When I wrote my first book, Fruit of My Spirit, I just wanted my boys to know how I met their father. Up until that point, my adult sons knew there was more to the story than what they’d pieced together; they knew I hadn’t been studying in the library that fateful night. Before speculation could digress into too many tee-hee moments, I began writing. I wanted our family’s story to be part of a bigger story. I wanted our family’s story to be shaped by God’s love and faithfulness, not the misplaced priorities of a young eighteen-year old.
One very short story on love became two, the second one about joy. Then came a story on peace. Soon a fruit-ful theme developed and I was exclaiming to anyone within earshot, “I wrote a book!”
I never expected to write a book. My mom had asked me to write one, but at that time my boys were little, and I couldn’t even put a grocery list together. Later when the boys were in high school, Mom asked me again, and again I deferred. “Writers write books,” I said. After Mom’s death, Dad reminded me that Mom had wanted me to write a book. With no more excuses and time to reflect, I wrote a book. And then I wrote a second one.
At an early signing for that first book, a church friend approached me, and with a shy smile, her eyes sparkling, Irene said, “I have a story to tell…” She went on to talk about her family who emigrated from Norway, first to Canada and then to the United States. Her father died just after their arrival. With five children in tow, the youngest only a year old, her mother embraced a new life in the land of promised opportunity. Irene said her own father had been their Moses, leading them from the old country to the new. She added that her mother had been their Joshua. Then she looked away and said, “I could never write a book.”
Perhaps not, but her story still matters. As does yours. Our stories don’t have to be found somewhere between Genesis and Revelation to matter. They don’t have to appear on Amazon’s best-seller list to count. Our stories are more important than that, because they’re chapters in God’s great story. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar, said, “The genius of the biblical story is that, instead of simply giving us ‘seven habits for highly effective people,’ it gives us permission and even direction to take conscious ownership of our own story at every level, every part of life and experience. God will use all of this material, even the negative parts, to bring life and love.”
Now that’s a story that matters!
About the author: Deanna Nowadnick is the author of two books, Fruit of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace and Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God. Both are inspirational memoirs. When not writing, Deanna provides administrative support for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington state. She’s active in her church, playing the violin Sunday mornings and serving on the leadership team. She loves Bible study and delights in meetings with various women’s groups. Deanna’s a Pacific Northwest native who’s been blessed with a wonderful marriage to Kurt. Deanna’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can connect with Deanna at deannanowadnick.com. She’s also on Facebook (Fruit of My Spirit), Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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About these books: (from the publisher) In a memoir of missteps and misdeeds, Deanna Nowadnick writes of the hugeness of God’s love and faithfulness. Reframing life in God’s grace, she discovers an indescribable, indefinable, inexplicable love that has encircled her without fail through joyous, sad, cringe-worthy, heartwarming, forgettable, memorable moments in life. Fruit of My Spirit is for anyone who’s ever questioned God’s ability to love and forgive, who’s ever wondered about their place in God’s family or God’s place in theirs. Nowadnick offers hope for those who dare to question, who secretly wonder, and who fear to ask. Through stories of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you will experience the enormity of God, too.
Signs in Life begins with a late night encounter with law enforcement. In the harsh glare of a flashlight, author Deanna Nowadnick learns the consequences of speeding through a stop sign. Other incidents follow. All are linked to the divine signs she’s encountered in that bigger journey through life. Join Deanna as she shares humorous anecdotes and inspirational lessons from her travels with God. See the signs in life. She might be speeding through a stop sign–yet again!–while you’re carefully navigating a busy street, but together we’re all part of a bigger journey, a greater purpose. We’re all part of God’s great story.
After words: Which member of your family would you encourage to tell her (or his) story? Why?