Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Guest author today - Nan Jones

I am pleased to be able to have a guest author on my blog today. Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her devotional blog, Morning Glory, has become a place of community for Christians to find encouragement in God’s Word and comfort in His Presence. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire. Nan has also had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When Nan is not writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence.

Nan was gracious enough to answer a few questions about herself to help us all get to know her better.


Tell us something about yourself

I live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina (Ashe County) about 10 minutes from Virginia and about 20 minutes from Tennessee. My home is a farmhouse built in 1895 with a much loved wrap-around porch, complete with rocking chairs and porch swing, that replenishes my spirit when I feel worn. I have three adult children in their late 20s and one grandchild. Talk about joy! I love the dynamics that occur in a parent-adult child relationship. Watching the fruit of my labor sweeten the world around them is a delight of my heart. My simple country home wouldn't be complete without my Mastiff, Blue - a 125 lb. hunk of love and two country cats. When I'm not writing or preparing messages for my speaking ministry, you'll find me gardening, crocheting, reading or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.

Tell us how you got started writing.

As a child I was an avid reader and have always enjoyed the power of story. I am also an artist. Around age 10 or so, I realized that I could put my two passions together and paint with my words. That's when I fell in love with words! I wrote poems and short stories. I made designs with random words. I experimented with rhythms created by different sequences of words. This love of words seemed to ooze out of me. When I was 12 I made a list of my life goals. Writing a book was number one.

Throughout my life, writing was a hobby. I used my talent to help with church newsletters. I wrote poems and made cards as gifts. Occasionally I'd write a small piece for publication in an anthology, but writing was still something I did, not something I was. About five years ago my husband and I went through an extensive period of unemployment. It was at that time that my husband encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing full-time. And I did. I created my blog, Morning Glory, began networking with other writers and professionals in the industry, and studied the craft of writing diligently. I still do.

Who was the first author who inspired you to write?

Like most writers I have many favorites, but I'll tell you about my all-time favorite—an author you may never have heard of. Her name is Margaret Jensen. Margaret died several years ago at the age of 91. She was of Norwegian descent. Her father was a missionary in remote parts of Canada in the early 1900s. Margaret's books are filled with stories of faith and God's miraculous provision throughout her lifetime. She wrote as if the reader were sitting with her sharing a cup of coffee and conversation. That's my goal in writing.

Margaret was also a pastor's wife who endured some intense battles for the Kingdom. In her book, The Sun is Shining on The Other Side, she tells the story of one such pastorate. We had just gone through our first nightmare in ministry. As I read her words I cried. I realized that somewhere, somehow, someone knew what I was going through! I wrote her a 10 page letter to which she replied, "Are you a writer? You must be a writer!" God used her to confirm my desires. He also used Margaret to plant the seed for
The Perils of a Pastor's Wife.

What inspired The Perils of a Pastor's Wife?

I served as a pastor's wife for 31 years. These were some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years of my life. These years were also some of the most trying—not necessarily because of the people, but because of the spiritual battle that raged. Our lives could be turned upside down as quickly as the wind changes in a storm. A pastor's wife knows what it is to feel completely alone in the middle of a crowd. We are known to have trust issues—wondering who we can really be ourselves with and share our hearts with when we're troubled. Rejection is another deep-seeded hurt that most folks don't think about when they consider the lives of pastors and their wives. We love our church people like they are family. When we are asked to leave or voted out because of the annual confidence vote it's like going through a divorce. The pain is unbearable. But most people don't think about that. I knew that other pastors' wives needed to know that they were not alone in their struggles and that someone understood what they were going through.

The Lord has taught me so much through this journey of service to Him—lessons of His faithfulness, lessons of His pleasure in obedient hearts, and lessons of finding shelter beneath the shadow of His Wing. I am so thankful He asked me to share this with His girls.

What was the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing this book?

The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is written with raw, authentic emotion because I want the reader to realize that I too, have experienced exactly what she has. Reliving the pain was difficult, but necessary to make a difference in the lives of others.

What do you want your readers to gain by reading your book?

My heart's cry is that the pastor's wife will realize she is not alone—that someone understands how she feels. I want her to walk away from this book with renewed confidence in her calling, with healing deep in her wounded spirit, and the realization that in her darkest moments God was with her—He is faithful.

Tell us about a moment when something one of your readers said or wrote gave you pause, inspired you to think about your work in a different way.

When I write, I close my eyes and "experience" what I'm writing about—the sights, the sounds, smells. I love to paint with my words. Several months ago I received an email from a woman that I don't know, but she came across my blog online. Betty lost her sight 20 years ago. Before that, she told me that her greatest joy was to go out into nature and worship the Lord because of the beauty of His creation. Since her blindness she could no longer do that. She could worship Him in church and through her life, but she no longer had the joy of being mesmerized by His creation. Betty told me that through my blog—the painting of my words—she has been transported back to the time of her sight and the wonders of her Creator. I cried when I read her words. I was amazed—humbled that the Lord would use me in such a remarkable way. I'm still amazed. And thankful. Very thankful.

What events in your personal life have most impacted your writing, and how?

I have suffered much loss in my life. My mom died when I was 20, changing my life forever. My brother committed suicide 12 years ago; 6 weeks later my dad was diagnosed with leukemia and succumbed to the cancer 7 months after this. I've journeyed through the heartbreak of a prodigal child and held another in my arms on the way to the hospital because depression consumed him and he no longer wanted to live. In and out, and in-between all of this were the many trials of ministry—the gut-wrenching pain of rejection that comes when the "control people" of a congregation determine it's time for the pastor and his family to leave because change is happening and they don't like it. 

There have been times that I was so overcome with sorrow that I could no longer pray. All I could do was speak the Name of Jesus. Over and over again, "Jesus." He drew near to me in response to my cry and taught me to open my eyes to see Him and my ears to hear His sweet whispers of love. I learned to rest in His Presence—just being. Not striving. Not running my mouth. Just basking in His love. These are the things I write about and the things I teach about when I speak at events.


Would you like to tell us about your next book?

Yes, I'd love to. I'm working on another non-fiction piece tentatively called SEEING BEYOND THE VEIL: Finding the Nearness of God When You Need Him the Most. It's all about learning to look for the evidence of God in our lives. You know, we tend to think that when we're going through a difficult time God has abandoned us. Through my own sorrows I've learned deep in my knower that during my darkest moments, that's when the Lord is closest—He is drawn to our pain. But I must open my eyes to see Him. That's the veil I'm referring to, not the veil in the temple that separated God's people from Him—the one that was torn in two when Jesus died. No, I'm referring to the veil that separates our physical world from the spiritual world. The Lord promised to be with us always, but we often fail to see Him, especially when we need Him the most. Seeing Beyond the Veil will teach the reader how to open her eyes to see Him, and in the seeing, the child of God learns the very essence of who He is. I've recently started a facebook community page by the same name, Seeing Beyond the Veil and would love for your readers to visit. I get carried away when I speak about this because I love to share lessons learned, so I'm sorry I rambled. Suffice it to say that I'm very excited about sharing what the Lord has shown me about His faithfulness and His Presence surrounding us always. There will be a bible study for small groups by the same name to follow, so stay tuned.
If you want to visit, follow, or simply find out more about Nan, please see the sites below:


· Website: www.NanJones.com
· Blog: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/
· Facebook Community Page: https://www.facebook.com/SeeingBeyondTheVeil
· Twitter: @NanJonesAuthor
· Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nantjones/
· Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NanJonesAuthor/posts
· Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/-nan-jones
· LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/nan-jones
· YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/nanjonesauthor


Here is an excerpt from her book The Perils of a Pastor's Wife:

ONLY GOD KNEW where my husband was. I had run from the business meeting before its completion. Tempers flared. Tongues were unleashed, and nearly three years of fruitful ministry were all but destroyed. My heart beat madly within my chest, fighting desperately not to break 
from the pain of rejection. Angry tears stung my cheeks as I bolted from the sanctuary. I didn’t know if I could continue in this thing called ministry. God was asking too much of me.

My husband, David, and I had been ministering in the small rural church for three years. Under his leadership and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the church had experienced exponential growth. God’s mercy and grace flowed into the lives of our people. Church had become a place of joy, 
restoration, and refuge.

Then evil reared its ugly head.


Click on the cover for more information.

You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com or her blog, Morning Glory: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/. Nan has also created a facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at nan@jubilantlight.com.

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