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I Challenge You to Put Out into the Deep

There is a fine line between giving God the glory for something and bragging. For a few days, I’ve mostly been sitting on a little news, sharing it with just a few people, trying to check my motivations. I’ve come to the conclusion when GOD moves–whether it be in a spectacular, awesome way or not–GIVE HIM the GLORY. 🔥
 
I had a conversation Tuesday with film producer Brad Wilson about my script for A Lady in Defiance. I was looking for a critique and input. And maybe what to do next. Brad ran Robert Duvall’s production company for 11 years and now is an indy producer who has done a lot of films.
 
 Right before I submitted the script to him, I felt led by the Holy Spirit to do more than polish it. I took a knife to it and rewrote some scenes. The script went from 127 pages (which is ENTIRELY too long) down to 101. Issues I’d struggled with before cleared up and smoothed out almost easily.
 
Brad is absolutely the nicest man in the world. And he could not have been any more complimentary about the script. He LOVED it! I mean, he raved about it. I was shocked. He told me not to change a thing about it if I wanted to go out and pitch it to some production companies!
 
He told me things are just now barely starting to move again in the film industry and he has financial people who are specifically interested in westerns. He just can’t commit to any timing yet for a meeting but he asked for permission to share the script with them. He would really like to tell them about it!
 
He also said if I wanted to pitch the script to some production companies in the meantime, to use his name, that he wanted to be involved with the project.
 
So, wow. I can’t believe he didn’t suggest ANY changes. He loved the characters, especially Naomi. He loved the dialogue. He mentioned a couple of scenes that just hit right between the eyes. He was so complimentary, I told him I thought he was setting me up to tell me what was WRONG with the script. He said, “Nothing.”
 
I nearly fell over.
 
i'm coming (1) The film industry is in a weird place right now, but he really loved the story and said he thinks one day it’ll be on TV.
 
I still can’t believe he didn’t suggest any changes. He said he would never have known I was a novelist–or that it was my first script. He kept saying he was really impressed.
 
Y’all, that is ALL God. Pure and simple.
He’s told me repeatedly not to quit writing and “to put out into the deep.” Over and over, he’s given me that scripture from Luke. I can’t tell you the doubt and persecution I’ve suffered trying to follow this profession. I’ve been called worthless and lazy, even selfish, by members of my own family. And, yes, pursuing this not-so-lucrative career hasn’t made sense most of the time. I’ve doubted. Applied for jobs. But I couldn’t even go through with the interview it felt so wrong. 
I’m sharing this story to brag on God. He has a plan for my life and watching it unfold has been faith-affirming. He has a plan for you, too! I hope my story encourages you to keep pursuing your dreams if they’re from Him–but seek FIRST the kingdom! Draw close to Him. Fight the enemy when he comes to steal your dreams because he will. Be courageous and put out into the deep.
Most importantly, KEEP MOVING FORWARD with God.

 

The Lady Behind A Lady in Defiance–My Sister

Life is messy and gritty. People can be simply awful, totally unlovable.  And God loves us anyway. These were the things going through my mind when I started writing A Lady in Defiance. One of the main characters is based on my sister Suzy’s life. Suzy went through a lot. Overcame even more. A beautiful, victorious woman of God who inspires me every day–even twenty years after her death.

If you’ve never read the Foreword to A Lady in Defiance, I wish you would. If you need a lift today, a hug from God, a little inspiration–it’s there. Read on and be blessed:

They say truth is stranger than fiction. I prefer to say that truth is more miraculous. What we as authors can make up in our own heads doesn’t compare to what the greatest Writer of all can do. Take for example the story that inspires my character of Hannah:

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Suzy at 14

 

 In the early 70′s, my family used to drive up from Florida to camp in the mountains. In the summer of ’73, we discovered a beautiful, sleepy, small town in Western North Carolina. My sister also discovered a boy there—her soul mate, really, but who would have believed that? The following summer we moved from Florida to this town and, not long after, my sister Suzy announced she was pregnant…at the tender age of 15.

I cannot repeat the things my mother said to my sister. Sadly, while my sister forgave her years later, I don’t think my mother ever forgave herself. Certainly, my father and most of the locals weren’t much kinder. Florida trash. Floozy. Slut…you name it, they said it. I can still hear my mom’s high-pitched, screechy voice as she screamed hysterically at Suzy.

My sister was pushed by both families to have an abortion and she agreed. How could she refuse? After all, it was pretty clear this would “ruin her life,” and there was “no future for an unwed mother,” especially since she would “never claw her way out of poverty.” With prophecies like that, abortion was a godsend. In the doctor’s office, however, Suzy changed her mind and said she couldn’t go through with it. The phone rang and it was the father of the child; he didn’t want Suzy to go through with it, either, but he still wouldn’t marry her.

Suzy went instead to a half-way house in Alexandria, Virginia to have the baby and give him up for adoption. A month before she was due to deliver, the father of the baby finally stood up to his father and told him he loved Suzy and was going to Virginia to get her. Suzy told me years later that this boy had asked her to marry him much earlier . . . on their first date! They were simply meant to be.

The two teenagers were married and God’s plan unfolded for their lives. She and her husband gave their hearts to the Lord and went on to have two more children. Suzy matured into a mighty, spirit-filled woman of God, finished her GED, earned a degree as an R.N., and became a licensed minister in the Church of God, all while raising children and helping her husband farm. She was a popular speaker at women’s conferences, went on mission trips and also worked as a Hospice nurse for over two years. During that time, Suzy led many people to the Lord, some literally from their death beds.

No one who met my sister was immune to her infectious smile, vivacious personality, gentle faith, and graceful ways. The love of Christ literally shined from this woman like a beacon on a hill.

When breast cancer claimed Suzy in 1999, over 800 people attended her funeral. In a town that twenty-five years earlier had spurned her, affection poured out. The funeral was standing-room only; former patients wrote good-byes in the local newspaper; people we hadn’t seen in years called with condolences.

Suzy is not only the inspiration behind my character of Hannah, but her story is the reason I know God can take the grimmest, most hopeless situation and show us the beauty in it. Profound, miraculous happy endings are possible when we “let go and let God.”

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The picture Suzy used on her minister cards

 If you are the mother of a pregnant teenage daughter, I pray you will think before you speak and then speak with love. If you are the daughter, please don’t abort that baby. Give God a chance to do what He does best—bring beauty from ashes. He loves you; He loves that child you’re carrying. Trust Him to work it out.

~~~~~~

 

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If you’d like to read A Lady in Defiance, it’s on sale all month for only .99 and is available in audio as well!

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