Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shaken Cover Reveal and Release Date

After years of working on this project, I am very excited to announce that it's almost a reality! Shaken, book 1 in the Heart of a Warrior series, hits shelves and e-readers on February 4, 2014.

Shaken is the story of a Kaylan Richards, a young woman who gives up her childhood dreams for a calling to go to Haiti. After a few short weeks, she falls in love with the people, but then the earthquake strikes. Left to pick up pieces of broken lives, Kaylan wrestles with the goodness of God as she returns home to Alabama. But she never counted on Navy SEAL, Nick Carmichael. Can Nick show Kaylan the God who never abandoned her or will the earthquake shake even the most rooted faith?

I can't wait to share the story of Kaylan and Nick, a story of brokenness, hope, and love. And you may even discover that I'm a bit of a closet romantic.

You can pre-order now on Amazon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Problem with Singleness and Why the Label is Stupid

"Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24

I swore off dating books when I was 16. I won't touch one and and I definitely don't recommend them. Why? Because without fail, all of them push a particular opinion or method of doing things. So, I've been thinking a lot about culture and labels and what the Bible has to say about different seasons of life, and I gotta be honest, this label that we call "singleness" is pretty stupid.

When asked to describe myself during an ice breaker in a new group of people, I never, not once, think to introduce myself as single. Instead, I think in terms of roles I play - daughter, big sister, friend, granddaughter, niece, cousin, employee, volunteer. Being "single" is not a ROLE I play but a cultural LABEL assigned to me, and I refuse to utilize it.

I think we have treated singleness all wrong. Think about it: our grandparents often married right out of high school. Our parents, right out of college. And my generation? Well, we seem to marry later and later. You can argue good, bad, or indifferent, but I'm going to leave that debate alone. The point is, the church had to figure out where to put this growing group of not married people, so we slapped the "single" label on them and then started tip-toeing around them, unsure what to do or how to teach this new group.

I've gotta be honest...this singleness label, if we aren't careful, makes this life stage very much about "ME." And our singles groups in church become meat markets or support groups instead of discipleship opportunities.

Let's be real. The Bible doesn't really specify the difference in how you are to act if you are single as opposed to how you are to act if you are married (besides defining those roles). It does call us to pursue holiness. It doesn't give us a list of what to do/not do when we are dating. But it does tell us what purity looks like and the characteristics of a godly man or woman. Bottom line: the Bible calls believers to BE FAITHFUL. Period. No room for debate. It may look different depending on your season of life, but the call is the same.

See, singleness, when not approached correctly makes this season focused on waiting and wondering. But that is all wrong. "Single" and "married" are labels. Daughter, sister, wife, mom those are roles we are called to fill that focus on a relationship instead of an individual. When we approach those roles correctly, we are focused on impacting and loving others for the kingdom, not waiting on prince charming to ride through. Right now, I define myself as a young adult with an ability to reach my generation because I understand them. When I get married, my new label of "married" doesn't change that God has called me to be faithful. My new ROLE as a wife and eventually a mom will redefine what being faithful looks like.

Don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to getting married and raising a family. Cannot wait. But clearly the Lord and I have a different time table, and that is totally fine. God wired us to be relational, with him first and then with others. No matter my season of life, I want to build those relationships instead of focusing on the "lack" of a significant other. Just as a side note, faithfulness doesn't guarantee marriage. Instead, it's an overflow of a heart set on eternity that recognizes that Jesus is enough, even if you never walk the aisle or say "I do."

Here's a message to all the ladies out there. Get up off your butt. Quit waiting, and jump in the game. BE FAITHFUL. You have huge opportunities right now to go, do, and be that you may never have again. Make the most of them. Years ago, the guy would come calling on the girl in her sitting room and ask about the weather and her family. He'd wait a few months, approach her dad, and then marry her. But her life revolved around waiting for him to call. While I think we have lost a lot of the beauty of pursuit by the man as God intended, there is something to be said for girls not waiting around. Ladies, may he find you running hard in pursuit of Christ, not sitting around twiddling your thumbs and wondering when he is coming.

And guys, find a girl who is running after Jesus with all her heart, and don't be intimidated by that! If you aren't where she is at, quit moaning or feeling inferior. Man up, grow up, and catch up. If she is running that hard after Christ, then be a man who desires to run right next to her if not slightly in front of her. You are fully capable! Stop thinking you can't, and dive all into your relationship with Jesus. Let him make you the man you need to be, not just for her, but for His glory.

Singleness is a societal, cultural label that is just very stupid to me. I don't want this season to be about ME. Single or married, I want to be defined by my role in the relationships in my life and how well I am loving others and pointing them to Jesus. No matter my marital status, I want to be faithful. If you are in this season, dive in with me and let's run together.

I realize there are a lot of layers to this topic. Feel free to chime in. This is solely based on conversations I've had in the past few months. End of soap box.