Julia Reffner is a writer of contemporary fiction mirroring truth.
Julia, welcome to Overcoming With God. We appreciate your willingness to share your testimony of overcoming with our readers.
Would you tell us about the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help? (transparency appreciated!)
Hmmm...one of the most difficult circumstances was the death of my father, but since you’re asking for transparency I’m going to give something more recent. One of the hardest battles I’ve faced in my life is that of fear. God has used my writing journey itself in a myriad of ways to teach me to rely on Him for strength.
When I began writing, the first thing he led me to do was join a face-to-face critique group. For this introvert who struggles with panic the thought of sharing my work with others out loud and interfacing in discussion about it was terrifying.
In Fall 2012, I went to my first writing conference. I had never traveled alone, not to mention the thoughts of the hundreds of people attending, none of whom I had been acquainted with beyond online . My writing friends helped me a great deal through that journey as I had known them so well online they seemed like familiar faces as soon as I met them. I also wrote Scriptures on cards and carried them in my purse.
God had some surprises in store for me there. I was not planning to meet with an agent, but when an opening came up I felt his gentle nudge. God is so gentle and builds our courage step-by-step. Courage comes at the very moment we need it, a fact I often need to remind myself of.
But what helped me the most with conference jitters was praying with others. Between workshops I wandered the halls and prayed with other ladies about to go in to their appointments. At the meal tables I spent time in prayer. Even in the bathroom, I prayed with someone. As I prayed for others and their needs, my own insecurities seemed to vanish. It was the most selfish and wonderful part of conference for me!
This year for the first time I will speak in front of a large congregation at a women’s retreat. So I just keep saying yes to God in spite of my fear. Doing hard things while shaking in your boots sure gives you an appreciation that Christ is our strength and His power truly is made perfect in weakness. This is a journey of overcoming day-by-day moment-by-moment for me.
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Yes, my novel in progress is about the theme of freedom in Christ. I live fifteen minutes from the birthplace of Joseph Smith and here we have a yearly pageant to honor his contributions. I was also influenced by two autobiographies of women who left the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and similar groups and later came to find a relationship with the true and living Christ. I also was fortunate enough to be able to connect with a ministry in Utah run by a lady who escaped a polygamous cult and is now helping abused victims before and after escape, sharing the Gospel and meeting physical needs for food and shelter.
My story is contemporary fiction about a woman who escapes a restrictive cult, but I believe the theme of what it means that the King of Kings has set us free and we are free indeed is life-changing. We all are looking for freedom from the tragedies of this world, the sin that so easily entangles us, freedom to run the race He has set before us. It is my hope that Rachel’s story of redemption will connect with readers.
Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reading and reviewing books for Library Journal, The Title Trakk, and Christian Library Journal.
Find her blogging every other Tuesday at: http://www.thewritersalleys.blogspot.com/
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Thank you Julia for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
GIVEAWAY: Julia is giving away a $5.00 Amazon gift certificate (thank you Julia!) and we are matching it with one of our own!