Thursday, July 16, 2015

Interview with Nan Jones

My guest today is Nan Jones. I've come to know Nan through my work with Christian Devotions and as a fellow author with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.  (Devotion follows the interview.)

Welcome Nan!

Tell us something about yourself and how you started writing.

I live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina (Ashe County) about 10 minutes from Virginia and about 20 minutes from Tennessee. My home is a farmhouse built in 1895 with a much loved wrap-around porch, complete with rocking chairs and porch swing that replenishes my spirit when I feel worn. I have three adult children in their late 20s and one grandchild. Talk about joy! I love the dynamics that occur in a parent-adult child relationship. Watching the fruit of my labor sweeten the world around them is a delight of my heart. My simple country home wouldn't be complete without my Mastiff, Blue - a 125 lb. hunk of love and two country cats. When I'm not writing or preparing messages for my speaking ministry, you'll find me gardening, crocheting, reading, or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.

As a child I was an avid reader and have always enjoyed the power of story. I am also an artist. Around age 10, I realized I could put my two passions together and paint with my words. That's when I fell in love with words! I wrote poems and short stories. I made designs with random words. I experimented with rhythms created by different sequences of words. This love of words seemed to ooze out of me. When I was 12, I made a list of my life goals. Writing a book was number one.

Throughout my life writing was a hobby. I used my talent to help with church newsletters. I wrote poems and made cards as gifts. Occasionally I'd write a small piece for publication in an anthology, but writing was still something I did, not something I was. About five years ago, my husband and I went through an extensive period of unemployment. It was at that time that my husband encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing full-time. And I did. I created my blog, Morning Glory, began networking with other writers and professionals in the industry, and studied the craft of writing diligently. I still do. 

How did you come up with the idea for The Perils of a Pastor's Wife?

I served as a pastor's wife for 31 years. These were some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years of my life. These years were also some of the most trying—not necessarily because of the people but because of the spiritual battle that raged. Our lives could be turned upside down as quickly as the wind changes in a storm. A pastor's wife knows what it is to feel completely alone in the middle of a crowd. We are known to have trust issues—wondering who we can really be ourselves with and share our hearts with when we're troubled. Rejection is another deep-seated hurt most folks don’t think about when they consider the lives of pastors and their wives. We love our church people like they are family. When we are asked to leave or are voted out because of the annual confidence vote, it's like going through a divorce. The pain is unbearable. But most people don't think about that. I knew other pastors' wives needed to know they were not alone in their struggles and that someone understood what they were going through.

The Lord has taught me so much through this journey of service to Him—lessons of His faithfulness, lessons of His pleasure in obedient hearts, and lessons of finding shelter beneath the shadow of His Wing. I am so thankful He asked me to share this with His girls.

The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is written with raw, authentic emotion—no fluff—as I share actual incidents occurring in our ministry. I want my reader to know I truly understand how she feels and what she's going through. The beauty of this book is in the illumination of God's presence throughout its pages. The Lord taught me to find Him in my darkest moments and I, in turn, teach my readers the same. 

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

My greatest roadblock is my fibromyalgia. I have been in a very bad flare for several months now, causing my brain to be like a bowl of mush most days and the fatigue to be overwhelming. It's so frustrating. I've always been "the energizer bunny," but no more. When my body says rest, I have to rest. When my brain can't function, I send out a prayer request to my prayer team asking for clarity of mind. Sometimes I think my fibro is my thorn in the flesh because it causes me to completely rely on the Lord to accomplish the task He has given me. It causes me to trust in His sovereignty and perfect timing also because I can no longer just whip things out. Most days, I have to plod along trusting Him to be my strength in my weakness. It's kind of cool though. When my team begins to pray, I can feel His fresh anointing strengthening me and speaking to my weary spirit. It is through Christ and Christ alone that I can fulfill the demands of this writing/speaking ministry He has called me to. I find comfort in that Truth. 

Often we desire to teach a lesson through our writing, but we as writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing The Perils of a Pastor's Wife?

Wow! That's a good question. I honestly believe writing The Perils of a Pastor's Wife brought healing to many areas of my life. It caused me to search the scriptures thoroughly to make sure my teaching lined up with God's Word. In doing this, God poured His Living Water over and through my broken places and brought precious healing to me. On a spiritual level I pressed into God like never before—I partnered with Him to get this message before His girls. I know for a fact this deepened our relationship. 

What is one of your favorite Biblical passages (or books) to study?

I have always loved the book of Isaiah. So much of what the Lord spoke through him to Israel I can easily relate to in my own life. "Fear not, for I am with you. When you pass through the waters I will be with you. When you pass through the flame you will not be burned…." (Isaiah 43:2). Life is going to happen. It comes at us hard at times, but through Isaiah, the Lord clearly says, "Do not fear, for I am with you." It was also through Isaiah that the Lord taught me to be honest with Him. Through Isaiah, God told His people to "Bring forth their strong arguments and to present their case before Him" (Isaiah 41:21). I love that! I learned God is big enough to handle my tantrums and then bring me through the angst into His loving Presence, peace, and calm in the midst of the storm. 

What events in your personal life have most impacted your writing and how?

I have suffered much loss in my life. My mom died when I was 20, changing my life forever. My brother committed suicide 12 years ago. Six weeks later, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia and succumbed to the cancer seven months after this. I've journeyed through the heartbreak of a prodigal child and held another in my arms on the way to the hospital because depression consumed him and he no longer wanted to live. In and out and in-between all of this were the many trials of ministry—the gut-wrenching pain of rejection that comes when the "control people" of a congregation determine it's time for the pastor and his family to leave because change is happening and they don't like it.

There have been times I was so overcome with sorrow I could no longer pray. All I could do was to speak the name of Jesus. Over and over again, "Jesus." He drew near to me in response to my cry and taught me to open my eyes to see Him and my ears to hear His sweet whispers of love. I learned to rest in His Presence—just being. Not striving. Not running my mouth. Just basking in His love. These are the things I write about and the things I teach about when I speak at events. 

What are three things most people don't know about you?

        1. When I was 18, I rode on a bicycle 350 miles through the Blue Ridge Parkway in ten days with 120 other bikers. It was a summer trip with the Young Life teen ministries. I was a counselor.

            2.  I am an artist as well as a writer/speaker.

        3. I actually watched as the Lord lengthened the leg of one of my friends in a bible study as we prayed asking the Lord to help her. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A lot of things, all of which I'm doing now: writer, artist, teacher (I love to teach Bible studies and speak as a keynote speaker teaching God's truths). I couldn't wait to be a mom and live in an old farmhouse one day. I'm still waiting on the white picket fence though. 

What do you see as the most important accomplishment of your life so far?

I believe I'm running the race well. Life has come at me very, very hard, but through it all I've still been able to proclaim the faithfulness of the Lord. I learned early on that when I can't praise Him for my circumstances I can always praise Him for who He is.

What comes next for you? Do you have another book in the works?

I'm working on another non-fiction piece tentatively called SEEING BEYOND THE VEIL: Finding the Nearness of God When You Need Him the Most. It's all about learning to look for the evidence of God in our lives. We tend to think when we're going through a difficult time God has abandoned us. Through my own sorrows, I've learned deep in my knower that during my darkest moments that's when the Lord is closest—He is drawn to our pain. But I must open my eyes to see Him. That's the veil I'm referring to, not the veil in the temple that separated God's people from Him—the one that was torn in two when Jesus died. Rather, I'm referring to the veil that separates our physical world from the spiritual world. The Lord promised to be with us always, but we often fail to see Him, especially when we need Him the most. Seeing Beyond the Veil will teach the reader how to open their eyes to see Him, and in the seeing, the child of God learns the very essence of who He is. I've recently started a Facebook community page by the same name, Seeing Beyond the Veil. I get carried away when I speak about this because I love to share lessons learned, so I'm sorry I rambled. Suffice it to say I'm very excited about sharing what the Lord has shown me about His faithfulness and His Presence surrounding us always. There will be a Bible study for small groups by the same name to follow, so stay tuned. 

Would you share one of your favorite devotionals with us?


Darkness Must Flee for My Light Has Come
by Nan Jones


"Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! 
Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), 
for your light has come, 
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!" 
~ Isaiah 60:1, AMP



I couldn't sleep. My mind leaped from thought to restless thought, tumbling into the shadowed abyss between. With a heavy sigh I finally surrendered and got up. I fumbled through the darkness until bumping into the couch in our den. Sitting down, I curled up on the end near a window.

Father, I prayed, I'm so overwhelmed. I'm consumed with sorrow and ridden with anxiety. There is no peace within me. Be my peace, Lord. Please be my peace.


I adjusted the throw pillow so I could hold it in a snuggle and feel its soft caress against my cheek. Darkness shrouded me in its heavy cloak. Tears trickled. Shoulders heaved. And my spirit struggled to press into the One who loves me.


"Jesus...Jesus," I spoke in a soft whisper.


My eyes scanned the ebony sky. It was nearly dawn, but the black of storm clouds fought the rising sun. Towards the east, a faint silvery glimmer appeared. The dawning of a new day struggled to break through the persistent storm clouds, ominous in size, harmful in their threat.


I watched the battle in the heavenlies. Mesmerized. Hoping against hope the light of a new day would win over the billowing clouds of night.


The old mantle clock ticked away the minutes, filling the quiet with rhythms of life. I watched as the sky's silvery nugget began to expand. Edges of golden light fringed its soft perimeter, silhouetting, and revealing the magnitude of the clouds. The light continued to grow, overcoming the darkness with its brilliance. I watched as the storm clouds bowed to the presence of the light. 


As the morning sky sang praise to its Creator, the darkness of the storm faded - the colossal clouds began to reflect the morning light as they transformed before my eyes. Ribbons of apricot streaked across the expanse of heaven, delighting and calming my worn spirit.

The Lord spoke quietly into my heart, Nan, I am the Light in your darkness. Just as the light of dawn overcame the darkness of night, so my Presence in your life overcomes your despair. I am your peace, your hope, your joy. With your mind stayed on Me, I will keep you in perfect peace.


"Yes, Lord." I whispered back, the colors of dawn reflecting in my eyes. "With my eyes focused on You and You alone, I will find peace. Your glory will light my path, permeating my darkness and lacing it with the brilliance of dawn."

The fiery globe of the morning sun rose above the mountain ridge and gave a nod towards my sleepy face. The darkness fled, for my Light had come.

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Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her devotional blog, Morning Glory, has become a place of community for Christians to find encouragement in God’s Word and comfort in His Presence. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites, Christian Devotions and Inspire a Fire. Nan has also had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife, released June 30, 2015, by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When Nan is not writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, Bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as   she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com or her blog,    Morning Glory: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/. Nan has also created a Facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at nan@jubilantlight.com.

Find Nan on the Internet  

·         Website: www.NanJones.com
·         Blog: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/
·         Facebook Community Page: https://www.facebook.com/SeeingBeyondTheVeil
·         Twitter: @NanJonesAuthor
·         Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nantjones/
·         Google+: https://plus.google.com/+NanJonesAuthor/posts
·         Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/-nan-jones
·         LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/nan-jones
·         YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/nanjonesauthor


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Be empowered to fight spiritual battles with God's grace and love, protected by His armor. Learn creative ways to stand up for yourself while standing by your man. Feel the blessing of your calling—as a ministry helper, marriage partner, and mother. Discover how to respond when all hell breaks loose. The Perils of a Pastor's Wife will guide you through the calamities of life and restore your confidence in God's purpose and plan for your life and ministry. And most important of all, you will realize that somewhere, somehow, someone knows and understands.

The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble



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