19 February 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Andrea Boeschaar



Andrea Boeshaar is the author of Threads of Hope, book one in the Fabric of Time series, as well as the author of the acclaimed 4-book series, Seasons of Redemption. In addition, she co-authored the popular devotional Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. Find out more about Andrea and her books at: www.andreaboeshaar.com


I met Andrea through some online groups, including ACFW, an organization that she co-founded.

Andrea, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.  Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your characters has had to get past?
I’m going to be blatantly honest here. I have fibromyalgia and something called small fiber neuropathy, which, I’ve been told, is a cousin to MS. While multiple sclerosis patients have problems with their “main power sources” I have trouble with my “electrical outlets.” In either case, things don’t work properly. Furthermore, and contrary to what some doctors think, small fiber neuropathy isn’t always a result of diabetes. My blood sugar is not high. I am not pre-diabetic. With me, physicians have to think outside the box and it’s difficult to find one capable of doing that. Personally, I think my chronic illnesses began after my thyroid was removed in 2000 due to thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist finds my theory interesting, although there are no studies to prove it.

I write all this to educate and not complain, although I confess that there are days when my pain is so severe and so distracting that I cannot even think of writing. I can’t concentrate. I can’t think. I can’t plot or plan. I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes all I can do is crawl into bed, turn on the heating blanket, and watch Little House on the Prairie reruns. I feel so pathetic!

BUT GOD is greater than my feelings! I find that when I stay close to the Lord, I can claim His promises so the devil doesn’t get a foothold in my life. I believe I’m called to write – and write stories and devotionals that will encourage other Christians. I believe there is a spiritual battle going on – a battle for the souls of mankind and one to cripple believers. Our “sword of the spirit” is the Word of God. 

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I have so many, but one of my favorites is 2 Corinthians 10:4:  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
I believe there are many reasons for believers to struggle with chronic illnesses. God works them together for our good, to draw us closer to Him, it’s true. But they can also turn into strongholds and what I mean is this: A person can become so preoccupied with his or her chronic illness that he/she becomes narcissistic and useless to God. They look inward instead of upward. I will admit that I’m tempted sometimes to dwell on my infirmities and not God and His sovereignty.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?
My books are not yet available in audio format; however, my more recent titles are available in e-book formats. Some of my books have been published in large print editions.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Chronic illness, no matter what form it takes, is real. Accept it. Strive to understand it. But don’t allow it to consume you. Some days will be better than others.
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I realize more and more the hardships our great, great grandmothers endured. With my medical history, I would have never survived in the 1800s. But that’s why I wasn’t born back then!
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In Threads of Hope, my hero Sam Sundberg’s mother suffers with a debilitating illness that cannot be diagnosed. I modeled it after fibromyalgia, which was unheard of back in 1848 so I didn’t give it an actual name. Mariah Sundberg is a Native American who uses natural remedies to help many others, including my character Kristin Eikaas, and yet herbs and medicine don’t help her. But she states in the book that she uses her times of illness to look up and speak with God. I hope I can always use my “down time” in that way.

Thank you Andrea for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
My pleasure. 


Andrea's books can be purchased through CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other booksellers.

Giveaway: We are giving away an ebook copy of one of Andrea's book this week. Andrea is giving away a paperback copy of one of her books this week, also.  thanks, Andrea!

31 comments:

  1. Wow, what a great interview!

    Andrea, I recognize your struggles with chronic illness. I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a couple of years ago. Later I was diagnosed with HyperMobilitySyndrome. There's no cure for it, so I was done visiting doctors after they prescribed pain killers.

    Recently I learned that I have Adrenal Fatigue. I have read a lot about it lately and found out that this could be the root problem of my chronic illness. Maybe the diagnoses FM and HMS were not correct and my problems are caused by hormones not working right. So when I read you think your chronic illnesses started after your thyroid was removed, it sounds very likely to me, but I'm not a doctor though...

    My adrenals don't work right and in the proces they weaken my muscles (they take nutrients from my muscles to keep working). And then my weak muscles can't keep my joints in place.
    HMS means that my joints are going out of place all the time and because of that my muscles start hurting (FM).

    I'm on a diet now and take supplements to strengthen my adrenals. I have to wait and see what it does to my pains.

    I haven't had the pleasure to read your books yet, but they sure sound nice. I think 2012 is a good year to start reading one of your books. :)

    Blessings!

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  2. Andrea and Carrie, thank you for this very moving interview. And Marian, thank you for sharing as well about your chronic illness, as I don't believe you have done so before.

    Andrea, I've been so limited this past year in what I can do, that I too tend to focus alot on my illness and what I CAN'T do. Then I get depressed and get my eyes off of the sovereignty of God at times, as you have just mentioned. Here lately I have used this scripture so much-I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And it's amazing the things we can accomplish with our focus on Him instead of us!

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  3. Sometimes so many people ask about how I feel that I don't like to talk about it anymore. It's nice to know that people are interesting in how you are doing, but sometimes I sense they're only trying to be polite and not really listening to what I say. Maybe also because they don't understand it.

    All this brought me closer to the Lord. Sometimes I get tired of the pain and I just only want to get healed, but other times I don't want to be healed, because I'm afraid I will go my own way again. I'd like to be close to the Lord and if the pain is what is needed then I'm okay with that.
    But I do look forward to the time when there is no more pain, or tears, or illnesses. :))

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  4. I understand what you are talking about, Marian. Paul is compassionate, but I think even he gets tired of hearing it, so I just don't say anything alot of times. He knows me so well anyway that he knows when I'm not feeling well. I listen to you, dear friend, when you talk privately to me about your illness and pain, and you are ever remembered in my prayers!

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  5. Wow! There are so many living with chronic pain due to numerous illnesses and disorders. The physical, spiritual and emotional toll it takes is daunting and often times very depressing. I know. My DH has been living with two herniated discs and degenerative arthritis in his back for over 20 years, and the DA has now spread to other areas. It's true that unless you've walked a mile in someone's shoes you have no idea what they are experiencing, but from living with a spouse with this disease I can almost totally understand and sympathize with y'all in your long and painful walk with Christ. At times, our eyes are turned away from Him who can give the relief, if not physically then at least through spiritual refreshment. We bare one another's burdens, so I will pray for y'all to find strength and comfort in Him!

    I haven't read any of Andrea's books but do appreciate the opportunity to get to know her better through the interview and hopefully her books one day.

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  6. Thank you Andrea and Marian for telling us about what you are going through, sometimes it helps us to focus on what others are going through instead of our own problems, so I will be praying for your both.

    I too am in pain most days but I have found when I give it to the one that created me, He helps me through another day. I so want to be like Job when he said "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:..." Job 13:15 I want to have an unwavering faith in God that no matter the circumstance that comes my way He will see me through. If He knew our name before the foundation of the world He also knew each and everything that would come our way and it has already been taken care of.

    Can't wait to read your new book Andrea!

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  7. TERESA, I lived off of that verse two years ago when I thought I was going home to the Lord. My RA is acting up again but I will keep leaning on His sufficiency like you are talking about!

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  8. MARIAN, I am sorry that you are going through this, especially as a younger person. The adrenals get overworked when the body is constantly stressed, like by pain. I have not heard of it causing the problem, more likely the result of it. But there are naturepathic remedies that can help with that. I did not find that they helped my RA but I felt a little more energetic on one I used.

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  9. ANNE, I know it is hard for my spouse. I appreciate your sharing from a spouse's perspective. I think I had to finally stop being sorry for how things were with me, stop apologizing. It was what it was. I think that gave my husband more freedom to do what he had to do. Don't know if that makes any sense.

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  10. DIANA, I know what you are talking about. That is why it is so great to have other women to talk with about these issues and to pray for each other! You are such a blessing to so many!

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  11. Carrie, I think I've had gluten allergy from a young age. I heard this can also cause stress to the adrenals and then give the problems I wrote about. Also before I got to know the Lord I had a stressful life.
    So from what I heard it can be the other way around.
    We'll see...

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  12. Thank you, Carrie. What a kind thing to say and you are such a blessing to so many people as well, especially to this lady!

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  13. So sorry to hear of the pains...I am praying for you.......
    Carrie, Diana, Teresa, Marian, and Andrea. I just have allergies...so am grateful for no pain!
    Don't enter me for the book..although it sounds great....I just won..and don't want to be selfish! lol

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  14. Carrie,
    i am in very similar situation as you but I watch "Law and Order on those days". I think I want them to come and take the pain(bad guy) away. I also count on my prayers to get me through. I hope you find relief through knowing there are may others out there like you. on good days I read quie a bit so any book would be welcome. Many blessings to you my friend.
    ldwrncpn@comcast.net

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  15. WOW, Carrie, thank you so very much for having Andrea on your blog and opening my eyes to her plight and the plight of other Christians who live with chronic pain and illnesses that rob them of strength. I am truly humbled by the difficulty many of you live with and am in awe of how it builds your faith.

    MARIAN SAID: "All this brought me closer to the Lord. Sometimes I get tired of the pain and I just only want to get healed, but other times I don't want to be healed, because I'm afraid I will go my own way again."

    WOW!!! That's all I can say at the incredible beauty of your faith, my friend, and the ability to recognize that even in pain there is blessing when it draws us closer to God.

    I do not live with chronic pain like you guys, and I only had one time in my life when I was so ill I wanted to die and thought I was going to. But that brief trauma in my life taught me that God was the only thing I could cling to, which ended up strengthening my faith like nothing else ever had.

    It's that awareness of what pain did for my faith that prompted me to include a scene in my last book where the hero cannot understand why the heroine loves God so much after all the pain she has encountered in her life from a husband who abused her. The heroine responds:

    “No one escapes being hurt in this life, Sean, because unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. But please believe me when I say …” Her voice gentled, as soothing and peaceful as the patter of rain on the marble sill. “There’s a great gift in pain.”

    Andrea, I can only imagine how incredibly powerful your books must be with all you have had to endure and the resultant deep faith that has helped you to write your stories.

    Thanks, Carrie, for this very powerful blog that has blessed me more than I can say.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  16. Great interview! Please only enter me for the paperback giveaway.

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  17. MARISSA, we will enter you! DIANA, thanks! JACKIE, I will not enter you, lol, and congrats again! LORI - well tonight it will be Downton Abbey for me!!!

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  18. MARIAN, I find certain foods flare me up, too. I have a whole list of them to avoid and some that are beneficial. Sometimes it is not the gluten but wheat allergy. Praying you feel better soon! And I am so happy that you and your husband are ministering to others in the Netherlands. The associate pastor at our church gave some terrible statistics on Christian faith in Europe - so very low! God bless you for what you are doing!

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  19. JULIE, I read that passage and I re-read it. I kind of understood what Emma was saying. The gift is the drawing closer to God. Our own insufficiency is never so great as when we are unable to do daily tasks that others take for granted. Or to go through long stretches of being housebound or even in bed, like I was for 12 weeks a couple of years ago. Then every day that you are up doing something is a gift from God!

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  20. You nailed it, Carrie -- the gift IS drawing closer to God through trial and pain, without which many of us never would. I remember reading Catherine Marshall's Beyond our Selves YEARS ago, learning how a debilitating illness that left her bedridden served to bring her in the throne room like nothing ever had. In Emma's case, the pain of a abusive marriage shepherded her into the arms of God like nothing else ever could, so in that respect, there IS a great gift in pain that many people often overlook.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  21. CARRIE, I don't know the statistics on Christian faith in other countries in Europe. In Holland a lot of people walked away from church in the years after WWII til now. A lot of church going people are only religious - they don't really know the Lord.
    We do see a grow in evangelical churches, but sadly most of them is just a 'happy gathering' and the Bible is closed during the services.
    Most people walk away when they hear the preaching of the Cross.
    If all the people that ever came to our church had stayed, we would have been a big church by now, but most stay for a while. First they love what they're hearing and then they run away when God's message becomes too personal. So we're a little gathering, but I do know all of the people that come to our services really are saved and love the Lord.

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  22. JULIE, I have never read that book but now I really want to! I have to say that when God strips everything away from you but Him, you do get up close and personal with Him! Lying in the bed unable to get up other than for basic needs, He and I did a lot of talking and that was after being saved long earlier. Hugs!

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  23. MARIAN, We need to keep praying for the people of Europe, that the gospel message will reach them and that they will receive the full enjoyment of walking in His Word!

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  24. Marian even here in so-called "Christian America" it seems that when it comes to living for Christ and leaving sin behind there are a lot of people that leave the church. It's not all sunshine and roses living a life pleasing to the Lord. It's so much easier to go to church and hear a "feel-good" sermon. Praise God for ministers that still preach the only way to Heaven is through Christ's suffering on the cross.

    Don't be discouraged by the small numbers,
    remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

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  25. Thanks for your encouraging words Teresa and Carrie! Good to know that people across the big ocean are praying.

    Our preacher is from Canada and I know they have the same problems as we have in Holland. As Teresa said most people everywhere like to hear a feel-good sermon. It doesn't matter if that is in America or Europe.

    I don't know many preachers in Holland that still preach salvation through the blood of Christ. Thankfully God has lead us to a preacher who does and he's teaching the men in our church to preach too, including my husband. He has been preaching for five or six years now.

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  26. I, too, have fibromyalgia, but arthritis is now doing a number on me. All that in addition to a bad back. It's hard to comprehend not being in pain. Yet, trusting the Lord is all one can do to keep going. I've also have a hb who now knows my issues and helps so much! Thanks to the Lord for him.

    Thanks for sharing. Adding to my prayer list.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

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  27. I am SO very SORRY to announce that Andrea's mother has died. The funeral is today. Please pray for her and her family. Dear Lord, bring your perfect peace in this situation. Put angels and Christians doing Your will all around Andrea and her extended family. Keep her well in the midst of this strife. In Your precious name we pray, amen.

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  28. I'm so sorry to hear that. Praying for her and her family and loved ones.

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  29. I agree in prayer with Carrie, that God will wrap His arms of love around Andrea, and give her that peace that passes all understanding. I pray that the precious Holy Spirit will give her comfort as only He can, and strengthen her in her body. In Jesus name, amen.

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  30. Great interview, Carrie and Andrea. Thank you for the candidacy. Andrea, I'm send my condolences and am thankful that we serve a God who loves us through hard situations as loss of loved ones. Take care of yourself. I know stress adds to FM flares. God bless you!

    Debbie Lynne

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  31. DEBBIE LYNNE, yes, stress aggravates inflammatory conditions. So we will keep praying harder for Andrea. Thanks for coming by. Blessings!

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