Monday, August 31, 2009

The call of God on the worst of sinners

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty 1 Corinthians 1:27

God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. And I am a prime example of that. Do not ever think you're not important enough or smart enough or attractive enough or good enough to be used by God in a powerful way!

I'm copying excerpts below from a recent interview I did on a blog. The questions I was asked were so deep and important that as I read over my answers, I thought that maybe they would be able to help and encourage other people, as well as give you a glimpse into the awesome power of God to change the worst of sinners (That would be me!)
In my last answer, I share the message that I'm trying to get across in all of my books. This is what I wish I could shout from the rooftops until everyone in the world believed it!

Did you ever doubt your calling to write; ever feel like giving up?

At least once or twice a week! I know that may sound strange coming from someone who has 6 books published, but even after God preformed a miracle getting me published, even after receiving the Christy nomination, even after all the books I've written, in my darkest hour when I'm tired and I'm struggling with a scene or I've gotten a bad review, I wonder if I'm truly meant to do this. Surely someone with a better command of the language or a more vivid imagination, or a degree in creative writing should be doing this. Surely someone who's a better Christian or a more benevolent person should be writing these stories, not some overly-sensitive, stressed out, no English degree, worry-wort person like me. But, then God reassures me in some small way, a kind word from a friend, an encouragement from a fellow writer, a good review, and I keep on plugging on, until He tells me otherwise.

Tell us about your awareness of the Lord in your normal writing day.

Each morning before I do anything else, I spend 45 minutes to an hour in prayer and reading my Bible. This is where God gives me my marching orders for the day and where I receive His peace and encouragement. This is the most important part of my day, of anyone's day. If you want to have success in your life, if you want to become a better person and impact the world for God's glory, then model what Jesus did when He was here on earth. He spent time in prayer every morning. Then during the course of my day I practice the awareness of His presence. He sits beside me at my desk and when I need help with anything, whether it be a word or a plot point or a character reaction, I sit back in my chair and ask Him for guidance. Without His help, I doubt I'd be able to write even one book, let alone six. I know to some this may sound crazy, but God's Word says the Lord delights in the details of our lives, that He sticks closer than a brother. So whatever your tasks are during the day, I challenge you to invite the Lord along, talk to Him often, lean on Him for strength, ask His advice. You'll be surprised at how your life will change for the better!

How did you first come to believe in Christ and His promises for your future?

Long story. But the short version is that I spent many years wandering away from God. Although I knew about Him and had learned all the Bible stories in Sunday school, I had a difficult childhood and decided I wanted to pursue my own happiness. I tried all the things this world has to offer in order to find fulfillment, but by the time I was 35, nothing had worked. I was miserable. My second marriage was falling apart, my teenage children were in rebellion, I had a drinking problem and I hated my job. One night in desperation, I dusted off my old Bible and began to read it from cover to cover. Somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel, I realized that what God had spoken of thousands of years ago was coming true in my time. As I sat alone in my bed in the middle of the night, I remember saying out loud "You're real" and instantly I was enveloped by this tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up from within me. I fell to my knees and gave my life to God. Things didn't improve overnight. My husband and kids were non-believers, but now, 15 years later, my husband (a staunch atheist) and half our kids are committed Christians!

Just briefly (I realize I told you this was the short version) But I need to say that at one point shortly after this, God spoke to me and told me He had something for me to do that would blow my socks off. A year later I got my first book published. God delights in blessing His children!

Would you be able to share with us your darkest hour, and how God brought you through it?

Some of my darkest moments have been dealing with the pain of past regrets and guilt. Because I spent so many years away from God, I did many things--things that make me cringe now when I think of them, things that hurt others and caused pain to people around me, even my own children. My darkest hours have been when those memories resurrect and I fall flat on my face on the floor in utter agony, assailed with the weight of my own guilt. Sometimes I just want to die and I feel so worthless and ashamed. Oddly enough it has been during those dark times that I have felt the Lord's presence even more powerfully than at any other time. It is as if He gently lifts me up, wipes away my tears, shoves away the enemy who accuses me, removes the chains around my heart, and cleanses me utterly and perfectly with His sacrifice and His love. And I am reminded that no matter what we've done, no matter how horrible it may have been, if we turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed and justified (Just as if I never sinned)

What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?

My tag line is "Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny". All my novels are interwoven with a strong spiritual theme but if I had to pick an overall general theme that I hope my readers get, it would be that God loves you more than anything and He wants to be intimately involved in your life, that He is as powerful and miraculous as He has always been, and that the good news of the gospel is that this fallen world with all its suffering and pain and heartache is NOT the whole story. There is another world, more wonderful and real and incredible than this one where there will be no suffering and where you will live forever.


  1. Great interview, MaryLu. Thanks for posting it here, it's encouraged me a lot. I've been struggling with some 'weaknesses,' and just yesterday I realized I had to let God's grace be sufficient for me, just like Paul. I know in order to keep myself in Him, I have to read my Bible and pray, and surround myself with Him, but I haven't been quite sure how to do that. I love what you said in question no. 2, how you ask Him for help in even the small things 'cause He cares about the details. Anyways, thanks MaryLu! I'll miss your not being able to be around as much for awhile, but I'll be praying for you and I can't wait for your next book!


  2. Wow, I just read your interview and I want to tell you what a blessing it was to me. Enjoyed reading your personal story, and I also was impressed by the statement of the overall theme of your books. A powerful message and so true! I do some writing myself and what you had to say encouraged my spirit. Please keep up the good work.

  3. MaryLu, I think that you are a wonderful writer!! You write like you have been doing it all your life. I have never read books that have changed me so deeply! I think God is working through you to help others and you should never feel like you are not a good writer for any reason! I believe that no matter what those people who review your books say, it matters what God thinks. I love to say morning prayer, it is very good to do and I'm glad to here that you do that too.

    Didn't you love that feeling when you were instantly enveloped by that tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up within you? I have times when I felt comforted by God cause I was pleading to Him about something. I always felt the change right away! It's like your whole body just feels relaxed and calm and you feel great. :) I love that you went to God when you really needed to and didn't give up on Him completely!

    The fourth question in your interview reminded me of The Blue Enchantress. If you're truly sorry for your sins they can be washed away. I feel bad that you had a bad passed but that can be forgotten if you really want it to be. Every time I talk about God or try to preach it to my sisters I think of the song "A more Beautiful you" love that song! The lyrics are just what young girls need to here and trust.

    Great post MaryLu, just beautiful! I will be praying for you for while you work on your next series. You will do amazing like you always do.

    Many Blessings and take care!

  4. Another amazing post! I love reading your blog (and your books too).

    I can very much relate to the first part about doubting your calling. The same happens to me sometimes. I am almost finished with and accounting degree. Earlier this year, I learned I didn't like it anymore and I got a contract for my first book! Since then, I wonder where all this is going to take me. Most of my family and friends encourage me in the writing field while some believe all I can do is accounting just because that's my major. It's quite frustrating, but I get through it because I know the words I write are a gift from God.

    Looking forward to reading more from you!

  5. I have to be thankful for some of those darkest moments too. It was in those times that I truly felt His love. This was a wonderful post MaryLu. I'm glad you brought it over and used it here.

    I love your writing and above that, I respect your humility and I feel it will used to touch people's hearts in a way you won't know till you meet them in Heaven.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this interview! I love you line "Live in awareness of you eternal destiny." I'm starting to realize how every little second of our lives can - and does - have an impact on eternity, and your post really encouraged me and got me to thinking a little more about that.

  7. Thanks so much everyone! I was reading over your comments and tears came to my eyes. What a blessing it is to know that God has used my messed up life as a testimony to encourage others! He is truly awesome! Hugs to everyone

  8. MaryLu, first I want to thank you for your transparency. After pouring my heart out in service to Him for 4 years, I came away feeling tired, and empty and apprehensive to what is next. Like you, I have often questioned Him in using me the places He has choosen to, because, I should be more qualifiyed, but who am I to question the maker of the universe. I can officially say, for once I need someone to encourage me. It has always been the other way around, and now I am feeling in need.On empty. So my prayer last night was that he would encourage me, and your words hit very close to my heart. Thank you. D.