Sunday, January 15, 2012
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Well, like the adopted child is sometimes more special to the adoptive parents because they chose that child, I, too, am an adopted child, but I got to choose my country. Originally born in Canada, I came to the US 12 years ago and married my love, Patrick.
There were many times I've felt like a red-headed step-child -- there, but not really belonging. And the struggle to Become wasn't easy. Some day, ask me to share the story with you over a large cup of coffee.
But all along I knew I was supposed to be here, in America, with Patrick. And that's what kept me going when all around me the devil was telling me no.
The 4th of July reminds me of the struggles and battles for freedom that have gone on in this country for 235 years. The fireworks reminds me of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and did it gladly, without reservation. The parties remind me that we need to celebrate our freedom every single day, not just one hot day in July.
And all of this leads me to remember who paid the ultimate price for our eternal freedom -- Jesus Christ. Were it not for Him, many of us wouldn't be here.
And I'm one of those.
You see, before I was a Christian, before I was a writer, before I was an American, I lived a life that many others didn't survive. And as I went through the citizenship process, I realized many things I'd done in my past should have either landed me in prison or dead. And the Lord saved me from myself for this time. As a result of my past, I write the kinds of stories I write -- a little sassy, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes dark and edgy, sometimes soft and cozy.
As you celebrate our country's birthday, as you think about freedom, consider those things in your past that prepared you for where you are today. Thank God for your past, and ask Him how you can turn that into something productive today and for the future. Allow Him to use your mistakes to deepen your writing, sharpen your characters, and strengthen your plots.
Ask God for the freedom to be what He planned for you to be.
As for me, I have no doubt I was destined to be an American. Even as a little girl, I used to look at the map or watch planes flying overhead, and wonder why my ancestors stopped when they got to Newfoundland. The winters are long, the countryside is rugged, the ground is rocky, and the summers are a flash in the pan. I often said, "Why didn't they stay on the boat for another few hundred miles?" Even as a child, I wanted to be an American.
And now God, through His grace, has given me the freedom to be -- an American, a Christian, and a writer. How cool to belong to American Christian Fiction Writers -- a group that confirms who I was long before I Became.
God bless the USA, and God bless each of you.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
In ancient Israel every half-century was declared a year of jubilee. Debts were forgiven, slaves were freed, and land was returned to original owners. Across the nation ram's horn were blown and families celebrated as their children and inheritance were returned to them.
In a spiritual sense we, as Christians, have been given a constant state of jubilee. Thanks to all Christ accomplished at the Cross, we are free and forgiven--our sin debts cancelled and our inheritance established. Every day we have something to celebrate--to whoop and holler and blow our horns about.
Because of Jesus' great sacrifice, we are invited to live as the children of God. We're part of the family. Never rejected. Always in the presence of the Holy One. Every single day we walk in freedom from sin and eternal damnation. Every moment of our lives we are connected to the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and He empowers us to walk in our inheritance of grace and prepares us for the glory of eternity with our God.
But do we live each day as if this is true?
Several years ago I came into a new understanding of all the cross had done for me. Though I had accepted Jesus into my life at a young age, I lived a life of egg shell walking--trying desperately to do everything right and never feeling I "lived up." A cloud of condemnation hung over me, and I was captive to self-inflicted guilt, inadequacy, and unworthiness. God's love and grace would break through on occasion, but I would quickly snuff it out in self-rejection as I allowed the opinion of others, or my own unrealistic set of expectations to determine how I saw myself. Scripture was a hand-book to discern how to be better and a measuring stick of my failures. I was imprisoned by my need to perform well.
Through a series of events God revealed Truth to me. The walk of faith wasn't so much about what I had achieved as it was about all Jesus had already achieved for me. Any good deed I did was filthy rags compared to the perfection of Jesus, but the Good News was He placed His righteousness over me like a brand new robe. I began to be clothed in HIS identity. I started to see myself as free to live outside the guilt--to be believe I was forgiven, treasured, bought-with-a price, and empowered to serve.
Early in this journey, after a particularly enlightening experience, I awoke to the Lord's Voice. He said, "It is for freedom I have set you free."
I recognized His Words as Scripture and quickly went to my Bible, hungry to know the rest of the verse. I found it in Galatians 5:1. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (NIV)
I thought about the verse and how it was so important to the LORD for me to know and remember its Truth that He actually spoke directly to me about it. I realized that the enemy would try to take away this new-found freedom. Through the words and actions of others, through my own failing and success, and through difficult circumstances, the evil one would seek to entice me back into the spiritual prison I'd locked myself it. He wanted to keep me a slave to inadequacy, failure, guilt, and performance-driven behavior.
But God's jubilee had come! I was free to live as my Father's beloved! I was free to believe that I was wholly accepted and wholly loved. I was free to walk without shame . . . in jubilant, beautiful freedom. This was my jubilee. Though Jesus has secured my inheritance over 2,000 years before, I finally accepted the right to live as a free woman.
This July, consider the concept of jubilee. Jesus returned to you your full inheritance as God's child. Have you given yourself permission to be free to receive it?
(By the way, I'll be sharing a little more about this at the More Than Conquerors Encouragement Series in Aurora on July 27th. If you'd like more information, email me: Paula@soulscents.us)
A writer, speaker, and homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God’s grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website, Soul Scents, offers devotional thoughts, and you can visit her blog at GraceReign. Paula serves as president of HIS Writers, the north Denver ACFW chapter. A devoted Pride and Prejudice fan, she loves good conversation, peppermint ice cream, and walking barefoot. Her greatest desire is to be close enough to Jesus to breathe His fragrance.
Fireworks photo taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7862527@N02/2520923912, The 2008 World Pyro Olympics in Manila, the Philippines.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Charles Dickens, who relentlessly shed light on the social injustice of his day.
The Brontë Sisters, reserved pastor’s daughters who pioneered my favorite genre—paranormal romance.
Jane Austen, witty and ahead of her time.
C.S. Lewis, a writer as integral to my own faith as the Sunday school teacher who led me to the Lord.
Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker for exploring the nature of humankind and the themes of good and evil by means of supernatural plotlines.
Anne Rice for capturing my imagination with her florid style.
J.K. Rowling for creating characters beloved by millions, including me.
Kristin Billerbeck for her honesty.
A recent find, Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games trilogy, for exemplifying tension on every page.
My own mother, Donita K. Paul, for trail-blazing the fantasy genre in CBA.
The same authors Mary Davis applauded in her post. Writers, like me, who keep at it even while doubting their own sanity.
With all these—and many more—authors who’ve captured my attention, how could I pick one who stands out the most? With the exception of Kristin and my mom, whom I know and love, these writers’ lives interest me because of their accomplishments, not because of who they really are/were. Their work commands my respect.
My deepest admiration is reserved for those writers I know personally. The people in my critique groups, friends I’ve met at conferences or workshops, those who are willing to open their lives to fellow writers and share the journey.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably one of those people. Know that you have my admiration and thanks.
Evangeline Denmark has storytelling on her heart and in her blood. The daughter of novelist, Donita K. Paul, Evangeline grew up living and breathing good stories. She has co-authored two children’s books: The Dragon and the Turtle (2010) and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (2011) and also writes adult fiction. Evangeline is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as chapter secretary. You can find Evangeline online at www.evangelinedenmark.com and www.dragonandturtle.com
Monday, June 20, 2011
Who do I admire as an author?
That person sitting in front of her or his computer wondering why they ever thought they could write. They started out not knowing anything about writing and blissfully wrote. Then sent their proposals off to agents and editors, expectantly waiting that acceptance letter and contract.
Then that person started learning the craft of writing and realized just how much they didn’t know. They are embarrassed by what they first wrote and sent out for people to see. Were they insane the day they decided to start that first novel? Was the prodding of the Lord really just indigestion?
They question their call.
They question their passion.
They question their sanity.
They call it quits.
But the writing muse won’t leave them alone. They get the next great idea, and the passion to write is rekindled stronger than before. Dare they sit back down at the computer and put their tender fingers to the keys and write?
Should they quit? For real this time? Are they wasting their time? Their family is whispering. People are laughing behind their back.
But they know they can’t quit. They must write and write and write. It’s not what they do, but part of who they are.
Those are the authors I admire. The ones who haven’t had a book published yet but also haven’t quit for good. The ones who are discouraged but keep tapping away at the keyboard. The ones who keep learning to improve their craft with every keystroke.
I admire your persistence.
Keep On Writing!!!