Dear Friends, it’s my delight to introduce you to Jan Elder. Jan is a Christian author, and she’s also a very kind person. Her love for the Lord shines through everything she says and does. I feel honored to have her on my blog!
Danele: Jan, I’m so glad that you’re able to talk with us today!
Jan: Danele, I am so happy to be here. Your blog is one of my favorites.
Danele: That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you! Jan, I know my readers are eager to learn more about you. You’ve told me that you’ve been through a difficult time recently. Would you like to talk about it?
Jan: This year has been rough. I lost a job I’ve had for fourteen years and there were some moments when the pain nearly overwhelmed me. Almost a sensation of grief, if that can be said about a job. I think the most difficult aspects of the situation, though, had nothing to do with the actual work I was doing, but rather I missed the friends I interacted with on a daily basis.
I’m the type of person who loves to “connect” and those people meant a lot to me and still do. But over the last few months, I’ve been learning that Jesus is truly my friend. I would have said that before, but our relationship has become a great deal deeper as I’ve taken the time to “check in” with Him many times a day. The Lord and I talk over all sorts of things, especially those little things I might have discussed with a human before.
I’ve been a born-again Christian since the tender age of five and you’d have thought I would have had this part down by now, but I tend to try to reason it all out by myself or with those good friends and “save” calling on the Lord for the tough stuff. Leaving the job turned out to be a true blessing in disguise. Of course, God knew all the time what was best for me. I still like to talk to people, but I’m come to understand the wisdom and necessity of running to Him first.
Danele: I’m so sorry that you went through such a difficult time, but I’m glad that God was with you in such a special way. Do you have a praise report to share?
Jan: How much space have you got? When I lost my job, after a week of wallowing, I figured out that I had been given a gift—a time to reinvent my life. Since I’m a writer, hey, now I had the time to write. I’d been wanting to do a series about a woman minister in Maine, and I invented a little town called Moose Creek. My sister was a pastor in Maine many years ago and so I had plenty of material. And my grandparents were “Maniacs” (um, I mean Mainers) and I’ve been able to visit the state many times, so there are lots of connections. Hey, and who doesn’t like moose?
While I was busy doing this fun undertaking, my dream job landed in my lap, completely out of the blue (meaning, of course, that it was entirely God’s idea.) I’m now training to be a life coach and besides writing, I realize it’s my life’s passion. Now I get to help people discover the person God meant them to be. I get to talk about gifts, and blessings, and help each dear person move forward toward God’s best for their lives. Have you ever heard the truism that “good” can be the enemy of “great?” So often we “settle” for less than the best and our God is a God of abundance. I’ve discovered that when I’m done talking with someone, I’m the one who is truly blessed! Between writing and coaching, I am a happy, happy girl and I am so very grateful!
Danele: I’m so happy for you! Speaking of joyful things, is there a specific praise song that seems to usher you into the presence of the Lord?
Jan: There is a song that has been on Christian radio for a while that means a great deal to me. The day I found out I had lost my job, one of my best friends sent me the link to the Casting Crowns song “Just Be Held.”
In the chorus, the words state, “Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.” Those words changed the way I was thinking about my situation and I clung to them with all my might. After the tears stopped flowing, hope returned.
For anyone out there reading this, please know there is hope in whatever difficult situation you are in. Give it to God, let it go, allow Him hold you, and remember, you are LOVED!
Here’s the link with the lyrics if you want to listen to this inspirational piece. Believe me, it’s worth your time. Hear and believe! One of my most favorite songs—EVER! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ
Danele: That’s a really beautiful song! Thank you for sharing it! Now, here’s a fun question for you. Has God ever revealed Himself to you in a humorous way?
Jan: My cat, Shu-Shu loves to get my attention however she can. She seems to be particularly enamored with my computer keyboard and enjoys walking on the keyboard. The other day, she traipsed across the keys and those furry little toes typed “ggggggggggoooooooooooop838p47ooooodddddddddddd.” Okay, there were a few extra characters in there, but she was clearly letting me know that God was in the room. I couldn’t help but giggle.
Danele: Jan, that’s so funny! Now, before I let you go, can you tell us about your latest book release?
Jan: Sure! We’ve been talking about the untenable situations life sometimes throws at us. In Love, Lies, and Fireflies, at one point in the story, my hero, Jake, is really hurting. He talks to his pastor, Todd, about his pain. I’d like to share that passage here to be an encouragement to your readers:
“Is God really asking us to surrender all, as in everything? Somehow that doesn’t seem quite fair.” Jake leaned in closer.
“You’re familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac?… My talk is titled ‘Are You in a Desperate Situation?’ It sounds like you’re right there with Abraham. I would guess that desperate is exactly how the man felt when God asked him to sacrifice his own son—the son who had been a long-awaited gift from God. His circumstances would have seemed hopeless…Imagine Abraham’s angst. On the darkest day of his life, he and Isaac trudged up the side of the mountain. Despite his sorrow, Abraham put one foot in front of the other, his dread increasing with every step. Isaac’s death seemed certain.” Todd pursed his lips. “It doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? But, understanding this part helps. Abraham trusted God with his whole heart. Even if he had to surrender everything….” Todd glanced over at Jake and caught his eye. “No matter what, he was going to listen and obey when it seemed crazy. Now, here’s the cool part. At the same time that Abraham and Isaac were walking up the mountain, a sacrificial ram was climbing up the other side. For every step Abraham took toward the summit, the ram also took a step. God placed that ram at the top at the mountain at precisely the right moment.”
Jake took a deep breath. “So, what you’re saying is God put His plan in place before Abraham was aware of it?”
“Yes, that’s it. All Abraham saw was his pain, but God was already prepared to save Isaac. God had to make sure Abraham really meant it when he said he trusted Him. God was testing him.” Folding his hands in his lap, Todd sat back. “To answer your question, does God want us to surrender all? Maybe in some cases, He does. But I’m thinking that most of the time, He just wants to know if we’re willing to sacrifice.” He looked Jake in the eye. “Why don’t you think on that and listen to what God is saying to you?”
Danele: What a lovely passage! Can you give us the back cover blurb for Love, Lies, and Fireflies and a purchasing link?
Jan: Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind… Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction. Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart? https://www.amazon.com/Love-Lies-Fireflies-Jan-Elder/dp/1537410849
Danele: Before I let you go, can you give us a list of the books you’ve written?
Jan: Sure! Manila Marriage App, A Semi-Precious Christmas, Love, Lies, and Fireflies, and Moostletoe (coming October 2016).
Danele: Jan, it’s been so nice talking with you! Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
Jan: Danele, you are a special lady, and I am privileged to know you.
Friends, Jan really is a wonderful person! If you would like to learn more about Jan or her books, please follow the links below. I hope you have a wonderful day!