Friday, March 31, 2006

Attention Chicago Area Adult Children of Divorce

From Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds:

ARE YOU A GROWN CHILD OF DIVORCE IN THE CHICAGO AREA? (OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS?) I'm beginning a project that will result in a short film about the inner lives of grown children of divorce, based on study findings reported in Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce.

I'm looking for young adults (roughly 18-35 years old) who grew up with divorced parents and currently live in the Chicago area who would be interested in being interviewed on camera about their experience.

If thats you or if you have a friend who would be interested, or if you want to learn more,­ please contact me at

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Myth of a Christian Nation

This is a little bit off my regular topic, but the author, Greg Boyd, is the author of one of the first Christian books I read, Letters from a Skeptic.

To read a interview with Greg about his newest book, check out this link.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


In an ongoing effort to be web savvy and cool, you can now find me on MySpace.

...hello to my new friend, Dan, who was a fun distraction at Panera tonight.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

God's Sense of Humor

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on Don Miller's new book, To Own a Dragon. I shared that my initial impression of Don, after reading his first book a few years ago, was less-than-positive. Reading his new book turned that ship around. Anyone who shares my passion for healing the effects of broken families is okay in my book. In fact, check out the Belmont Foundation Don founded to help the church deal with the American crisis of fatherlessness. Love that.

So my agent and I have been working on my proposal for the new edition of Generation Ex and because what Don is doing ministry-wise has a lot of cross-over appeal with what I'm doing, it seemed like maybe it'd be a good idea to get one of my books in his hands.

I knew he'd be at Calvin, but imagine my surprise when I learned he was also going to be in town this week! So my people talked to his people and we were able to have a few moments to meet. (Thanks Don, Tara, Jordon and Curt).

I was able to hear him do a private Q&A and then a talk over at Cornerstone. It ended up being a rather convicting day. Turns out I actually like the guy and I don't think he's off his theological rocker after all. I found him to be gracious (especially toward those who haven't appreciate his work), self-depreciating, witty and intelligent. I like that he's not super polished and professional, more of an every man. And politically, he was actually much closer to me than I would have expected. Several things he shared spoke directly to my experience as a writer, the concerns I'm praying through currently, and the decisions I'm facing. I wish I had been taking notes because he gave me a lot to chew on.

I think I have a new literary crush.

Sacred Singleness

Anyone who has had a conversation with me about relationships or marriage, or has read my book, how much I love Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Marriage. Kinda weird, I know, since I'm single, but what can I say, it's an amazing book that has redeemed the idea of marriage from what I saw growing up to what God really had in mind.

That said, I encourage you head over to Mitch Anderson's blog and take part of a discussion he's having there on sacred singleness.

Chicken Soup for the Stepfamily Soul

Attention Writers!

Send Your Stories to Chicken Soup for the Stepfamily Soul

The author of Chicken Soup for the Stepfamily Soul is looking for inspirational, true stories, 1500 words or less, that will make readers laugh, cry, or be inspired. Stories should be positive, universal, and non-controversial. The “point” or “message” should be evident without preaching. No essays, commentaries, tributes, philosophical or biographical pieces will be accepted.

You may submit more than one story, whether original or a favorite from magazines, newspapers, or other sources. For each story selected in the book, a 50-word biography will be included about the author and a permission fee of $200 will be paid for stories and $50 for poems.

The submission deadline is April 29, 2006.

Send stories with your name, address, phone number and email address on the manuscript to Jann Blackstone-Ford at Please put Chicken Soup in the subject line. If unable to email, please send a hard copy (and on disk if possible) c/o Chicken Soup for the Stepfamily’s Soul to P.O. Box 1700, Discovery Bay, CA 94514. Due to the volume of stories we receive, we are unable to respond to each contribution. Finalists, only, will be notified prior to publication.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Media Mentions

Modern Disciple Magazine
by: Ryan Richardson

This is a difficult book to read.

Having said that, more importantly, this is a book that is absolutely necessary and has been needed by many people for decades. Jen Abbas has taken the brave step to address Divorce, an issue that few want to talk about, but that fewer have been shielded from. It is staggering to realize how much of humanity has been affected by the breakdown of marital relationships, and this book shines a bright light on that fact.

But this is a book about coming to terms and finding healing from our True Abba Father, with the foundation that we are His children, firmly planted in His hand. This is how this book functions best. Jen clearly states that, in her experience, many adult children of divorce only begin to fully understand its impact on them when they begin the search for a potential spouse. This is often when it hits home.

I enjoyed reading this book for the fact Jen does not write this book from the angle of blame or from the perspective of a victim, but from the angle of a person that has found healing, and continues to seek that healing and wholeness. The reader is encouraged to, among other steps, make peace with the parties involved, redefine our family relationships, learn how to trust again, and create and re-create our own marriage models. Grieving and reconstruction are part of the process of becoming whole.

Before we can have peaceful hearts, we must grieve our disappointments and hurts. We must give ourselves permission to let the tears flow. Perhaps we see tears as an indication of weakness or a loss of control, and we want nothing more than to be strong and self-sufficient. Understand that grief comes in waves. We can't "get over" our loss in one or two crying sessions. We may grieve for years as new experiences reveal new losses - and that's okay. When feelings of sadness overwhelm us, we need to let ourselves feel them. The only way to deal with loss is to go through it. p.32-33

The author draws on scripture and provides tangible steps to get through the pain and heartache associated with divorce. It will take time to develop the trust necessary to be successful in our most intimate relationships, but even before we reveal our heart, we can be wise by carefully selecting friends who reflect the qualities of a trustworthy person. p. 124

Generation Ex is not an easy read, but a very timely one.


Dear Amy (Formerly Dear Abby), July 10, 2004

My parents divorced when I was a baby, and my father married again immediately. He divorced my first stepmother when I was 14 and soon after remarried again. I'm in college now. My dad did everything "right" when I was little. I have fond memories of piano lessons, family dinners, school functions and special outings. I cherish all of that and am willing to give him credit for it.

However, negative comments about my mother were allowed in his home, and as I was a "daddy's girl," that had a lasting impact on my relationship with her. He made some bad decisions with issues of child support, forced me into the middle of it, and then said a lot of hurtful things. I also know that his treatment of both my mother and my first stepmother (whom I am still close to) was anything but admirable.

I know that the last issue doesn't involve me, but I'm still angry, and frankly, don't think very highly of him. We get along wonderfully, mainly because I repress my true feelings. We love each other. I just feel as though I'm expected to get over that stuff - to be a bigger person and forget it, because I've always been expected to be the "grown-up" with him.

Whenever I have made comments about how I'm feeling, he's skirted them to make himself look good. I want him to take ownership and make an apology.
- Ex-Daddy's Girl

Let me start by saying that we all want "ownership" and apologies from the people in our lives who have messed up so badly. Now I need to tell you that the kind of person who bad-mouths a mother to a daughter, involves his daughter in child support disputes and in general expects his daughter to be "the grown-up" in the relationship is not likely to "own" or apologize well. I mean, you can try, but you're not likely to get satisfaction.

Here's what you can do: Love him anyway. Not by glossing over his mistakes - and trust me, these are serious failures on his part - but by appreciating what he did well while accepting his flaws and horrible lapses in judgment, and promising yourself that you will never parent so poorly as he did.

If you can take this relationship off of the high heat, stop worrying about whether you're a current or an ex-"daddy's girl" and change your standards in terms of always having to get along "wonderfully," it will be easier to say to your father, "Dad, you blew it." And he's more likely to reply, "Yeah, kid, I did" than if you demand an ownership and an apology.

You might benefit from reading "Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain," by Jen Abbas (2004, WaterBrook Press).

(Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Radio Interview MP3

Take a listen to a radio interview I did with Mel Lawrenz, pastor of Elmbrook Church and author of Putting the Pieces Back Together.

Scared Single

Here's an article I wrote for Christian Single last year:

Scared Single
Written by Jen Abbas

This article is courtesy of Christian Single.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that a generation raised on divorce has grown up to be skittish about marriage. As a 32-year-old, never-married single, I know. I weathered two parental divorces, one at age 6 and another at 18. Like most children of divorce, I could appreciate how the divorces made me stronger, more driven, and more independent. It wasn't until my early 20s, however, that I realized how my parents' divorces made me weaker, more insecure, and too self-reliant. I was weak because I believed I had to be successful, or I wouldn't be worthy of love. I was insecure because the love I knew was fickle and fleeting, and I was forever looking for a way to make love stay. I was so independent that I never needed anyone, and as a result, no one needed me.

While I had great confidence in my professional abilities, I questioned my emotional ones. I wondered if I had what it took to make a marriage work. In fact, I wasn't even sure what a workable marriage looked like. I realized that I had bought the lie our society has swallowed hook, line, and very heavy sinker: divorce is something we get over in time. The hard truth is that we don't really come to terms with the full effect of our parents' divorce until we face the possibility of our own marriages. That epiphany terrified me.

In talking with other adult children of divorce, I discovered that I am far from being alone. There's a growing number of us who have to ask the unsettling question: Am I still single because my parents are divorced?

Of course our parents' divorce doesn’t excuse our behavior, but it does help explain it. From my conversations, several common themes surfaced.

"I Don't Want to Get Divorced, So I Just Won't Get Married"
By far the easiest way to avoid divorce is to avoid marriage. One 27-year-old, whose parents divorced when she was 2, reflected, "Statistics and experience show that marriages are unlikely to last … so it seems like it would save a lot of heartbreak not to marry at all."

While our friends outside church walls may consider living together as a foolproof way of avoiding divorce, I suspect that the rise in popularity of courtship is partially rooted in a fear of exploring a relationship without guarantees. The intentionality of courtship is attractive because it removes the insecurity of not knowing another's intentions and places secure guard rails on a very scary ride.

The reality is that anything worth pursuing is worth the risk it takes to achieve it. Fear was never God's intended motivator. Ironically, the best way to defeat our fear of love is to choose to love. Fear is based on rejection. Love is based on acceptance.

Many of us have grown up fearing love because we fear the end of love, and yet fear is the opposite of love. Fear is self-centered: what will they do? Love is other-focused: what can I do? Fear is one of Satan's greatest weapons because he knows that if we dwell on our fears, we're forfeiting our ability to both give and receive the love we yearn to experience. When our focus is on others — on loving — we're on the road to healing our wounded hearts.

"I Don't Trust My Own Instincts"
"We have found that many people misunderstand their own mating instincts and thus have very bad 'radar' for attracting and picking partners," say counselors and adult children of divorce Tom and Beverly Rodgers in their book, How to Find Mr. or Ms. Right. If our parents told us that everything was fine despite the obvious tensions lingering in our home, we may have learned to shut down our intuitive interpretation of a situation to make it compute with what we were told. Unfortunately, we don't automatically regain our ability to accurately assess our relationships.

Michael, a 36-year-old, never-married single confesses, "[The divorce] has affected my self-esteem as to whether I am relationship-material." As adults, this disconnect can show up as we misinterpret a relationship by assuming a commitment that isn't there, or fail to recognize a healthy relationship when we're in one because it isn't what we know.

In our tenacious desire to avoid what we have survived, we shy away from intimate relationships because we don't want to be hurt, and as a result, we end up hurt because we lack the kind of relational intimacy we're hard-wired by God to crave.

We can enhance our chance for relational success by surrounding ourselves with trustworthy advisors. Look for mentors — especially a couple around your parents' age — who are willing to share their wisdom and experience with you. As you consider a romantic relationship, invite your advisors to either caution or confirm your choice. Be sure to ask them why they feel the way they do, so you can use that information to make better decisions in the future or as affirmation that you did make a good choice.

"I'm Afraid to Let Anyone Get Too Close"
Recently, my mentor, Fred Stoeker, co-author of the popular Every Man's Battle series and a child of divorce, discussed with me the relatively recent phenomena of DTRs. The "Define the Relationship" talk is meant to be a way of clarifying intentions in a relationship. At their best, DTRs can help a couple understand the definition and direction of their relationship. At their worst, Stoeker says, DTRs offer preemptive rejection.

When a generation has been raised to see the worst in marriage, the natural tendency is to try to stack the relational deck to protect us from even the possibility of pain. Rather than seeing the potential for deeper friendship in the possibility of love, we run from either prospect because we can't guarantee the outcome. We hate living in limbo, so we project a "no" where maybe there's only a "not yet." And in doing so, we feel the hurt of heartache before we experience the delight of discovery, thus reliving what's become normal for us. Or as Stephanie Staal, author of The Love They Lost: Living With the Legacy of Our Parents' Divorce, writes, "We knew too much about how relationships ended before our own relationships had even started."

Even in our friendships, we may make those around us jump through hoops yet run away from any hoops presented to us. We expect others to love us unconditionally before we take away the conditions of our love. Often we're blind to the mixed messages we send. But while we cannot make anyone love us, we can let ourselves love.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. As singles hopeful of marriage, we can only receive what's offered to us today. If friendship is all that is fully offered, then that friendship is what we need to fully receive, because it may be through that friendship — and only friendship — that God can teach us what we need to learn. Our goal in life is not to avoid pain but to allow the intimacy of being fully known to reveal those parts of ourselves that need refining. As Stoeker says, "Be open to what God might have you learn from your friends, especially those of the opposite sex. Loosen the reins, and learn to enjoy where you are today."

"I'm Too Independent"
We have learned to protect ourselves, and in the process, our hearts may have become so callused that we may not know how to let others in. But our independence is counterproductive to the interdependence needed for successful relationships.

Stephanie Rossing, a marriage and family therapist and child of divorce, explains that our protective devices hinder our ability to heal and develop the relationships we ultimately desire. "We tend to, based on our family of origin experience, make inner vows. For example, 'I'll never be like my father who abandoned our family,' or 'I'll always make time for my kids,'" Rossing says. "We tend to look at our family in extremes to make vows that seem good, but in actuality, these vows are harmful because they keep us from dealing with righteous anger and pain in healthy ways."

These inner vows are based on a negative energy and judgments on others. They're a way of intellectualizing our emotions instead of experiencing them. Rossing concludes, "When we push through and allow God to surface the righteous anger and pain, we give Him the opportunity to correct our faulty hard-wiring."

We can learn to get beyond what holds us back by learning to let others rely on us and allow ourselves the freedom to rely on others. Pet ownership is a wonderful way of learning to both give and receive unconditional love. Roommates also provide the opportunity to reveal and refine our overly-independent natures.

“I Don’t Know What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like”
For us, finding a good spouse is like putting together a puzzle without the box cover as a guide. Kathryn, whose parents divorced after 31 years, relates, "I have doubts as to what kind of man to look for. I had compared men to my father, but that comparison won't do anymore."

Fumbling with the pieces of our lives, we may struggle to construct a working model of marriage. Divorce declares that there are times when we're not obligated to forgive. Divorce demonstrates to us that it's more important to be right than righteous. Divorce teaches us to fight but not to forgive. Somewhere within us, we have an idea of what our ideal marriage looks like, even if we haven't seen it in tangible form. These snapshots provide glimpses of our goals, and we've collected them, knowingly or not, as we looked with longing at the families of our friends. The Bible, books on marriage, and the families around us can provide a more healthy and realistic template for lifelong love. Learn to recognize the qualities you're looking for by writing them down. Use the list as an objective measure to determine if a date is a good match. The list also makes a convenient prayer guide for the lonely days when we long for what we lack.

Ultimately, whatever our marital status, whatever the marital status of our parents, each of us has this same charge: to take all that we are, for better or worse, and allow God to use it for His glory. We serve a God of redemption. In fact, it's His specialty, and He will stop at nothing to show us how willing He is to redeem our hurts and heal our broken hearts. As believers, we're no longer victims of our past. We're now sons and daughters of a Father who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

Related Articles:
The Single Fear Factor
Surviving Divorce
Single Truths

Blogger Beauty

Many thanks to my friend, Jared, for helping me clean up the site. No more out-of-control bullets!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Don Miller on God's Father Love

Worth a listen

Readin', Writin' and Relationships

Several years ago I received a galley for a book by a guy about my age. The book was called Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance. I thought the play on the Zen title was clever, but, to be honest, I was a little bored by the book. The author seemed to be coming at life from the opposite direction I did. (If memory serves), he was a Republican youth pastor from Texas. I had lived in Texas for a year as a new Christian and really struggled with the rejection I experienced in the churches there because I didn't know their secret handshake and specific dialect of Christianese. The gist of the book was this guy's road trip with a friend in search of deeper meaning in life. The book recorded conversations they had as they wrestled their way to a more authentic faith. I respected that, but didn't connect with them.

I admit, my bias against Texas and the church led me to dismiss much of what this guy wrote. I kept the book, though, because at the time it was sent to me, I was wrestling with a sense that I was supposed to write a book. What held me back was that I felt horribly underqualified--how could I offer anything useful when there was still so much I didn't understand? This Volkswagen book, by Don Miller, showed me that someone my age could still offer something valuable by simply asking the questions. His book was messy that way, and it read more like memoir than anything else. It encouraged me, and as a sentimental sort. I put it on my bookshelf to collect dust.

Last summer a friend asked me if I had read Blue Like Jazz. I had heard of the book, but hadn't read it. After about the bazillionth recommendation, I borrowed a copy from a friend. The tone of the book--the musings and observations, the discussions and dialogue--reminded me of the Volkswagen book. But this guy lived in Oregon, was more liberal and in his self-depreciating way, was much more approachable. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was the same guy!

It was with great interest that I learned that Don Miller was writing a book about growing up without a dad. Last week I was at Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy of the book, To Own A Dragon: Reflections on Growing Up Without a Father. I figured with the new edition of Generation Ex on the market, it wouldn't hurt to see if I could work in Don's new book.

Right off, I learned that Don's dad had abandoned him when he was kid. With that one admission, I was humbled by my early assumptions about him. Don's writing has greatly improved since his first outing, as he seems to mastered the fine line of observing and revealing. Blue Like Jazz has enjoyed great success, and I'm curious to see how this new book fares. Blue Like Jazz is the story of everyman (or woman) in their 20s/30s. To Own a Dragon has more of a niche audience, but really, it doesn't. It's more about how God wants to be our Father in the best possible sense, and in the absence (either physical or emotional) of an earthly dad, we miss out on a few important things. Don's book is a collection of musings on the lessons missed, and how his mentor, John MacMurray, has filled some of the gaps. Beyond that though, the book is about what it means to be a man, and I'd recommend it to any guy wrestling to reconcile the mixed messages he hears about manhood.

Don admits that he is writing to guys, but as a woman, so much of what he wrote about God as Father was spiritual meat for me to chew on. Just recently, I had a bit of a tiff with my dad. I'm 34 years old and the part of me that's proud of my independence can't stand the fact that there's this other part of me that feels denied because I never experienced the security of knowing my daddy would always be around, would protect me, would provide for me, would comfort me. I don't have memories of sitting in my Daddy's lap, of being held, of feeling utterly secure in his love. I hate that I need but I need nonetheless.

I reached out to Dad a few weeks ago and it was painfully clear that we just don't have that kind of relationship. I love him. He's my dad. He's done the best he could. In fact, he's been an awesome dad to my sisters. God gave him a "do-over" and he's done well. In a lot of ways, though, I don't get that do-over. He's never going to be my daddy. And I'm missing something because of that. I love God. He is my Daddy, but there's something in my hard wiring that doesn't let me connect with Him the way I think He yearns me to. I want to, I hope to, but it's just harder, I guess, to accept from the unseen what I didn't experience with the seen.

And this lack of dad, has affected my dating relationships as well. I know I want a guy to pursue me, to risk for me, to fight for me, to protect me, to provide for me. But I don't now what that looks like. This kind of guy is like the dragon in Miller's title--more fairy tale than fact. In my home, Mom was the strong one. And now I'm the strong one. Not because I want to be, but because I had to be. I want to believe that there's a guy out there who's going to see that girl in me and pursue her for what she needs rather that being intimidated by the independent woman who is strong because there wasn't a guy being strong for her. Being independent isn't all that great, and it really isn't all that godly either. I've tasted love, and I hunger for interdependence. I've seen my friend's husbands love them well, even when they were unlovable, especially when they were unlovable, and it's the most beautiful thing I can think of. I want that. I want to love that way. I think God gives us special grace to accept the shortcomings of our spouse. I want to experience that. I want to know that the one I love loves me back. Forget the giddiness of googly-eyed infatuation. I want to experience the depth of knowing and being known, of loving and being loved, of risking for something worth the risk. I want to belong to someone thrilled that I belong to him. I want to love someone who won't go away.

I spent so much of my life trying to prove that I didn't need anyone. And now I realize I chased after the wrong goal. I've always wanted to love God. Now I want to love those God loves.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Endorsement

I'm grateful for this new endorsement by Laura Petherbridge:

Jen Abbas probes deeply into the complexities associated with divorce in her exceptional resource, Generation EX: Adult Children Of Divorce and The Healing Of Our Pain. She accurately illustrates the heart wrenching issues, as well asthe hope and help available to those who desire healing. As a child ofdivorce myself, and an author and expert in divorce recovery ministry, I highly recommend this as a "must read" for pastors, counselors, and individuals who desire to understand the long-term issues related with adult children of divorce.

Laura Petherbridge

Author of When Your Marriage Dies: Answers To Questions About Separation and Divorce

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Obedience is the reward.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve experienced the return of a habit I’ve missed since my head injury. Idea generation. That’s not so say that I haven’t had a creative thought in the last two years, but rather, I haven’t been inundated with them. Pre-injury, I always had pen and paper within arm’s reach so that I could capture random thoughts that might turn into something worth writing. Things like:

Growing discomfort in my comfort.

I’m not afraid of doing the hard thing, as long as I know it’s the right thing.

Obedience is the reward.

In fact, I started this blog last year as a way of trying to rekindle that habit. I still journal most every day, but sometimes thoughts seem bigger than a conversation between God and I. Or sometimes I just want to know that someone is listening—is anyone listening? And I think maybe I blog too, because writing my book taught me to be comfortable with vulnerability, and I’m no longer afraid to be known. Not to say I’m going to post all my deep dark secrets, but if you’ve read my book, you know that I’m willing to share myself as part of the process of walking with others through better knowing themselves. But I digress…

Idea generation…huge portions of my book were written in the middle of the night when I was awakened by inspiration. On my more obedient moments, I’d get out my warm bed, walk down the hall, turn on my computer, and type ‘til the thoughts ran out. Those next mornings, I’d wake up and usually be amazed by what I wrote. Other times, I’d lean over, grab my notepad and jot a few thoughts. Those next mornings, I usually looked at my scribbles and wonder what thought I had lost.

Lately, I’ve been having more of those thoughts. And since they’ve been slower in coming, I’ve been better about jotting them down. Which brings me back to this thought:

Obedience is the reward.

A lot of conversations I’ve had with friends lately have revolved around change. For good, bad or indifferent, life is filled with change and choice. Some changes we choose—where we live, who we date, who we marry, where we work, what we do with our time. And a lot of the choices that affect us are not made by us, but for us—a layoff, our health, a breakup. So often when changes occur that we didn’t choose, the temptation is to ask why: God, why did You let this happen? But God isn’t obligated to answer our whys and some of our questions will never be answered the way we’d like. Rather, I think, He wants us to ask what: God, what do you want me to learn from this? What do you want me to do about this revelation?

As I’m becoming more willing to know and be known, to love and be loved, I’m forced to face more of my less-than-positive traits. I can be moody. I can be selfish. I can be stubborn. I don’t like these things about me, but maybe we have two chances to choose. If I snap at someone, I choose to react to my emotion rather than respond in the way that is better. But beyond that initial choice, I have a secondary choice, to reconcile or retreat. I can choose to go back to that person and apologize, or I can pretend it didn’t happen. The challenge in my life has come from my most recent encounters with God.

As a Christian, I am God’s ambassador. He has given me the responsibility of representing Him to those who don’t yet know Him. My life calling is to live in such a way that others are compelled to know Him as a result of my example. Too often, I suspect, my actions repel them from Him. So, as God reveals aspects of myself that do not reflect His nature, I have a choice. I can take the world’s “feel-good” route, and say, “I’m independent. That’s the way I am, so I’m going to embrace it. It doesn’t matter that God calls us to interdependence. Independence is more natural, so that’s what I’m going to pursue.” On the other hand, I can be humbled by humanity and submit to God’s superiority. I can come to Him broken and ask Him to bring people into my life to help me learn what isn’t natural, but is necessary. I can look for other who excel in this area and ask them to hold me accountable. I can choose the hard thing because it is the right thing. And even though I might not get any awards or accolades for doing it, I get the best prize of all, my Savior’s smile.

Obedience is the reward.


It's been several months since Generation Ex went out of print. My agent has been very patiently waiting for me to get a new proposal for him to shop around. As I shared last week, God has really been getting a hold of me and shaking me up. So last Wednesday, I made the decision to take a few days off work to let myself dive in.

When I got home that night, I had an email request from FamilyLife Today. They invited me to come down in May for a taping with Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds! Needless to say, I'm very excited, not only to have the opportunity on the program, but also to meet Elizabeth. We've emailed several times as I was writing and as she was writing. I admire her intelligence, her professionalism, and especially her family life.

That invitation was a great catalyst to get me working on my proposal. It was rather surreal, too, because my organizational skills while head-injured were rather...creative. I had a few boxes of clips and letters and different things to go through and it was like reading a history book. You know the general details, but it isn't your story. I'm utterly humbled that God used me during that time, and I'm so excited that both Generation Ex and I will have a second chance.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Making of a Christian Bestseller

Yesterday I was talking to a new author friend about two types of writers. There are the those who crank out quality work at a dizzying pace (and by this, I mean those who actually do the writing themselves, not those who hire writers to write for them) They truly have a gift of being able to quickly translate their thoughts on paper. And then there are those, like myself, whose process prods along at a slower pace. I ponder each word for the poetry of its prose. I don't only want to mean what I say, but I want to like the sound of what I say. I wish I was more like the first type of writer, and in fact, part of my desire to blog was to cultivate this type of talent. Although, from my infrequent posts, you can see I'm not always successful.

My friend Ann Byle, is part of that first group. Ann is part of my writers group, The Guild, and once again we'll be on a panel together at the Calvin Festival of Faith & Writing. She is a freelancer who amazes me with her prolific pen. And now, I'm tickled to say that Ann is the author of The Making of a Christian Bestseller. It's such a great fit for who she is and what she does best. The book is a collection of interviews with many of the today's top Christian authors (and me). One of her endorsers calls The Making of A Christian Bestseller a writers conference in print. Best of all, you don't have to take notes. If you'd like to learn more about the craft of writing and the publishing process. I highly recommend you check out Ann's book.

Btw...Chapter 39 is my favorite. :-)

Sunday, March 05, 2006