Interview with Julie Lessman
by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Julie Lessman is the author of The Daughters of Boston series (A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed and A Passion Denied) and The Winds of Change series (A Hope Undaunted—now available for free download on Amazon.com, CBD.com, B&N.com and Sony e-reader) and A Heart Revealed (just released Sept. 1st)).
I met Julie through a mutual good friend, Laura Frantz, who is also a Revell author like Julie.
Julie, 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 character’s has had to get past?
I don’t know if this is the most difficult thing I’ve had to overcome, but it certainly ranks close to the top—the day I received a call from a urologist in my son’s college town, telling me he thought my son had cancer. Now if you know anything about me at all, you know I am a VERY wired individual. I like to joke that I am a CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) because I am such an emotional person, my family used to call me “walking nervous breakdown” when I was little. BUT … God has calmed me down A LOT since I came to know Him, but I am still a pretty hyper person, so obviously this phone call about my son almost buckled me at the knees.
Fortunately, from the moment I became a born-again Christian at the age of 23, application of Scripture has been vitally important to me AND a key component in my books. Why? Because when we apply Scripture in our lives, dramatic things happen! We are blessed! We are transformed! We are changed from weak, downtrodden human beings to powerful kids of the King!
But I will admit that I didn’t “feel” very powerful when I received that call. My husband and I were devastated and immediately sought a second opinion. Extensive blood tests were run, but we had to wait an entire week for the results. Now, my mom always said I had an imagination like a runaway train, and whoa, baby, was it in overdrive that week! There I’d be, lying in my bed and desperately trying to sleep, when images of my son in a casket would bombard my mind. The only way I got through that week was by “being transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2). As soon as a horrible image or thought would come to me, I would rebuke it in Jesus’ name (the same way Jesus rebuked the terrible storm when He and the apostles were in the boat—Matthew 8:26), and then I would replace it with God’s Word such as “No weapon formed against my son shall prosper; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord” Isaiah 54:17, or “for You are the God who heals my son” Exodus 15:26. I said it OVER and OVER until it drove the fear away and filled me with God’s peace.
How did everything turn out? Well, I spent the week resting in God’s Word, as calm and placid as a mirror lake, while my usually laid-back husband was a basket case. I finally had to type up a whole page of healing scriptures, print it off, and tuck it in his wallet so that he, too, could be transformed from fear to peace. At the end of the week, God answered our prayers—no cancer! Thank you, Jesus! But that incident really brought it home to me the power that we have in God’s Word. So if anyone would like a listing of Scriptures that I put together for healing, hope and just general Scriptures for writers, here’s the link.
What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Gosh, I have so many, but one of my favorites (which I used to pray everyday) is the last paragraph in Psalm 139, verses 23-24. But a word of warning—don’t pray it unless you mean business, because God will definitely nail you to the wall on a few things! Here it is:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
However … since I have become an author, I find that the push and pull of success (vying for sales, awards, accolades) is deadly, taking me places I do NOT want to go. So since then, my favorite Scripture has been 2 Corinthians ll:3: Do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? I believe many of your books are available as e-books with audio capability, is that correct (on Kindle)? Do you have any in large print? (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)
Not audio format or large print, unfortunately, but yes, all are on e-book.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Oh, that’s easy. The MOST important thing I pray readers take away from my books is the reality of how natural and fulfilling an intimate relationship with God can and SHOULD be. Like breathing. These books may be fiction, but this is NOT a fairy tale here. It is possible to have a living, breathing relationship with the God of the Universe. He’s crazy about us, and if most people really understood that, their lives would turn on a dime and blessings would overtake them. Believe me, I KNOW this firsthand—I used to be a hard, cynical, coarse human being (like my character, Charity O’Connor, in A Passion Redeemed) before God pulled me up by the scruff of the neck and said, “Yo, Julie! Get a clue. You’re the apple of my eye!” J He’s been the love of my life ever since.
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. In A Passion Redeemed there is a scene at the end of the book where Charity O’Connor is coming home from Dublin to Boston. I wanted to get the setting of Boston Harbor just right, so I researched it and found out that during that time period, there was a Boston Floating Hospital for Children right there in the bay. It was begun by Reverend Rufus B. Tobey, a minister who wanted to help indigent women and their sick children. In the summer, you could actually see naked babies and toddlers playing on the sundeck, which was the prescribed therapy for Vitamin D deficiency. I thought that was very cool.
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Yes, I believe so. You see, A Heart Revealed deals with the after-effects of spousal abuse as it pertains to the heroine, Emma Malloy, a woman scarred on the inside and out when her husband pelted hot grease in her face during a drunken brawl. Emma has to learn how to let go of the hurt and pain of the past in this book and feel beautiful and loved in God’s eyes, if not her own.
Julie, Thanks so much for sharing. Wow! I was really touched by your testimony of what happened with your son and how you stepped into the healing power of prayer to stand in the breach for him. God is so good! And thank you for the links to those prayers. We are so glad to have you as our guest on Overcoming Through Time!
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