Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

 photo about_zps0e27a4da.jpg
 photo bookshelf_zpse9642860.jpg photo scribbles_zps2889a376.jpg

Monday, December 31, 2012

Who Do You Write For?

It's a question I've been struggling with a lot lately. Who am I writing for? Why do I write? How do I write to the glory of God and not just to tell a good story with some Scripture thrown in?

Ever since I've started writing, I knew I'd be writing Christian fiction. However, just *deciding* that isn't sufficient. It's easy enough to have someone confess salvation and toss in a few words about God and a couple Bible verses and have your characters go to church. Writing a clean, decent story is good and honorable and there's nothing at all the matter with it.

It's just not what I want to do.

Writing is my passion. It's what I love to do. But if I don't use this passion for the utmost glory of God, then I might as well never write another word.

As you are probably aware of, I've always admired Francine Rivers. She's one of the two or three writers whom I most long to emulate. I would encourage anyone who loves to write and who longs to do it for the glory of God to read this interview with her here.

If you don't want to go through all the material, then here are the key questions and answers I want to bring up. {None of the italicized material belongs to me. It's all the work of Sonoma Christian Home}

Q&A 1

SCH – Can you explain the difference between a “Christian writer” and a Christian who writes?

FH - There are many fine and successful writers who are Christians.  They write whatever they want to write and sometimes weave in a Christian world view.  These writers are knowledgeable about the market, what sells and what doesn’t.  Faith and Christ are not overtly presented.  Christians write in every genre.A Christian writer keeps Christ at the very center of the story.  The sole reason for writing has to do with faith and Christ and what it means to live as a follower of Jesus.  I am a Christian writer.  Without Jesus, there is no story for me to tell.  He is at the center of every part of my work.

I decided long ago that I want to be a Christian writer. At least, that's what I tell myself I want to be. When I look under the surface of my holy ambitions, I find a lot of motives that I don't exactly like to face.

I find that deep, deep down, in the nitty-gritty of my soul, I don't want to write stories to glorify God or help others find the truth of Christ. It's too hard. It takes commitment, it takes passion for the Lord, it takes time in His presence, learning from Him. To put Jesus at the center of your writing means that it revolves around Him. And I, for one, find that incredibly difficult to do.

I have these plots, I have these characters, I have these ideas and words. I don't want them messed with or messed up, but that's what God asks me to do. I struggle with God because I want to write for Him, but I can't give up the need to control the story. I want to write for the praise I get from others. I want to write what I like. I want to do what I want.

I want to write for me.

I found this bit of the interview incredibly helpful in view of what I just said.

Q&A 2
SCH - What advice would you give a new writer?

FH - Commit your work to the Lord.  Write what you need to read.  Write from the passion of your heart and soul.  Write for an audience of One – Jesus. 
I have committed my work to the Lord. Over and over, in fact. I do write what I need to read. Through puzzling with my characters, God has shown me many truths of Scripture. I do write from the passion inside me. Even if someone told me I'd never be published, I'd still put down the words the jam-cram my brain. But the last point... Ouch. I do not write for an audience of One.

I do not write for Jesus.

When I sit down to write, I focus on what will bring praise from the group who reads the pages I churn {more or less} out. My passion is to use the most vivid descriptions, the most fitting words, the keenest, rawest emotions. That's my goal when I sit down. I never even think to ask God what will please Him or what He wants me to say.

Do I write for men?

Yes. Definitely yes.

And that hurts. To see my high aspirations, my promises to God, the goal I tell Him over and over that I strive for demolished by one confession hurts. But it also helps. Admitting the problem is the first step to overcoming it. God deserves better than what I find easy.

I know it's been gloom-and-doom so far, so I will veer away from that and offer some encouragement that God has given me as I've struggled with these questions.

1. James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If you don't know how to put God in the center of your story {key struggle for me right there!}, if you don't think you know enough about the heart of God to even begin such a monumental task, if you have doubts at all about anything {writing related or not}, ask God for wisdom. He won't fault you for even the simplest questions. He won't say "I can't believe you don't understand that; it's so easy!". If you truly seek it, He will give you the wisdom you ask for.

2. This isn't going to happen overnight.

Let's face it. Most of us {don't know about any anonymous followers} are pretty young and just getting our feet wet in the whole writing thing. Most Christian authors who get published are much older than we are and much more mature in their faith. They've had years of seeking God, many more than we have. But starting now, at our age, in striving to glorify Him and to gain His wisdom and to do the very best we can will only be a blessing as we get older and wiser ourselves.

3. Don't give up.

I know that's pretty cliche. Everyone says that so much it's lost its wisdom. But truly: don't give up. There are highs and lows in everything and God doesn't get on you for the lows. There will be times when He doesn't seem to be anywhere in your story, let alone the center. There will be times {many of them, in my experience} when you wonder why you even bother. Mainstream Christian fiction sells - why not write it? There will be times when committing your work to God seems synonymous with never writing again. Satan is very, very much interested in keeping glory from God. When you put God at the center of anything, you're up against the powers and evil forces that Ephesians 6:12 talks about. Writing is no different. Thank God that He is faithful and a help in times of trouble! Run to Him when you feel overwhelmed, listen to His wisdom and let Him quiet your heart and put your frustrations and worries to rest.

And lastly

4. Use your writing as an extension of your worship of God.

It's a gift. Same as playing an instrument or having a voice for singing, a passion and ability to teach teach, serve, anything.
Writing is a gift.
God has given it to you, use it as a way to thank Him. Write to praise Him, to exalt Him, to lift His name up.
Words are powerful. Don't use them for anything less than His glory. 

Until next time,

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review: The Wednesday Letters

Since I've missed a Christmas post, a pre-Christmas post and a post-Christmas post, I feel as if it would be a step backwards to try and make up for that neglect. Instead, I shall dig into the backlog of books needing reviews and work on that instead.

I'm also trying out a new, less intense form of book reviews. Like it or lump it, I guess.

2 out of 5
Recommended for: I would not personally recommend this book
Categories: Christian fiction, one-time reads, book club selection

Their story begins with one letter on their wedding night, a letter from the groom, promising to write his bride every week—for as long they both shall live. Thirty-nine years later, Jack and Laurel Cooper die in each other’s arms. And when their grown children return to the family B&B to arrange the funeral, they discover thousands of letters.The letters they read tell of surprising joys and sorrows. They also hint at a shocking family secret—and ultimately force the children to confront a life-changing moment of truth… {From amazon}

Although and intriguing premise {made all the more intriguing by an actual letter {in an envelope!} on the inside of the back cover}, I felt that this book didn't live up to its synopsis. Giving a plot with as much potential as this one inherently possessed to an author like Jason Wright is like giving me a royal flush in poker and expecting me, who understands nothing of the game, to know what to do with it.

I'm not saying that Jason Wright is a bad writer. He's actually quite witty and funny. The actual letters that Jack wrote to Laurel were the best part of the book. Jack's sense of humor was delightful. But the remaining plot was packed with twists and turns and surprises that were just mishandled. 

The characters weren't fully developed and their emotions weren't fully understood. The book was just too short and far too ambitious suspense-wise to allow the reader to connect with anyone. Not only that, but the twists and turns themselves weren't very clear or believable. I didn't understand how a smart girl like Raine couldn't understand the things that were right under her nose and why she was determined to marry a man that she herself knew she didn't really care for. It just didn't add up. 
The jumbled explanations as to Malcolm's past also came off as rather vague and unrealistic along with the other events that led up to the awkwardly handled graveside confrontation. 
The tell-all conversation at the end of the book was Nancy Drew-esque and the letter on the back cover was the finishing disappointment, being neither what you expected nor what you wanted.

Till next time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Runway

{new url:}

It's a crying shame, really it is, that I have such a pretty blog now and no time to post on it.

Anyway, my Christmas shopping is done, Done, DONE and now all I have to do is wrap the carefully chosen items and cross my fingers that they'll be received with favor.

Good feeling is officially gone again...

In other news, after nearly two hours (or maybe it was more than two...) I finally stumbled across my Christmas top at

They have some of the cutest clothing ever and I find their fashion selections varied and unique. (I know you're probably banging your head against the wall and saying "this isn't supposed to be a fashion blog!!!"). I always go there for my Christmas outfit and this year's selection is pictured below.


In the interests of modesty, of course, I will wear a t-shirt beneath it instead of a black cami. Membership in Group #2 must be preserved! 

Merry six days before Christmas!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Empty Me {Part 2)

{New url:}

{Missed Part 1? Click here}

The greatest part of the simple truth God graciously hit me over the head with was that I need to be empty when I came before Him.

Before, I’d been caught up trying to mold the time into what I thought it should be, directing the minutes, struggling to understand, to find the wisdom on my own, all the while leaving God out, my mind overcrowded with three hundred ninety-eight other things I needed to do or wanted to learn and never realizing this very simple truth:

Only when we’re empty can we be filled.

Think about a cup.

If we bring it to the pitcher full, where is the new liquid going to go?

Likewise, when we come before God full of our own expectations and ideas of what we need to learn, what He needs to fill us with, what we think will prosper us best, there is no room for Him to pour His wisdom into our proud and domineering hearts.

Accordingly, if we bring a cup to the pitcher half-full, we will only come away with half of what we could have received.

God is so faithful and so loving! He will still pour Himself into our half-filled cups, but His wisdom will be diluted with our ideas and mingled with our expectations and we will receive, by our own faults, a watered down version of what we could have gotten.

But if we bring a cup empty, if we bring our hearts empty, with no demands, no clamoring, no proud, self-sufficient wisdom, admitting that we know absolutely nothing when compared with Him, then we will come away full to the brim with His purest wisdom. If we leave the space open and come to listen and be filled, He will not disappoint and our cups will overflow.

This is what He taught. To Martha, whose cup was overflowing with the things she felt needed to be done. To Mary, who chose the one thing that was needful. And to all of us, who struggle and long to know His heart.

God wants us to be empty when we come to Him. In humility, we must acknowledge that we, with our broken, battered, empty hearts, can bring nothing to measure up to to Him. We can contribute nothing. The foolishness of God is wiser than our wisdom, and the weakness of God is greater than our strength. {1 Corinthians 1:25 {slightly revised}} We must come to learn of Him, to have our empty, worldly, foolish wisdom overcome with His truth, because, as Peter put it, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” {John 6:68}

So come before the Lord with an empty heart and ask only for it to be filled. Don’t tell Him what you expect to hear; don’t outline His territory. You are the student, not the teacher, so let Him teach! He knows all things; trust that He will give you what you need when and only when you need it. Put aside your “wisdom” and your “agenda” and let Him show you the truths you’ve been missing. He is omniscient. What are you? Just let Him speak through His word. God doesn’t need you to try and figure it all out by yourself. He doesn’t need you to teach yourself. He knows it all backward and forward, so why avoid His wisdom? He doesn’t need you to explain it.

That’s His job.

All He asks is that we give Him the time to speak to our hearts. The time to fill us with all the knowledge and wisdom and grace that He longs to shower upon us. And you may not come away with an earth-shattering, mind-blowing truth every day. Don’t feel as if the time was worthless or less fulfilling because of that. Sometimes it’s just in the sitting and reading where you are encouraged, blessed and uplifted. God knows what you need to hear each day. Even if you think you needed something else, trust that what He gives you will be sufficient. 
He will tell you everything you need to know if you will sit and listen.

Empty and willing to hear.

And after you hear, willing to apply and obey.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Empty Me {Part 1}

{New url: Please replace Thanks!
Don't understand? Click here.}

{from photobucket}

I know many of you are under the impression that I didn’t post much at all during November due to NaNoWriMo and the 50,000 words I committed to getting down on paper.

Actually, that’s not true at all.

Though Nano did play a very tiny role in my lack of postage, I had plenty of time to spare. The real reason why I didn’t post in November was because I was really, really struggling in my relationship with God.

My quiet times, to put it bluntly, were complete jokes.

I am not a morning person, so when the alarm goes off it’s not my friend. My conscience would niggle at me that I should get up for once and spend more than ten minutes with God, but I would end up juggling my Bible around my cereal bowl {again} and trying not to get the pages splattered with milk. Does it work? All I can say is: do not try this at home {or anywhere else, for that matter}.

I knew I was off on the wrong track, but I couldn’t seem to get back on the right one. I couldn’t muster the interest to get up for another session with my Bible where I would read the same things I’d already read over and over and over again and try to get something new out of the verses I had practically memorized. There was nothing there, I told myself. I just couldn’t find the wisdom I needed and the answers I longed for and the earth-shattering meanings that I felt surely everyone else was getting.

You see, I’ve always approached a quiet time from the absolute wrong direction.

I would come with expectations that every day I needed to find a new inspiration, a hidden meaning, a deep truth that I had never before realized existed between Genesis and Revelations. I struggled to find a meaningful way to study the Bible. I tried books and devotionals and reading through the entire sixty-six books in a year.
I simply couldn’t find the right way to study. I couldn’t find the best way to learn. I didn’t know how to dig for wisdom and knowledge and understanding.

Needless to say, after almost nineteen years of trying, I was beginning to feel that it was hopeless. I just wasn’t good at reading the Bible.

On Sunday, I was talking with a wonderful friend on the phone for two hours and during that time we both unburdened a lot of what had been on our minds. We discussed our frustrations and our problems and shared each other’s burdens. I told her about my struggle to find meaning in God’s word and how I no longer even felt like getting up to read it. She offered some advice and we prayed together and then hung up.

Here I will make a confession: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t stop worrying at a problem until I’ve either got the answer or something that will suffice as an answer for the time being. Consequently, I kept turning over and over in my mind what I had been doing with my quiet time and what wasn’t working. And suddenly God opened up my eyes and I received from Him a very simple truth.

Now bear with me here, because this is going to sound very, very “duh”. It’s one of those things about God that you struggle and struggle with and then finally the answer comes out a clear blue sky and you sit back and think “why have I never thought of this before?!”

I said to God “if I give You time in the morning, if I get up at a certain time and give You this certain amount of time, will You promise to show me the things I want to know?”

Right then, I saw for the first time what I had been missing in my quiet times for nineteen years {okay, it’s more like fourteen or fifteen. I couldn’t read until I was four or five}.

All these years I’ve been bringing my expectations to the table, telling God “okay, we’re going to try this and see if it opens up my eyes to the amazing things in Your Word”.

All these years I’ve been telling Him how the quiet time will be run, how much time we have, what needs to get done {ie, this much time to read these chapters, then I’ve got to review this chapter I memorized and then I’ve got to memorize a new verse from over here in this chapter} so that I will be sure to have a fulfilled, well-rounded time with Him.

 I obsessed over finding the meanings to verses and was always disappointed when they meant exactly what I thought they did and that I already knew what I had just discovered.

I’d get frustrated, saying “God! I’m giving you this time in the mornings, will You step up to the plate and give me the wisdom I need?”

I’ve been running my quiet times like a person who asks a really important question and then cuts off the reply before it starts.

I’ve strangled God’s voice by rushing to get everything I think will help me grow into my time allowance before I have to move on to other things. I wanted God’s wisdom, but I wasn’t willing to give Him the time to give it to me!

I’ve been like Martha. Too busy thinking about the chicken in the pot and the unswept floor, the problems of the world, the problems with me and the need for everything to be perfect instead of settling down at the feet of my Savior {who knows all things} and simply listening to Him tell me what I need to do.

I realized that it’s not about what I bring to the quiet time. I can bring nothing of value, nothing of wisdom, nothing that will contribute anything worthwhile except a heart ready to be taught. And God doesn’t want me to come prepared with all the answers. He doesn’t want me to come with an agenda. He doesn’t want me to come with anything but a willingness to learn. God wants me to just come as I am; lost and imperfect and very greatly in need of wisdom.

He wants me to come empty, humbly admitting that I know nothing, and ready to be filled.

To be continued…

'Til next time!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


New URL: (please replace with this new url. Thanks!)

I've been contemplating this for a while now and have finally decided that I need to tell you all a rather big secret. 

I am not really named JocelynRose and there's no one named Jamie in my family.

I'm actually one person in and of myself and, for several reasons I have decided that it's for the best that all of you, my dear followers, know me for who I really am.

My name is Elizabeth and I'm 19 and though Jamie and JocelynRose played their parts admirably as the dual sides of my personality, it's become too difficult to split their posts and decide who gets what. It's been fun - awesome really - and the idea is good, but the main reason I'm doing this is because I fully intend to be published someday and it's best not to have more than one personality out in the internet world, blogwise. 

It makes me sad to lose the fun of Jamie's hyperactive nature and JR's more staid personality, but really, I'm not losing them at all. It's who I am and I hope that you can have as much fun with me as you had with JocelynRose and Jamie. 

I resolve with this change to blog more and I sincerely hope that you will all continue in the adventure with me!

Until next time!