Sink or Swim: Christ’s Promised Presence

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Check out my post over on Morning by MorningHere is an excerpt:

“Although Jesus is more than just a lifeguard, what if it feels like he isn’t coming? Maybe like me, you have been in, or are currently in a season, where it feels like he has forgotten you. Maybe it seems that he is off rescuing others or napping on the beach. You’re floundering in the ocean of trials and suffering, and you don’t see him coming. Will Jesus come into the scary diagnosis, failing marriage, difficult parenting season, grievous offense of another? Has he forgotten us?”

Read the rest here.

 

Author Guest Post: EB Dawson

If you’ve delved at all into the world of writing, you’ve probably heard about this thing called “voice.” I’m not talking about whether you are employing first person, third person, or omniscient point of view. Nor am I referring to the narrator in your story, although both can be a part of voice. So what exactly is author voice? And how can a new author find it? Well, you are in luck because although I am not an expert, I have some thoughts to share on that.
What is author voice? The topic of voice can be frustrating because there are aspects of voice which are entirely intangible. Part of voice is how you use the standard tools of story craft: tone, theme, vocabulary, plot, and character arcs. No two authors will ever tell the same story the same way. What you choose to include in your story, what you choose to focus on in each scene, and for each character is uniquely you. It is what will draw readers to you and what will set you apart from other authors.
Think of a camera. A hundred photographers can photograph the same forest and they will all bring out something different. Each photographer will choose a different angle, and focus their lens on a different set of details. And customers will buy those prints based on how they make them feel. They will choose the photos with the perspectives that mean the most to them. The same is true for the written word. Some people try to imitate an already successful author, but why play copy cat when you can create something new and amazing? You have a perspective and a voice that is unlike anyone else’s. And there are readers out there who will connect with your voice and your body of work.
That’s all great, you say. But how do I find my author voice? Well, it’s gonna take some time. First you need to know who you are as a person and what is important to you. If you don’t know that, it will come out in your work.
Don’t expect to find your voice in your first short story or even your first novel. Some authors do, but it’s pretty rare. The truth is, you need to learn how to write, first. And even if you’ve studied writing craft for years, you can only really learn writing by doing. Photographers have to learn about lighting, exposure, and focus before they can use all of these elements to their advantage. Start writing and write boldly. Write stories that matter to you and then when you are finished, figure out why those stories matter to you. Then move forward and write more. Listen to what people have to say about your work. Their perspectives will help you look at your writing in a new light and you will begin to see what sets your writing apart from other authors. And every time you edit your work you will be re-evaluating what needs to go and what needs to stay. The elements that are important to you will grow stronger and more prolific. And that’s when you will begin to draw readers who love your work.
I played around with writing from when I was eleven to when I was seventeen. I started to get serious about it when I was eighteen. I still had so much to learn about writing craft and my own author voice. But working on my first novel, I felt so much pressure to get it perfect. And once it was finished there was part of me that didn’t want to admit that it had any faults. I had poured my heart and soul into Out of Darkness and at the time I couldn’t imagine writing anything better. In fact, it took a great deal of time before I even had the concept for another book. I didn’t realize that my journey as an author was just beginning. I had no idea that every book would get better and my voice would get stronger, and that I would love each project more than the last. I imagine that my voice will strengthen and even change as I get older, but I’m not afraid of that. I am going to write the best books that I can right now. Next year I’ll do the same. So get on out there, be a student of life in all its complexities, and then write the stories that matter to you.

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E.B. Dawson was born out of time. Raised in the remote regions of a developing nation, traveling to America was as good as traveling thirty years into the future. So, it’s really no wonder that she writes science fiction and fantasy. She writes stories that acknowledge darkness, but empower and encourage people to keep on fighting, no matter how difficult their circumstances may be. And as an avid philosopher, she infuses her work with Socratic questions. When not writing, she tries to make a difference in the world by showing love and compassion to those most broken.

Get her books at her website.
http://www.ebdawsonwriting.com

Follow her on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/ebdawsonwriting

Of Monsters and Heroes

What is it about monsters that brings out the best in us? I’m not being facetious. Think about it. Any action hero movie or epic fantasy novel has them. Take Thor for example. Thor: Ragnarok, in the opening scene, stars a huge, scary monster and the superhero himself. After some pithy dialogue exchanges, Thor extricates himself from a hairy situation and destroys yet another bad guy.
It’s not just in film that there are monsters, either. Middle Earth has them. Narnia has them. Harry Potter has them. The Wheel of Time has them.

Continue reading here.

Silent Call

shipwreck

Gone are the days of fearless joy

Sinking ship afloat

Flounder in the deepening void

Cling to drifting boat

See the sailor, see the sky!

Frightened singing, day gone by

Lift a fleeting hand for help

No one comes, drifting kelp

 

Constant ringing in my ears

Can the silence whisper?

Do the Heavens hear my fears?

Hear my fading whimper?

See the sun, see the rain!

Fading guilt! Fading shame!

One last grasp at wooden door

Sink, float, to the shore

 

One will answer screaming call

If he deigns to help me

Lift the shadow’s hope enthrall

Ocean tide so faintly

Radiant beam, radiant face!

Cold slumber, warm embrace

One so silent lifts the veil

Calm within the gale

 

 

 

 

 

Rift in the Deep Cover Reveal

Thanks to the tireless work of Jill Purrazzi and Susie at Poole Publishing…the cover art and book design are DONE. Ready for publication on March 1, and pre-order on February 18th. I’m so excited!

Let me know what you think!

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My Year Part 1

“Do you think you have ADD?”

The feeling of relief that washed over me was palpable. A living thing. “You think that, too?”

Eric nodded. “I’ve thought so for a while now.”

We were sitting in Chuy’s on a date night, and as soon as he said the words, I felt a release of emotions. Relief. Affirmation. Dread. For years I had wondered and kept silent, fearful that I was imagining it all. Afraid of the ramifications of a diagnosis, and all the stuff that comes with it. Mostly, afraid it was somehow my fault. That I should try harder. Do better. Force myself to pay attention. Not be so anxious all the time.

This opened up a floodgate, and I opened up about my anxiety, as well. We decided I should pursue a clinical approach along with the counseling approach I had been taking. Counseling had been incredibly helpful, for sure. But if the issue was in my brain wiring, it would take more than just wishing it away.

Why was I so hesitant, you would probably ask. Anyone who has what would be termed “mental health issues” would laugh. The stigma follows you, but not only that, your own fears and stigmas do as well. We are our worst critics.

I’ve already addressed here about finding freedom in the midst of mental illness. It doesn’t define me, or you, if you have similar struggles. But how do we wrestle with the fact that there is an element of who we are that could be rejected by our society? A society that tells us we need to keep ourselves bottled up, and only show what it deems beautiful? Being real and genuine requires opening up parts of ourselves that others might despise. That is the fear that haunts most of us who have diagnosable mental problems.

So when my husband asked me that question, a Pandora’s box exploded open. And we both walked through it together. He wasn’t going to reject me, or despise me, for something that was a part of me that couldn’t be medicated away. And as I took baby steps to talking about it, seeking help, and embracing how I was made, that Pandora’s box became insignificant. Not in the way most people would think: it was still a big learning curve. It’s still a struggle to talk about. But to the people who matter most to me, they love me not just in spite of my ADD and anxiety, but because of it. And THAT is what makes the difference.

If you, too, struggle with mental health problems, let me beg you to surround yourself with people who will embrace you. Get medical and counseling help. Find a community, church, or organization that will walk through it with you. There is freedom to be who you were made to be.

 

The Process of Trust

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The hard work of regeneration doesn’t happen over night. Even a caterpillar is trapped in a cocoon sometimes for weeks before he emerges as a butterfly. Sometimes it feels that I’ve been in that state of “washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” forever. And often asking, “What is the point of all this hard work if the end result must be perfection?” And then justify not “working out my salvation with fear and trembling” because, after all, heaven is the only place I’ll be completely renewed.

Change is a fact of life, is it not? We don’t just see it spiritually. It happens on all levels: economical change as the dollar dips or rises in value. Or physically, as our bodies decay. In evolutionary changes, as species adapt to changing temperatures, or to avoid predators. I see it in my son, as he battles to learn what it means to adapt to his environment that he can’t control. Part of living life is adjusting to change, adapting, going with the flow, learning, growing…being transformed. It never stops.

So why should we give ourselves a pass when it comes to our spirituality? Being made in the image of God means that we reflect someone who doesn’t change. Yet in our imperfections, we cannot ever fully understand exactly what that looks like. So what do we do?

Trust the one who made us in that image. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” And trust doesn’t just come: like some magical pill we can take and then poof! Trusting God is easy. Sometimes I think it might practically look more like sanctification…a process.

Do I think trusting God can be easy at times? Yes, for sure. But it doesn’t always look that way. And for the longest time, I thought it had to be easy or it wasn’t trust. But isn’t that what processes are all about? It’s a process for the caterpillar to become a butterfly. It’s a process for us to image Christ more and more. And it’s a process to trust God in the day to day challenges that life offers. So part of this journey I eluded to has been to come to grips with the fact that just because hard things come my way, God doesn’t expect me to react or behave a certain way. As if the prescription must be followed to specific instructions or it means I have failed. No. He wants me to come to Him even when I’m still a caterpillar trying to become a butterfly but I haven’t made it yet. He beckons when I’m a mess, just like He beckons when I’m “put together”. So can you.