think of a circumstance that would be worse than the one the Abbotts face. And yet they are a family of faith.

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
I wanted to explore, with authenticity, how this would play out for them. While I would like to think my faith is strong enough to stand against anything, I know from experience how liable it is to be shaken. If I want my stories to touch readers, I can’t pretend my characters won’t go through the same when trials come. Yet so often, in my experience, doubt has been a threshold to a deepened faith. That’s what I want to show in my stories.  

Our God doesn’t need a fake faith—in our lives or in those of our characters.
If we ignore our questions and doubts (and if we allow our characters to do so as well), we’re not being real with ourselves or with God. Our God doesn’t need a fake faith. He’s the Almighty, the Creator of all things. He can handle our doubts and questions. Really. And I absolutely believe He will use them to strengthen us as He did for Thomas, Abraham, and many others in Scripture. 

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
As an author, I don’t want to discredit God’s power and ability to work through any and all situations. Our world is rife with places that many consider dark and hopeless, and yet this is where Jesus went. He never ignored the ugly. He never ignored the doubt. Instead, He shone His light into it. And always—always—it held up, because always—always—Jesus holds up.

That, more than anything, is the goal and responsibility I charge myself with when writing a book: to go to the dark places. Those places of hopelessness and evil and doubt and disbelief. Go there, and shine light and truth.

Have you ever struggled in your faith? If so, how has it affected your journey and your fiction? What do you think of the importance of allowing your characters to have questions about their faith?
*images from Heidi Chiavaroli and Unsplash.com

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

New York, 2016
Natalie Abbott offers answers for hurting listeners on her popular radio program. But she struggles to connect with her teenagers, with her daughter in an unhealthy relationship and her son uncommunicative and isolated. When one member of the family commits an unspeakable act, Natalie is forced to uncover who she truly is under the façade of her radio persona.

New York, 1776
Mercy Howard is shocked when her fiancé, Nathan Hale, is arrested and hanged as a spy. When she’s asked to join the revolutionary spy ring in Manhattan, she sees an opportunity to avenge Nathan’s death. But keeping her true loyalties hidden grows increasingly harder as the charming Major John Andre of the King’s Army becomes more to her than a target for intelligence.

Mercy’s journals comfort Natalie from across the centuries as both women struggle with their own secrets and shame, wondering how deep God’s mercy extends.
 


Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith
3 out of our 4 family members researching for The Hidden Side in Setauket, NY. Here we are at Patriot’s Rock, which makes several appearances in The Hidden Side.

Heidi Chiavaroli began writing eleven years ago, just after Jesus grabbed hold of her heart. She used her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since! Heidi won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a 4½-star Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut, and her latest novel, The Hidden Side, is scheduled to release in May 2018. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of fourteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.
 Giveaway!

Three Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

Heidi is offering a copy of The Hidden Side and this lovely 'It is Well with my Soul' wall art to one of our commenters today (US only).  

I'm including her questions down here again, just for convenience :)

Have you ever struggled in your faith? If so, how has it affected your journey and your fiction? What do you think of the importance of allowing your characters to have questions about their faith? 

 

 Journeys of Faith: The Road to Finding God with guest Jennifer L. WrightThose Flaming ArrowsWhen God Says "No"Fear Not: The Seekers Share Verses That Help Them Through Tough TimesFaith and Fiction Bible StudyThree Reasons to Allow Your Characters to Have Questions about Their Faith

Report "Seekerville: The Journey Continues"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?

Cancel
×