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Posts tagged ‘Beyond I Do’

Fighting to Forgive by Jennifer Slattery

headshot2013It was a beautiful spring day. Praise music drifted from my car speakers, and I didn’t have a care on my mind…until I stepped from the vehicle. Standing with my hand on the gas hose, my thoughts took a wayward, and very unexpected turn. Out of nowhere, a memory resurfaced, bringing with it a surge of anger.

Dazed, I finished filling my tank and tried to make sense of the situation. I’d forgiven this person long ago. Lord, don’t you remember all the prayers I sent out? Don’t you remember the tears I shed? Don’t you remember my surrender?

At first I felt defeated. Maybe my forgiveness hadn’t been genuine. So I poured my heart out to God once again, asking Him to remove this sudden surge of anger, committing myself, yet again, put the “offense” and offender behind me.

Since then, I’ve learned forgiveness isn’t always a one-time event. Nor does it always begin with emotion. Rather, it begins with a decision to forgive, a teeth-gritting commitment followed by a desperate cry to God for help. Then, as we continue to draw near to Him, surrendering our hurt, angry, and bitter thoughts, He begins to align our feelings to match our commitment.

But while God’s working to bring us wholeness and freedom, our adversary the devil’s devising counter measures to keep us in bondage and isolation. The last thing Satan wants is unity, but he probably won’t attack us when we’re in the middle of prayer. No, he’ll wait until we’re caught up in life to bombard us because then, just maybe we’ll be surprised enough to give in.

Satan is a thief and destroyer. He wants to rob us of your joy, victory, and peace. He wants to destroy us and our family. (John 10:10) The minute we take a step toward healing and wholeness, Satan begins plotting ways to steal it from us.

But here’s the good news. If we are in Christ, Satan has absolutely no power or authority over us. Though he wants to destroy us, Christ, who defeated Satan on the cross, came to give us life.

Each day, we have a choice to grab one or the other. We grab onto life by drawing near to Christ in surrendered obedience, regardless how we feel. He takes care of the rest.

James 4:7-8 is one of my favorite verses, one I claim as a promise. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

About the Author:

Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it at Amazon in the link below as well as CBD.

Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

BeyondIDocoverAbout Beyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage … it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Be sure to read Inner Source’s interview with heroine, Ainsley Meadows, and with her author, Jennifer Slattery.

Author Interview: Jennifer Slattery

headshot2013Today, we welcome Jennifer Slattery, the author of the contemporary romance, Beyond I Do. Jennifer writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it at Amazon in the link below as well as CBD.

Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. 

Jennifer, I’ve known you professionally for a few years, and I love your heart for writers, but my first question is what type of stories do you feel God has placed upon your heart to write?

Hi, Fay! Thanks so much for having me on your site! I write what I like to term “missional” romance, which is romance with a strong missional or outreach focus. This stems largely from my heart for the nonbeliever and for seeing Christians reach out to those in desperate need of God’s love. My books, I hope, reach both audiences. J

In Beyond I Do, you do what I love to see done with contemporary romance. You bring in issues that aren’t simply all about the romance. Yes, the issues are connected, but you take the story deeper. Would you explain the issues you explore in the story?

Thanks, Fay! Beyond I Do centers largely on the issue of homelessness and the believer’s call to care for the poor. I hope it expels some of the myths regarding homelessness by showing readers alcoholics aren’t the only people living on the streets. Many women and children do as well.

The novel also touches on something I believe very strongly and that’s that every believer has a calling. For some, that may mean writing or teaching or perhaps serving in a third-world country. For others, like my daughter, their calling may mean reaching out the outcast or hurting close to home. But I believe Ephesians 2:10 teaches that each one of us are created to great things—things God planned well before we took our first breath. We’ll never feel fulfilled and at peace until we surrender to that which God created us to do.

Your heroine is a child of a broken marriage, and she suffered because of it. I understand the authenticity of the plot because I have lived it—almost exactly. I hope you don’t mind if I ask how you were able to portray a grown child’s pain of divorce so vividly.

Wow, Fay, your statement caught me off guard and quite honestly, brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the pain you must have experienced. And I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure if I know the answer to your question, except to say, I became so completely consumed with Ainsley’s perspective as I wrote it, that I literally felt her pain.

I have to say that I have come to learn that if I could change my childhood, I wouldn’t dare. From it, God brought me to a saving knowledge of His love, and every bit of struggle was well worth it. What is one of the main scriptures that you used to bring into the theme of the story and why that verse?

I love John 12:24, and really felt it explained Ainsley’s journey. The verse says: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

When we first meet Ainsley, she’s delivering items to a sick friend-of-a-friend who lives in a dangerous part of Kansas City, Missouri. This frightens her as she’s spent much of her life doing what was safe and predictable. But what frightens her more is when she begins to sense God calling her to step away from her carefully planned and secure life to accept the adventure He has planned for her.

So, in essence, God’s calling her to die to the life she has planned and those things she has been clinging to—her efforts at attaining future security. Because those are the very things keeping her from the abundant life He has planned for her. But when she finally surrenders, her life begins to produce such beautiful fruit! Fruit within her and in the lives of others.

What else is on the horizon for you? Any new projects? If so, we’d love to hear about them.

Absolutely! First, I’m hoping this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Ainsley and her mother. I’ve pitched two sequels for Beyond I Do to my editor and am awaiting their yay or nay. In the meantime, I have a second novel scheduled to release in 2015 titled When Dawn Breaks.

Here’s the back cover copy:

As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution forces her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. He’s dealing with his own issues, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?

BeyondIDocoverMore About Beyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage … it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Be sure to read Inner Source’s interview with heroine, Ainsley Meadows.

Character Interview: Ainsley Meadows from Jennifer Slattery’s Beyond I Do

BeyondIDocoverToday’s guest is Ainsley Meadows the heroine from Jennifer Slattery’s contemporary romance novel, Beyond I Do.

Ainsley, we’d love to hear a little about you, where you live, what you do for a living?

Hi, Fay! I’m a pharmaceutical representative, and I live in a wonderful, older neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri, filled with old growth trees that cover the ground in the deepest hues of red and orange in the fall.

You’re engaged to a man you’ve been dating for five years, and yet, from what I’ve read, it appears you may be having second thoughts. Would you care to tell the reader why?

(deep sigh) Um, I guess. I mean, everyone’s going to find out soon enough, right? If they read the book anyway. Richard and I have been dating for a long time, and he’s… He’s a really great guy. A hard worker, focused, goal-oriented. And he’s super smart. But to be honest, I never asked God what He thought—about us dating or about our potential marriage. It might seem a bit late to start praying now, but…

To be honest, I feel like God’s really doing a lot of shifting in my heart, my life, my world. It started a couple weeks before chapter one. My pastor gave a sermon on being God’s hands and feet, saying we can’t do that if we stay in the church pews. Then he said something that really hit me. He said if we didn’t know any poor people, then we needed to widen our circle. I knew God was speaking to me through the words of my pastor, only I didn’t know what He meant. So I determined to find out! I began asking God to use me in whatever way He saw fit. I had no idea how life-changing that type of prayer could be!

You have some parent issues, too. I’d love to hear about those, and I’d like to know what you would say to grown children who look back on their childhoods and realize their parents (or a parent) made a disaster out of it? How would you suggest they deal with their parents and with the unhappy past they had?

Honestly, I’m not sure I have the answer to those questions. Oh, I know the appropriate, Christian answer: love and forgive. But sometimes that’s hard to do, you know? Especially if the person you’re trying to love continues to hurt you. Then it gets complicated. I guess the only thing I can say—the only thing I know to do—is keep turning to God in prayer.

I think that’s an excellent answer. Sometimes we use God as a last option instead of the only option. Your job as a pharmaceutical salesperson seemed to trouble you quite a bit. I believe that I know why because you hinted at it with your financè and his profession. He really doesn’t have what his patients need. Am I right about that, and would you care to elaborate?

Well, there are many reasons I find my job difficult, part of which is because I’m really not salesperson material. The stiff, business attire, days filled with meetings… I’d much rather stay home in jeans and a big ol’ soft, baggy t-shirt. But then, that kind of lifestyle doesn’t pay the bills, so…

Another perhaps deeper reason, is that I feel unsettled about the whole thing and like God is calling me to something else. If only I knew what that something is!

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We’ve talked about the your engagement, about your past and your parents and about your job. How would you say Romans 8:28 fits into your life?

You know, I’m still seeing this unfold, Fay. I’d say for sure the pain I experienced as a child has impacted who I am today, and I believe for the better. When I encountered that young boy and his beaten down mother in chapter one, I felt as if my heart was breaking! Looking into the boy’s eyes, I felt an instant connection, as if I could truly feel his sadness. I felt this so deeply, I knew I had to do something. I’m not so sure I would’ve empathized so deeply if I hadn’t known that deep sadness myself.

So I guess that makes the pain I experienced and the scars it created beautiful, doesn’t it?

I’d also say, if I hadn’t felt so alone as a child, I might not have connected so deeply with Deborah Eldridge, my former third grade teacher and the woman who not only introduced me to Christ but has remained my spiritual mentor to this day. So I suppose I have my parents to thank for my salvation. Wow. That’s a crazy thought.

Thank you so much, Ainsley, for visiting with us and for sharing your heart on the matters that encompass your story. I look forward to talking with your author, Jennifer Slattery, on Wednesday.

More About Beyond I Do:

Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Marriage … it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.

Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

headshot2013About the Author:

Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it at Amazon in the link above as well as CBD.  

Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.