Wednesday, January 14, 2015

LOVE AFFAIR 2015: A Christian Romance Author’s Rambling on Life, Love, and Writing.




Let your religion be less of a theory
 and more of a love affair.
—G. K. Chesterton

Let your writing be less of a theory
 and more of a love affair.
—Julie Lessman

Love Affair.

Two magical words that pulsed in my heart over and over again during our Christmas Eve service. It was a candlelight service, and moisture blurred my eyes as I stood next to the love of my life, singing one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time—O Holy Night. Even now as I write this, tears trail my cheeks and my heart “falls to its knees” at the wonder of Christ in our lives, the inconceivable joy of a love affair with the God of the Universe!

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh hear, hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, oh night when
Christ was born 

Standing there worshipping the TRUE “Love of my Life,” I knew that more than anything in the world, I wanted my love affair with God in the coming year to be deeper, more passionate, and more profound than ever before. To make this year, as Tina Radcliffe so beautifully proclaimed the Seeker theme of the year to be, my "YEAR OF NO LIMITS." Both in my life … and in my books. 

With every beat of my pulse, the words Love Affair, Love Affair whisper in my ear, telling me that not only is it entirely possible, but that it's exactly what God longs for as well—a love affair with me—and with you! And not just as human beings, but as Christian writers, whose love affair for God can and should be embedded into every book we write, be it subtle … or pedal to the metal, like me.

I have to tell you, my love affair with my husband has surpassed anything I ever dreamed possible. Never did I believe I would ever love a human being to the depths and heights to which I love the man I married. 

I don’t know if I ever mentioned it to you, but I wasn’t all that sure that I “loved” him when I walked down that aisle, God’s truth. Oh, I knew I was happier with him than without him, but love? That deep-down, soul-wrenching, quivering kind of love we love to write about? Uh, probably not because you see, I didn’t really know how to love back then when we married 36 years ago. Nope, that was something I had to learn at the foot of God’s throne. And oh my, does our God know how to teach a lesson on love! Lessons which, as Christian authors, we are compelled to share with the world. And lessons that have helped my passion for writing—like my marriage—“surpass anything I ever dreamed possible.”

As many of you already know, I was raised in a very dysfunctional family where I was ridiculed and picked on a lot, so consequently, I had a pretty hard heart. Never even shed a tear when my mom died when I was sixteen, and as a young woman in her early twenties (before Christ), there were actually Thanksgivings and Christmases I spent alone despite coming from a family of thirteen kids. We’re talking rock-hard emotions here, steeled by bitterness and hate and anger. Until, that is, God got a hold of me at the age of 23 and turned this heart of stone into a heart of flesh. And a weepy one at that, to which many of you who’ve read my interviews or books can certainly attest.

“When did you realize you loved Dad,” my daughter asked me recently. Keith and I looked at each other and I scrunched my nose. “I don’t know … I guess about five or six years ago?” “That sounds about right,” Keith said, his tone as matter-of-fact as mine. My daughter started laughing because she understands that we have a very romantic marriage. “You’re joking,” she said, and Keith and I shook our heads and said, “No, we aren’t.”

You see I’m pretty sure Keith and I have loved each other all of our marriage, but it was a lifetime of application of God’s precepts in our relationship and lives that caused our marriage—and our love—to grow into what it is today. A truly magical love affair, the kind I write about in my books. So the good news is that, yes, it is possible to have a marriage like that in today’s world. The better news? It’s exactly what God wants for each of us—a love affair. First with Him … and then with those in the world around us—our families, our friends, our mates. And in our writing …

So why did my love for Keith suddenly bloom and grow so much six years ago? Interesting question, but I do believe it coincides with my books. The year I wrote A Passion Most Pure, my love for Keith was invigorated through my writing. As I poured all my passion for God and romance into each and every book, I also found myself pouring passion into my marriage. You know, focusing on my husband more, learning to see him once again through the eyes of young love and learning to appreciate him for just who he was. As Christian writers, this is a gift no secular writers can claim, to interject into our lives—and in the lives of our characters—our love affair with God and the profound impact it has.

For instance, there have been times when we would go out to dinner that I’d pretend we were dating, and I’d sparkle and shine just like it was a first date, hanging on to his every word, being affectionate more than usual, laughing at his jokes. Whenever I would do that we would have SUCH a great time that I started to realize that I was energizing my marriage by pouring passion (a strong enthusiasm or interest according to Merriam-Webster) into it.

Even when I would write my books, I’d keep a picture of Keith and me when we were engaged right by my computer to remind me just what a hunk I married, to help me see him once again through those eyes of initial attraction. And most importantly of all, I would do what I spent a lifetime doing—I’d pray for God to give me more and more passion and attraction and love for this man that He knit me with. And God is nothing if not faithful. The more I poured into my love affair with my husband—passion, prayer, giving, respect, love—the more exciting and fulfilling our relationship became, which brings me back to my heart and soul desire for this year: my love affair with God.

So what does a love affair with God look like? Well, I tried to show what it looks like for me in a scene from A Heart Revealed where Emma explains to her young neighbor Casey that God wants a love affair with each of us:      


        Casey’s eyelids lowered as she shifted in her seat. “But we can’t see or feel God, Emma, so how can you feel His love? I need more than prayers to a God I can’t touch, see, or hear—I want to hear words of love, see kind actions, feel hugs and kisses . . .”
Emma’s smile was soft. “We all do, Casey, because yes, we’re human beings. But we were made in God’s image.” Drawing in a deep breath, she leaned back in her chair, her eyes tender. “Which means, like Father, like daughter. You want to be loved? So does He. You want to be touched? So does He. You want to feel the rush of a kiss or the warmth of a hug?” Tears pricked Emma’s eyes. “So does He. Which is why I rushed to Him when Rory hurt me and my family betrayed me. And you know what? I found a God whose arms were open wide and Whose heart leapt with joy when I called His name. As protective as a mother and as jealous as a lover, this was a God who wanted me for His very own. Me—Emma Malloy! To touch, to bless, to fill with His pleasure.” She swallowed hard, her gaze locked on Casey’s. “Until I overflow, spilling His love on those around me—treasured possessions of a passionate God.”


A passionate God, indeed. One who longs for our touch, our attention, our smiles, our words of love. To be needed by us, believed in by us, and worshiped by us. And for we Christian writers—written about by us. A Lover Who offers everything our hearts could ever desire in a love affair—someone who is drawn to us, thinks we are beautiful, gives of Himself to us, protects and encourages us, makes us smile, laugh and cry with joy. Someone we are worth everything to—even His life. We have all that and more in the God of the Universe and yet at times, we remain lackluster in our devotion to Him, and sometimes—in our writing for Him. And so my desire for this year, both as a person and a writer, is to fall madly, passionately and completely in love with my God and to bring Him joy and pleasure and worship every day. In my life. And in my books.

Love affair, pure and simple.

For me, that means pouring my passion into worship and prayer and thanksgiving more than ever before. Sparkling and shining when I spend time with Him. Writing Him love notes in a journal or stopping often throughout the day to give Him a “hug” with a heart of gratitude for all He has done in my life. To tell Him I love Him before I open my eyes in the morning and before I close them again in the evening, and peppered throughout every single hour of every single day. To give Him my all … because that’s what He’s given to me. And to you.

No question about it—we are blessed. There are millions of people in the world, but WE are the special ones who have a love affair to end all love affairs. Oh, Lord, please, may we live like it—and write like itevery day in the year ahead.

Hugs and Happy New Year!
Julie

GIVEAWAY:
Hey, leave a comment to be entered for winner's choice of any of my books!

ABOUT JULIE:
Award-winning author of “The Daughters of Boston” and “Winds of Change” series, Julie Lessman was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. She has also garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest or by signing up for her newsletter.


132 comments:

Pam said...

You are wise to realize what you have but also wise to have passion not only for your husband but for God. Thanks for sharing that passion through your wonderful books.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Julie, you have just bared your soul! You are truly amazing! And I am grinning with happiness for you that a life that started out so tough is being blessed in so many ways! I hope you inspire people and reach those hearts that need melting!

Kara Isaac said...

Love love love this post. So profound :) Thank you!

Cindy W. said...

A W E S O M E post Julie! I think you could write a book just about passion for God. I know I would buy it. I am half asleep right now so will come back this afternoon and re-read this wonderful post. Thank you for baring your soul to all of us. It touched me deep.

May you have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!

What a beautiful post, Julie! And how sweet to be so nice to your husband.

I, of course, am NOT showing this to Ol' Dave because who knows what kind of change in attitude he'd expect then????

Perish the thought! :)

Great way to open my Wednesday! That and the 1K I just finished to jump-start my day!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Oh, sigh. This is sooo romantic. Love it, Julie!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Great post, Julie. Brought tears to my eyes. I want that kind of love affair with God and my husband of the past 14 years. Thank you! I would love to win one of your books!

Jackie said...

Your post was perfect timing for me. I always do my morning devotional and pray before getting on the computer. I'd just been praying about my writing journey. Still not published and I was asking God to help me remember I'm writing for Him. I can't let my writing become more important than He is.

Thank you Julie! I hope you have a blessed day!

Rose said...

Julie,

What an inspirational story for all of us! Thank you for sharing something so personal.

kaybee said...

JULIE, this is deep. And you are right. My husband's a minister and he often compares the earthly marriage to our bond with Christ, because that's what it's supposed to reflect. Something I'm just beginning to understand in my own writing.
KB

DebH said...

thanks for baring your heart to us Julie. I love that Christmas hymn of 'Oh Holy Night'. I almost teared up reading your post (at work so I refrained...).

I'm feeling a tad convicted to start pouring more passion into my relationship with my husband. I want to let him know just how wonderful a husband to me and father to our little man he truly is and your post has given me practical ways to begin showing that. THANKS!!!

thanks for showing me an old concept (growing closer to God with each other helps us grow closer to each other as well) in a new way and fresh perspective.

and because there are times I'm not so sure I really know how to love either...

Audra Harders said...

Leave to you, Julie to write a post as sigh worthy as your books : )

I love how your writing pours out into you life. Digging deeper to give our characters meaning means we dig deep into ourselves. Only God can help us in to that all important font of feelings.

You go, girlfriend. Keep writing what and how you're writing!!!

AND, are you two just the cutest things on earth? No wonder you keep a pic of you and Keith on your desk for inspiration!!

Eileen said...

Dearest Julie, thank you once again for condensing my thoughts into a blog. Lately I tell the Lord, "I am falling in Love with You," or I sing to Him as I drive and His response is so lovely that I am filled with joy. But expanding that love 'courtship' toward my husband of 37 years, and my writing, who both taught me how to share and grow and love in the first place is something I do not do enough. Thank you for reminding me that my love affair with the Lord increases my Love affair with my husband and with what my writing is trying to convey.

Cindy Regnier said...

Julie, I love your honesty. Which is probably why I love your books. A Whisper of Hope is still very fresh in my mind. What a beautiful story. Everyone - read this! Despite all her secrecy and plotting, Charity is painfully honest and so in love with her husband. Sigh and double sigh. Thank you Julie - for a great post and a great example of pure yet passionate writing!

Mary Connealy said...

Wow, Julie, that's really lovely. I'm absolutely sincere.

What a nice testimony to marriage and faith and love.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm gonna start sparkling more around My Cowboy.

He'll be frightened at first but maybe he'll adjust.

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!! Good and cold, that is -- 17 degrees here, so I'm bundled up in blankets with a cup of hazelnut coffee, raring to go!!

But first, to keep you warm, I have homemade oatmeal (cooked for 30 minutes with steeled oats, apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar), with fresh blueberries and/or raspberries. I also have a omelet with veggies (mine is spinach, red and yellow peppers, and onion ... seriously!), but we do omelets made to order as well, with your choice of Keurig coffee or tea, so dig in!!

Hugs,
Julie

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Julie, My, my, my, what a wonderful post. And isn't it amazing how writing about love fills us with more love for our hubbies, families, friends. Its that contagious love of God.

Thanks for sharing girlfriend. I always love hearing about you. Very encouraging. smile.

Hugs

Julie Lessman said...

PAM!!! Goodness, girlfriend, you either stayed up late or got up realllllly early, so I hope it's the former because I like to stay up late too mostly.

And thank YOU for coming by! Yes, passion for one's hubby is a very good thing, but it pales in importance to passion for God, WHICH ... if His precepts are applied, generally translates into passion for hubbies OR the loved ones in our lives. :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, EVA MARIA ... I'm not too sure how "amazing" I am for "baring my soul," more like "stupid" for being an open book, but since I love books, I don't necessarily consider that a bad thing. ;)

Unfortunately with me, what you see (hear and read), is pretty much what you get, which is not always good from a PR perspective in this biz, but the way I look at it, if my botch-ups and spiritual lessons I learned the hard way can help anybody else, it's all worth it.

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and stay warm!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KARA, thank you, my friend, SO appreciate you coming by!

Hugs,
Julie

Carolyne Aarsen said...

What a blessing this post was to me this day. I am so thankful for you that you found a man who was patient and loving himself. Thankful that God's unfailing and gracious love got hold of you and spilled through your life. On a side note I find it interesting that you were deliberate about how you treated your husband - people might think that's not romantic but I found it very moving. I think there are many times in any relationship that we have to be deliberate. Love comes from the mind as well as the heart. I have found I have also had to pass that same deliberation into my writing - be deliberate about how my heroine and hero behave around each other - now it's time for this, now it's time for that. This doesn't make the story less moving anymore than your deliberate actions made your and your husband's story less romantic. Thank you so much for sharing so much. Blessings on your marriage and on your writing.

Pam Hillman said...

Julie, you are such an amazing woman, married to an amazing man. I've and the privilege of seeing these two together and they are truly in love, a love made all the sweeter by the God they both serve.

A three-strand cord is not easily broken. :)

Julie Lessman said...

CINDY ... thanks SO much, my friend, for your kind comment and, yes, when it comes to "passion," I tend to be lousy with it, which trust me, is not always a good thing if one is playing board games or brushing her teeth (where gum recession is a definite danger!). ;)

And a book on passion for God??? Oh, honey, I am sooooo there and have actually been toying with the idea, so who knows?

Thanks for your kind words and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, RUTHY ... I'm sure "Ol' Dave knows exactly what to expect and loves every single minute, my friend. You and I are both bottom-liners who come right out with it, so how could our guys NOT know us inside and out?

Hugs and congrats on that 1K while the rest of the world sleeps ... :)

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TINA ... pretty romantic for a gal who never used to be so AT ALL, eh? When Keith and I were dating, he always had to hold my hand in the car, and I would think: Really? We have to be touching ALL THE TIME???? I think being an artist, he has a romantic soul, so he -- and God -- get the credit for softening this old bird. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Jackie Smith said...

What a great way to uplift a GA rainy, foggy Wednesday....an inspiring post from Julie!!!
Thanks, Julie, for this blessing!

(tell Keith we all admire him, too)

Still hoping to get my hands on Surprised by Love!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, KELLY, thank you for your kind comment!!

And me too, Kel, which is why I focus on it so hard, both in my books and in my life. Because it may happen in the movies at the snap of a finger, but true romance is a daily commitment, I've found. One that must deepen our faith and obedience to God before it can ever deepen our relationships.

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
JULIE

Dawn Janis said...

Julie you make me smile. I love reading your story. And your books too of course. Have a Happy Wednesday.

I'd love to be entered in the contest.

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE, YOU SAID: "Still not published and I was asking God to help me remember I'm writing for Him. I can't let my writing become more important than He is."

Gosh, girl, you already have half the battle won with an attitude like that AND an attitude you're going to need all the more after you get published, so YOU are already halfway where God wants you to be so He can bless the socks off you, my friend, and I believe He will! Praying God's richest blessings on your writing career pre- and post! :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, ROSE, you are more than welcome, my friend. Fortunately ... or unfortunately, "personal" is what I do best. :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KAYBEE!!! Goodness, I didn't realize your hubby is a minister, my friend, something I've always considered a true blessing in a marriage, to have a man who has CHOSEN devotion to God as His career. I know that doesn't make them perfect -- no human being is -- but it seems to me it would be a good foundation on which to build a deep and lasting relationship. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Myra Johnson said...

Thank you, JULIE. That's all I can say.

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H SAID: "I'm feeling a tad convicted to start pouring more passion into my relationship with my husband."

LOL ... join the club, my friend ... the blog did the same thing to me, and I wrote it!! ;)

YOU ALSO SAID: "and because there are times I'm not so sure I really know how to love either..."

Gosh, I sooooo relate, even at this point in my life, so I suspect it's a life-long journey God has us on, mining the depths of His love until it's totally fulfilled in eternity.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, AUDS ... have I told you lately just how much I love you, kiddo? Thanks for your sweet comment AND your incredible friendship, my friend -- love you to pieces!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

EILEEN SAID: "Thank you for reminding me that my love affair with the Lord increases my Love affair with my husband and with what my writing is trying to convey."

Oh, girl, I am thrilled I can provide a "reminder" because God knows I need one every single day of my life to stay on track ... or to TRY to stay on track ... ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, CINDY R, bless you, my friend!!! It tickles me to no end that you enjoyed A Whisper of Hope because not everyone likes Charity, but I love her to pieces, so thank you for reading her novella!!

I can't thank you enough for your kind comment AND for reading my books -- you are a blessing!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY CONNEALY SAID: "I'm gonna start sparkling more around My Cowboy.

He'll be frightened at first but maybe he'll adjust."

LOL ... you already "sparkle," Mary, with your humor, so it won't be such a leap, right? ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SANDRA SAID: "And isn't it amazing how writing about love fills us with more love for our hubbies, families, friends. Its that contagious love of God."

OH, AMEN AND AMEN, my friend!!! You are the perfect example of that, girl, in my humble opinion, so you should know!!

Hugs,
Julie

Jeanne T said...

Ahhhh, Julie, what a beautiful, incredible message! I loved this! You're fueling my desire to love God more every day.

My one word this year is BREATHE. I'm beginning to see as I live it, that my heart is being freed up to love God more. And to know Him more.

I'm stealing your prayers and making them my own. They are beautiful.

Thanks for sharing a piece of your heart and your life. It blessed me this morning.

Julie Lessman said...

CAROLYNE SAID: "On a side note I find it interesting that you were deliberate about how you treated your husband - people might think that's not romantic but I found it very moving."

WOW, Carolyne, I have NEVER looked at it from that perspective, but you are DEAD-ON and incredibly perceptive!! So much so, that I thought you might be a psychologist, so I checked out your website. I'm pretty sure your writing is as insightful as you, given all the wonderful endorsements I saw!!

I pride myself on being a "dirt practical" kind of gal, which is as far from being "romantic" as one can possibly get, but it's not the person who's romantic, it's the selfless love that they demonstrate, which always reflects God, the greatest Romantic of them all!! :)

YOU ALSO SAID: "I think there are many times in any relationship that we have to be deliberate. Love comes from the mind as well as the heart. I have found I have also had to pass that same deliberation into my writing - be deliberate about how my heroine and hero behave around each other - now it's time for this, now it's time for that. This doesn't make the story less moving anymore than your deliberate actions made your and your husband's story less romantic."

Gosh, girl, I just bet you write some deep and moving books,, which means I need to check them out ...

Thanks for coming by, my friend, and God bless you in your life and your writing!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PAMMY SAID: "Julie, you are such an amazing woman, married to an amazing man."

LOL ... no, Pam, just a gal who's screwed up more than most, married to an "amazing" man who puts up with her, so you're half right ... ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE!!! Well, girl, this could be your winning day, or at least I'm hoping it will be -- you deserve it!!

And it's rainy and foggy here, too, but WAAAAAAAAY colder, I'll bet ... ;)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DAWN!!! And your sweet comment makes ME smile, my friend, so THANK YOU for coming by and lifting my day!

Here's hoping it nets you a win -- GOOD LUCK!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MYRA ...

You're MORE than welcome, MYRA. OVER AND OUT ... ;)

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JEANNE T SAID: "My one word this year is BREATHE. I'm beginning to see as I live it, that my heart is being freed up to love God more. And to know Him more."

WOW!!! LOVE that word, my friend -- it's the best I've heard so far. It reminds me of the lyrics from that great Michael J. Smith song entitled "Breathe" -- This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me ...

Soooooooo true!!! And soooooooo pleasing to God's heart!!!!

I'm glad I could bless you this morning, my friend, because your comment has certainly blessed me!

Hugs,
Julie

Janet Dean said...

Julie, your post is inspiring, beautiful, a keeper. Thank you for sharing your heart and some very practical steps in showing our passion for God to Him and to our readers. That focus and investment in the men in our lives is what God wants, a surefire way to make our marriages thrive in a world where marriage is crumbling. So here's to Biblical love affairs!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Julie, my word for 2015 is mindfulness. A perfect fit for your post. Relationships take some tending.

Janet

Keli Gwyn said...

What a powerful post, Julie! I totally get falling more deeply in love with your husband the longer you've been married. That's how it's been with Gwynly and me. I'm blessed big time to have him in my life. I still can't believe he chose me, but I'm so glad he did. We celebrated our 27th anniversary this past December, and I'm more in love with my guy than ever.

Cynthia Herron said...

Julie, this was great!!

I love your passion for God, your husband, and your writing. Your testimony is so powerful and you're such a bright light for Christ.

My hubby and I celebrated our 30th anniversary last July, and he's my biggest cheerleader. I can't imagine going the road without him. =)

Thank you for being such an encourager and for sharing your heart! xo

Julie Lessman said...

JANET SAID: "That focus and investment in the men in our lives is what God wants, a surefire way to make our marriages thrive in a world where marriage is crumbling. So here's to Biblical love affairs!"

OH, AMEN, JANET!!! And I LOVE your word, mindfulness!! I sure could use some of that ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Meghan Carver said...

MARY, I was skimming the comments, mentally preparing my serious comment, when I read your second comment. "I'm gonna start sparkling more around My Cowboy. He'll be frightened at first but maybe he'll adjust." Now, I'm laughing till I cry, and my children are all staring at me, wondering what's so funny. :-)

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, KELI, 27 YEARS -- SUPER CONGRATS!!! That's WELL beyond a milestone today, so you two are doing something right.

It blesses me to NO end to see a Christian couple with a great marriage because we need to be setting the standard for the world by showing how important it is to have Christ in the center of any relationship.

Hugs!!
Julie

Meghan Carver said...

Good afternoon, Julie! What an absolutely beautiful post! Tears of joy as I read it! And I adore your idea of keeping an engagement picture near the computer as you write. But maybe I should keep MY engagement picture there.... :-) (I'm trying to be serious, but I'm still giggling over Mary's comment.)

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Dear Julie,
Thank you for sharing your passion for life, family and the Lord with us all! I love hearing how He opened new doors of cultivating deeper levels of love with your writing. And healing, too. May you continue in blessing! Isn't it exciting to see God work in your life and others, too?

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MEGHAN ... yes, DO keep YOURS there, my friend!! I'll tell you what -- it sure comes in handy when one is writing those love scenes ... ;)

Hugs and thanks for coming by and your sweet comment!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ELIZABETH, YES!!! It is soooo exciting -- goosebumply exciting at times -- to see the magic of God's touch in our lives and others, ESPECIALLY those we love! Truly one of live's GREATEST joys, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Becky said...

Great post. So good to have the reminder to cultivate a love affair with our spouse and with God.

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, love the photos of you two love birds at the beginning of your life together! So fun to see!

Lovely tribute to hubby and to the Lord. Yes, that ongoing love affair with both is so important. If God comes first, then Hubby is loved as he should be.

Agreeing with you that when we're filled with love for the Lord it spills out to all we meet.

Thanks, Jules! You've brought sunshine to a very drab and dreary day in Georgia!

Janet Dean said...

Julie, it's easy to coast through life, unaware of God, of others, of wasted time and lost opportunities. But what's important isn't necessarily easy.

The trees were iced and the snow glittered this morning. But the bright sun has melted it all away.

Janet

Kav said...

Beautiful and profound. This leaves me teary-eyed. Your life is a testimony to God's grace.

Julie Lessman said...

I agree, BECKY -- and God knows I need ALL the reminders I can get!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
JULIE

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, DEB ... and talk about a love affair with one's spouse, I always think of you and Tony that way as well, because when it comes to love affairs with God, yours is one of the best I know. Which ... if my theory holds ... means your marriage is too! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JANET SAID: "Julie, it's easy to coast through life, unaware of God, of others, of wasted time and lost opportunities. But what's important isn't necessarily easy."

OH, SOOOOO easy, Janet, which is all the more reason we need to keep our focus on God, because He then directs it to others and the important things we need to address.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BLESS YOU, KAV, for your kind comment!

YOU SAID: "Your life is a testimony to God's grace."

Boy, I'll say!! Heavy-duty grace HAD to be involved to shape this shipwreck up!! ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Mary Hicks said...

Julie, love your post—thank you for sharing!

It's a great testimony to better late than never—and to the patience of a good man! :-)

Hug your hubby's neck for me! :-)

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

This post, Julia, is incredibly beautiful. It brought tears. Such a testimony for an enduring marriage with romantic love.

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Julie,

Love this post and it reminded me of how I fell in love with my husband. It'll be a long comment, but you can relate.

In 1992 I was a divorced career woman who had no intention of ever remarrying. Then I started writing a romance and got caught up in that euphoric, creative high you only experience when writing your first novel. There were Lipizzaner horses in my story, and I heard there was a horse show nearby featuring Lipizzaners. I wanted to go but not alone, so for the first time in my life, I asked a man for a date. He loved Lipizzaners too, and by 4am, I'd told him all about my romance novel. I was already in love with love, so it was easy to fall in love with him, and on Christmas Eve of that year, he proposed. We were married the following March, and next to God, he is still the greatest love of my life.

Now here is the amazing God thing. At my workplace there were 3 other people you'd never think would get married, a long-time divorcee like me, a handicapped man, and a 52 year old woman who'd never married. All three of them found the loves of their lives that year. Strange, but true.

Everywhere there is real love, there is God.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Julie, thank you for your honesty and for your message of God's love that breathes out of every contact I've had with you- your books, emails, and your blog posts. God is working through your intimate love affair to bring Him closer to the rest of us who long for love as deeply as He wants to give. Beautiful.

On a less poignant note, have you EVER seen your husband's upper lip? He's been holding on to that mustache for quite some time! ;)

Have a wonderful, blessed day!

Jennifer Smith said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post! Thanks for reminding us that we should truly have a love affair with Jesus--and thanks for being transparent about your own relationship with your husband. Such beautiful thoughts. :)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Julie,
How come I'm always late when it's your day to blog? LOL.
Thank you for sharing your heart! You are such an inspiration to me and a role model. I aspire to someday have half the 'passion' you have!
Love your wedding pics!
Cheers,
Sue

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, MARY, and will do -- over and over, I promise! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, PAT -- didn't mean to make you cry, but those kind of tears are precious, aren't they? Especially when they reveal the depth of God's love.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ELAINE MANDERS SAID: "Love this post and it reminded me of how I fell in love with my husband. It'll be a long comment, but you can relate."

LOL ... you know me too well, Elaine! ;)

YOU CONTINUED: "In 1992 I was a divorced career woman who had no intention of ever remarrying. Then I started writing a romance and got caught up in that euphoric, creative high you only experience when writing your first novel. There were Lipizzaner horses in my story, and I heard there was a horse show nearby featuring Lipizzaners. I wanted to go but not alone, so for the first time in my life, I asked a man for a date. He loved Lipizzaners too, and by 4am, I'd told him all about my romance novel. I was already in love with love, so it was easy to fall in love with him, and on Christmas Eve of that year, he proposed. We were married the following March, and next to God, he is still the greatest love of my life."

Okay, girlfriend, your story made me tear up, which I LOVE!! WOW, WOW, WOW -- what a romance, my friend -- I think there's definitely a novel there!!

YOU ALSO SAID: "Now here is the amazing God thing. At my workplace there were 3 other people you'd never think would get married, a long-time divorcee like me, a handicapped man, and a 52 year old woman who'd never married. All three of them found the loves of their lives that year. Strange, but true."

OH. MY. GOODNESS!! You HAVE to put that in the novel, too -- INCREDIBLE!! You are SO right, girlfriend, "Everywhere there is real love, there is God."

HUGS!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

STEPHANIE SAID: "God is working through your intimate love affair to bring Him closer to the rest of us who long for love as deeply as He wants to give. Beautiful."

Gosh, Steph, you made me tear up too -- what a beautiful comment, my friend, one that I appreciate more than I can possibly say, so THANK YOU!!

YOU ALSO SAID: "On a less poignant note, have you EVER seen your husband's upper lip? He's been holding on to that mustache for quite some time!" ;)

LOL ... no I haven't ever seen his upper lip and yes, he has been holding on to that mustache for a very long time! I asked him once what he looks like without one and all he says is, "not good." ;)

Years ago when I worked as a secretary, this guy at work decided to shave half his mustache off over the weekend to see if his wife would even notice. The sad part? She didn't! Trust me, that marrige didn't last ... :|

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JENNIFER SAID: "Thanks for being transparent about your own relationship with your husband."

You're more than welcome, Jenn, but transparency is something that comes to me quite naturally, which is not necessarily a good thing at times. But it is what it is and I am what I am, so it frees me up to not care so much what anybody might think -- again, not always a good thing with a CDQ like me. :|

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, WOW, SUSIE-Q, I think my head just swelled several inches on that incredibly sweet comment -- THANK YOU!! Although I AM a wee bit concerned about you if I'm a role model, girlfriend ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Rhonda Starnes said...

Thank you for an inspiring post, Julie! It's all too easy to get comfortable in our relationships and forget to nurture them. My sweet Mountain Man and I have been married for 29 years. Our relationship gets better with age.

My word of the year is RENEW, but if I'd of read this post before picking a word, it probably would be PASSIONATE. Hmmm....can I have two words of the year?

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, RHONDA ... sure you can have two words in one year -- I had "LOVE AFFAIR" a while back, so why not?

And you make me smile with your words of "renew" and "passionate" because really, those are just different words for love affair, right??


So go ahead and use both. Heck, I used the word "passion" several years in a row because it just seems to fit, you know? ;) ESPECIALLY with a "sweet mountain man" ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Sandy Smith said...

This was a great post, Julie. I need to deepen my spiritual life so this is something I need to take to heart. I know it will make my writing more authentic, too.

Sandy Smith said...

I forgot to say to please enter me for the drawing too.

Mary Curry said...

Beautiful post, Julie. You made me cry. :)

The Artist Librarian said...

I almost forgot today was "Julie day" at Seekerville! ^_^

Thanks for sharing --it's so easy to get caught up thinking or wishing to find your future husband and be loved like the girlfriends or wives you see around you, but you reminded me we already are loved like that by God! =)

Abbi Hart said...

Julie-Thank you SO much for this post! This is exactly what I've been needing to hear for a long time now.

Julie Lessman said...

Yes, SANDY, deepening your spiritual life is the best career move a writer can make, so you go, girl!!

And, yes, you're in the draw, darlin'!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, MARE, I'm sorry I made you cry ... NOT!!

Being a CDQ, I live to make people cry ... especially when it's over something that draws them closer to God, so let the tears fall -- I have stock in Kleenex! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, ARTIST LIBRARIAN, you got that right, Jen, because LOVE AFFAIR with God is where it all begins. It did for me ... and will for you too. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Terri said...

Julie in your case transparency is a marvelous thing. Thanks for sharing!

Julie Lessman said...

ABS!!! Do you have any idea how much I smile when I see your sweet face???

SO glad it blessed you, my friend, because heaven knows you've blessed me more times than I can count. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, TERRI ... I appreciate that because almost every single day of my life I wonder ... have I gone too far in opening my heart? And every single time I hear the answer, "you are fearfully and wonderfully made," ... just as I am.

Sigh ... love affair with God is sooooo very cool because perfection is not required. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Mary Curry said...

So, Julie. Remember how I said you made me cry? Well now you've made me laugh.

I was out walking the dog and thinking about your blog. I was particularly thinking about the part where you said:
"I do believe it coincides with my books. The year I wrote A Passion Most Pure, my love for Keith was invigorated through my writing. As I poured all my passion for God and romance into each and every book, I also found myself pouring passion into my marriage."


And then I started thinking how in my books (romantic suspense) I'm always killing someone off. Good thing it was just me and the dog because I started laughing out loud thinking how that wouldn't really be very helpful to pour into my marriage. ;)

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MARY ... that is a stitch, girlfriend!! My hubby looked up when I laughed out loud. :)

Thanks for telling me, because I needed a good laugh. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

aryh884 aryh884 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Missy Tippens said...

So beautifully said, Julie! Thank you for sharing your heart today.

I LOVE the photos! Especially that first one. You look like such a baby! But so in love already. :)

bonton said...

There you go getting me all "weepy" again. Never fails, no matter how many times I read/hear of that beautiful love triangle of yours. I never tire of the inspiration it always brings and have witnessed, so many times, the love that flows from Him through you - in that beautiful marriage of yours and to everyone else who knows you, whether in person or through your writing.

I only wish I'd heard it many years ago when I was married, however, as we both know - God uses every situation to our good and the trials of our lives are never wasted. I've always been full of love/passion, although, for many years it was a selfish, insecure love for self - which He turned into a giving, secure love and passion - with Him as the center.

Yes, you are nothing - if not transparent, dear Julie, it DOES come naturally to you. That transparency, so brightly revealing His love, is what drew me in- like an insect to a light- destined to a friendship with you as my sister-in-Christ. It was later that I read my first of your beautifully, inspirational novels.

You are one beautiful lady, inside and out, who uses your love affair with Him to bless and inspire through every word you write and speak. Thank you - love you, my sweet friend!!

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MISSY ... I do like a "baby," don't I? But even as as a baby, did you notice I still have that come-hither look in my eye? Thank God that God got a hold of me because I was a piece of work.

Whoops ... still am ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE!! I'll tell you what, girlfriend, nobody brings moisture to my eyes like you, my friend, because I know every single word out of your mouth is from the heart, which is only one of the MANY reasons I love you!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Chill N said...

A fantastic straight-to-the-heart post, Julie -- and wonderful pix that bring lots of smiles. Thank you!

Nancy C

Julie Lessman said...

No, NANCY, thank you, my friend, for taking the time to read and comment!

Here's to a win!!

Hugs,
Julie

Cara Lynn James said...

A beautiful post, Julie!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, CARA, thank you, my sweet friend!! And I want you to know that even though I'm off the loop for a while, you and Jim are still on my prayer hit list, okay?

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Marianne Barkman said...

Julie, I really love your books, and so enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing.

Sally said...

Love this, Julie. So good. Thank you!

CatMom said...

SO sorry I'm *Late* joining in (attended a funeral on Wed. and was gone almost all day).
But had to comment, Julie, because this is an AWESOME post---WOW!!!!
You have really gotten right to the desire so many of us have, and you've said it so beautifully.
You and your hubby make such a PRECIOUS couple!!!
Thank you again for this powerful post - - a KEEPER for sure.
Hugs, Patti Jo

Julie Lessman said...

No, thank YOU, Marianne, for taking the time to come by and read the post AND my books, too -- you are a blessing, my friend!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, SALLY! Appreciate you coming by, and here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PATTI JO!!! Soooo great to see you here, darlin', no matter the hour, so thanks for coming by, especially after your busy day.

LOL ... and thanks for your sweet comment. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure out with my heart as well as my head that God is IT in life and love affair with Him is the only way to live (and survive!!).

But like I said above, I'm just glad I finally did, no matter the hour ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

hopetolerdougherty said...

Thank you for this post. It's exactly what I've been praying for this year, but I like the way you said it. I don't want my devotion to be lackluster. Thank you!

Micaela Wood said...

This was such a great post Julie! And I love your wedding picture...precious!

Your books are some of my favorites; I love that they are so thick--I never want the stories to end!! ;)

Thank you so much for pouring heart and soul into your books. I only pray I can do the same with my writing this year!

HUGS!
~Micaela :D

Chris Bailey said...

Julie, this is a beautiful testimony. The openness--it's still scary. Courage to open up is a good thing to pray for. Thank you for all your writing, and for this post!

Caryl Kane said...

HEY JULIE, thank you for being REAL in this post and sharing your beautiful heart. I grew up in an alcoholic home and shut down in order to survive. I am still in need of "thawing out". It is my heart's desire to love Him and others well. I am desperate for an intimate relationship with my Lord. Thank you again for sharing from the depths of your heart.

HAPPY FRIDAY EVE!
Caryl

Julie Lessman said...

HOPETOLERDOUGHERTY!! WOW, girl, that's a mouthful!! ;)

And me either, Hope, because "lackluster" fits in the same category as "lukewarm," and we both know what Jesus said about that ... :|

Thanks for coming by, and I'm saying one for you RIGHT NOW that the Holy Spirit builds a fire under us both. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MICAELA SAID: "Your books are some of my favorites; I love that they are so thick--I never want the stories to end!! ;)

WOW, thanks soooo much, my friend, and good news!! I'm back to the thick books with my next one, Isle of Hope, so that should make you happy at least, although my publisher may not be overly thrilled ... :)

YOU ALSO SAID: "Thank you so much for pouring heart and soul into your books. I only pray I can do the same with my writing this year!"

My pleasure, girl -- couldn't NOT pour myself in. I don't write, I bleed! :) Saying one for you RIGHT NOW, too, for God's blessings on your writing this year.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CHRIS SAID: "The openness--it's still scary. Courage to open up is a good thing to pray for."

YES, it IS, Chris, and I'm praying for you right now that God will go before you and behind you in the process, okay?

Gosh, I wish I could pray that way, but I have to pray that he shuts my mouth so I'm NOT so open sometimes!! ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARYL!!! Hey, girl, SO good to see you here, my friend! I know I still owe you a book, and it will be forthcoming by the end of Jan., okay?

YOU SAID: "I grew up in an alcoholic home and shut down in order to survive. I am still in need of "thawing out". It is my heart's desire to love Him and others well. I am desperate for an intimate relationship with my Lord."

"Thaw out," indeed, my friend, and Nobody chips the ice from our past like God, so I'm saying one for you RIGHT NOW that He brings the Holy Spirit blowtorch out to set you aflame! ;)

Hugs!!
Julie

Deanna Stevens said...

Yes! WE are blessed! thank for the encouraging words... please enter me.. I'd love to read your work...
dkstevensneAToutlookDOtCoM

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Loved your post, Julie! Us newlyweds can learn a lot from you... and from your relationship with God as well. Thanks so much for being so transparent with us. :)

Caryl Kane said...

Julie, Thank you so much for your prayer! I am grateful that He has placed me in a spirit-filled church with wonderful loving pastors.

Blessings

Natalie Monk said...

Thank you so much, Julie, for this beautiful post! I'm both humbled by it and inspired to seek His face more this year. Pursuing God's heart and God's face with no limits!

Julie Lessman said...

DEANNA!!! Hey, girl, you said "I'd love to read your work..." As if you haven't read any of my books before. If that's true, you are IN LUCK because the first book in my Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, is available EVERYWHERE for FREE DOWNLOAD!!

A Passion Most Pure won American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year and currently has 619 five-star reviews on Amazon, so it's not a dog, I promise. Here's the link if you want to download it FREE:

A PASSION MOST PURE BY JULIE LESSMAN

HAPPY READING ... and good luck!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

ANNA!!! I L-O-V-E newlyweds because it's so fun to talk to them and see what they think of marriage and, yes, to give them some tips from an old gal who's been at it for 37+ years!!

So SUPER CONGRATS, newlywed -- how long has it been???

And like I said above in another comment, I can't NOT be transparent, which trust me, does have my sweet hubby giving me the eye-roll from time to time ... ;)

Hugs and thanks for coming by!

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, CARYL, YES!!! "A spirit-filled church with wonderful loving pastors is KEY, my friend, so good for you, girl!! Hopefully you are connected with some great friends there as well.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

NATALIE!!! LOVE your statement that you are "Pursuing God's heart and God's face with no limits!"

YES, YES, YES!! That should be a slogan, you know it??

Hugs and Happy New Year!!
Julie

Dee LeRoye said...

I can't think of a great enough appreciative word to use that hasn't been used except you have brought such sunshine into a gloomy, wintry day! Thank you. My beloved and I recently celebrated 48 years and I know "they say ain't so", but it was love at first sight for the tall cowboy and his little school teacher. Love your books.

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

Oh Julie, what a wonderful post. Truly I am learning that the more I grasp and embrace the love of our Lord, the more I can love others more deeply. Oh I just loved this post. :) Thanks!

Julie Lessman said...

DEE!!! Thanks soooo much for your sweet comment, my friend -- I'm happy I could brighten your day.

You said: "My beloved and I recently celebrated 48 years and I know "they say ain't so", but it was love at first sight for the tall cowboy and his little school teacher."

WOW, Dee, 48 years??? Two away from 50, my friend -- I am incredibly impressed and I bow to your marital maturity!! And love at first sight? Seriously that is pretty rare, girl, so you are blessed! Ever thought about writing a romance novel about it? ;)

Hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, KELLY, thank you SO much, girlfriend -- I appreciate you coming by and reading it in the first place.

YOU SAID: "Truly I am learning that the more I grasp and embrace the love of our Lord, the more I can love others more deeply."

OH, AMEN to that, my friend, and honestly, are we not the blessed ones to know Him like we do when so many others don't? ALL the more reason to "embrace" the love of God as you say, so we can pass it on.

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

Julie

Nicki Olsen said...

Julie, this is why I Love, love, love your writing. Your passion for people, writing, your family, and most importantly, God is so inspiring to me and you've helped me grow so much in my walk with God! You've truly helped me to learn that He wants a relationship with us as much or more so as we want it with him!! Love your books SO much!!
Blessings,
Nicki

P.s You made it into my top 3 favorite authors for 2014!!

http://bookreviewsforchristianmenandwomen.blogspot.com/2015/01/awards-for-2014.html

Edwina said...

Julie, as always, a beautiful post from a beautiful person - inside and out!

Julie Lessman said...

HOLY COW, NICKI, seriously -- top 3??? That is sooooo cool, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

But I have to say that the biggest blessing is knowing my books have helped you in your walk with God, so DOUBLE THANK YOU for telling me that. Talk about encouragement!! That's the nicest thing you can say to a Christian author, girlfriend, so BLESS YOU!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, EDWINA, thank you sooo much, my friend -- that really blesses me, but then you usually do. :)

Hugs and Happy New Year!!

Julie

ellenhoy said...

Like you Julie, I am seeking a Love Affair with my Papa. This article blessed my life so much, I was all teared up. Thank you for sharing your heart and for reminding me that even when I feel lost, He is a prayer away and He will never leave me nor forsake me.
The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change are my most treasured series. I just read them all over again and hope rises in my heart to continue trusting Him forever.