Stories of faith, life, and love

Tag: spiritual gifts

What I’m Reading: The Ravenwood Saga

If you’ve followed my blog or any of my social media accounts very long, you know I’m just as likely to sit down and watch an episode of Doctor Who as I am the latest Hallmark movie. I equally love the Lord of the Rings, Marvel movies, and While You Were Sleeping. There’s enough love in me for fantasy, action, sci-fi, drama, and romance. At least, there is when it comes to television and movies.

As much as my tastes in television and movies span the various genres, my taste in reading has rarely strayed from one genre, the romance genre. Any variations have come from whether or not I’m in the mood for historical or contemporary romance. Through the years a couple of suspense books have wormed their way onto my shelves. But it wasn’t until the past year that fantasy/speculative fiction made its own appearance, with the exceptions of a few that are not in the Christian market which I read to share the experience with my kids.

Anyway, a year or so ago, I won a copy of the first book in Morgan Busse’s The Soul Chronicles series and devoured it along with the second one. When I saw she’d come out with a new series and I found myself with a couple gift cards, it wasn’t a difficult choice to add The Ravenwood Saga to my cart. It wasn’t until last month that I had the chance to read them.

I’d just finished a couple contemporary romances, and I wanted something different. I opened up The Mark of the Raven as a way to cleanse my reading palette. I intended to read one book before returning to my standard genre. My plans changed.

The second I read the last page of The Mark of the Raven, I opened up Flight of the Raven. I didn’t have the third book yet, but I added it to my library as soon as I finished the second book. Cry of the Raven didn’t have a waiting period. I finished it the next day.

I loved the characters and the world the author created. Lady Selene is a strong character, gifted with the power to dreamwalk. It is the gift of House Ravenwood, and they have used it to exact revenge on the other houses in their land for abandoning them to the enemy many years before. Lady Selene has been raised on the stories of betrayal and the belief that through using their powers to torment others, steal their secrets, and at times, kill them in their dream worlds, House Ravenwood stays strong.

Only this idea and the reality of what she’s expected to do doesn’t sit well with Lady Selene. Deep inside, she feels there must be more to her gift than fear and death, and she is determined to find out where her gift came from and its true purpose.

As one man steps forward from House Maris to unite the different houses against their common enemy, Lady Selene has her first hint that her family has indeed missed something in the way their gift is used. To seek out truth could lead to more than being disowned. If her mother finds out she’s not following the ways of her house, it will most certainly mean death. But can she continue in the ways of House Ravenwood and dreamkilling when her heart is telling her the gift was given for a better purpose?

Selene’s quest to find the truth behind the gifting continues through each book. As war draws closer, she is faced with terrible choices, deadly consequences, and inner battles she never imagined possible. Finding the correct path for her life isn’t easy, and it’s made more difficult through the suspicions of those around her and the danger she faces from her own family.

The spiritual lessons of the book are clear but do not detract from the story. In fact, the story makes the scriptural truths more vibrant and inspire the reader to seek out and care for their own gifts and talents. The Ravenwood Saga is a beautiful example of truth clothed in fantasy leaving its message to resonate in the reader rather than being content to simply entertain, though it does that as well.

Write Stuff Wednesday -Passion and Purpose

Let God Lead“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” – Joss Whedon

With rare exceptions, I enjoyed writing in school. It didn’t matter if it was exposition on a novel we read in class or a research paper on a historic event. I wanted to write, and if writing about a war or a person from the past was the only way to get that done, then I was happy to do it. Writing was the one area where I felt totally comfortable expressing myself.

Of course, without question my favorite assignments were those that wandered into the territory of creative writing. I may not have assignments any more (of course with a publisher’s deadline hanging over my head for my second book, maybe I do after all!), but I still gravitate toward fiction. I’ve written other things. I’ve got a nature devotional for kids, lesson material for VBS, and material for a women’s retreat all completed though not currently published. But even when I’m working on those kinds of writing projects, I try to add a creative twist. I always have. You should see the paper I wrote in high school that told the story of how I didn’t have anything to write about for the assignment!

Whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction, my reasons for writing remain the same. I write to express myself. I write to create and remember. Sometimes I write to make sense of things I’m going through, and other times I write to express what a situation has taught me.

As a writer of faith, there are many times when I write with purpose that extends beyond myself. When I think of Kristen Heitzmann, Sheila Walsh, Linda Chaikin, and Liz Curtis Higgs, I cannot deny the impact their writings have had on my life. Some have challenged me through fiction, while others have encouraged me with their non-fiction. The method they’ve chosen to deliver their messages doesn’t matter. Each one has increased my understanding of faith in powerful ways. They’ve each used a God-given talent to minister to others.

This desire to minister is the reason I choose to write for others and not merely myself. Scripture tells us our spiritual gifts are to be used for the edification of the body of believers and to reach others with the gospel. While writing is not listed as a spiritual gift, I believe the God gives us talents and the ability to learn new skills that we can then use to shepherd, encourage, and teach which are all listed as spiritual gifts. I believe God wants to use our abilities and passions to pass on His wisdom and knowledge, to challenge believers to grow in faith, and to exemplify His teachings on mercy, giving, and serving. When we allow God to direct our writing, we are using the spiritual gifts God has given us and also encouraging understanding and growth of them in others.

This is why I write.

By the Book: Why do you write? Or maybe you don’t write. That’s okay. God gives us each passions to pursue that can be used for His purposes. Maybe you’re into photography, music, or crafts. Or it’s possible travel or star gazing or building things is what your passionate about. Whatever has your interest, do you seek out God’s purpose in your pursuit of it?

AND REMEMBER TO CHECK OUT MY FULL OF CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH REGINA RUDD MERRICK FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF HER E-BOOKS! ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS READ THE POST AND COMMENT TO ENTER. WINNER WILL BE DRAWN MONDAY, JULY 30, 2018.

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