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Book Announcement: Are You Ready to Break Right?

If you’ve followed my other blog (2blu2btru.wordpress.com) or followed me on social media, you may have seen that I’ve been working on a new book. I’ve kept many of the details close to my chest. This is one of my most personal projects, and I wanted to make sure I wrote this well before sharing it with the world.

 

In 2016, it seemed like everything I touched broke–I lost my job, ended my relationship, and faced a move with no savings or income. I ended up leaving the city I’d come to think of as home, my church family, and many of my friends behind. It was truly a breaking season for me. Yet God kept me in perfect peace as these things occurred.

I learned many things in this season, and many books could have come from it, but in the end, God placed Break Right on my heart. As I worked through the ramifications and realizations breaking up brought to the forefront in my life, I wrote the things I was learning and experimenting with in my journal. This season looked different than I expected, in ways that both humbled and encouraged me. I began to wonder if others might be interested in what I was learning, so I reached out to a few women and pitched the idea. Once I put the heart of this book into words, I knew it had to be written, and I had to be the one to write it.

In the process of writing this book, I experienced the full force of what heartbreak can do. I found myself struggling to repair things I didn’t know were broken or damaged. I confronted truths I ran from before battling with the blank page. The writing of this book further healed me, and I know the wisdom God shared with me will help others discovering the healing He wants to give them as well.

If you’ve read my other books, you know I’m not the “woo, woo, woo” or “there, there, there” girl. I’m the “dig deep”, “let’s look at the lady in the mirror and be honest about what we see” girl. I’m the hard truth teller, the “what does the bible say” redirector, the spiritual fruit inspector. I’m a southern gal who’ll bless your heart and tell you about yourself in a ladylike, well-mannered way, clutching my pearls the entire time. I wasn’t sure I could write a book bound in sensitivity AND filled with hard truths for hurting women in search of healing.

But God met me on the pages of this book. He walked me through this season the way I needed Him to, while helping me hone the message of it in a way that’s sensitive and respect of where a woman walking through a breakup is in her healing process while presenting truths wrapped in a ton of love. I didn’t hurl hand grenades at injured soldiers; I’m helping in the healing. Like many medical procedures, there is some pain and discomfort involved, but it’s necessary.

I’m so excited to share the final product with you! As I finish getting the final details wrapped up, I wanted to let you know about this book of my heart and what to expect when it comes out next month. The book is entitled Break Right: Finding Wholeness in Heartbreak, and a Good God in a Bad Breakup. Part memoir, part practical advice and encouragement, and all from the heart, this raw, real and relatable work will comfort, correct and challenge the Christian woman in the midst of a breakup to reexamine heartbreak and healing from a biblical perspective. Filled with biblical examples and personal experiences from myself and other women, Break Right seeks to provide the perspective shift many of us need so we can shine our lights for the Lord in the midst of a dark season.

This book is not a blow by blow of the breakups I’ve experienced or a way to bash an ex. In fact, you won’t find much about my ex, and I hope you won’t focus too much on your ex as you read it. This book is about how you can emerge better and help the next woman do the same. I share many personal stories, but they probably aren’t the ones you’d expect. 😉

This book feels different, and it’s inspired me to do something different with its release. I am opening pre-orders for Break Right tomorrow, February 14, 2018. From Valentine’s Day until Wednesday, March 7, you can order Break Right for the introductory price of $9.99 in paperback (it increases to $14.99 after the pre-order period). Why should you pre-order? Those who pre-order will receive some cool perks: breakup greeting cards, bookmarks, and prints, as well as a free eBook of funny and introspective tales from my romantic life, Misses before Mrs. You will also received the first section of the book to start reading and access to a special Facebook Group. I saved the best for last: all those who pre-order the book or a book bundle will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All pre-order books will arrive by the release date, March 13th.

If Break Right sounds like something you need in your life, come back tomorrow and see the front cover, read the book description, and reserve your copy. I’ll be sharing more about this book in the coming weeks before release, so watch this space.

For all my eBook readers, don’t fret. The eBook is coming! I will open eBook pre-orders two weeks before release, with digital perks.

I love you all and can’t wait for you find your wholeness and experience how good our God can be, even in a bad breakup.

XOXO,

Erica

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It’s Time to Get Serious!

The Season for Getting Serious Front Cover
My New Book is Here!!!

Have you ever had a season stretch you for all you were worth and hold you so close to the fire you felt singed? Have you ever had a season you thought would never be over? Has a season of life driven you to your knees like never before? That’s what 2016 has been for me.

I was “trying” to release my second book for most of this year. It was supposed to be released by New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, my birthday (February 24), and the National Ladies Lectureship (mid-April) at various points in the year. But each time the new self-imposed deadline came around, the book wasn’t ready. There was always something more to be done.

Some might say it was nerves keeping me from releasing this book. Indeed, there were a lot of nerves involved. I knew it would be hard to follow up Altered before the Altar. Everyone wanted a follow up to Altered, but I was working on something completely different. But I was willing to trust God. I got a little ahead of Him in my eagerness to get the book out, but ultimately God knit this work together and it was released right on time.

The Season for Getting Serious is finally here!! All the late nights, early mornings, and earnest prayers were so worth it. I can’t tell you how often I prayed over every word of this book and for every woman who would read it. I am overwhelmed by how well it all came together, and I can’t wait to hear how it is transforming Christian women’s relationships with the Lord.

In an interview for online magazine The Christian Girl, I was asked the question “If you had the entirety of Christian women in front of you, what would you say to them?” Sisters, this book is it. It’s my heart for us as women of God on paper. The Season for Getting Serious is for all Christian women: single, married, new convert, mature Christian, young, old, strong, or prodigal. Any woman who wants to grow a more intimate, personal relationship with Christ should get their hands on this book. I feel this book until is exactly what God wanted me to share with His daughters to encourage them to grow right where they are.

A word of caution: if you aren’t ready to be honest about where you are and where you want to go, you might have problems getting through this book. To be honest, I felt dragged by much of what’s in these pages. I felt exposed by it. I don’t sugarcoat  anything. They aren’t any cute sayings or affirmations in here–just the promises of God to His daughters. I’m not speaking to you from the mountain; I’m right here in the valley with you reminding you of God’s faithfulness.

The follow is the best description of The Season for Getting Serious:

 

“You were running well; who hindered you?”

Many Christian women want a deeper relationship with God, but they can’t seem to grow intimacy with Him. They start out with intention, but they are distracted and knocked off course by their life’s circumstances and responsibilities.

The Season for Getting Serious: Growing Intimacy with Christ in any Season, encourages and equips the woman of God to grow closer to Christ in whatever season she finds herself in. This is not another checklist or New Year’s resolution; it’s a clarion call to the woman of God to stop waiting for a new year, better circumstances, or less distractions and start growing in this season of their lives–right now.

The Season for Getting Serious speaks to the woman in the middle, on the run, grieving, or suffering from spiritual disease. It speaks to the woman wrestling with doubt, success, or burying the old man. This book whispers to the heart of every woman seeking Christ in the middle of the muck and mess of life and calls her out of the darkness into His marvelous light.

 

Ladies, you want to read this one. You’ll want to share it with every woman you know. You’ll going want your ladies bible classes and book clubs to read it so you can talk to someone about what you read. Most importantly, I pray you’ll want to live it.

What are the book’s vital statistics?

The Season for Getting Serious is 227 pages of encouragement from the word of God to Christian women at all stages of life. It’s portable size makes it easy to slip into your purse, tote or backpack to read on the go. The cost is $20 per copy with discounts available on bulk purchases of three or more.

How can you get your copy?

  • Get your copy or copies of The Season for Getting Serious from my online store here. Purchasing through my online store allows you to get signed copies and a gift with purchase. I also offer bulk discounts. If you would like to take advantage of bulk discounts, please email me at inquiries[at]aseriousseason.com.
  • You can also order copies from Amazon , CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble and Books a Million. Please note, these copies are unsigned and I cannot offer bulk discounts through any of these sites.
  • Pick up signed copies at events where I’m vending. This Saturday, August 20, 2016, I will be vending at the WINGS (Women in God’s Service) ladies day, A Wise Woman Builds, in Cocoa, FL. I will also be vending at the National Singles Seminar here in Orlando, FL on Labor Day weekend, September 1-5, 2016.

For my new on upcoming events, subscribe to my newsletter.  

Are you excited about The Season for Getting Serious? What do you need to get serious about? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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A Big Scary Thing

I know I owe you a post detailing how I did on my January goals, my February goals, and the ladies’ day in Brunswick, GA, but today I wanted to write about some big scary things that I’ve been thinking about. The first scary thing I did was go to a printer and get copies of A Serious Prayer Journal printed. If you saw me in Brunswick, you’ve seen this beauty, a 21 day prayer journal to help women make prayer a daily habit. The journal opens with a page entitled A Big, Bold Prayer. It’s supposed to be something you want to ask God for that scares you a little.

I wanted to start the prayer journal for myself, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on for the next 21 days. There are a bunch of topics I could focus in on, so many things I need to get done. But I kept coming back to one thing in particular: my next book, The Season for Getting Serious. I felt a nudge to put off rushing it for the ladies’ day in Brunswick and to give it the time it needed, and now I see better why I was given that nudge. This book is needs more organization, more research, and definitely more prayer to get it to where it needs to be. I have most of the pieces, but they aren’t completely formed. I think my goal to sell 500 copies was causing me to rush its release. I wanted to have as much time as possible to reach this seemingly impossible number. I hadn’t given the goal over to the Lord.

If I’ve learned anything from reading the Bible, it’s that a little is a lot. Faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain; a little leaven can leaven the whole lump. Christ fed thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread. I can bring a small amount of time to sell to Christ and He can make that sufficient to do more than I could ask or think if I’m abiding in Him and doing His will. The urge to hurry up is in my flesh, but the call to be still and learn of Him is coming from my spirit.

So I’m going to do a big scary thing this week. I am wiping the slate of this book clean. I’m going to look over all of the notes and scriptures I have and listen to the recordings I’ve made. I’m going to pray about what God really wants to say to the hearts of women who want to live for Him but who are struggling to make that commitment. And I’m going to work on something else in the meantime. I’m not going to watch the clock; I’m going to watch the Lord.

What would your big, bold prayer be for the next three weeks? Leave a comment below for a chance to win A Serious Prayer Journal. I can’t wait to see what God has placed on your hearts.

XOXO,

Erica

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GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALS!!!

Every time I have to sit down and contemplate my goals, I start to sweat. I feel so much pressure to make SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Goals too dependent on numbers are thought to encourage comparison, competition, or feelings of inadequacy. The trend in Christian women’s goals now is to simplify, focus on family, go smaller. It’s not on trend to have big, scary goals anymore. Not in Christianity.

I don’t believe that goals need to be SMART. I believe dreaming big allows God to be bigger than our dreams. I want my goals to be reaches, big leaps of faith that require God to catch me and carry me to the finish line. I don’t put easily achieved goals on my yearly goals list.  I don’t make goals if they don’t make me a little anxious and encourage me to depend even more on Christ. I like goals that show my belief in God’s ability to meet me where I am and take me further than I ever imagined.

I dream big and make goals people think are crazy. I’m also reticent to share my goals because there is a good chance what happens may be different than I imagine. I don’t want to fail so spectacularly in front of everyone. But if I don’t give God room to work, how can I bring glory to Him?

All of that to say, some of my goals have scary numbers and metrics. Some of them are huge (to me). I can say with confidence I may fall flat on my face on them if they aren’t in God’s will. But I felt led to take a big leap this year. So without further adieu, here are my yearlong goals for 2016!

Aim High
Aim High
  1. Seek God. The overall goal this year is to seek God with my whole heart. The ways in which I plan to do this are to study the bible more, pray more, and integrate other spiritual disciplines into my life. To this end, I will study the bible each day, pray each day, and meditate each day. I want to attend Sunday school and bible study each week and fast at least once this year. I’ve never completed a fast from food for any period of time, so this is one thing I am excited and nervous about.
  2. Seek to make God known. The goal of the books that I write and things that I sell is to promote the cause of Christ. It’s hard for me to market or get my work in front of other women, but I want to reach more women and get them excited about being serious about God in whatever season they are in. To challenge myself to reach more women, I’m giving this area number goals. I will speak at least three (3) times in 2016. I will sell 500 copies of my new book, The Season for Getting Serious. I will sell another 100 copies of Altered before the Altar. Writing these goals makes me queasy.
  3. Seek to Serve Others. I want to get back into serving others well. I think that the point of Christianity is to be united with God and others in the body of Christ as one. I’ve created goals here that will help me love on others this year. I will: participate in the benevolence Ministry at least three (3) times this year, go door knocking at least once (1x) this year, and complete at least two (2) Passion Projects. A Passion Project is something that can enrich my local congregation that I see. I don’t want to say what they are. The point is not for people to know that I’ve done them, but to do something that helps spread the gospel or encourages other Christians right where I am. These goals make me want to hide in my room and read or stay behind my computer, but I know it’s important to serve right where I am. In person. Gulp!
  4. Seek to Soar. These are the personal goals I want to pursue. I will get a publishing contract for my inspirational fiction. I will get a contract for my third Christian Living/Non-fiction book. I will turn The Season for Getting Serious into a site that encourages women to get serious about pursuing a Christ centered life no matter what season of life they are in. This goal makes me the most insecure. Rejection is a real probability for every one of these goals. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

cropped-A-Serious-Season-best1.png

What are your goals for 2016?

XOXO,

806

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erica

Join me tomorrow for my first Monday Motivation of 2016: Praying Hands!

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Publication for Dummies

St. Augustine
St. Augustine

The last few weeks have been a crash course in business for me. Before I began working on this book for self-publication, I had no desire to be an entrepreneur. In all honest, I still don’t. I am just trying to get my book into as many hands as possible, legally, with no surprises at tax time or anyone using the sweat of my brow inappropriately.

I’ve spoken to other self-publishers, accountants, attorneys, bankers, and small business owners on different aspects of publishing that I should be aware of, as well as started to set up some marketing opportunities for myself like speaking engagements and etc. I’ve always known that writing the book is only half the battle, but now it’s more real to me than ever. In fact, I would argue that when it comes to self-publication, writing is less than a quarter of the battle.

Today, I want to share and get opinions on some of my plans in the coming weeks for the rest of my book’s journey to publication and the first couple weeks afterward.

I revealed the title of the book on this site on Friday. The response has been very positive. I think that I nailed the first marketing aspect of the book with a good title. I also think I nailed the second part of good marketing–the cover, which I will reveal tomorrow, if all goes well. So what are the next steps for me?

The next steps I have to complete in this process are BIG steps. As I was reading over the book, I noticed some sections would work better in other places, some thoughts could be condensed, and some personal stories or asides were unnecessary. I also didn’t fully introduce each new couple that I quoted. In other words, I need to get the final draft of the book like I want it. I also need to get beta readers in the target audience for feedback. I have to secure the person I want to do the Foreward and finalize all the front and back matter–acknowledgements, dedication, definitions, appendices, etc. These things are easy for me to do, just large tasks. They are in my comfort zone.

The next group of things venture into INEBIGTDIA territory. I have to format the book or pay someone to format the book. I have to upload everything to CreateSpace, set up my Amazon author page and product description, metadata, etc. I have to establish my sole proprietorship over my press by running an add in the paper and registering the name with the state as well as getting an EIN. I have to decide on a banking set up for it. I have to order the first batch of books I plan to sell myself physically, which  means I have to determine how many to buy and ship them on time to have them for planned festivities. I need to revamp this site and set up the book’s site with all the fun goodies I have planned for it.

In addition to all of the scary things in that paragraph, I have to plan some fun book release things. I’ve already started planning an event with my aunt for a local chapter of a women’s group she is a part of to do a presentation on a topic from the book. I need to kick planning for a release event locally into high gear. Separate from the book release event, I want to put on a singles conference or one day workshop/seminar for single women to attend. I am pulling together a list of people and organizations to give free books to for review or possible group sales. My goal is to put this book in the hands of as many Christian women as I possibly can to help them realize the importance of godly guiding principles in their relationships, so I’m open to speaking at events, hosting dinners or ladies’ days, etc. to get the book into the right hands.

I am not excited about the business things I have to do, but I am not intimidated by it either. I know that if this is of God, He will bless it. I can’t hide behind my computer if I want to help young women. The whole point of this book, this site, is to influence women to get serious about their lives in Christ. I can’t afford to be timid or complacent. I want people other than my friends and acquaintances to be exposed to the scriptures, stories, and lessons in the book, and it’s up to me as my own publisher to make that happen.

Any other self-publishers out there with any advice? Anyone else chasing a God-given purpose and refusing to be overwhelmed?

XOXO,

Erica

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Getting Serious About: Publishing a Book

DSCF0270When I was in the fifth grade we had to write an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up. One of my best friends at the time, Tiffani, and I decided that we wanted to be therapists. But I also wanted to write. I ended up writing in that essay that I wanted to be a relationship therapist and write books about relationships. Not long after sixth grade started, I moved away and didn’t reconnect with Tiffani again until we found one another through Facebook somehow nearly two decades later. Now Tiffani is a nurse and I work as an administrative assistant in the legal department of a company. Yet the desire to talk about relationships, the desire to write, has never gone away.

Many of you know all about how I started doing interviews with married couples and posting them on my blog. You may also know that I spoke to the single women at my church during the Marriage and Family workshop about dating and purity. You may even know that I decided to write a book and have been working on it off and on for about four years. What you may not know is that the book I dabbled in for so long now has a title, a cover, beta readers, and a tentative release date.

One of the main reasons I started The Season for Getting Serious was so that I could encourage other women to get serious about their walk with the Lord. I’ve had a couple opportunities to do “Getting Serious” talks to help do just that. I’ve hosted college prep workshops, spoke at an empowerment workshop and an authentic self workshop, and taught ladies’ bible classes about topics that very much relate to helping women get serious about who they are in Christ and what He has called them to do. Yet I hadn’t stepped up and done the one thing I knew that God had called me, Erica D. Hearns, to do: write.

Oh, I wrote blogs, but no books had been written by my hand. I was dissatisfied with the books I read geared toward single women and began writing what I felt God wanted me to say to them in drips and drabs, but I wasn’t really committed to publishing it.  I wasn’t sure it was God that was leading me to want to publish a book. Maybe it was my own selfish desire.

In 2012, the guest speaker at the ladies day, Sister Felicia Carruthers, did an activity where she had us think back to when we were kids and the things we liked to do. Somewhere in the things we always did as a kid we might find our purpose. That was a simple exercise for me. I’d always written. I’d written Spiritual Adventure articles for the local congregation when I was in college. I wrote a poem for a coffee shop the Christian Student Center hosted. I didn’t minister to people by singing or going to medical school to save lives; I used my writing to promote the things of God. That ladies’ day was the day that I realized I needed to get serious about seeking publication.

Through many false starts, distractions, frustrations and tests, I kept limping forward. I gave my book to a couple of beta readers about two weeks ago. I commissioned a cover and received the finalized version yesterday. I’m amazed at how God has brought me to this point, just a couple steps away from publishing my first book. Somewhere along the way, I started to take this journey seriously. I wrote the difficult passages. I’ve put myself out there for feedback. I was able to critique my cover and propose the changes I wanted without compromising what I wanted or insulting the designer (I hope). I am making sure that my genuine concern and compassion are evident to the reader as much as the urgency and call to obedience and repentance. I’ve committed myself to publishing the book that God gave me to publish.

Sometimes, in the “busyness” of everyday life, the still quiet voice that nudges us towards doing what God would have us to do is drowned out. The godly goals and desires we have can get washed away in a sea of stress and worry. But what I try to remind myself is that someone is looking for the thing that I am procrastinating about doing. Someone needs to read this book. Someone needs to read the next one.  As Mordecai tells Esther, if I don’t do it, God will raise up someone else to do it; but what if I was placed here and given this talent for such a time as this?

So, anyway. I have a book coming out soon. I’ll release the title, cover, and so forth as the release date approaches. I’m still working out some of the kinks and getting things in order. But it’s more real than ever now.

XOXO,

Erica

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Submitted and Free: My Review of My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife by Sara Horn

“I can think of at least two types of people who do not need to read this book. These include women who already feel like they have a strong grasp on what it means to be submissive to their husbands and women who are looking for a clear, concise guide or handbook with steps, charts and footnotes on what it means to be submissive to their husbands.”

This is how Sara Horn begins introducing My So-Called Life as a Submissive Housewife to her readers. She lets the reader know immediately that she is sharing her personal experiences in much the same way as she did with her first book, My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 wife. These two books chronicle year-long experiments undertaken by Ms. Horn in an effort to live up to the qualifications of a wife as written in the Bible. They read like getting a glimpse into a woman’s personal diary as she struggles to make sense of her role as a wife as defined by God’s word.

When I read the introduction to this book, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. The introduction sets the tone of Sara’s writing (humorous and serious in turns), sets the expectations (not a step by step instructional but an honest account of one woman’s year long quest to learn to be a submissive wife), addresses the sociocultural climate in which she is writing, and tells us why this subject is important to us spiritually. I knew that this book, if nothing else, would at least be well written and edited.

At the beginning of this experiment, Sara Horn is a hardworking Type A wife and mother riding high off of the insights her Proverbs 31 experiment have afforded her in recognizing her role in her family. She sees herself as the thermometer for the family, setting the emotional temperature. She sees tackling this project as a way to grow closer to the kind of wife the Bible says she’s supposed to be. She is also living with her husband’s family as he has recently returned from a deployment.

Most of the people she tells that she is going to be a submissive wife to are either skeptical or disagree with it entirely, including her husband. “Why would you want to do that? We work together as a team…That’s not us,” he says. His problem is what he pictures when he thinks of submission. Sara anticipates a major problem for her will be waiting for her Type B husband to make a decision on something she wanted to do. *Spoiler Alert*: this WAS a problem for her.

Sara struggles to put her husband first in a climate where women are encouraged to seek to be comparable to men in the workplace and relationships, to see submission as a bad thing.  She struggles with trying to balance her work schedule and role as a mother with her role as a wife. “I Think most of us assume we are putting our husbands first, or at least somewhat near the front, simply because of what we do…No, I think most of us who are wives and moms wake up thinking not about or husbands, but about The List. What we have to do…Who really wants to worry about one more thing to check off the list, like submission?” she writes. Her thoughts cross some of the same ground over and over again in her struggle to understand what God wants from her in this area of her life.

What I usually do when reading a book is try to find the popcorns, or the passages that reveal something that may be useful to note down the line, as well as some ways to show how I am relating to the material. I highlight frequently in non-fiction, so while the number of highlights is important, it isn’t a good gauge of how I actually feel about what I am reading. So I have to introduce other elements into the grading rubric. In my Kindle, I used “twinzies” to mark passages where Sara Horn responded as I would or had the same struggle I would; ITYSS (“ I think you said something”) to highlight passages that contained truths that sparked realizations in me or a strong chorus of “amens”, and; when I couldn’t articulate the right emotion to express much a passage really struck me, I used “!!!” When I really agree with something, I “throw my shoe.” Throwing my shoe is equivalent to Patti Labelle kicking her shoes off in concert: it is just that good to me, and I am about to really get deep into it. Throwing my shoe, then, is the highest honor I can bestow. SMH (shaking my head) needs no explanation.

In My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife, I did the following:

Favorite quote: This word submission is in the Bible. Not once but several times. So as much as we sometimes want to ignore it, I don’t think we can. I don’t believe we should. Not if we’re following Christ.

Highlighted passages: 186 (not including commented on passages)

ITYSS: 16

!!!: 22

SMH: 9 (mostly in her early attempts at submission)

Twinzies: 8

Popcorn: 2

Throw My Shoe Quotes: 3

I am not married yet, but like many young women today, I struggle with figuring out what Biblical submission should look like. As the possibility of marriage becomes more and more real for me, I, like Sara, wish there was a list of do’s and don’ts spelled out in plain English in my Bible. Even though Sara doesn’t provide a how-to guide, she provided me with hope that when you submit as God desires, the pieces will begin to fall into place as they should.

The things I didn’t like in this book are minimal. In the beginning we seemed to be covering the same ground a few times, which bogged me down in a section or two. There were a couple of soapbox areas whose preachy tones didn’t fit with the general tone of the book to me. There wasn’t as much focus on submission to God or how we are called to submit to one another as I thought there would be. But none of these makes this book any less worth reading.

I loved this book! It was real and relatable. I felt like Sara was really trying to figure out what being submissive meant and follow God’s leading in this area of her life. I felt like I was going through life with her for the space of this year, as if she didn’t hide any of the struggles and triumphs from me. There were times when I wanted to shake her and ask her what she was doing, as well as times I wanted to hug her and say thank you for expressing how I have understood it. Going into the book, I wasn’t sure that a book written in this diary style would be a good book to use in women’s classes or for discussions, but now I’m frustrated that no one else in my circle has read this book yet because I want to discuss it. It’s a discussion that is needed, especially for young women like me who need to know these things about being married. I would recommend this book to any woman, single or married, who wants to get a better understanding of how submission can work if you make the effort to follow God’s command to do so.

XOXO

Erica

cover28130-medium I was not compensated for this review, but I did receive a reviewer’s copy of the book. This book will be published by Harvest House Publishers August 1st, 2013.

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Getting Serious About Who You Are in Christ

 

The one thing that I don’t like about a speaking engagement as part of a program is that it’s so limiting. Since , it’s not my program, I can’t get up there and spend hours moderating this conversation with women that I see going on in my head. It’s like that song Madonna did; I feel like I only have four minutes to save the world (which would be a pretty good running song now that I think about it). With the time restriction, I find myself having a lot of topics getting placed on the cutting room floor, and I want to make sure that I get to the most important things without going over time. It’s a balancing act I’m not used to.

 

The main things I want to cover can be broken down into categories by aspects of who we are in Christ as women, nouns that describe the women we should be. I have chosen to focus on the following nouns: scholar, athlete, soldier, student, teacher, customer service representative, CEO, big sister/little sister, and friend. Within these areas, I will be discussing communication, wisdom, Bible study, quarter life and midlife crises, the woman in the middle, social media, friendship, self-esteem, and what it ultimately means to be a Christian woman. I have a few short activities for the ladies to do and some discussion questions so I’m not just talking at them for an hour. I’m hoping it all goes well.

 

I am really sad I won’t get to talk much about the area that I’ve been studying and writing about the most, which is the area of relationships. I won’t get to talk about any of the mate selection tips or things that I’ve studied that God says about relationships, which is disappointing because I think so many women would benefit from hearing it. But this is more important. Maybe I’m just trying to retreat back into what I’m comfortable with because this is new territory for me.

 

I’m really thankful for the opportunities to share this lesson (twice!). I’m hoping the website header will be in place and everything will be transferred to the new host before the seminar. I also want to have the book available and business cards to promote the site available. I want women to be able to sign into the site and start interacting with the material as soon as they hear about it. With God’s help, I think I can do it by May 18th…but only with God’s help. This year is moving swiftly.

What have you been working on lately?

XOXO

Erica

 

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Often Imitated…

As we take this journey together towards getting serious, there are a few things I want to touch on in order to help you decide if you want to walk with me. As is often quoted, “how can two walk together unless they agree?” (Amos 3:3–we’ll return to this) We give people whose blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages, and emails we follow a unique opportunity to influence us. This can be good or bad depending on not only the content of their messages, but also where these messages come from.

I want to start out by saying not all “Christians” are created equal, nor are all “relationship coaches,” “life bloggers,” “writers,” or opinionated readers. Just because they say they are promoting the gospel of Christ, are trying to help people have better lives or relationships, or have wrote a book about A,B, and C doesn’t mean that what they are pushing is something you need to buy.

I have a sister in Christ who is so eager for the Word and for a connection with other young people in Christ that I am worried about. I recognize her enthusiasm, her emotionalism, her need to have these Christian friendships for accountability. I also recognize that some of the things that she gets involved with on her quest to fulfill a need to find other people as passionate for Christ as she is aren’t necessarily in line with what she has professed to believe. On the surface, they seem very similar, but they are not compatible.

If we are going to get serious about our lives, one of the first areas we need to bring into submission would be our associations. I often see new things that are supposed to be Christian popping up all over the net. I get excited when I read about people advocating that people marry, that we live as Christians every day of the week, that our lives be centered on Christ and His will, etc. When I dig deeper, however, I realize that not all the things they promote are in line with what I believe. I realize that their ministries, while outwardly similar to ministries that do line up with my beliefs, ultimately are not ministries that I feel are pleasing to God. Then there are those that I know from the outset are not in line with what I believe and which I think are wrong. I see people retweeting their sentiments, which clearly aren’t in line with the Bible or the God they say they are serving, and I feel so heartbroken that people are not taking their lives and their eternal souls more seriously.

We cannot afford to let people who aren’t going in the same direction as we are striving to go influence us to turn and follow them back into sin. Even a broken clock is right twice a day–just because you think their intentions are good or you agree with some of the things they say sometimes doesn’t mean they are going in the right direction. The devil has ministers who can appear righteous. (2 Cor. 11:3, 13-15). Even some who are in the church will lead others astry (Acts 20:29-30). We have to be careful when we let others influence us to do things that these things are in line with Christ. Many are lead astray by people putting out restrictions and rules God never gave (I Tim. 4:1-3) or not teaching the perfect word of God. Many of my friends are not rebuked when they are wrong by the people they have placed their faith in, who are supposed to be leading them to Heaven. Instead, they are taught what they want to hear of God and not confronted with what they don’t want to live up to, what God still requires of them if they are to be saved.

I think, therefore, it’s important to establish what I believe, even if it never comes up again (but it will; trust me). So, here are the highlights of what I believe:

  1. I believe that water baptism is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38). I don’t believe it’s an outward sin of inward grace, a confirmation of salvation, etc. It’s necessary for salvation.
  2. I believe that women should not be preachers, teachers, elders, or deacons (I Tim. 2:11-14). I don’t believe that this is something that was only meant for that time period, because Paul explains his reasoning for this going back to the order of creation, which has not changed and will not change. It is consistent with other teachings on women and wives in the New Testament.
  3. I believe there is one church (Eph. 4:4-6) established by Christ (Matt 16:18) that bears His name (Rom. 16:16).

Having stated those things which I think are the most important to make clear, I invite you to follow or not according to knowledge. I’m someone who would like to be counted among those who “searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so (Acts 17:11).” I am not trying to teach men or establish my own church or ministry. I’m inviting other Christian women to exhort and edify each other, to encourage one another as we stive to perfect ourselves…and to have fun living for Christ.

XOXO,

Erica

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Slow Down

After I was in the car accident (the current dividing line of my life, pre- and post-accident), while I was waiting to be seen at the hospital, Mr. Perfect said something profound to me: “Maybe you got into this accident because you are trying to do too much and you need to slow down.” If you had asked me, I was just getting started. I had been in the same stupid place for so long, and I was just moving forward in life. When you are just getting started, you’re supposed to be getting up to speed, not slowing down, right?

I was FINALLY moving from that slightly discontented space in my life where I’d felt stagnated for a long time. Instead of just saying I wanted to go back to school, I was going. Instead of just talking about writing a book, I was earnestly writing. Instead of saying “when I pay off my car,” I had paid off my car. I was going to open up a new bank account to start saving for some upcoming things I really wanted to do. I was going to get a laptop and start work on a self-hosted site to host all of my blogs, sign up for paypal or something similar to sell my book(s), and begin submitting things for publication. I’d made plans I haven’t even bothered to tell you all about yet (but when they are officially in motion, I promise I will).

However, one illegal turn, and my whole life plan is in ruins (well, not really, but let me be dramatic for a moment, ok?). I’m going to have to get another car. I don’t have a ride to school, so I had to withdraw after one class. There’s no longer going to be extra money for the laptop or the site, nor will I be able to fund another account with what used to be my car payments. All of that was lost in the squealing of tires and crunching of metal. One step forward, two steps back.

What’s funny to me is that my word for the year is “savor” in a year when I was putting my foot down on the gas and speeding through milestones. I wasn’t really taking in everything the way I wanted to. I would note things I wanted to write about that were savory moments, things I didn’t want to forget, but I wouldn’t get to it because I was so BUSY. How am I supposed to savor when I don’t have time to sit over anything?

Because of the accident and not having my car, I ended up having a lot of time to do the one thing that was completely unaffected by the accident: write. I walked over to the grocery store on my lunch break one day and bought a small notebook so I could stop writing scriptures and ideas on all my sticky notes. At this point, it has an outline of most of the areas of the book I am working on. I’ve been bringing my lunch to work, and since I am not driving to get food, I have more time to study scriptures, reread interviews, and write or revise on my lunch break. I found a piece of the book on my computer I didn’t remember I’d started, putting me a bit further along in one area than I realized.

I have gone to my complex’s gym a couple times since the accident and had a few savory moments there as well. When I go to the the gym, I listen to at least one podcast from the Church of Christ in Falls Church, Virgina. I usually listen to one in the series of “The Greatest Stories Ever Told,” by Mike Tune. Those twenty to thirty minute sermons convict me and encourage me so much! They are so practical and remind me of some of my favorite Bible stories. Even before this recent routine, the series caused me to take another look at the story of Achan, which I will cover in my book. The sermon on the Tower of Babel yielded a quote that fit in so perfectly with what I wanted to say in a specific area I can only conclude it was God’s will for me to hear it at just that time.

So even though the accident temporarily took away some of my “joy-joy” feelings and optimistic disposition, like a shaken bottle of water, I have settled down again to a calm surface…let’s just hope I don’t get shaken again for a little while. Although I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome of all of this will be, I am grateful that I had the chance to slow down a bit.

Perhaps school would have been too big a distraction right now. Perhaps my focus needed to be a little more…streamlined. Perhaps my imaginary shopping sprees got more focus than other more important things. Perhaps I was going about things all wrong and it was time to clear the board. Whatever the reason, God knows best. I submit to His will.

I’m also looking for my check from the at faul driver’s insurance company. o_O

Savoring the moment,

2blu2btru