Seeing others, really seeing them, doesn’t come naturally. I think that’s because most of us, me included, have a strong self-obsession. Meaning, our thoughts most often are centered on we, ourselves, and us. This is an area God is really working on in me lately. I so want to be a blessing. To be the type of woman who brings out the best in others, points them toward Jesus, and helps them discover and grow in their calling.
It’s time I get more intentional in my efforts. It’s time I practice regularly dying to myself so that Christ might always, at every moment, live through me.
Today’s post by women’s fiction writer Brenda Anderson encouraged me this morning. I hope it does you as well.
BUT first, fun news. When Dawn Breaks is on sale for under $4! You can get your copy HERE. You can read the first three chapters for free HERE.
A Gem of a Gift by Brenda Anderson
I’m blessed to have been given the gift of writing fiction. Think about it. I get to create people, cities, or even whole new worlds. How fun is that? Even more exciting is that I get to share this gift with others, hopefully spreading the gospel in a unique way, just as Jesus did with the parables. What an awesome privilege.
God’s gifts are like precious gems: they’re multi-faceted. Until recently, I focused on spreading the gospel as the purpose for this gift of writing, but God has shown me an equally precious facet: learning to see others through His eyes, with His heart.
My stories tend to center around people who’ve experienced the darker side of life, many by their own choices. My hero in my Coming Home series killed a teen in an inattentive-driving accident. My heroine chose to abort not just one, but two children, and was a pro-choice advocate. In my current release, Hungry for Home, the focus is on a homeless teen who mugs a woman.
Honestly, my first reaction when I hear of someone who fits the above description is disgust. What was he thinking to be driving while texting? How selfish, uncaring are you to be pro-abortion? That teen needs to go to jail! How dare he mug that woman?
On the surface, they’re people I don’t really like. But God does. He not only likes them, He loves them, and through their stories He’s shown me the heart He sees.
He’s helped me realize I’m no different from them. He’s shown me why they behaved as they did, not excusing the behavior, but knowing the why helps me meet them where they’re at and love them there. God has said to me, “This is my child, and I love them. Help others love them too.” I saw them as broken and needing a savior.
Just like me.
So now when I’m watching the news or reading the newspaper that spotlights bad or horrible behavior, rather than judge, I tell myself that God loves them too, and I ask “What’s their story?” and pray to see the heart that God sees.
What an immense privilege it is to see God’s children in this new light, like the sun shining through a crystal prism!
I can’t wait to see what else God has planned through this gift!
After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger …
A hungry, homeless teen.
The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled.
The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts.
And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home.
Pre-Order Hungry for Home for Kindle: http://amzn.to/1VtIb8h
Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic, life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 28 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.
Readers can learn more about Brenda S. Anderson at www.brendaandersonbooks.com. You can visit her personal blog and the group blog InkspirationalMessages she participates in, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.
Let’s talk about this. In what ways do you try to view others through God’s eyes? Is that easy or difficult for you, and why? What has helped in that regard? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.
Normally during book launch time I share links of all the places I’ve been, online, in the past week, but today… I’m getting ready to head to Lincoln to spend time with my daughter. Yay!
I hope you’re day is as happy as mine. 🙂
Thank you, Jennifer, for welcoming me today! And thank you for challenging me to think deeper about the gifts God gives us and what a blessing they are.
Brenda, thanks so much for your inspiring and challenging post!
Your books sound wonderful. As a mentor in a faith-based program at a minimum to maximum women’s prison in OK, I see women who could be visitors in our home or seated next to us in church services. But many of them will never know life outside of grey clothing and razor wire. God truly changes lives. I’ll be adding your books to my wish list. Praying your work reaches many. We all need to be challenged to look past the tragic moments in time in those we meet. God bless.
I didn’t know you served in prison ministry. What a fascinating ministry! I’d love to chat with you sometime about it and your experiences! 🙂 I think Brenda’s books sound awesome, too!
Bless you, Nancy, for working with prison ministry! It must be very challenging, but at the same time rewarding. I love to see God at work, and He shines bright even in the darkest places.