April McGowan

Facebook Launch Party for HOLD THE LIGHT September 2nd

Exciting news about the Facebook launch party for HOLD THE LIGHT! I’ll be doing a live feed and answering your questions and chatting with you! I’ve never done that before…so come see how I do? HA. It’ll be super neat. Here’s the link to join the event on September 2nd, from 3-5PM Pacific time. CLICK HERE There will be giveaways including a copy of Hold the Light, mugs, coffee, music, and more!

I’m still recovering from the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference #bestconferenceever and rolling out the book launch stuff. There’s so much to do, and so little time! Fatigue is a sneaky beast, but due to a medication improvement, it’s much better than before. Praise God!

The four-day conference was amazing, as always, but mentoring was the highlight for me. I loved connecting with new writers and encouraging them. Well, also Tessa Afshar. And Frank Peretti! He reminded us we are called beloved by the Lord.

Okay, the whole thing was pretty incredible and I came away encouraged and confirmed. How was I confirmed? I’ve felt in my spirit that I should be writing from woundedness and brokenness and pointing readers to hope in the Healer of Life ever since I began this writing life.Every speaker who came, even the secular (and INCREDIBLE–if you’re a writer, go now and get his DVD on writing) Michael Hauge, said the same thing: “Write from the pain and hope you know, that you have connected with, and it will translate to the reader.” Mind blowing.

But it was especially Tess Afshar who touched my heart when she said, “The most fruitful branches have damaged leaves. Remember you are wiring for readers with damaged leaves.” It still brings tears to my eyes.

I hope you’ll come to the Facebook book launch party and ask questions and share stories. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of HOLD THE LIGHT and see how Amber deals with her damaged leaves. And I hope you will see the Father’s loving fingers on the pages of your life and hear His voice call you beloved.

Until next time.

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Chipping Away

Tall TreesWhile growing up I thought once I was in my forties (or old, as I considered it) that I’d have life all figured out. Okay, quit chuckling at me, that’s not nice. Anyway… as I was saying…life all figured out. Easy sailing on smooth seas. (Seriously?…Stop laughing!)

God’s word doesn’t promise smooth sailing, through. It does promise He will never leave us nor forsake us. I’ve begun to wonder if that verse has a double meaning. In His not leaving us, He’s also not leaving us to our own devices, or leaving us unchanged. Rather, once we accept Jesus as our savior, we are being made over.

We’re like trees standing in a grove, growing, waiting, watching the seasons pass, one to the next. The summer, the fall, the winter… But rather suddenlyfile2911254930140 and often without warning, trials come. We are cut down. Our limbs trimmed with each challenge, each hardship, each prayer for mercy until our bark is stripped and we are laid bare and tossed away seemingly forgotten in a stack. It’s tempting to despair in that wood pile. There seems no point. If we are walking alone in our faith, it can be devastating. But never fear, the Father is busy not leaving us to our own. He’s making us over, chipping away at us, for our own good and His ultimate Glory, making us into something useful. We have to be careful though, because the temptation to focus on the shavings pooling around our feet instead of the Master Carpenter is great.

Some of us (me included) will race to the store for wood glue and desperately try to stick those useless shavings back on, or put them in a box to save for later. In our memories, those shavings can become so important we forget that the Lord isn’t interested in them, but He’s got a better plan in mind. It’s not until we brush the shavings off and step away, looking at ourselves through His eyes we are able to see a new, useful creation. The old has been chipped away.

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Are you stuck in winter? Are you being chipped away at? Do not fear, nor despair–spring is coming. It’s nearly here.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

 

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Another Brand New Year

579297_3776472893353_1699285100_nWe’re wrapping up the old year and bringing in another brand new year. Goodbye 2014. You were a challenge to me. I had some of my greatest writing achievements (a second book published, up for some awards, won an honorary award) this year. I also faced a long bout of multiple illnesses–it was a very hard spring and summer.

People I’m close to faced some pretty unimaginable trials last year–many are carrying on into the new year. I’d like to say tomorrow is a brand new day with no problems in it–that it really is altogether new and spotless, that being a new year carried some guarantees of wellness and will be trouble free. But I can’t. This new year will have high points and low for everyone I know. But I take comfort we can face anything if we’re trusting in the Lord.

In my prayer time recently, I began to feel uneasy. Some of the things I’ve been praying for a very long time. Was I praying right? Did I have the right words, the right faith, the right posture? Was my heart right, my intentions good enough? At that point I was reminded that I could never pray right enough to convince God of anything. You see, I’m imperfect. I sometimes have selfish motives. I can’t see the big picture like God does (who planned our Lord’s birth over thousands of years down to the last detail). I don’t know if removing a trial from a loved one’s life will, in the end, be a detriment instead of what God intended using it for (drawing them closer to Him usually figures in that equation). In fact, when it came down to it, I didn’t know anything at all. Well, except one thing–these circumstances I prayed for, they all needed God’s hand of strength, of peace, of patience, of healing. The details were not up to me, they were up to Him.

Jesus said to pray. I pray. Jesus said to ask for whatever I need in His name. I do. He also prayed the night before his arrest and conviction: “Not my will but Yours be done. *

That removes a lot of pressure, doesn’t it? At the end of us and our ideas of how things should be, it’s enough to pray, “Not my will but Yours be done.” I know I can pray that with all confidence because I trust Him. I know His attributes: He is the God of love, of mercy, of strength, of peace, of comfort, of provision.

Trust comes in every relationship as intimacy deepens. You share, they share; you listen, they listen; you’re there for them, and they are there for you.

Do you trust in the One who hears our prayers? If you’ve never given your life to Jesus, if you’ve never admitted your sin and need of Him and asked Him into your heart, then that first step of intimacy is missing from your life. You’ll never learn to trust Him if you’ve never met Him. Relationship with Him begins with that simple prayer.

But then it goes on. It has to or you’ll never get to know Him the way He’d like you to. Think of it this way: It’d be as if I met you on the street, we had an amazing bonding experience, and then you never spoke to me again.

I pray this new year will be full of blessings, but especially full of intimacy with our Lord. I pray for Him to work out His full, perfect will in your life.

* Verses used Luke 22:42 John 15:7 Luke 11

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