Monday, November 21, 2016

Comfort Zone? What Comfort Zone? by Marianne Evans

Marianne Evans
There are times when I’m outgoing, engaging. There are times I love being part of a ‘party’ or a spirited gathering full of talk, laughter, discussion, and even more laughter. But then come the times when I crave nothing more than solitude, and the ability to blend into obscurity so I can people watch, listen, observe and chronicle. I love those moments when I can sink inside myself, absorb, and then share the world I've discovered.

As such, I’ll never be a sales person. I admire those who can effectively sell a product, or themselves. Doing so is a skill and a gift. Me? I detest the necessary ‘promo’ component of my writing ministry, because I never want this journey to be about me. I want it to be about Christ, and the gifts I offer Him via storytelling. In our present techno-based, social-driven world, however, there’s no escaping the need to put yourself forward. Case in point? Last month I traveled to Atlanta to tape a television segment for Preach the Word TV’s ‘Book of the Month’ show. The topic? My second Harbourlight Books release, Forgiveness.

Um…yeah. This required things like studio sets. Stage lights. The daunting task of trying to sound natural and confident while staring down the lens of a trolley camera. Stage hands with cue cards would buzz with graceful stealth from spot to spot during filming.

Daunting puts a pretty accurate descriptive on the event.

The host of the show, Bishop OC Pringle, pre-interviewed me, and intended to work from a line of questions we had already discussed. During taping, however, he veered off-script. I found myself open to God’s Spirit, and His vulnerability when Bishop asked: “Marianne, what’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to forgive?”

I believe—with all that I am—that God prepared me for that question just moments before taping. While sharing lunch with my editor and some newfound author friends, a memory buzzed, and filled my soul: the memory of losing my mother-in-law to a broadside automobile accident caused by an inebriated driver who ran a red light and ended her life all too soon.

And so, when he asked that question, sure, my nerves sang, and tears welled but God kept me steady as I proceeded to answer Bishop’s question.

My comfort zone had been left far behind, but God’s purpose, and call, had been answered in full. I had been prepared in such a way that I hope others who have been required to forgive much, can relate, empathize, and move forward in their own faith journey.

Where is your comfort zone, friends? Where is God calling you to share—no matter how “uncomfortable” – or expand your horizons? I’d love to hear about it! 
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Devotion, earned the Bookseller’s Best Award as well as the Heart of Excellence Award. Hearts Communion earned a win for Best Romance from the Christian Small Publisher's Association. She is also a two-time recipient of the Selah Award, Then & Now for Best Contemporary Romance and Finding Home for Best Novella. Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and an active member of Romance Writers of America, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.

Country music bad boy Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction, and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up and comer, Pyper Brock, and instantly sparks ignite.

Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation, so despite a rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, she soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. Decades ago, her father, in a drunken rage, tossed her and her mother onto the streets. No way will Pyper make the mistake of falling for a man whose done battle with the bottle.
What happens when Chase’s quest to win Pyper’s love breaks down chains of resentment and eases the long buried wounds of her childhood? And what happens when Pyper’s father shows up in Nashville, clean, sober and seeking a chance to apologize?

Can Pyper follow a pathway to peace when it comes to her father? Can she fully trust Chase? Above all, can a sin damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness?

Available in print and e-book formats: