Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Author Asks "Where Does God Fit In?"

I am delighted to host some authors on my blog periodically over the next few weeks. I have some commitments that will keep me from reviewing books at my normal pace, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce you to some newer, as well as some more established, authors that I've come into contact with through ACFW. Some of them will be sharing about their writing journey and the writing process, so if you are feeling the "hankering" to write, as we say in the South, you will find these to be encouraging and instructive. And if you simply enjoy reading, a peek behind the scenes and into the mind of an author will just enhance your experience!

Today I welcome Staci Stallings. She tells the background of her recent book,Deep in the Heart which is free today on Amazon Kindle (details at the end of the post).
Where Does God Fit In?
Behind the Story: Deep in the Heart

I've been asked in various interviews that I've done over the years where God fits into my stories, to which I answer: "With the majority of my stories, if you take God out, you don't have a story left." Truer words have never been spoken about "Deep in the Heart."

"Deep in the Heart" tells the story of Maggie Montgomery, a down-on-her-luck, clinging-to-faith heroine, and Keith Ayers, the worldly son of a Texas billionaire. In the story, it is Maggie's faith that fascinates Keith so much that he suggests they take the children in Maggie's care at the mansion to church. Now there are many more complications to all of this, but the behind the story glimpse I want to show you today has to do with the actual visits to church that they make.

I am very fortunate in that God in His graciousness has seen fit to weave profound wisdom into my life. Whether that be in the losses and trials I have suffered along the way, the teachers He has put in my path, or the writing I have done about all of it in an attempt to capture just a thimbleful of everything He's shown me. Thus, I do not write just fiction as I started out doing. Now, my writing runs the gamut of fiction, nonfiction, novel-length, short stories, inspirational, religious, young adult, adult, Bible Studies, and blogs.

The church scenes in my books are often pulled from sermons I've witnessed, Sunday School classes I've taught, and life lessons I've learned. Many of these same lessons can be found in my nonfiction works. However, I think they take on a special significance as the center jewels in the fiction stories. Much like the parables of Jesus, when you are walking with the character, you have the insight to not just hear the words but to see how a person would put them into practice--or not--and the consequences of that.

For example, here's a snippet of one of the sermons in "Deep in the Heart":

“My best advice on this subject is to walk through the doors that God opens for you and stop pounding on the doors that are locked. You may think that door number 2 will lead you to everything you’ve ever wanted. So you try it, and when you find it locked—it doesn’t work out or roadblocks seem to drop from the sky, you start pounding on the door. Many people pray, asking for what they want to have happen. . .

“But God…” The preacher pointed upward. “God in His infinite wisdom knows that door will ultimately lead you to heartache and pain, so He chooses to keep it locked for your sake. But if you’re like me, you just know that whatever’s on the other side of that door will lead you to what you want, and so you will pound and kick and bang on that door, sure that it will lead you to what you want.

“And if you’re like me, you might even get mad at God for not opening that door. ‘God, please, if You’ll just let it work out this way…’ No.” He stopped, his face intense. “No. That’s not going for the desires of our hearts, that’s not walking in His ways. That’s walking in our own ways and asking God to bless it. He won’t.

“No. God will never bless what He doesn’t instigate."

In this part of the story, Keith is driving himself crazy trying to get things to work in his life that will ultimately lead to his destruction. This sermon came out of many of my own experiences, trying to convince God that I knew what was best. Of course, God always knows best, and in the story, Keith learns this as well.

The truth is, I just feel incredibly blessed to be able to bring the Good News of Jesus and the Christian life to readers in books that spell it out and in ones that paint in vivid colors what it means to really be a Christian. The bottom line is: God fits in everywhere, and I'm blessed to be called to write that so the whole world can hear, and know, and understand, and then begin to live the life God intended for us all along!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you...

April 18 & 19, Staci's novel:

Deep in the Heart

"This is more than a romance. The author cuts straight to the heart of God–love. God is love. Even through unexpected tragedies. And we can overcome evil with good–by His love."
--Betty Anne Bantz

Can Keith defy the most powerful men in Texas to follow his heart?

Available as a free download from Amazon!

Disclaimer: I have not read Deep in the Heart and therefore do not have an opinion on it. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Staci Stallings, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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