Ministry according to Dictionary.com: 1.the service, functions, or profession of a minister of religion. 2.the body or class of ministers of religion; clergy.
3.the service, function, or office of a minister of state. Good morning, Seekerville! Ruthy here, taking a somewhat rare, serious look at another facet of writing Christian fiction: The ministry of the written word. If you've ever been touched by a lyric or a series of notes...
GARTH BROOKS "THE DANCE" TRIBUTE TO FALLEN SOLDIERS If you've ever been inspired by a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul... if you've ever been drawn to the altar by a call, then you've experienced ministry of the word. This doesn't have to be Biblically based, but it can be. This is about your heart stretching open to welcome light into your soul. Those moments can be orchestrated and planned or come as a complete surprise, a candle in the darkness. We are blessed to work in a faction of fiction that tends body and soul! I love romance, I love God, I love the blessing of commitment, but those sweet stories often come on the heels of tragedy, the broken road
I love traveling broken roads in my work. I rejoice in a character's success to overcome! When I read a LaVyrle Spencer book, I cheer for the underdog. I want truth and justice and true love to win out. As Vince has noted a time or two, I'm not big on unbridled passion... I like a heavy dose of reality with my romance! Ruthy Romance Salad: 2 Broken Hearts3 Opportunities Lost1 Really Good Song1 Dash of Hope4 Pints of Optimism3 Jiggers of Faith, shaken2 Lessons LearnedAdd a small child or two (optional) Mix carefully and serve in measured doses! I am over-the-moon excited to show you this cover, my first release from Franciscan Media, "Refuge of the Heart" coming out September 2015:
Okay, first, before I go to "story", l have to say how much I love this cover!!!! It's a perfect snapshot of this story, caught in time. The snow, the trees, the family, walking to the light. Absolutely beautiful symbolism. Oh my stars, it's a treasure, isn't it? Take one war-torn region, atrocities of every nature, an accomplished young woman, evil-minded men, a newborn child and an innate love of freedom. Add time, place elements in close proximity and allow to steep.
This is a recipe for redemption. A chance for forgiveness. An opportunity to heal. As the author, we take that leap of faith to weave the elements of emotion and healing and self-awareness in a faith-drenched story that allows the reader into places they might not see as options. Franciscan Media is taking that leap of faith: They are launching a Christian fiction line starting this summer, and I am thrilled to be one of their launch authors along with Myra Johnson, Davis Bunn and several others. They took a story I loved and helped me get it into peoples' hands and hearts. I had already had Kim Killion design a cover for "Refuge" when I got the call... And decided to take a chance in a new direction. And that's where the ministry comes in. Like "Running on Empty", my best-selling indie book, "Refuge" deals with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and how difficult it is to put the past behind you... But with God's help, all things are possible. A book doesn't have to be overtly Christian to touch hearts and souls. I bet you can think of a book or two that has had a profound impact on your life. When I read "Mrs. Mike" in high school, the courage of that romance touched my heart. I still remember lines from that story, forty years later. Now that's something. One of the books Missy Tippens credits with inspiring her is the autobiography of Joni Eareckson Tada "Joni: An Unforgettable Story". Joni was injured in a diving accident and went from an active young woman to life in a wheelchair. Missy said the courage of Joni's story stuck with her. My friend and former critique partner Sandra Smith, said that "Refuge of the Heart" was one of the books she always remembered, and I didn't make her say that! Sandra had been working with immigrants in Arizona when she first read this story, and she identified with the struggles refugees and immigrants face in a new land. For best-selling author Mary Connealy, "A Lantern in her Hand" by Bess Streeter Aldrich is a tender storty that spoke to her. The heroine's struggles reflect those of many mothers as they pass through stages of their lives, using sacrificial love to help their children achieve their dreams. Authors have the amazing opportunity to influence how others see the world. To help mold character or expand horizons. That is our ministry. It is an awesome power. We can use it for good or it can be turned for evil or it can travel fifty shades in between. It is up to us, the author, to decide how to tell our stories. I've posted this link before, because I love this song by Francesca Battistelli "He Knows My Name", it speaks to worrying less about ourselves and what we get out of our God-given talent and more of how we bless others. I love that distinction! Your ministry is unique. It is a God-given instrument. We can share it with humor... Mary Connealy's "Now and Forever"
We can share it by building a sense of empowerment: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone We can share it by showing strength in adversity: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Part of writing the best book you can is by identifying the emotion and moral premise of the story... "Revenge will provide temporary and selfish gratification while self-sacrifice will bring happiness and contentment." So what do you think? What is your ministry and how can you best achieve it? Coffee's on in the cafe and I've brought Beignets and cake in honor of "Les Mis".... Come in, leave a comment and I'll put your name in the cat dish for copies of our "With This Kiss" Contemporary and Historical Collections. Let me know that you want it.... or if you've already got them (and if you do, thank you!) And, as always, thanks so much for stopping by!
Multi-published, best-selling author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly 30 novels and novellas. She lives on a small farm in upstate New York where it is not snowing NOW, and loves God, her family, her country, chocolate and dogs. She's a people person so feel free to contact Ruthy through her website ruthloganherne.com or friend her on facebook!