Why did I write a book about church hurt?
The honest answer is: it was an accident.
Really. It was. Five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom, reading books to fill the void of a newly implemented no-television lifestyle, and I decided to try my hand at writing my own. Inspirational romance was my favorite aisle at the bookstore, so I sat down to write a story about a girl and a guy.
Well, since it was inspirational, the girl and guy ended up going to church, and suddenly there was church hurt, right there on the page, causing problems between my sweetheart and her hero. I had heard writers talk about characters taking over the story, and mine certainly did, but deep down inside, I realized the reason why.
Even though I had never been dramatically or publicly wounded by Christians, the issue of church hurt simmered deep in my soul.
And it bothered me.
But I got nervous. Should I write something like that? Would readers be offended? Would they judge me? And the most practical question: would any publisher touch it anyway?
I worried and fretted and sought advice from friends and family and industry professionals, and got…mixed opinions. Almost everyone agreed that church hurt is real, though a few stragglers insisted the things I was writing would never happen in a group of believers. (I’d like to find their congregation and join it.) But the more I discussed it, the less I worried because God seemed to grant me peace.
Then something unexpected happened. When people heard what I was writing, they started telling me their own stories:
- A youth minister publicly humiliating a teenager
- A family ostracized when their unwed daughter got pregnant
- Countless stories of hurtful behavior aimed toward divorced Christians
It broke my heart, and at that point, I realized I had been asking the wrong questions. It wasn’t a matter of offending readers, or having my feelings hurt, or getting the book published. It all boiled down to whether or not the book could help those who have been injured.
That’s why I wrote a book about church hurt.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
What about you? If you were to write a book, what would you write?
In anticipation of Jaded‘s release, I’m giving away a paperback copy. I’ll draw the winner from my newsletter list, so sign-up for a chance to win!
5:30 Rise and shine. Grab a protein bar and head upstairs to the office. Pause to kiss hubby as he leaves for work.
6:00 Bible reading followed by email check. Think to myself that I have lots of time to write this morning.
7:00 Start writing. Attempt to ignore social media. Scratch my head.
8:00 Decide I can’t focus on writing today. Remind myself I have no choice. Allow Pinterest to cross my mind but shove the thought away. Realize my productivity would improve if I took a teensy nap real quick. Take a phone call instead.
9:00 FINALLY get in the writing groove and start “feeling it.” Stop to help daughter #1 with her geometry. Throw in a load of laundry. Eat second breakfast. Notice the dirty kitchen floor and pretend it’s not there.
9:30 Start writing again even though the groove has evaporated. Post witty blurb on facebook. Scrutinize my calendar and wonder if I can meet all the deadlines. Remember I’m supposed to be writing. Cry a little.
10:00 Help daughter #2 with science fair project. Begin work on a different writing project in order to jump-start creativity. Pet the dog. Straighten my desk. Gaze out the window. Delete old files. Consider Pinterest again but maintain strength to refrain.
11:00 Head downstairs for “morning” devotional with the daughters. Treadmill while quizzing them over Bible Bowl questions. Laugh a lot. Feel a twinge of guilt for not getting more writing done.
12:00 Eat lunch. Walk through the living room and notice HGTV. Accidentally stand behind the couch for half an hour, staring dumbly at the television.
1:00 Tend to household business. Fill-out college paperwork. Make an orthodontist appointment. Work on income tax. Notice the kitchen floor again but divert gaze back to HGTV. Lie down to nap but wake up after ten stinking minutes.
2:00 Marvel at how rapidly time passes in the afternoon. Is it something to do with the moon and the tides?
3:00 Back upstairs to work for an hour and finally get some solid writing accomplished. Remember I have an appointment and/or phone call and don’t actually write anything.
4:00 Write a hurried blog post about the day in the life of a frazzled writer home school mom.
5:00 Search for a cool image to include in the blog post, but give-in to the hellacious temptation that is Pinterest.
6:00 Realize my family is hungry. Acknowledge they are in the habit of doing that every day, and still I forget to plan dinner.
7:00-10:00 Cook. Eat. Visit. Watch. Text. Fold.
Clean. Read. Consult. Google. Walk. Laugh. Study.
11:00 Shake my head in wonder at the speed with which time passes in the evenings. It’s even faster than the afternoons. Like a blur. Or that button on the DVD remote that jerks the movie from scene to scene.
11:15-5:30 Sleep fitfully and dream about scenes I need to write.
Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42 ESV
Image courtesy of photostock at freedigitalphotos.net
I know you haven’t read my book yet, (After all, it won’t be released for 19 days, but who’s counting?) But even then, you won’t guess my favorite character, so I’m going to introduce you.
His name is Ansel Pickett.
No, he’s not Ruthie’s love interest (the hunky single preacher). And he’s not her lanky and likeable cousin. He’s not the rapist who was just released from prison. And he’s not the church-leader-gone-bad.
Bless his heart, Ansel’s only a secondary character I squeezed into a handful of scenes, but he’s my favorite, just the same.
He’s Ruthie’s uncle. Uncle Ansel.
He moves slowly because he’s pushing seventy, but he still works on his ranch like a thirty-year-old. He uses few words and speaks softly. Often he has a wooden toothpick clamped between his teeth, and he tends to move it from side to side when he’s pondering something. And now that I think about it, he’s usually hiding a smile behind that toothpick.
As it turns out, he acts a lot like my real-life grandfather which, most likely, is the reason he’s my favorite. Here’s a picture of Granddaddy at his fiftieth wedding anniversary, but FYI… Ansel Pickett would NEVER wear a three piece suit!
I hope you enjoy reading Ansel Pickett as much as I enjoyed writing him!
After spending so much energy writing a book,
I’ve sorta got nothing to show for it but a stack of paper.
If I had created a painting, I could stand back and admire it. If I had written a song, I could listen to it on my ipod.
It’s not like I can quickly read 300 pages for a warm-fuzzy at the start of each day.
But now I have a cover! Something I can SEE and ENJOY, even if I can’t listen to it.
Amy Konyndyk over at David C. Cook did an excellent job of portraying Ruthie Turner as sad, yet hopeful, reaching for the church.
What do you think?
Will people notice it in bookstores and libraries?
Don’t be misled by this nifty 3-D image, the actual book won’t be printed for months yet. *sigh*