Beautiful Things


We see it and wrinkle our nose. We see it and grab a rag. Sweep it away. Suck it into our vacuums. Make it disappear.

Because dust means dirt. Dust means allergies. Dust means neglect. And we want those things to go away.

The title of this post is the title of a song. Have you listened to it? It’s called Beautiful Things, by Gungor.

The chorus goes like this:
You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of us.

I’m obsessed with it. The melody is beautiful. The words, even more so.

But mostly, I’m obsessed with it because I want this truth to saturate my stories. Each and every one. The breath-taking, awe-inspiring, mind-blowing truth that Christ can make beautiful things out of the dust.

He redeems the utterly broken. Breathes new life into the forgotten.

I recently got the content edits for my contracted novel, Beneath a Velvet Sky. In case you’re not a writer, content edits are the first of many edits authors go through when they work with a publishing house. These are the big, comprehensive edits. One of the questions my editor asked had to do with my main character’s career.

Bethany is an architect.

My editor wanted to know why. She wants my readers to know why, too.

Because I didn’t choose this career for her randomly. I didn’t throw a bunch of jobs in a hat and pluck out architect. I had a reason.

Bethany wants to design big and beautiful things. She wants to associate herself with grandeur. She wants to put her name on impressive creations. To be able to point to them and say, “See that over there? I made that.”

Only she’s stuck in renovations, and renovating old buildings isn’t what she had in mind when she signed up to be an architect.

This isn’t random either.

Because God wants to show Bethany something. He wants to show her how much renovation matters to Him. He wants to show her that He’s in the business of renovation too.

He wants to show her that He can take the filthy, neglected, unbeautiful things of this world and make them beautiful. Make them new.

Like a situation.

Or a heart.

Or a life.

He renovates them every single day. Every single hour.

He wants to renovate hers.

He wants to renovate ours.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Let’s Talk: Have you witnessed God’s renovation? In what ways has He renovated you?

*Picture by Mat and Raviremovetweetmeme

Living Free

In one of my novels, there’s this character. This beautiful beautiful character. A woman so striking other women envy her. Other women want to be her.

But her insides tell a different story. Because inside, she is broken. Not just kind of broken either. She is utterly and completely broken. Bound by the world. A slave to her beauty. To her figure. To the way men respond to her.

It consumes her.

She is not free.

And sadly, so many of us are the same.

We live in a country where slavery is illegal, yet so many of us are slaves.

To food. To sex. To approval. To work. To money. To alcohol.

The list goes on.

But in the midst of bondage, there is a key.

It comes from 2 Corinthians. A couple verses that I absolutely love:

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Sometimes, the things that bind us feel impossible to escape. Sometimes, we find ourselves saying, “I can’t get over this.”

And we put so much emotion, so much emphasis, behind that word.


The truth is, we can’t. Not on our own. And Satan relishes in our weakness.

But maybe….

Maybe, Christ allows these thorns so we might turn to Him in a way we haven’t before.

Maybe, He wants us to learn that when temptation curls its sinewy fingers around our souls, the only way to escape is to hit our knees and cry out to the one who CAN.

Maybe, He wants to use our great weaknesses to magnify His great strength.

I’ve learned that true and lasting freedom comes through letting Him, and Him alone, be our master. Not work or sex or food or whatever else this world shoves in our face.

My prayer today, is that chains would be broken. That people would find freedom. Life-changing, heart-dancing, joy-inducing freedom in the only one who can give it. Jesus Christ.

Let’s Talk: Do you have that kind of freedom? Have you ever been a slave to something?

*Photo by Le Seigle Antoineremovetweetmeme

Reaching a Broader Audience

Do you fix something that isn’t technically broken? How about tweaking it to make it more effective?

Over the last week, I’ve read best-selling author Kristen Lamb’s two books on social media. We Are Not Alone: A Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer.

Her books have encouraged me, because there are things I’m doing right. Things I enjoy. Like connecting with others and building relationships. I like doing that stuff. I like that I get to spend time on Facebook and Twitter and call it work.

Her books have also challenged me, because there’s always room for improvement.

One of the things I wrestle with is blog content.

I blog about writing. And a lot of times, I feel like I’m repeating what’s already been said a hundred times before. In craft books. In workshops. In articles. On other blogs.

I’m writing to an audience of writers when I’m trying to reach an audience of readers. 

Granted, some of you (hopefully), will read my book when it releases in May. But I’m also alienating a whole population of readers who could care less about writing.

Here’s the thing.

Remember that post I wrote about creating a social media plan? The one where I encouraged everyone to ask important questions? Questions like why are we blogging, or Twittering, or Facebooking?

I had to take my own advice. I had to ask myself those same questions.

Why am I blogging?

My answer isn’t: To help writers grow (as awesome as that is).

I started blogging and continue to blog because I want to build a relationship with readers.

The majority of my readers are going to be Christian women who love romance. They aren’t going to care about Motivation Reaction units. And those who do can pick up a book by Dwight Swain.

So what am I doing?

I think I’ve gotten so comfortable blogging about writing that I haven’t stopped to think why I’m doing it. And really, it’s sort of been working. My blog has steadily grown in its readership and I’ve formed some really cool friendships because of it.

So if it’s not broken, why mess with it?

It’s a question I battled with all last week. And here’s what I decided:

Even though it’s working doesn’t mean it’s working as well as it could. I don’t want to miss out on connecting with a wider audience because I’m afraid to try something new.

Which means…..

I’m going to try something new. Especially after reading Kristen’s post on blog content.

After a few months, I’ll assess. If it’s a flop, I can always go back to what I’ve been doing. But if it works? I will kiss Kristen Lamb’s feet and enjoy building a relationship with readers before my book hits the shelves.

So here it goes. My new content and schedule:

Writing related posts on Monday. Because writing is my passion and I want to continue serving the audience I already have (writers). Plus, I enjoy sharing my journey as a newly contracted novelist in a rapidly-changing industry.

Faith related posts on Wednesdays. Because the Christian faith plays a big role in each and every one of my novels and an even bigger role in each and every day of my life.

On Fridays? Romance. Family. Books. Life. I was thinking of limiting it to romance, since that’s what I write, but then I thought. What if I want to write about books? Or parenthood? Maybe it would be best not to make this too limiting.

So there you go. My new schedule. If any of these topics interest you, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

Let’s Talk: Why do you blog? Why do you read blogs? Do you read blogs that don’t focus on writing? Do you wrestle with content? Do you think non-writing readers are looking to connect with authors via blogs?removetweetmeme