02 June 2013

Stephanie Landsem – Testimony

Stephanie Landsem

Stephanie Landsem is the author of The Well – this is her debut novel.

Like Nava, the Samaritan woman at the well in my novel, The Well, I struggled with post-partum depression. Although it was not severe, it was a difficult experience but one that I found increased my reliance on God and trust in Him.

After three children, I’d never experienced post-partum depression, and therefore the thought of it didn’t even cross my mind when my youngest child was born. When she was a few months old, we had the opportunity to move across the country to California for my husband’s job. I thought to myself, “Sure, I can do this, it will be an adventure!” Warm weather, the beach, what’s not to love?

But as we settled into our new home, I found myself in a strange place with no friends and four children under 7, all struggling to fit into their new environments. My husband was buried under new job responsibilities and long hours.

Pretty soon, I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. My joy was stolen – the joy in my new baby, my toddler, kindergartner and oldest daughter.  Nothing could reach through my haze of sadness and weariness. The beach, which I’ve always loved, held no allure. The sunny days seemed to stretch into endless hours when all I wanted to do was escape into sleep.

As often happens with depression, I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I didn’t want to talk about it. I was good at hiding it from everyone—my husband, the kids, my friends back home—but I knew something was wrong. It wasn’t long before I felt completely cut off and alone. On desperate day, I finally turned to God and laid it on him. I said, “You have to help me. I can’t do it myself.”


I wish I could say that I felt a peace flowing over me like Nava did in The Well, but it wasn’t like that. It was much more gradual. First, I was finally able to asked for help from those who loved me. I stopped pretending and started trusting. I saw a doctor, starting taking care of myself, and slowly—a little bit each day—began to enjoy life again.
The Well


I realized that God doesn’t expect us to do it all alone. He’s given us our family, our friends, and Himself – we just have to ask for help and it is there, waiting for us.

Biography
Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters.
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

You can find Stephanie online at:
stephanielandsem.com
www.facebook.com/stephanielandsem
https://twitter.com/#!/stephlandsem
http://pinterest.com/slandsem/

_______________________________________________________________

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away a copy of The Well, choice of format, to one commenter this week. Answer the question to be entered in the contest. Also leave your email address if we don't know you.

QUESTION: What compels you to read historical or biblical fiction?

41 comments:

  1. Lovely post, and I think almost everyone experiences depression at some point or another in their lives. I read historical/biblical fiction to learn more about a place/time period and to see realistic characters struggle with the same things we struggle with today (like depression!).

    I've thought this book looks interesting and I'd love a chance to win! My email is heatherdaygilbert (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks for sharing today, Stephanie and Carrie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THanks, Heather. I agree, depression is all too common and still so hard to recognize in yourself. Good luck in the contest!

      Delete
  2. Glimpsing the past, while in the comfort of the present, is what entices me to read Historical and Biblical fiction.

    Thanks for sharing your struggle, Stephanie. I'm glad you found help and joy again.

    Blessings ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Anne. It was many years ago - my baby is now 12 and we're back in Minnesota, but I've had many opportunities since then to increase my reliance on God instead of trying to do it all myself.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for being with us, Stephanie! I had mild depression after my daughter's birth and it did catch me off guard even though I was a psychologist in private practice! It was weird how something so biochemical could overtake my life and feelings. Thank God it was very brief. We appreciate you sharing with us. Brr.... Minnesota!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we had a very cold winter here! But Minnesota makes up for it with warm, friendly people. Thanks for having me, Carrie.

      Delete
  4. I love history. When I read about the historical times, I leave my troubles behind here and become lost in their world. So interesting and amazing reading what they went through. Thank you for sharing and entering me in your giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Barbara. Sometimes when I'm writing I get so caught up in another time and place that I have difficulty coming back to my own world :)

      Delete
  5. Welcome, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your testimony with us. You're right, God really wants to help us - I have also experienced that. It was a different situation, but when I finally put it in His hands, the healing began. It's great to see God work in your own life, isn't it?
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing to be able to look back and see God's hand in your life. And because of that, we get better at trusting Him in the here and now.

      Delete
  6. I love learning about different time periods and reading Biblical fiction makes the people and events come alive and reminds me they were just people like you and me. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I try to show in my stories, Veronica. In The Well, Nava and Mara are far removed from us in time and place but they want all the same things that we are looking for - security, acceptance, and love.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on your debut novel.

    I love historical and Biblical christian fiction. It takes me back to a time that is far different than my days here and I get a glimpse at the people who lived them.

    I have several family members who have/are struggling with depression. It truly impacts the whole family and like you said you can't do it on your own. We all need God's help.

    Blessings, Tina Rice
    tfrice@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tina. We need to let those people that God puts in our lives help us. Doctors, family, and friends can do so much.

      Delete
  8. I like the way it brings the Bible stories to life and gives us insight into what could have been their "behind the scenes" story! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too! I love filling in the blanks in Biblical stories.

      Delete
  9. Heather, thank you for sharing this. I too suffered from post partum depression after both of my children were born. It was a terrible time and I didn't have God to help me through...because I didn't know him yet. I cried often, had difficulty eating and sleeping, and both times had to delay my return to work. Since no one talked about it in those days, far as I knew I was the only one on the planet who felt that way. In fact, after my first pregnancy, what my doctor told me would today be considered malpractice. He said, "well, I guess you're one of those women who just doesn't want to be a mother and you'll have to spend the rest of your life hiding that fact from your daughter." Can you believe it?! But then, after months of struggle, the depression lifted as mysteriously as it had arrived...and I went on to be a fully capable, devoted mother. I know God now, too. He's there with me always and while life still delivers hard times, I'm not in it alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is heartbreaking, Barbara. It's hard enough having a new baby and feeling terrible. You don't need anyone saying those kinds of things! I'm glad we've come so far in mental health diagnosis.

      Delete
  10. Thank you for being with us and sharing on OWG this week, Stephanie! I'm so glad you reached out to God for help. He wants us to ask and when we do He starts the ball rolling. In my case as in yours, my physical healing is a day by day gradual process, but eventually He gets us there in His will and time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. Sometimes it takes a long time and it's hard to wait, but God's got a bigger plan than we can understand, right?

      Delete
  11. Thank you for the testimony! I believe that is most of our human problems, we want to handle everything ourselves. Hard to ask for help. I love reading biblical fiction for the reminders and encouragement for our lives.
    Susan P
    farmygirl at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Susan, and I agree. I hope you get a chance to read The Well and that it encourages you.

      Delete
  12. Thank you for sharing, Stephanie. I think sometimes we ask God for help, and then fail to recognize the help He sends. I think sometimes we are just hoping for a miracle and fail to reach out to those nearby.

    I read Biblical and historical fiction, because I like to "visit" other times and places. I like to see how other people in other times deal with the age old problems we all encounter in life.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the worst at not recognizing help when I get it! Sometimes the miracle is right under our noses all the time :)

      Delete
  13. I have always loved historical novel and the Biblical ones are even more special, they open up the Bible stories in a whole new way. Each author doing it in different way. Would love to read this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get a chance to read The Well, Becky, and that you enjoy it.

      Delete
  14. We didn't just arrive at this point in time. I do love to find out about what came before.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Mary. What came before is important to what is happening today.

      Delete
  15. STEPHANIE thanks for sharing your testimony with us on OWG. I don't think I had PPD when my first son was born but he was awake every 1 1/2 hours so it seemed he never slept so neither did mommie. There were quite a few nights when I thought "I don't like motherhood AT ALL." I did a lot of praying those nights and thankfully at four months he started sleeping through the night. I was able to sleep more too and I was a much happier mommy. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you. I think I had about ten years of sleep deprivation when my kids were babies. :)

      Delete
  16. Wow, Stephanie, thank you for being so transparent.

    I like to read historical and/or biblical fiction because I think you can learn from the past - either good or bad - and that it's important to know what happened before (even if it's just a historical story - there is still truth about life found there.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Beth
    bharbin07[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, Beth. I like using stories to understand the world around us.

      Delete
    2. It was what the Lord Jesus did too. He used stories/parables to make people understand.

      Delete
  17. I get depressed on hollidays , birthdays, ect when i think of my mom and sons passing, only the Lord can and does bring me out of it,I read historical/biblical fiction to learn more about a place/time period , and when im reading i can just imagin my self back in that time.
    jcisforme@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holidays are hard after we lose loved ones, Shirley. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a child.

      Delete
  18. I would so love to win this book. It touched my heart and my soul feels this is something that I need. I will look forward to reading this book. thanks for the testimony. God bless you. Mary Lou K
    flowersmarylou85@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary Lou, good luck with the drawing!

      Delete
  19. Reading good book reviews by the OWG gals draws me to read these books and they make a fn way to learn a bit of history. I would enjoy winning a copy of this book...
    Vicki
    vmarney(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  20. What compels me to read these kinds of books is the Title, the part describing the story on the back, and of course the reviews. I would like my name in the hat, MAXIE

    ReplyDelete

Google Analytics