Saturday, November 5, 2016
Meet Nan Jones, Author of The Perils of a Pastor's Wife
Welcome Nan, it may seem obvious from the title of your book, but please tell us in your own words what audience you are targeting.
The Perils of a Pastor's Wife was written for the pastor's wife who was caught off guard by the spiritual bloodshed that can occur in ministry. I want her to know she is not alone in those turbulent waters. I have discovered that many women, especially those in leadership positions, have benefited also. The truth of God's faithfulness and presence during our most difficult moments knows no bounds.
What is the most exciting part of being able to interact with your readers?
I love when the words of my heart meet a deep need in the life of my reader. I believe that's how it should be. If our work is committed to the Lord and done for His glory—whether non-fiction or fiction—then we should be able to see His purposes unfold. What an amazing blessing to know that the Lord is working through us.
Tell us something about yourself, Nan.
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 1887 with a much loved wrap-around porch, complete with rocking chairs and porch swing. This porch replenishes my spirit when I feel worn. I have three adult children 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.
How did you get started writing?
As a child I was an avid reader and have always enjoyed the power of story. I am also an artist. Around age 10 or so, I realized that I could put my two passions together and paint pictures with my words. I fell in love with creative writing and often wrote poems and short stories. As I got older, I experimented with rhythms created by different sequences of words. The love of writing 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 seven years ago I began to pursue my dream of writing full-time. I created my blog where I help others find the nearness of God when they need Him the most. I also began networking with other writers and professionals in the industry, and studied the craft of writing diligently. I still do. And now I’m a published author! That still seems surreal to me. How good God is to honor our dreams? Very good, indeed.
Who was the first author who inspired you to write?
Like most writers I have many favorites, but I'll tell you about my all-time favorite—an author you may never have heard of. Her name is Margaret Jensen. Margaret died several years ago at the age of 91. She was of Norwegian descent. Her father was a missionary in remote parts of Canada in the early 1900s. Margaret's books are filled with stories of faith and God's miraculous
provision throughout her lifetime. She wrote as if the reader were sitting with her sharing a cup of coffee and conversation. That's my goal in writing.
Margaret was also a pastor's wife who endured some intense battles for the Kingdom. In her book, The Sun is Shining on The Other Side, she tells the story of one such pastorate. We had just gone through our first nightmare in ministry. As I read her words I cried. I realized that somewhere, somehow, someone knew what I was going through! I wrote her a 10 page letter to which she replied, "Are you a writer? You must be a writer!" God used her to confirm my desires. He also used Margaret to plant the seed for The Perils of a Pastor's Wife.
What inspired 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-seeded hurt that 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 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 that other pastors' wives needed to know that 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 others.
Tell us about the greatest problem/challenge you faced in writing this book.
The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is written with raw, authentic emotion because I want the reader to realize that I too, have experienced exactly what she has. Reliving the pain was difficult, but necessary to make a difference in the lives of others.
What do you want your readers to gain by reading your book?
My heart's cry is that the pastor's wife will realize she is not alone—that someone understands how she feels. I want her to walk away from this book with renewed confidence in her calling, with healing deep in her wounded spirit, and the realization that in her darkest moments God was with her—He is faithful.
Share with us a moment when something one of your readers said or wrote gave you pause, inspired you to think about your work in a different way.
When I write, I close my eyes and "experience" what I'm writing about—the sights, the sounds, smells. I love to paint with my words. A few years ago I received an email from a woman that I don't know, but she came across my blog online. Betty lost her sight 20 years ago. Before that, she told me that her greatest joy was to go out into nature and worship the Lord because of the beauty of His creation. Since her blindness, she could no longer do that. She could worship the Lord in church and through her life, but she no longer had the joy of being mesmerized by His creation. Betty told me that through my blog—the painting of my words—she has been transported back to the time of her sight and the wonders of her Creator. I cried when I read her words. I was amazed—humbled that the Lord would use me in such a remarkable way. I'm still amazed. And thankful. Very thankful.
Do you have a favorite or signature Bible verse?
Yes, Exodus 33:14: "And the Lord said to him [Moses], 'My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.'"
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 13 years ago; 6 weeks later my dad was diagnosed with leukemia and succumbed to the cancer 7 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 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's one of your favorite quotes?
I actually have 3, all of which are taped to my computer.
· "Prayer is the alpha and omega of planning. Don't just brainstorm; Praystorm."
~ Mark Batterson
· "It's impossible to throw cold water on a dream birthed in the fire of God's Revelation."
~ Matthew Barnett
· "God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to make a mistake. So when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart." ~ Charles Spurgeon
Would you like to tell us about your next book?
Yes, I'd love to. I'm working on another non-fiction piece titled, THE OFFERING: Illuminating the Evidence of God Through Our Pain. The Offering will take an honest look at the conflict of soul that occurs during times of anguish in the life of a Christian—those times when we feel abandoned by God. I give raw details of personal stories where I faced my own demons of desperation—desperation to find God in the midst of my darkest moments. Story after story I give an account of God's revelation of Himself.
A unique feature of this book is exploring the correlation of the Old Testament tabernacle and the faith journey of New Testament believers as the temple of God. It's fascinating! The reader will discover that, just as the people of Israel willingly brought an offering of pure oil from crushed olives to the priest daily to keep the golden lampstand burning, so we, too, can willingly bring our crushing pain before the Lord to release the oil of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In both instances, the evidence of God is illuminated by the Light.
My plan is to feature this material as a non-fiction book for the individual reader and then launch into a small-group Bible study and a thirty day devotional journal. As I've shared this idea with others, I have had several break down in tears and ask me how to offer their pain to the Lord. Please pray for me as I endeavor to hear Him clearly and minister to the needs of His children.
Nan, please give us the first page of The Perils of a Pastor's Wife.
AFTER THE FIRE,
A GENTLE WHISPER
ONLY GOD KNEW where my husband was. I had run from
the business meeting before its completion. Tempers
flared. Tongues were unleashed, and nearly three years
of fruitful ministry were all but destroyed. My heart beat
madly within my chest, fighting desperately not to break
from the pain of rejection. Angry tears stung my cheeks
as I bolted from the sanctuary. I didn’t know if I could
continue in this thing called ministry. God was asking too
much of me.
My husband, David, and I had been ministering in the
small rural church for three years. Under his leadership
and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the church had experienced
exponential growth. God’s mercy and grace flowed into
the lives of our people. Church had become a place of joy,
restoration, and refuge.
Then evil reared its ugly head.
Have you been hurt by the church? Have you felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry? The Perils of A Pastor's Wife will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God's Presence through it all. Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone.
About the author:
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. She is a monthly contributor to Inspire a Fire and PW Connections, a blog and forum to encourage pastors' wives. Her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This memoir was a 2016 Selah finalist. When Nan isn't writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s faithfulness as keynote speaker for special events. You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com. or her facebook ministry page, Seeing Beyond The Veil. For personal communication you may email Nan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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