Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cinderella's Influence

Julie Lessman is my guest today and her Cinderella story is one for all of us.

Cinderella's Influence

My journey as an author actually came LONG before my journey with God. It happened the moment I read Gone With the Wind at the age of twelve. The instant that Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked. 

Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” 

Now, I have to be honest with you—up until that moment, I had never seriously considered writing a book. But the pull was so strong I started writing and ended up selling the book to Revell. 

Happily ever after, right?

My journey to God? Not so pretty. I was a twenty-three-year-old hardnosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of thirteen kids. Suffice it to say I was pretty angry at God. 

According to the world’s standards, I had everything going for me—a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment, and acing an advanced writing course at Washington University. 

But I wasn’t happy. I felt like Peggy Lee singing, “Is that all there is?” One day at work, this annoying gal approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid, and had no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. 

When she and I were alone, I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit stronger back then) makes you so happy all the time?” She said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.” Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself. At first.

I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don’t remember now if it was a week or a month, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh?

Since then, my life has been a journey of “joy,” because EVERYTHING with God at the center is joy! 

He is the one who takes us on this amazing journey, which is really just a U-turn to lead us back to Him
                          in a deeper, 
                                                 more passionate way than ever before. 

Through God’s grace, I’ve encountered so many “significant” things during my publication journey: the “good” things I did to get published, all the “bad” things I did, and all the “really ugly” things to avoid.

For me, in my life and my writing, God’s close and intimate presence is as natural as breathing. I think of Michael W. Smith's song, Breathe –“This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me.” 

Jesus Christ transformed me, a hard, cynical agnostic into a person of joy and hope and love. This is a story I never tire of telling, and hope to do so in all the books I am privileged to write. You might say the book series, The Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change are my love letters to a God. He whose love took me from the dark into His glorious light. 

I hope and pray they bring Him—the One Who is the true passion in my life—the glory He so richly deserves.

Julie Lessman

“Passion with a Purpose"
Daughters of Boston Series
A Passion Most Pure--ACFW Debut Book of the Year, Holt Medallion Merit  
A Passion Redeemed--Inspirational Reader’s Choice Finalist
A Passion Denied--Borders Best: Your Favorite Fiction
Winds of Change Series
A Hope Undaunted--Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction 2010  
Family Fiction magazine 2011 and 2012 Readers Choice Awards
#1 Romance Author of the Year, #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year, 
#3 Series of the Year,  #3 Author of the Year, # 4 Novel of the Year

Thank you Julie for joining us this weekend!

This post has been brought to you by the one-word: TruePassion

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