“You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13)
Hello friends! Annie here! I am beyond humbled and ecstatic to be here chatting with y’all. Let me introduce myself a bit for those that don’t know me. I’m Annie and I love to read. Surprising, isn’t it?! Yes, I also have a tinge of dry sarcasm that doesn’t always translate well. Nevertheless, I love to share my thoughts, especially when it comes to books. I have two very adorable (and mischievous) puppies, Gabby and Reagan. They haven’t understood the meaning of quality reading time for mommy yet. We’re getting there. Many of you will know me as Just Commonly, which is the name of my blog, and along with fellow Seeker, Carrie and avid reader, Bonnie Roof, we are also the founders for Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (CFRR). The ultimate question: why do I love Christian Fiction so much? Now begins the story. . .
Many people will have at least one year they can't let go, an unforgettable year, and a year that changed something in them. That year for me was 2013.
When the double pink line appeared, a smile crossed my face. Our first pregnancy. Elation soon turned to worry as my Darcy was told to keep an eye on me. Nevertheless, we continued on our days and doctor visits. On our ride to every visit, Plumb's Need You Now played on the radio, despite different days and times of the day. A song that to this day comforts me. Then one day, excruciating pain incapacitated me. I woke up to my front door kicked open by my Darcy trying to get to me, and a trip to the hospital. No one told me anything for what seemed like forever, and finally a familiar face, my doctor, came and told us the news. I had what they called an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy outside the uterus in layman terms. At 12 weeks, I was in serious danger, and my "baby" would not survive. On May 13, 2013, I was no longer pregnant. I was in a daze for weeks to come, yet on every follow-up visit to the doctor's office, another song played on the radio. Blessings by Laura Story. Nothing is a coincidence. Those songs prepared me and reminded me even when I didn't notice at first, that our God is our Father, and He's comforting me. Some may have already heard this story in one of my earlier posts, "God of Coincidences" on my blog. And you may ask, "What does this have to do with Christian fiction?" Well, you see, the songs prepared me and comforted me at a crucial moment of emotional and physical pain. Yet, it was Christian fiction that healed me. Or at least it was what God used.
Just as God inspired and used musicians like Plumb and Laura Story in their music and lyrics, God also inspired and gifted authors the words to their stories. It was these stories that mended the brokenness I felt since. My first encounter with Christian fiction was in that very year, and that's because I used books to escape. Unbeknownst to me, the books with the pretty covers and the historical settings gave me more than a story. What I thought was an escape, had become the soothing balm to my soul. Physical pain may have dissipated, but the emotional trauma wasn't so easy to forget. I thought hiding behind history and make-believe would never remind me of the loss and inadequacy I felt. God had other plans. He used stories that had nothing to do with me to connect with me.
God called us to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world." I've heard many say that it applies only to missionaries, but aren't we all missionaries in our own ways? My author friends, your stories give readers flavors, widespread and essential. When you follow God's heed in your writing, each word, each story, and each novel are granules of salt, scattered, waiting to be tasted. Now it's up to readers to taste and experience. And don't worry about the negative reviews. The message doesn't always hit us at the same time, and even when it's already tasted, it may not be fully understood until the time is right. You've salted and now it's up to God on when and to whom He plans on letting the flavor of that granule of salt explode. As always, God's timing is perfect.
Personally, I think Christian fiction kind of sneaks up on you. Just like a kind word, you'll never know when someone will need it. Its many flavors rival the flavors of the world, and there’s always one or more that fills your hunger just at the right moment. As authors, your flavors have the potential to reach masses, so be "the salt of the earth" and continue to implode flavors on us readers, either openly or stealthily.
I guess in short, I love Christian fiction because it's personal, and the experience may not be the same for another. To end, I want to thank every one of you - authors, for your stories and readers, for your support and sharing of these stories.
I'm gifting an author (from published or on non-published island) their choice of either ebook or print of one of the Writer's Guide Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (open internationally as long as Amazon or Book Depository will send it your way). And 1 reader will win a surprise pack of books that I hope will flavor your life (US mailing addresses only). Just leave a comment to enter for a chance to win (and let us know if you want to win the author or reader giveaway).
Thanks for reading my ramblings!