Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SQUARE PEG, ROUND HOLE: An Author's Quest to Find her Place in the Sun


Turn your face to the sun,
and the shadows fall behind you.
— Unknown

Crocs do it.
Snakes do it.
Even turtles on the lake do it …

And, no, I’m not talking about falling in love, although that’s pretty nice too. Nope, this time I’m talking about finding one’s place in the sun. You know, that warm, wonderful niche where you bask in the glow of contentment so strong, you know you are on the path you should be.

As an author, as a person, as a child of God.

From the time I was a little girl, I always loved the sun because I have a skin condition called psoriasis, so for me, the sun was very healing. In fact, I used to have a photo of myself at the age of 23, laying out on a blanket in my swimsuit next to a patch of snow in 47-degree weather, oldies blasting from my transistor radio. Before I knew anything about SPF, tanning was very important to me back then, because it all but eradicated the psoriasis. So I would simply toss a tattered blanket on the lawn next to my apartment building to block the wind, slather up with lots of cocoa butter, and soak up the warmth of the glorious sun through every pore in my body. 

That was right about the time I met another “glorious Son,” who brought the warmth of His love into every pore of my spirit. Sweet Savior of my soul—talk about a “place in the sun”! God took me from a world of darkness as a rejected daughter, taunted sibling, and misguided young woman, into His glorious light, where His love soaked into my every crevice, transforming me into a woman aglow. Suddenly I had answers to all the deep and dark questions haunting my soul, showing me the truth for the very first time. 

So two years ago when I embarked upon a month-long fast of various things for the sole purpose (or maybe I should say “soul purpose”) of seeking God’s will about what direction I should take with my writing, I knew He would answer.

And He did.

On the 24th day of my fast, I happened on the following Scripture in my Bible reading, and I have to admit, it felt like a bulls-eye.

Wait passionately for God,
don’t leave the path.
He’ll give you your place in the sun …
Psalm 37:34, Message Bible

Of course, anything with the word “passion” in it is a bulls-eye for me, so God really got my attention, especially when one more readily associates the word “patience” with waiting on God rather than "passion."

To be honest, all three phrases in this Scripture spoke to me deeply—to wait on God with the same passion with which I long to write books that glorify Him; to not leave the path He has set me on, which is to write stories of passion, both romantically and spiritually; and finally, the promise of my place in the sun. To lay down in His “green pastures” (His will) with eyes closed, soaking up the warmth of the sun (His Son) while I listen to oldies but goodies (the Holy Spirit).

Ah, yes … my true place in the sun!

So I set out to "wait passionately" on God. I pulled away from what I thought was my “place in the sun” — success as a writer — and sought God’s place in the sun instead—His Son. After telling my editor I wouldn’t be pitching another book or series for a while, I put my career on hold to embark on an eight-month sabbatical to focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing.

And what did I learn?

I learned I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. You see, the peg was the world’s path to success—writing more, promoting more, blogging more, mastering Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al. The problem is that the round hole is God’s plan for my career, and frankly, the world’s peg—or mine—wouldn’t fit, at least not comfortably. And not without a whole lot of scrapes and pain. Because I was trying to force my plan instead of God's, inadvertently putting my writing before Him.

The irony is that I actually thought I had put God first in my life, but the truth was my writing came dangerously close to being an idol sitting right on the throne next to Him. Things like book sales, contest wins, and five-star reviews all but suffocated me with the urge to write better, write more, promote better, promote more, until all the joy God gave me through the gift of writing was sucked dry, leaving me in a very cold and dark place where I could no longer feel the warmth of His sun.

That’s when I figured out that to fit into God’s perfect plan for my life, I had to allow Him to shave off those painful edges and corners (my will and the world’s) that were stopping me from being the author He has called me to be. One who doesn’t look to sales numbers or awards or glowing reviews for their confidence and measure, but to Him and Him alone. For the first time ever, I finally fully understand that His will for my life is the only way I will ever be fulfilled as an author, ever find my place in the sun.

So now when I’m taunted and tempted to backtrack to the world's “square” one, I take a deep, cleansing breath, pray for His strength and peace, and then focus on Him instead of all the stress, demands, and demons of an author's life. It's then and only then that I am finally able to trust Him to slide me into His plan for my life instead of my own, whether that’s according to the world’s definition of success or not. Because therein lies the perfect fit.

For my writing.
For my life.
And for my place in the Son.

GIVEAWAY!!
Leave a comment to be entered into my giveaway for a signed copy of any of my books, including my upcoming contemporary novel, Unfailing Love, book 1 in the Isle of Hope series, and my Christmas novella in the Home for Christmas Historical Collection to release this October.


ABOUT JULIE:
Julie Lessman, award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named 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. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie 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. 


You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.





146 comments :

  1. Oh, how I love that graphic. And Julie Lessman grows more beautiful inside and out each year.

    Praise God for the peace you have found in Him. You are such a blessing as an author and a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting. I'd love to win your books.. I have loved the ones I've read.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's so encouraging to see that we're all "works in progress" in Christ ... Thanks for sharing something so personal, *Ms.* Julie. As I dip my toes into costuming/cosplay, that's one thing I really want to remember --keep God first and not let anything in my life eclipse Him. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a lovely post. I read through it twice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for the beautiful, honest and soul bearing post Julie.I think we all need to step back at times and ask ourselves if we are serving Him or are we asking Him to serve us. Great post!

    I would love to win a copy of your new contemporary book. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Julie, this is profound and lovely. Like Mary Preston, I took the time to read it twice because struggles in this business can take such a personal side.

    Beautiful, like the author who penned it.

    I brought coffee.

    I'm saying that quietly because this feels like a quiet moment.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Julie, this blog post was truly inspiring. As an unpublished writer, I keep wondering if this truly what God wants me to do with my life, but I have huge "passion" for writing. Everyone I try to stop; God gives me a new idea for a new story. It is hard waiting on God; something I continue to do everyday. I remember many Biblical heroes who had to wait and wander until it was part of God's plan to accomplish HIS will. A hard pill to swallow for all of us. God bless!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Julie, your heartfelt post is a wonderful reminder we are God's, our careers as writers belong to Him. Whether our stories are received with rave reviews or not, we can know we did our best and were obedient to the call. Your desire to put Him first, to lay your career at His feet just shines, a reflection of the sun/Son. I'm blessed to know you.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Julie,

    A few weeks ago, I started praying that I would never make writing an idol.

    Your words touched me so deeply. Thanks for opening your heart to us and for the reminder we do this for God's glory. Your love of God shines through your words.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Julie, thank you for starting my morning with good and wise words about putting God first—in everything we do. It's so easy to get caught up in the world.

    It takes effort and awareness to slay that dragon of 'self interest.' One day at a time is better shortened to 'one hour at a time.'

    It seems that more than one of us read through your post the second time. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a profound and beautiful testimony. It makes a great devotional as well -- I will be pondering over this again as I can apply it to many aspects of my life. What strikes me most is the idea that peace comes with acceptance. Not a new concept but one I needed reminding of. I've been struggling with health issues and I've been trying to force things to my expectations and failing miserably. Reading this has made me realize that it's time for me to pull back and seek God's will instead of my own. Thanks for sharing this today, Julie, you've made a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Julie, this is such a beautiful parable. "The problem is that the round hole is God’s plan for my career, and frankly, the world’s peg—or mine—wouldn’t fit, at least not comfortably. And not without a whole lot of scrapes and pain. Because I was trying to force my plan instead of God's, inadvertently putting my writing before Him." This really spoke to my heart, and I know other authors at any level of their career can benefit from what you've written. Just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing such a private part of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Julie,
    What a refreshingly honest, transparent and inspiring testimony you have shared today. I never feel closer to a person than when they are telling the truth about themselves and their life. The truth of your words rings true and touches my spirit to the core. I have had a similar experience with God smoothing the rough edges of my life so I really identified with you on this.

    This reminds me personally to face each new day asking God what He and I are going to do together, what His Will for my day is.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, that might not have been so easy to do. I'm praying God will use your words to bless many people who read it as it did me.

    And praying God blesses you richly for sharing it!

    I'd love to read one of your new books, please enter me and thank you for your generosity in the offering of them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh Julie. I love how real and vulnerable you are with this post. You're so open about your struggles. Thank you for your words of encouragement today. I really needed that with the car problems I've got at the moment. *hugs*

    You KNOW I'd love to be on the list to win your new contemporary novel. It is one that I'm highly anticipating. dawn(dot)janis(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  15. GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE!!

    Boy, am I sore and cramped after sleeping in that box all night, but sooooo worth it if I earned a smile.

    I feel a little bit badly that this isn't a teaching blog like I usually do, but in truth, it's the biggest lesson I've learned as an author, so I felt compelled to share. And it's WAY shorter, so that's a bonus, right?

    So help yourself to some cyber breakfast -- blueberry pancakes and peach crepes, your choice of omelet or eggs, maple cured bacon and maple syrup sausage, and lots of coffees and teas -- and sit a spell to tell me what's the biggest spiritual lesson God has ever taught you, whether in your writing or your life.

    Hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, TINA, thank you SO much for your incredibly sweet comment, although my mirror may argue with you on the outside point!

    Seriously, thank you -- you know how much I respect and admire you, my friend, so your words mean more than I can say.

    And as far as the graphic I need to thank my talented artist hubby since he's the one I hit up to make my crazy ideas come to life, the poor guy.

    Hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  17. CATHYANN40, thanks SO much for reading my books in the first place AND wanting to continue! Here's hoping I can send you a signed copy of one through this contest.

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey, JEN, yes we truly ARE all works in progress with God, but that's the key word for me -- progress. Unless He's the main focus of our lives and careers, any "progress" we make will never satisfy, something that took me WAY too long to figure out.

    Thanks for coming by, my friend, and here's to a win!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey, MARY, thank you!!

    You know, I really hesitated posting something so serious and personal, but the truth is, this has been the biggest turning point of my life -- for the better -- and I felt the need to share it. So I appreciate you taking the time to read it twice. Uh ... I hope it wasn't because I didn't make myself clear the first time ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  20. CINDY W SAID: "I think we all need to step back at times and ask ourselves if we are serving Him or are we asking Him to serve us."

    EXCELLENT Phraseology, Cindy, and you know what? I didn't think I HAD to "step back" because I just assumed God WAS the center of all I did, but I was in for a rude awakening, and He used my career as an author to drive His point home.

    Don't get me wrong -- I prayed nonstop for His will in my writing before and after I got published, so I truly believed He was my #1 priority. It wasn't until I realized my will and His weren't the same that the truth hit me "square" in the face. :)

    Uh-oh, busted!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  21. RUTHY SAID: "I'm saying that quietly because this feels like a quiet moment."

    LOL, it does, doesn't it?? Which isn't what I intended at all, but some things are just too serious to make light of, and this is definitely one for me.

    Now the fact that your post tomorrow will be twice as long as mine??? Shoutin' it from the rooftops, my friend, 'cause it doesn't happen often!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  22. Julie, Loved your post. It is so important to put the Lord first in all our lives including our plans and decisions. He is truly the provider of peace.

    When will your new book be out?

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a beautiful post, Julie. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. And I'm sure the Lord is using your words today to speak to many other hearts - - you've certainly spoken to mine. God bless you as you continue seeking His will for your writing and life.
    Love, Patti Jo

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, KELLY, thank you -- I hope so. I suspect it will only truly resonate with a few people because writing for God is one of the incredibly noble decisions that just feels good, so how can anything about it be wrong? But it's kinda like someone overcommited with church obligations to the exclusion of his family and everything else, including God. It's the motivation of the heart that God is interested in, not the number of accomplishments one does on "God's behalf."

    I will never forget hearing Francine Rivers speak at one of my first ACFW conferences. She talked about laying her writing aside for several years and mentioned how she did not even look at her royalty statements, but left that to her husband. She went on to say she also refused to enter contests even though her publisher wanted her to, which to me was downright baffling because as "Francine Rivers," she was pretty much a shoe-in. Her point was that as a writer for God, it's too easy to get sidetracked off of God as our main focus, so she laid it all aside. You know what my thoughts were at the time? I thought she was crazy and could NOT understand what she meant and frankly, didn't agree with it at all.

    Until this last year.

    So chalk me up as a slow study, I guess, next to Francie's keen spiritual insight.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    -- choir, Bible studies,

    ReplyDelete
  25. This post is a definite keeper, Julie. It is the second time recently I have been hit square in the forehead with that awful square peg, that writing can become an idol. And I've got to figure out this thing about waiting passionately. That sounds so much more encouraging than the waiting patiently I'm not so good at. Thank you for sharing your heart with us as well as your wonderful books. Blessings, Julie

    ReplyDelete
  26. Gosh, JANET, you and Tina are making me cry with your kind comments, and I thank you. And you're right about my "desire" -- it always has been to put Him first. The problem has been that my will got in the way, which is anything but noble. And the main reason for this post is a bit of a wake-up call for other Christian writers who don't realize it like I didn't realize it, so that they can become more aware of their motivation and hopefully keep their focus where it belongs -- on Him!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  27. JACKIE, thank you soooooooo much for validating this post, my friend, and I am so blessed to hear how you've been praying!! God will honor that prayer and keep you rooted in Him and His plan for your life and career.

    One of the prayers that I used to pray before I got published was the last paragraph of Psalm 139:

    Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts![c]
    24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting![d]

    I actually stopped praying that several times in my life because I couldn't handle all the housecleaning God was doing. :) So it's a GREAT prayer to pray ... just use it sparingly! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amen, MARY, it IS "so easy to get caught up in the world," isn't it? And the sad part is we often don't even know it, like I didn't.

    You also said, "It takes effort and awareness to slay that dragon of 'self interest.' One day at a time is better shortened to 'one hour at a time.'"

    WOW, powerful words, my friend, and soooo very true! I'm actually on the one-minute-at-a-time plan at the moment because I can't be trusted ... ;)

    Goodness, with so many people having to read the post twice, I'm wondering if it's to meditate further or just to figure out what the heck I'm saying ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  29. Julie, your post touched my heart deeply. Sometimes we yearn so much to serve God that we run ahead of Him and lose our way. But He never lets us wander far. I think He finally put horse blinders on me because I kept galloping ahead of Him. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Please enter me into your drawing and thank you for writing this message which He used to speak to me!

    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  31. Julie, thank you for sharing your spiritual journey with us today. I always feel so blessed and renewed after reading your posts.God certainly speaks to us through your writing and for that I thank you. I can't wait to read more of your books !

    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Trust me, dear Julie - the need to read your post twice IS for meditation, not understanding. Your beautiful transparency through words always translates clearly for readers.

    I so agree with Tina, you've always been a beautiful lady, inside and out - yet, become more so with each passing day. I've observed the changes in your life over the last few years re: writing and your spiritual life - you've truly been, and remain to be, one of the most inspiring spiritual mentors/friends in my entire life. I can count on less than one hand - those who have even come close. One of the reasons I so love your writing, is because you are never afraid to reveal your passion for God, or the need for Him in one's life. Following His leading to put in print the words He gives you will speak to those He wills it to, and truly brings the greatest joy and fulfillment - regardless of book sales figures, etc..

    I'm blessed by your love, prayers, and friendship - as well as your writing, my sweet friend!!

    ReplyDelete
  33. KAV SAID: "What strikes me most is the idea that peace comes with acceptance. Not a new concept but one I needed reminding of."

    OH, AMEN TO THAT, KAV!! We all do, which is why I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this, especially for authors, where the limelight entices and tugs.

    YOU ALSO SAID: "I've been struggling with health issues and I've been trying to force things to my expectations and failing miserably. Reading this has made me realize that it's time for me to pull back and seek God's will instead of my own. Thanks for sharing this today, Julie, you've made a difference."

    Gosh, I'm tearing up again, my friend, both over your kind words and the fact you are struggling with health issues. I'm saying one for your RIGHT NOW and would love to put you on my prayer hit list, Kav, so if you feel so inclined and want to give me more specifics to zero in on, please contact me, okay?

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  34. KAV SAID: "What strikes me most is the idea that peace comes with acceptance. Not a new concept but one I needed reminding of."

    OH, AMEN TO THAT, KAV!! We all do, which is why I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this, especially for authors, where the limelight entices and tugs.

    YOU ALSO SAID: "I've been struggling with health issues and I've been trying to force things to my expectations and failing miserably. Reading this has made me realize that it's time for me to pull back and seek God's will instead of my own. Thanks for sharing this today, Julie, you've made a difference."

    Gosh, I'm tearing up again, my friend, both over your kind words and the fact you are struggling with health issues. I'm saying one for your RIGHT NOW and would love to put you on my prayer hit list, Kav, so if you feel so inclined and want to give me more specifics to zero in on, please contact me, okay?

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  35. Julie, this may not be your usual blog, but you are still teaching us. When you held up the mirror, I saw myself. What an awakening.

    Your words are raw - except raw sounds untidy, jagged, and blech, while your post is hold-your-breath beautiful.

    Thank you for starting off my day with this devotion.

    ReplyDelete
  36. SANDRA!!! Authors don't speak about these types of feelings a lot, but they're out there in abundance, aren't they? As a result, I SO appreciate your kind comment because for a while there, I thought I was quite alone, which is a very lonely place to be.

    But would you believe that in the last year, I've received emails from at least five other authors, several of them pretty big names, telling me they are or have experienced the same thing and wanting my feedback and prayer on how to tackle it in their own lives.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's a natural byproduct of being in the public eye to some degree, so all the more reason to be aware and on guard, right?

    Thanks again, Sandra -- appreciate you coming by!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  37. You encourage me, Julie. Life has so many ups and downs, and all too often I lose sight of God's sovereignty. But He does have a plan, and it is for our ultimate good. The trust part is hard, but we need to keep getting up and running the race, keeping our eyes fixed on Him. Thanks for your words, Julie!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love this Julie! And love love love the picture of tiny you in that square box! I love that you took a break and waited on the Lord for those 8 months. I love that you were willing to put the Lord first in your life by seeking HIM above all else :) Thanks so much for sharing about your SON worship :)

    Julie @ My Favorite Pastime

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey, TRACEY, I know what you mean -- I always feel closer with someone after they share a deep truth from their lives because I'm a bottom-line person who wants to know what's at the core of a person or situation. Deliver me from surface relationships because to me, people are too complex and wonderful to only scratch the surface. Which is why I like writing such deep and colorful characters as I do! :)

    You said: "This reminds me personally to face each new day asking God what He and I are going to do together, what His Will for my day is."

    Oh, I LOVE that, girl!! I need to do that, too! What I do now is pray a Scripture I memorized, which I say every morning before my eyes even pop open and that is Psalm 143:8:

    Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, oh Lord, for I put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go for unto You I lift up my soul.

    Of course, my upcoming release is titled Unfailing Love, so that endears me to this Scripture all the more. :)

    Thank you for your prayers, Tracey, I covet them! And I would love nothing better than to send you a signed copy of one of my books, so here's to a win!

    I will say that my Irish love story, A Light in the Window just went on sale last week for 99 cents, so if you don't win here, you might want to check that out. It's won three awards and currently has 257 five-star reviews on Amazon, so it's not a dog, I promise. My artist hubby did the video and cover using my daughter as the model, so I'm really proud of that. Here's the video in case you want to check it out:

    A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW VIDEO

    Thanks again, Tracey, and GOOD LUCK!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  40. DAWN!!!

    And I'd love to send you my new contemporary, so fingers crossed on a win, my friend!

    LOL ... yeah, "real and vulnerable" are some of my greatest "faults" because unfortunately, what you read (and see) is what you get with me, which isn't always good in this biz.

    I figure we all have struggles whether we're open about them or not, so why not help each other by sharing them and our prayers?

    Praying for your car problems RIGHT NOW, that all will be resolved soon and good will come from them on your behalf.

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  41. That was a touching post! Finding your place in the SON!! Something I'll ponder today :)
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hey, LANI, thank you, my friend, and AMEN!!

    My next book will be a novella about Brady and Lizzie in the Home for Christmas Historical Collection due for release on Oct. 5th. The good news is that there will also be novellas by Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, and Janet Dean, so it's gonna be a good one as usual!

    Then my next novel release will hopefully be late October or early November, and that will be Unfailing Love, book 1 in my Isle of Hope series.

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK, my friend!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you SO MUCH, PATTI JO, and I sure hope this blog speaks to those who need it and maybe even to some who don't know they need it, like I used to be! :)

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  44. Beautiful, Julie. Just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Aw, CINDY, thanks for your sweet comment, and girl, I hear you -- I've a square imprint in my forehead too, but it's a good reminder of where our focus should be.

    Yeah, I LOVE that phrasing of "waiting passionately" because it fits me -- and obviously you -- sooooo darn well, doesn't it? We are like horses at the gate, so much fire and enthusiasm to take off and fly, but we definitely won't win unless we wait for God to open the starting gate, eh?

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  46. LOL, BARBARA ... LOVE the picture of you with horse blinders on, my friend, because it's sooooo true!! I need them, too, only I'm so stubborn and headstrong, that God had to put a bag over my head and lead me where he wants me to go!

    But that's okay, because it's the only way to win! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hey, STEPH, I am SO glad God used this message to speak to you -- that alone makes the exposure of my deepest secrets worth it, so YAY!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hey, DEANNE, that certainly blesses me, too, my friend, that my words can bless and renew you, so THANK YOU!!

    And trust me, I can't wait for you to read more of my books, too, so here's hoping that begins here today with this contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  49. BONNIE!!!

    Right back at you, my sweet friend, twofold!!

    You said, "Following His leading to put in print the words He gives you will speak to those He wills it to, and truly brings the greatest joy and fulfillment - regardless of book sales figures, etc."

    Oh, WOW, truer words were never spoken, girl, and really, this is a confirmation for me as I edit Unfailing Love. As you know, my publisher was interested in it, but asked me to cut it in half, something I didn't want to do since it is somewhat biographical and therefore, therapeutic for me. They also asked me to tone down the spirituality, which I realllllly didn't want to do, so your words today are a total encouragement to me -- AS USUAL!!

    I'm blessed by your "love, prayers, and friendship" as well, my friend, so thank you for taking the time to come by.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  50. Oh, WOW, ANITA MAE -- your comment blesses me to no end because this lesson is, indeed, "raw," or at least that's how it felt when I was going through it, so you nailed it, my friend.

    THANK YOU!! And God bless you in your writing and in your life. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  51. KATE SAID: "The trust part is hard, but we need to keep getting up and running the race, keeping our eyes fixed on Him."

    Oh, you are DEAD-ON, my friend, but it is sooooooo worth it, as I am learning moment by moment!

    It blesses me, Kate, to know that I have encouraged you today. Thank you for encouraging me!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  52. JULES!!!

    SO fun to see you here, my friend, and thank you for your ongoing friendship throughout those 8 months! I appreciate your support and encouragement more than you know, and your willingness to put up with this CDQ even though drama is not your thing! :)

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hey, DEANNA, thank you, my friend! I'm glad it touched you because God has sure "touched" me with this lesson, although at times it felt like it was with a 2"X 4"!! ;)

    Ponder away, girl, and have a great day!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thanks, PAMMY, it didn't feel so "beautiful" while I was going through it, but with God, it sure ends up that way, eh?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  55. A lovely post, Julie. Perfect timing with some confirmation I needed. Thank you!

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
  56. Oh, NANCY, I am sooooo glad this post brought you confirmation!! Don't you just love when that happens???

    Hugs and Happy Day!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  57. Son Light, Sun Bright

    Were we meant to be content?
    Was a place in the sun meant to be fun?
    After Adam and Eve should comfort even be a need?

    God made the pegs
    and He made the holes.
    Is not motivation a Godly creation?

    Is not the beatific vision
    the greatest prize ever given?

    "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
    Matthew 7:16

    Is not inner turmoil the engine that drives the motivation to conquer the conflict that makes the reward worth the candle?

    Is God's plan not replete with options?
    Isn't there a need for free will to breathe?

    There is beauty and glory in your fruits.
    Even your passion fruits are sweet and true.

    A square peg will fit in a round whole,
    giving room on all sides to grow
    with space for the sun to flow thru
    and warm a lonely soul.

    I think God's plan,
    even with all its human added imperfections,
    has actually included
    all your midcourse corrections!


    ****
    Julie: Let me know if this makes any sense! And then please enter me into the drawing for a future book for it is those books that are yet to be for which I have a need. :)

    Vince

    ReplyDelete
  58. What a beautiful and honest post, Julie. You were wise to step away and take the time to reflect. I think we all need to do that at some point. You're always such an inspiration to me!

    ReplyDelete
  59. LOL, VINCE ... I rate a Mooney poem, so I am THRILLED!! And MUCH of it makes sense, my friend, although I will be honest and say not all. Cerebrally, you are head and shoulders above this gal, that's for sure. But there are one or two stanzas I'll comment on.

    YOU SAID: Were we meant to be content?
    Was a place in the sun meant to be fun?
    After Adam and Eve should comfort even be a need?

    My answer would be a resounding YES since John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly," or in the New Living Translation, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life."

    You said: "A square peg will fit in a round whole,
    giving room on all sides to grow
    with space for the sun to flow thru
    and warm a lonely soul."

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!! I absolutely love, Love, LOVE this stanza because it is sooooooo true and SO beautifully put, my friend!

    LOL ... consider yourself entered for those books for which you have "a need." But somehow I question just how much "need" anyone would have for one of my books, although with the level of spirituality in Unfailing Love, I pray that it might be for sustenance of the soul ... :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  60. Aw, thanks, MISSY, and you are to me, too, especially as a mother who nurtures her children so. Like one of my characters (Charity) bemoans in one of my books, I often feel I missed the "mother gene," because I was more of a no-nonsense drill sergeant with discipline, although I was crazy enough to be fun, I suppose. Anyway, you never cease to amaze me how nurturing and caring you are for your kiddos, so you inspire me too, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for sharing this lovely post! Your words and your lessons are always so valuable. And expressed in such a beautiful manner!
    I will keep these words close as I take on the challenge of promoting my book. It is a little overwhelming - to say the least! LitFuse has me hosting a Facebook party in a couple of weeks, and it's making me a whole lot nervous! I just keep telling myself it's only an hour or two and then I can drink wine!
    I see how easy it is to get caught up in all the hype - the reviews, answering reader correspondence (thank you for doing that, btw!), all the emails, and blogs, etc. Whew. It's exhausting. And still we have to find time to actually create!
    It's comforting to know you all have been through it before and survived. And if I ever need to take a sabbatical, that's OK too!
    Warmly,
    Sue :)

    ReplyDelete
  62. I have actually read The Light in the Window you recommended and posted a 5 star review on July 13, 2014 entitled:

    SEAMLESS PERFECTION! Beautiful Love Story!
    as Tracey~book corner fan

    I have often wondered if authors read their reviews, I'm sure there are pros/cons to reading them, but I loved the story!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hello JULIE!
    Thank you for sharing these timely nuggets of wisdom! You have given me lots to chew on. I so appreciate that you seek to honor the Lord in your life and writing. Keep moving forward in what He has for you. (((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

    ReplyDelete
  64. When I went back and read my review, it seemed to fit perfectly for today's post, so I'm quoting it here in part:

    "Marceline, the young beauty with a heart for God, eager to do His Will, but still having a lot to learn about life and human nature....

    A terrific read about the choices in life, choices we can all identify with, but with a strong emphasis on how important Godly perspective is in the choices we make".



    ReplyDelete
  65. Julie, thank you for your very encouraging post!! Touches my heart in other areas of my life....been trying to get a sense of what the
    Lord's plan is, not only for writing but for our antique business.

    LOVE all your books...and your Romance-ology 101 is a delightful inspiration!!

    Getting my manuscript ready for a contest...so this is a most timely post for me!!

    Our life verse speaks to me every day about the Lord's care and provision...sometimes I have to repeat it many times a day!!

    Isaiah 40:31King James Version (KJV)

    31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

    Thanks again!! Take care...raising my cup of nectarine tea and wishing you all a fabulous Wednesday!!

    ReplyDelete
  66. What a fun post and giveaway!! I very much look forward to reading all of Julie's novels!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  67. SUSAN (AKA SUSIE-Q)!!!

    Oh, girl, been there with the LitFuse FB party, so get ready for fast and furious!! I was trying to respond to comments so fast, that FB threatened to shut me down for spamming, so take your time. :) Don't be too nervous, though, because it's a lot of fun and really no biggie in the overall scheme of things.

    In fact, that's something I wish someone had told me -- to not sweat the small stuff OR the big stuff because the bottom line is, HE is in control, not you and not your publisher, so just sit back and try to enjoy the ride. Easy to say, I know, but not so easy to do. All the more reason to keep a steady vigil that He will help you keep your eyes on Him and not the success that is sure to come your way.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  68. Oh, TRACEY, seriously??? Thank you SO much for that incredible review and for just reading the book in the first place! I now recognize your addy -- Tracey~book corner fan.

    This comment made me chuckle: "I have often wondered if authors read their reviews, I'm sure there are pros/cons to reading them, but I loved the story!"

    Uh, the smart ones don't, but peabrains like me??? Unfortunately, yes, at least up until this year, when I have pulled back MAJOR for my own peace of mind -- both regarding the 1-stars and the 5-stars because either ones can wreak havoc on one's soul. :)

    Mmmm ... well, if you read and liked ALITW, then it sounds like you need to start with book 1 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, so I'm praying I get to send it to you, my friend.

    Thanks again, Tracey, and GOOD LUCK in the draw!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  69. CARYL!!!

    Well, since it's lunchtime, I'm glad I've given you "lots to chew on," although I'm thinkin' we both need a wee bit more sustenance right about now, eh?

    And trust me, I am doing my level best to "move forward in what (I think) He has for me, so thanks for the encouragement, my friend!

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  70. TRACEY, you sweetheart you! Did you really go back and search out that review to pull a line?? Aren't you just the sweetest thing to take the time to do so! Thank you again, not only for that incredible review, but for all the effort you put forth on behalf of Christian authors -- you are a true blessing, my friend, and I pray God's blessings on your life.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  71. KATHRYN, thanks SO much for your sweet comment and for reading my books in the first place, my friend -- MUCH appreciated!!

    LOVE that life verse you've chosen -- it's one of my faves too. Saying one for your ms. RIGHT NOW, for God's anointing, favor, and blessing on it and on you!

    Hugs and raising my cinnamon coffee right back at you for an equally fabulous Wednesday. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hey, SYDNEY -- well, you may be the first person to call this post "fun," but I'll take it! I will admit that the picture is fun and was fun to do. My artist hubby always just shakes his head when I come up with ideas for graphics. Thank God he's so easy-going AND talented. :)

    Here's hoping I get to send you a signed book, okay?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  73. The biggest lesson God seems to be trying to teach me is to stop trying so hard to control everything myself. It ties in to fear - something I've always really struggled with. It's easier to not be afraid when I am the one in control, when I know what's happening, how it's happening, when it's happening and where it's happening. But I'm highly involved in ministry. My husband and I even live at a Bible Camp! So that doesn't work too well. The most frantically I try to control everything myself, the more stressed I get and the more I upset those around me. Not everyone wants me controlling everything for them! There are areas I like working in because I can be in complete control - like book reviewing :-) - and I think that's ok. But I have to trust God to take care of things, not try so hard to control it all myself. Right now I'm trying to decide if it's ok to send a story I wrote off to two friends/family who offered to edit it (I can only do a 1st rough draft, nothing else so if the story were to be published it'd take help from friends/family.) I'm not sure though. If I do, they might judge me and look down on me for the content. Once they read it, my ability to control what they think of me would be gone. Am I really ok with that? But if I could publish it, maybe we'd finally pay off my school loans! Trusting God instead of myself is just plain HARD!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Julie, I needed this post. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story here. I've definitely had to be checked to make sure writing hasn't taken a seat right up next to God on the throne of my life. When we're waiting ON God, we'll know His peace. Yeah, when the kids drain my energy with their struggles, and the writing focus just isn't there, I am learning to remember that His plans are better than mine. His timeline is the perfect one. And, my kids are a higher calling than my writing. Not an easy pill to swallow, but this is the truth I have to hold onto when I get frustrated by my lack of success in meeting my own deadlines.

    Loved this today! And your graphic is fun. And please put me in the drawing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  75. J:-)mi said: "Trusting God instead of myself is just plain HARD!"

    Oh, girl, you said a mouthful right there because YES, it IS, no matter if we are highly involved in ministry or not or what part of our life it involves, but it is SO worth it if we do!! And frankly, as human beings, I'm not sure it's possible to ever completely let go of wanting our own control, but we can get better at it, at least.

    Saying a prayer for you RIGHT NOW, my friend, for wisdom and peace and God's anointing on your writing and the direction you should take with it.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  76. JEANNE T SAID: "His timeline is the perfect one. And, my kids are a higher calling than my writing. Not an easy pill to swallow, but this is the truth I have to hold onto when I get frustrated by my lack of success in meeting my own deadlines."

    OH, AMEN AND AMEN, my friend, OVER AND OVER!! Our kids ARE a higher calling than our writing FOR SURE, and it IS tough to lay that drive for success down and let God take us and our writing where HE wants us/it to go. And when we do that, it's amazing just how the "frustration" melts away into His peace. SOOOOO much better way to live!!

    Hugs and your in the draw, girl, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  77. Julie...now it's my turn to tear up...and smile...thanks so much for your words...I can't express how much it means to me!! (You said: "Saying one for your ms. RIGHT NOW, for God's anointing, favor, and blessing on it and on you!")

    Grateful!!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Hahahahah! I'm not sure my post tomorrow is that much longer... I've had a hectic summer and I went for simple (but not simple and nice and prayerful like you, darling, I actually pulled out my RUTHY SLEDGEHAMMER and had some fun with it!!!)

    You know, and many know, I don't do contests. I loved 'em as a non-published author, but as a published author I'm content with paychecks. And I understand that's not the same for everyone, but handing the glory over to God... because that's where it belongs... and not worrying about awards or contests or winning or losing... that's so much better for me. I've never cared about that stuff.

    But I love readers to pieces!!! I love writing, I love weaving stories, I love telling stories....

    But I can totally shrug off the rest of it. I don't see that as right or wrong... ever. Just different, right? But isn't it wonderful to not concern yourself with extra stuff? Gosh, up here, life hands us plenty to be concerned about daily.

    That's more than enough, LOL!

    I'm just as proud of you for this heartfelt post now... as I was nine hours ago when I first read it... both times.

    :)

    Smiling in upstate.

    ReplyDelete
  79. What a beautiful post, Julie. Thank you for sharing your encouragement with us today. :)

    ReplyDelete
  80. WAIT JUST A COTTON-PICKIN' MINUTE, LESSMAN.

    THERE WAS NO BREAKFAST HERE WHEN I STOPPED IN. NOTHING. NOT A SMIDGE. I'M STARVING UP HERE!!!!!

    Sigh.

    I missed the food!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Oh, KATH, it's my pleasure to pray for you, girl! I believe in prayer on the spot because that way it gets done and placed before the throne of God, and it's so very easy to do and SO very important, right?

    Saying another one for you right now as well, so there! ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  82. UH-OH, NOT THE RUTHY SLEDGEHAMMER!!! Maybe I'll sleep in tomorrow ... ;)

    No worries because that sledgehammer is padded with love, so it always hits the mark!

    That's one of the things I admire about you, Ruthy, your ability not to get caught up in all the extracurricular things writers do to achieve success. You are blessed. I wasn't born that way, maybe because I felt I had to constantly prove myself in a family of 13, who knows? But competitiveness is one of my Achille's heels, so it's been a real struggle for me as an author.

    Hey, I thought of you this morning in my devotional reading. Here's what it said, and I have underlined the part that brought you to mind, and the rest pretty much applies to me, I think:

    Do not compare yourself with others who seem to skip along their life-paths with ease. THEIR JOURNEYS HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT FROM YOURS, AND I HAVE GIFTED THEM WITH ABUNDANT ENERGY. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in my presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow Me to bless you richly through it. -- Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

    We are ALL wonderfully and fearfully made, but never do we shine more than when we walk in the path God has ordained for us, in the warmth of His Son.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  83. Hey, ANNA, thank you, my friend -- it was my pleasure! And thank you for taking the time to read it!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest. :)

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  84. LOL, RUTHY ... that's because you get up WAY too early, and I don't. :) But you are WAY better off, trust me. You write more and eat less -- goals I hope to emulate after I get settled in the new digs in less than TWO WEEKS!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  85. Julie, thanks for sharing your journey. It's never a straight line, is it? I frequently stop to ask whether I'm still on the right track. We humans can get off course. He pulls us back to center...and to the path we are to walk.

    Glad your fast was fruitful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hi Debby,

    Your book came in the mail today from CBD. I can't wait to start it.

    ReplyDelete
  87. What an amazing post Julie, I loved it! Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your walk with the Lord. I am sure it will be evident in your writing--which I love.
    Blessings,Tina

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hey, Julie! So glad your fast helped you to refresh! I can hear it in your "voice." :-)
    I sometimes ask myself if I'm where I need to be, but honestly, I am really enjoying what I write, still, and I feel like I'm on the right track. But ask me again in a year, when I will have nearly fulfilled all my contracts! I'm not sure what my direction will be after that, but I am taking it one day at a time and just enjoying the journey as much as possible.

    This writing life can suck you dry, I am in total agreement on that! For me it's mostly the sheer noise of all the people asking me for things. I have always had a hard time saying no when someone wanted me to do something--even if I just THINK they want me to do something! They don't even have to ask sometimes! But trying to give to everyone who asks has become overwhelming many times over, especially in the last couple of years. I have had people get angry with me for saying no to them, and if it were not for God taking me on a journey of learning self-confidence--God-confidence, actually--I would probably be falling apart right now, honestly. But God never gives me more than I can handle, when I can handle it. He is so faithful. And so I say, Okay, God, I'm ready for whatever you've got for me! LOL!

    Great post, Julie! Thanks for keeping it real and spiritual! :-) I can't believe God would ever not be faithful to someone who loves and adores Him as much as you do, Julie! Great things are coming for you!

    ReplyDelete
  89. And I was really blessed by the Jesus Calling entry for today too! So cool that you mentioned it! I've never been a high energy person, but God has a plan even for that. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  90. Julie, I believe that devotional sincerely.... that we are made the way we were supposed to be made and comparisons only make us long for something else, or to be something else.

    I love our variety!!!! I think that's what makes us have so much fun together, what brings so many folks here to hang out, because if we can make that bridge in all of our differences, then there really aren't walls... except maybe walls of impatience????

    That is a good, solid devotional. Beautifully stated... Although I should probably wish that the fragile part applied to me a little more than it does, but I did flunk the sensitivity test last year.

    GULP.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Julie! And Tracey, Cindy, Mary....everybody has such profound thoughts and perspectives today on Julie's spot-in-the-Son topic. I need to print this post out and just soak it in, especially the Scripture references Julie and others have posted.

    Julie, you said this post wasn't a teaching post like your usual ones. But it is indeed a teaching post. You've reminded all of us to check our priorities and ensure that we do ask Him to guide our efforts and our steps--and then accept His guidance and follow. So thank you for sharing this very personal post, Julie, and doing it with the same grace and passionate perspective as in your other writing.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Oh I almost forgot! Julie, please add my name to the drawing. I would love to win one of your books :)

    ReplyDelete
  93. No, DEB, it sure isn't, which is good for me because I couldn't even walk a straight line on the balance beam in high school! And you are SO right about God keeping us on the straight and narrow -- often whether we like it or not! :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  94. Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! Keeping my affections and my strivings toward a writing contract subject to my affections and strivings toward God is a constant struggle for me.

    Many, many times I think of setting it all aside, then God will open up another door for a submission or a contest win or a writer's conference. Most of my writing stress comes from the thought that if I don't "prove myself" by getting published, this writing thing will be just another failed career attempt represented by wasted years. But God didn't give me this longing to write so I could prove myself to the world. Maybe He really wants to prove Himself faithful to me if I'll just rest in His timing and leading and surrender my strivings to him.

    Your writing really ministered to me through this post! I'm so glad you've found your resting place in the Son! :)

    ReplyDelete
  95. JACKIE, you are going to LOVE it, my friend!! Happy reading!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  96. Hey, MRS. TINA, thank you, my friend! And, yep, ten to one it will make its way into a novel or two because God always makes me sit through it twice, it seems, probably because I'm a slow learner ... :)

    Hugs and BLESSINGS!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  97. MEL!!!

    I am SOOO thrilled to hear you're in a good place right now, my friend, because I think of you often and wonder how you're doing, probably because we are so similar emotionally. You are SO wise to enjoy this year of writing because you're right -- this book biz changes daily, so one never knows where they will be in a year. Wherever you are, I pray it's a place of blessing and peace, my friend.

    You said: "I have always had a hard time saying no when someone wanted me to do something--even if I just THINK they want me to do something!"

    HA! Just another way in which we are so much alike. It IS hard because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but we can't please everybody and frankly, God is the one we should be pleasing, not people, as much as we like/love them. Which is why your following statement blessed me so much. You said: "If it were not for God taking me on a journey of learning self-confidence--God-confidence, actually--I would probably be falling apart right now."

    LOL ... move over, girlfriend, because I am in complete agreement and SO happy to hear that because God-confidence is the most powerful and healing kind. They can keep that surface confidence based on success or awards or money -- it's nothing but a trap, and I'm just a little sad it took me this long to figure that out. Sigh. You're getting it down a LOT sooner than me, so you go, girl!!

    Thanks for coming by and for your sweet comment. You and me, girl -- Starbucks in Nashville in 2016, okay?

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  98. LOL, MEL, is that not the GREATEST devotional EVER??? Honestly, I read both it and Jesus Today every single day, and am SHOCKED at how many times it nails me between the eyes!

    I used to be a "high-energy person," but age and priorities have been sapping that somewhat. Of course moving twice in two months across the state might have something to do with it, too, I suppose ... :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  99. Hey, ANGIE, you are MORE than welcome, my friend! Here's hoping you pull out a win!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  100. RUTHY, AMEN AND AMEN on the "variety." We are a GREAT mix of personalities, and each one adds their own touch to the Seekers, which is SO cool. It actually reminds me of the Body of Christ, where each of us is a different part, but all crucial to the body.

    Now ... we just have to figure out which of us is the mouth ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  101. Aw, SARAH, thank you SO much, you sweet thing -- you are always SUCH a blessing, girl! And thanks, too, for being such a support and encouragement for me whatever blog I happen to be on. You are an absolute doll!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  102. Waving to Jackie! Thank you! Hope you like the story!!!

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  103. LOL, SARAH, you better believe I wouldn't forget to add one of my favorite reader friends to the mix, darlin', so you're in the draw and GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  104. BTW, I'm a big JESUS CALLING fan. The words always hit home and are just what I need to hear that particular day.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Oh, NATALIE, I hear you, girlfriend, loud and clear!! And like you, I have thought of setting it all aside many, MANY times, just rid myself of the awful control this whole success thing had over me.

    But you're right -- "God didn't give (you) this longing to write so (you) could prove myself to the world ... He really wants to prove Himself faithful to (you) if (you will) just rest in His timing and leading and surrender (your) strivings to him."

    Surrender is the key word for all of us as Christian writers -- which, ironically enough -- is the key to the blessings we so desire.

    I'm glad this blog ministered to you today, my friend, and may we ALL find our "place in the Son"!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  106. Hmmm ... i wrote a post, I think it didn't make it. Anyway, I'll try again.

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you so much for sharing what God has been showing you. It's so easy for 'noble' things to creep up and try and take God's place in our lives.

    God bless you as you seek his pleasure first, it's more satisfying than anything of this world!

    ReplyDelete
  107. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!

    HELEN!!! A voice from the past -- how the heck are you, girl??? You look wonderful in that adorable pic, so I hope things are going well for you, your kiddos, and your sis.

    And, YES, seeking HIS pleasure IS the MOST satisfying thing in the world, a lesson learned better late than never. :)

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  108. Wow, sounds like I am about to embark on a similar journey. Not in writing necessarily, but I recently quit my job, packed up and moved to California to attend Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Looking forward to what God has in store for me this year, but I am nervous at the same time.

    Holly O'Brien
    oceandreamerfla(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  109. Love ya, Julie! :D Yes, count me in. I would LOVE to see you. I haven't been to an ACFW conference in a couple of years. I may just come to Nashville and hang out for a day. It's only 2 hours away.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Julie, the thoughts expressed in your post are so valuable. I've had an experience....well, MANY times......where waiting for God was difficult, but so rewarding eventually. In His PERFECT timing......a lesson I need to review often. I will put that Bible verse on my heart for the next time I need it. Wait passionately for God, don't leave the path. He'll give you your place in the sun. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  111. Julie this is beautiful. What a longing and thirst God can fill if we will just let Him.
    It reminds me of Psalm 42:1
    As a hart longs for flowing streams,
    so longs my soul for thee, O God

    ReplyDelete
  112. Oh, WOW, HOLLY, talk about a BIG move, girl, but sounds like God has some big things in store for you!! And OF COURSE you're nervous -- you have blood in your veins, right? And that same "nervousness" will teach you to trust Him, so praise God for it!!

    Saying one for you RIGHT NOW, my friend, that God will do abundantly, exceedingly more than you hope, thought, or prayed. You're on HIS business, girl, so He won't let you down.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  113. MELANIE, YES, YES, YES!!! That's what I did at ACFW last year in St. Louis, and frankly, that's what I may do in Nashville as well. It's just so tough for me to reconcile spending that amount of money to socialize, which is pretty much all I do. :| And since you won't be locked in to the ACFW schedule, you and I can do lunch, eh?

    I miss seeing you, I do, and I'm looking forward to catching up.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  114. Thank you, SHERIDA, and I agree -- no matter how painful, lessons such as this are invaluable. Because of this lesson, I will NEVER be the same, not in my writing nor in my faith, and trust me -- that's a wonderful thing!!

    "His perfect timing" is soooo true, and "His perfect plan," too, whatever that may be. Like one of my characters said in A Heart Revealed: "His will . . . the path to our highest pleasure."

    Hugs!!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  115. Oh, MARY, I LOVE that Scripture!!

    And this one, too:

    "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God." -- Psalm 42:1

    Because that's what I want. That's the only thing that's going to make any of us happy. Him first and foremost!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  116. Oh sigh. I lost my comment.

    I know I apologized for being so late in commenting I wanted to do your post justice and read when I could fully concentrate on your message and the discussion.

    Janet said "to lay your career at His feet" and I think that is such a perfect summary of what I always INTEND to do, but rarely accomplish in full spirit. Thank you for a thoughtful reminder.

    I think rather than being a square peg in a round hole, you can think of yourself as the peg most perfectly created in your Creator's image.

    Thank you for sharing an different, but so very welcome, lesson.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Hey, MARY, no apologies needed, my friend -- I'm just grateful you took the time to come by!

    Yes, laying one's career at His feet is definitely easier said than done, but thank God HE'S the One who does most of the work, and the One Who wants that far more than we ever could. In our weakness, He is strong, and trust me, never has that Scripture comforted me more than in my career as an author!

    I like that image, Mary, of being a "peg most perfectly created in His image," so THANK YOU!

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  118. Hi Julie, Wow does this post speak t me. I'm so with you and have so been there myself. Yep, that writing can become an idol in itself can't it. I'm so glad you have found your true place in the sun. When I worry about sales, I just say, Lord, you are having those who need to read this do so and that is really all that matters isn't it?

    Hugs to you my dear friend and sister in Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  119. DEBBY thank you so much for mentioning JESUS CALLING. You gave me that book and it is my favorite devotion in the morning and so speaks to me every day. I always thank God for you giving me that book. You gave it to me when we roomed together in Anaheim at RWA conference. You said you knew you had to see me and I'm sure it was because of that book because it has brought me through many storms.

    And in turn I've given it to most of my friends. hugs,

    ReplyDelete
  120. Julie, There is so much wisdom in this post. Thanks for being transparent and letting God use you so that others may learn to live closer to Him :)) I'm finding myself in a waiting season right now so it's nice to be reminded to check my heart to make sure I'm doing this for the right reason. I tend to jump ahead of God so I need to do this daily.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Beautifully written, Julie. I know you will honor God however you produce for Him. It's so easy to get distracted by that stuff and the busyness of it distracts from following Him and bringing Him glory. Blessings and peace to you!

    ReplyDelete
  122. SANDRA!!!

    I LOVE that, my friend!! Turning it back to God -- those frustrations, those disappointments, those aspirations -- always works for me too! I am SO glad we are able to do that and revel in His love and His will instead!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  123. Hey SANDRA and DEBBY,

    Jesus Calling is simply, hands-down, one of the MOST anointed devotionals I have ever read, on the mark almost every single time as to where I am at the moment or what I need to hear.

    There was only one I time I recalled reading it, a passage about "the trouble you are going through, that God would lead me and those I love through," or something like that. "Well, for the first time, that's not me," I say to myself with relief. Not 30 seconds later, Keith comes downstairs to tell me family news he just received!

    It's an amazing devotional, and I give it to friends and family too!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  124. Something all of us should keep in mind!

    Thank you. And, the Latin major in me can't help seeing that "passion" is derived from a word meaning to suffer or endure, so your initial thought on that Scripture wasn't off, although our modern connotations of "passion" run in different directions.

    Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  125. Thank you for sharing your personal story. Getting published, climbing to the top of the lists, engaging with fans--those things become such drivers. Idolatry isn't far behind. Something to pray about....

    ReplyDelete
  126. PAT W SAID: "I tend to jump ahead of God so I need to do this daily."

    LOL, move over, my friend, I suspect there's an awful lot of us out there, but thank God for a God Who understands and has made provision through His Holy Spirit, eh?

    And those waiting seasons are hard, aren't they? But, boy oh boy, what an opportunity for faith and trust to grow!! :) Saying one RIGHT NOW for your patience and wisdom and peace throughout yours.

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  127. Thanks, CARRIE, I know I will too, but only because of His grace!!

    And, yes, the "busyness" of this life -- both generally and that of an writer -- can be a killer, but the one positive is that it generally forces us to take refuge in Him! :)

    Hugs and more hugs, my friend,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  128. DANIELLE, you are MORE than welcome, my friend, and here's hoping it earns you a win!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  129. CAROLYN SAID: "And, the Latin major in me can't help seeing that "passion" is derived from a word meaning to suffer or endure, so your initial thought on that Scripture wasn't off, although our modern connotations of "passion" run in different directions."

    WOW, Carolyn, I didn't know that, and I took two years of Latin in high school, but then that was way, Way, WAY back when, so no surprise there. That is a very interesting observation, though, and I thank you for sharing it with me. Gives a whole new slant to my tagline: Passion With a Purpose, too! ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  130. CHRIS SAID: "Getting published, climbing to the top of the lists, engaging with fans--those things become such drivers. Idolatry isn't far behind. Something to pray about..."

    Regrettably, no, it isn't, Chris, which is why I wanted to write this post. I wish I had understood this when I embarked upon my publishing career, but I didn't and consequently, had to learn the hard way. Fortunately, the "hard way" is often the best teacher! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  131. Today's message is the affirmation I needed to stop, and listen, and feel what God is telling me, and not throw myself into another project. To finish my manuscript. To follow His Path. And finally, to stop using these other 'projects' to prolong my initial fear of rejection. I am going to hang Psalm 37:34 in big bold letters on the front edge of my computer. Thank you for this healthy kick-in-the-butt message which I've been praying for all week.

    Sincerely,
    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  132. YAY, KATHLEEN, soooooo glad my wake-up call could help kick-start yours because sounds like you are WAY ahead of me in realizing this! That's what youth will do for you, I guess ... ;)

    Saying one that you hear HIS "still, small voice" loud and clear! :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  133. I can relate to putting writing before God--and the frustration that results. Good article. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  134. No, PEGGY, thank YOU for taking the time to read it and leave a comment. I think this is a universal problem, not only with writers, but human beings! :) Thank God we have HIM to show us the WAY, the TRUTH, and the SON LIGHT~~

    Hugs and Good luck!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  135. Great post Julie. Please enter me in the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Thanks, SANDY, and you're in, darlin'!

    Here's to a win!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  137. So I was busy yesterday and didn't get the chance to read this until today-sorry! Thank you so much for sharing this Julie! This is something that is so very important to remember but so often we forget and trying to shove that square peg in that round hole! Thank you for the wonderful reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  138. ABS!!!

    Hey, girl, better late than never -- I love seeing your sweet smile anytime, so thanks for swinging by.

    Pulling for a win for you, my friend, so GOOD LUCK!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  139. Julie,
    What a beautiful and inspiring post! Thank you for your transparency and for reminding me it's all about HIM!

    Would love to win that new contemporary!

    Blessings,
    Edwina

    ReplyDelete
  140. EDWINA!!!

    Oh, girl, I get such a kick out of seeing you pop in here 'cause I never see you anymore, so thanks for dropping by!

    And trust me, I would LOVE to send you a copy of Unfailing Love, book 1 in the Isle of Hope contemporary series, so fingers crossed, okay?

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  141. Wonderful post, Julie! Thanks for sharing your heart :-)

    ReplyDelete
  142. Aw, TRIXI, thanks for coming by to read it -- MUCH appreciated!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  143. Wow! I think I was blessed just as much reading everyone's comments as I was reading your original post. Julie. I have come across 3-4 different posts, devotionals and sermons in the last few days speaking on idol worship or some variation of it. I have to be honest with myself and heed the message from the Holy Spirit. I feel myself fighting against it and the Lord isn't letting up. Thankfully! (Terrill)

    ReplyDelete
  144. TERRILL, thanks SO much for coming by, my friend, and YES, when you get that many confirmations, I think that's a definite nudge from the Holy Spirit, so I'd definitely listen. ;)

    And, LOL, no the Lord never lets up on those He loves!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete