I’m so happy to have friend and former Seriously Write co-host Ocieanna Fleiss back as a guest. Although published in fiction, she felt led to focus on nonfiction for a time and write her memoir. She shares how cardiac arrest changed her life and her writing.
Write Like He Loves Me
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Have you ever meditated on these verses? Remarkable. Do I really believe these life-ripping-open words? Nothing can separate me? Not even death?
Five years ago, this verse was tested when a cardiac arrest stopped my heart. It took a quick-thinking, though terrified, husband and a house-full of paramedics to bring me back.
(You can read about this by downloading the first three chapters of Love Like There’s No Tomorrow: How a Cardiac Arrest Brought My Heart to Life here. https://bookgrabbr.com/books/37881 )
This event changed my life in many ways—even in my writing!
After I awoke, a strange shift happened. A layer of self-consciousness, which had cloaked me forever, skirted away. Do you know what I mean by self-consciousness as a writer? Partly without realizing it, I second-guessed myself. Instead of embodying my characters, releasing their stories through my fingers, I thought too much. Overthought. Held back, afraid of my characters' painful emotions and afraid if I really tried—put myself out there—it wouldn't be good enough. Afraid.
But then I died. And more importantly, Jesus reached his wounded hand to me. "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along," he said.
I realized nothing, not even death, could separate me from his love.
That's what banished my self-conscious fear.
I knew my Husband Jesus loved me. I grasped it. I got it. Finally. He loved me, the ugly parts, the fearful, the untrusting, even when pride and fear overtook me again and again. I was his. I am his.
You are, too.
Do I doubt his love from time to time? Of course. Dark days still pummel me at times, but in many ways, his love has grown in me, boosting my courage. In my recent memoir (truly about me, not just invented characters) I let it all out. So raw and vulnerable. Scary to share about my miscarriages, and marriage struggles, the mean name I was called as a child, and more. But out it came, as I wept.
The more I ponder my Lord's fierce, never-ending love, the freer I am to openly share my weaknesses and struggles, the things people need to hear. The more I can step aside (get over myself) and watch him work. And I become a better writer.
Because if nothing can separate me from his love (not even death!), I might as well write like he loves me.
Remember, he loves you like there's no tomorrow.
Seattle, WA: A few years ago, Ocieanna Fleiss wife and work-at-home mother of four young children would have described herself as overwhelmed, stressed, and focused on finishing her to-do list. But when at age forty-two, a sudden cardiac arrest stopped her heart, everything changed.
During those quiet months of recovery, as she reflected on her life, a pattern arose. Like a loving father, Christ has always walked her through childhood neglect, miscarriages, the death of her parents, and even through her own death!
Amazed by God’s loving hand in her life, Ocieanna overflowed with a desire to love in a new, more profound way. Out of this desire, transforming truths gently came to light: truths that changed her life forever and will show you how God can weave everything in your life into His elaborate plan.
OCIEANNA FLEISS has written three historical novels with Tricia Goyer in the best-selling Love Finds You series. She speaks at churches, parenting groups, and writers conferences and teaches a Bible class to homeschool junior high students. She penned a writing column for eight years and contributes to the Seriously Write blog. She has also written for MOMSense, MOPS.org, Hearts at Home, Guideposts for Kids, and CBA Marketplace. She is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the Writers View. Ocieanna makes her home in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and four kids.
You can learn more and connect with Ocieanna by visiting these sites: