Melissa Jagears is the author of A Bride for Keeps and of Love by the Letter, a free novella prequel to the Unexpected Bride series.
Melissa Jagears, 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?
Though I write romance, I’m not the most emotionally driven woman in the world, so I’m quite the trooper though life’s ups and downs. But the most difficult thing I’ve ever dealt with is unexplained infertility and multiple miscarriages. Especially miscarriage number two. My husband was very worried he’d come home to find that I’d killed myself. I would have denied that I was clinically depressed at the time, but looking back, I certainly was. (The biggest tip-off should have been when I started coloring my Barbie coloring page with hot pink hair and green skin and terribly mismatched clothes because I couldn’t stand to make my coloring pretty any more—and yes, I still color!)
I did finally get pregnant almost two years later, but if I hadn’t, I don’t know how far my depression would have gone. I can only hope that at some point my husband would have pointed it out at a time I was willing to listen. That pregnancy, I believe, was God’s gift to get me through. That baby became my daughter, and though my next miscarriage was a much more advanced pregnancy it wasn’t near as difficult to get through, partially because I had a child to live for, but more, I believe, because we now belonged to a caring church in our new state of residence.
I cannot say how much a good church family does for your spiritual well-being. I’m pretty sure I didn’t spiral back into depression because I had so many people praying for me who truly cared. God’s body in action! But it took two years of searching to find that church, so if you’ve given up on finding a good church to get involved with, keep looking, they could literally pull you through some of the worst times of your life.
What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I’m not a person that has a favorite anything, I can’t pick a favorite book, song, color….so I’ll pick the verse that’s plastered on the front flap of my Bible: 2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
But what exactly is an ambassador? When I read this thorough definition on Stand to Reason’s website, (I love Stand to Reason, by the way!) I printed it off and glued it in my Bible. Every time I engage with the world, I try to keep my role as an ambassador in mind.
Disability friendliness: Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print?
Of course the kindle versions can be made Large Print. An audiobook will be available in late February, 2014.
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
I always tend to write characters who feel they are unworthy of being loved. I struggle with that myself, especially when I realize that God chose to love us though we are miserable sinners and continues to love us though we are so achingly slow at becoming Christ-like. And if I wonder why He would bother to love me, I also wonder why anyone else should. So, I like my characters to go through that journey. I want my readers to find hope, that though they aren’t perfect, they should be thankful for and enjoy the love they receive without reservations and free themselves to love back—I’m not sure I’m there myself, so I’m preaching to me.
As you've researched your stories, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
Well, this book started when I heard a story about a man who waited for a mail-order bride to arrive, but she married on the trip over, so he ordered another one, and it happened again, then he had the guts to order another one! And all I could think of was how brave this man was to not give up. How would it feel to be rejected twice in the same way and turn right back around and try again? What made him desperate enough? So I started researching mail-order bride stories and some of those marriages turned out amazing…..but many more turned out terribly. The bravery of these men and women marrying strangers (back when marriage vows were not taken as lightly as they are now) and living with the consequences was just inspiring.
In your novel, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Feeling guilty for sins that are not yours to bear, fear of abandonment.
Thank you Melissa Jagears for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Giveaway: We'll be giving away winner's choice of format for the book (ebook only to international winner.) Also a gently used paperback copy to another winner this week.
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