What do you think of when you hear the word surrender? For many, it can induce fear. But it can also be so freeing. Read on as Julie Arduini tells her story of surrender.
But first, I need to announce the winner of last week’s give-away. And our winner is … Jane Squires! Congrats!
Surrendering the Present by Julie Arduini
Although I’ve been writing for publication since 2011, creating stories has been my passion since I was four years old. During the teen years when my stories and characters were my emotional lifeline, I was told I had a great imagination and knack for making characters feel like friends. When it came to grammar and the more formal aspects of writing, teachers were less than encouraging about making writing a career. Struggling with confidence and consumed with people-pleasing, I played it safe.
Writing played a part in college and my young adult years, but not in any way that would lead to a potential reader rejecting me. As I became a Christian and got married, I was spending my time thinking I had to do things for everyone just so they would like me. I was exhausted and in need of healing. As I surrendered my past wounds and warped mindset to Christ, He not only transformed me, He gave me the desire to write.
I started writing for the local Mothers of Preschoolers chapter, then I created a blog. Suddenly opportunities were falling into my lap to participate in anthologies and gift books. By 2010, I’d completed a contemporary romance through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and started the process to make it publication-ready.
Fears started to return. What if no one wanted the story? What if a reader hated it and left a negative review? I pictured myself leaving those fears at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to take care of everything. And I kept that visual in the forefront as that NaNoWriMo story became an actual book.
His faithfulness reigned even when I got that negative review. As I revised the sequel, a lot of trials hit that I never saw coming. I felt shaken and unsure. Through Bible study and prayers from a great group of prayer warriors, I not only survived the experience, but felt His stirring to surrender yet again.
My tagline this entire time has been Encouraging you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. As I’ve shared with audiences as a speaker and author, I’ve been clear that the surrender process starts with me. I can’t convince any reader to trust me if I haven’t lived a life of surrender. Some of the things the Lord has asked me to give up that were good was our life in Upstate NY. We left everything and everyone for Ohio, and it was hard. I’ve had to surrender bad habits like negativity and people-pleasing. And although I don’t eat M&M’s for breakfast anymore, I confess I’m not quite ready to give up the chocolate today. I am in the midst of another big surrender. I recently left traditional publishing to become an Indie author. I had to release my goals and timeframes for His.
With that, I’m ready to share my message to anyone willing to receive it. My focus is something I’ve become pretty fond of—Surrender Issues and Chocolate. I will be re-releasing ENTRUSTED this spring, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED. Instead of an Adirondack perspective, where the books are set, they will be the Surrendering Time series. ENTRUSTED is about surrendering the present. ENTANGLED is about surrendering the past. Coming this fall will be ENGAGED: Surrendering the future. My prayer is that readers will open my books in hopes of entertainment but also find my flawed characters relatable. As they observe the characters finding freedom through surrender in Christ, I believe readers will seek the same for them.
I look forward to partnering with audiences in their surrender journey.
ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present
Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS and goals to make everyone in her new hometown love her as the new senior center director. Town councilman and grocer Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving loss and rejection and wants to shut down the center permanently before there’s too much change and further heartbreak. The two work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the upcoming re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, set for a Spring release. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.
Let’s talk about this: What kinds of things have you had to surrender? What fears did you have to face in the midst of that surrender? How did you face those fears? Do you have any wisdom to share? We can all learn from one another.
“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26, ESV).