Welcome, reader friends! I have a special guest to introduce you to today. Stacy Monson is the author of Open Circle, a novel which releases on Thursday 21 June, and she’s here with me today to share how her faith has strengthened her writing. So without further ado, I’m going to hand over the reins. Welcome, Stacy!
How Faith Has Strengthened My Writing
I’ve always been a writer. From my earliest days of being able to string words together on paper, I’ve loved writing stories, letters, notes, lists, filling out forms (weird, I know), learning calligraphy to make the words even prettier. And I’ve always had God in my life. I’m not that person with a life-changing testimony. God has simply always been the foundation of my life.
So while I dreamed of becoming a novelist, it never occurred to me it wouldn’t have some kind of faith element. However, that’s easier said (and dreamed) than done. Using my faith as the jumping off point for my writing was a given. Integrating that faith into my stories, not so much.
As I pursued my dream of becoming a writer, I discovered it’s my faith that strengthens my writing. Writing craft classes and conferences help with the mechanics, of course, but it’s faith that defines the story itself, the characters, even the setting.
My Identity Defines My Purpose
Over my lifetime, my identity has been defined by so many factors—my family, my job, my dreams and my failures. But the core of who I am is defined by God. I’m a daughter of the King of the Universe. Pretty amazing! He created me with a unique purpose (perhaps more than one)—what I have to share with the world is different from what you’ve been gifted with. While mine may not be a world-changing purpose, it’s essential just the same. There’s a Stacy-shaped place that only I can fill, and that includes the stories I write, the message I share. A bit unnerving but also liberating. I don’t have to compete with other writers—I have my own work to do. Success and failure don’t define me. He does.
When this professional writing journey began, I had no clue where to start. As I look back now, I smile at the myriad ways God provided exactly what/who I needed. My first writing friend, a local writing group, funds for attending a conference. He’s surrounded me with amazing writerly people I would never have encountered on my own. He’s provided the energy, ideas, and grace needed to write each book. God has even provided patience for my husband and family as I immerse myself in creating my stories.
Promises of Scripture
Over and over in Scripture we read stories of God’s guidance, deliverance, encouragement, protection, mercy, and love. He will not be thwarted from His plan, nor defeated in what He wants to accomplish through us. I rest in that assurance as I struggle to put words on a page. I can’t do it on my own, but He can if I’m willing to let Him. When I stop focusing on my inadequacies and instead stand in awe of what He has done and will do, everything changes. Knowing His promises are good, and He is faithful to complete what He’s started in me infuses my lagging spirits with new hope and energy. Returning to Scripture reminds me who’s in charge (hint: it’s not me!).
He’s My BFF
Everyone needs at least one BFF. While I have my bestest group of girlfriends that I’ve known for decades, my main BFF is Jesus. He has endless patience with my impatience, constantly lifts me up when I stumble, and showers me with grace when I’m sure I don’t deserve any. He doesn’t give me everything I want but instead provides exactly what I need. He knows me inside and out, every weird habit and bad thought I have—and He loves me as I am. Who doesn’t want a BFF who has their back, wants only the best for them, and isn’t afraid to offer some feedback/redirection when necessary? When I’m focused on my own abilities, writing (and life in general) is hard, but reality is that I can do anything with God walking beside me, and leading me, and prodding me from behind. Nothing like a good poke in the back from my BFF to get me refocused and writing!
I’m not a world-famous author with books galore and a following of millions, but I’m exactly who God created me to be, doing what He designed me to do, completing the work He’s set before me. I’m good with that.
What has God gifted you to do? What are your dreams? Have you set out to reach them?
~ About the Author ~
Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma of 3 (and counting) grands.
~ About the Book ~
Mindy Lee “Minnie” Carlson’s dream job has dropped into her hands, but there’s a catch. She has four months to revive Open Circle, the town’s only Senior Adult Day Center, or the doors will close, leaving her jobless, and the seniors she cares for stranded.
Meanwhile, after decades traveling the globe and documenting the forgotten people of the world, Jackson Young discovers his beloved Grandma Em is still alive in Minnie’s small town.
Overjoyed, he races back to his hometown to reconnect, and discovers Grandma Em has adopted Minnie as her surrogate grandchild for the past twenty years.
Then Grandma Em has a stroke, and his ideas about her care pit him against Minnie’s determination and expertise. For Grandma Em’s sake, and the future of Open Circle, they’ll need to do the impossible–find a way to work together.
~ Giveaway ~
To celebrate, Stacy is giving away a fun canvas tote bag with a paperback copy of Open Circle and other goodies (for a winner in the U.S.). International winner will receive an Amazon gift card.
To enter the giveaway, comment below and tell us a dream you have (or one you’re already achieving) and then click here to go to Rafflecopter*: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bd61d44b33/?
* Please see here for full giveaway terms and conditions and information on how your personal information will be used.