Christian, You Must Wake Up

Christian You Must Wake Up

Christian, what would you say your purpose is, as a follower of Jesus?

Christian, why did Jesus save you?

He didn’t save you so that you could live a comfortable life here on earth and then breeze past hell into heaven.

He didn’t save you so you could find fulfillment on earth in things other than himself.

He didn’t save you so you could chase your dreams or make a name for yourself.

He didn’t save you so that you could go on living your life and treating the immortal God like a side dish to your existence.

He didn’t even save you so you could go to church on Sundays and serve in the church.

He didn’t save you so you or your family could be insulated and “safe” in a squeaky clean Christian bubble.

He didn’t save you so you could hop from church to church as if you were a shopper unsatisfied with all the current church models.

He didn’t even save you so you could find a comfortable church home to go on Sundays, raise your babies in, squabble about chairs or pews or leadership, and be largely in the same spot spiritually five years from now as you are today.

He didn’t save you so you could eventually decide that you don’t need or want to be a part of his church.

He didn’t save you so you could occasionally read a Psalm and talk about the importance of hope.

Jesus came to earth, died, came alive again, and saved you so that you could have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And when he said that, he wasn’t talking about your dreams or happiness. Jesus’ view of an abundant life is both incredibly general and incredibly specific.

Abundant life, eternal life, is knowing God (John 17:3). And when we know God, we love him. And when we truly love him, we obey him. And when we truly obey him, we show that we know him. And when we know God, truly know him, nothing is the same.

Jesus saved you to give you himself, and by doing so, give you unspeakable joy and zeal.

But joy in what? Zeal for what? The things of his heart, not yours.

Jesus didn’t save you so you could adopt some good mindsets and values from him. When Jesus saves someone, he’s after their whole mind, their whole heart, their whole life, everything. He wasn’t being melodramatic or figurative when he said people were going to have to lose their lives to follow him (Matthew 16:25).

How much do you think Jesus is worth if you aren’t giving him everything you’ve got? And by everything, he does mean everything—every attitude and intention of your heart; every desire and dream; every cherished, socially acceptable sin; every minute of your time. Jesus didn’t come to reform you in part; he came to save you and turn your entire world upside down, saved you to lay claim to everything in your life.

Anything short of everything is unacceptable (and if you think otherwise, how well do you actually know God?).

Christian, stop slumbering in mediocrity. Stop being content to do church (or not do church as the case may be).

“Lord, Lord.”

Near the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, he says this: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This passage kind of makes me sick.

“Lord, Lord, did I not cast out demons in your name? Did I not do miracles in your name?”

And even to these, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

If even those who have (seemingly) done great things for Jesus aren’t actually his disciples, where does that put most American Christians? Where does that put people who don’t even read their Bibles? Where does that people who don’t worship? Where does that put people who tolerate sin in their lives? Where does that put people who aren’t making disciples?

What will Jesus say to you on the last day?

Christian, you must wake up.

Christian, you were saved to have eternal life, which is knowing God.

You were saved to be about the mission that Jesus called you to.

You were saved to grow and change and become more like Jesus.

You were saved into Jesus’ Church, without which you cannot be and do everything that God has called you to be and do.

You were saved to go home to Jesus at the end of all this, to rejoice in him with all his saints.

Don’t hear all this as saying you’re not doing enough. “Enough” is vicious, perfection-based word. Hear all this as call to think, to consider if you’re too easily pleased by this world, too contented with the status quo of your life, too American-minded in your knowledge of God and his heart. I know I have been.

I have settled for far less than what God wants for my life. I have been indifferent and slow to kill sin. I have been dazed and distracted by this world and the things I’ve wanted out of it. I have chased my dreams instead of God. I have not seen God as he is and thus my response to him, his love, his words, and his commands has been lackadaisical.

But no more.

I hope the same for you. Christian, for the sake of your soul, for your joy, I beg of you: wake up.

With love,

Rosalie

Why I Wrote a Story About Death [i’m getting published again; ‘a kind of death’ release day!]

Today is the day that my short story, Eshe, gets released in Uncommon Universes Press’s first anthology, A Kind of Death: Tales of Love, Loss, and Transformation.

I’ve actually hardly talked about this? Which is definitely weird. Life’s been kind of crazy, and I’ve hardly sat down with my computer at all. Anyweys.

I want to tell you why I wrote Eshe, a story about death.

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I.

Sometimes it feels strange to say that I’m getting published in a collection of poems and short stories about death. I know how morbid it sounds, how some people definitely think, “yikes!” when they hear that title.

Honestly though, most of my stories involve death. If you’ve read any of my eight published flash fictions, you will find that four of the eight deal fairly strongly with death in some form or another.

But why do I come back to death again and again in my stories?

II.

Death was never meant to be.

This world was created bursting at its atoms with life and wonder, every piece perfect and whole and beautiful and glorifying to God.

Yet humans rebelled against God, pushed against his kingdom, and enter from stage right: sin and death.

This world is shattered now. Death comes to all things here; from the honey bee to the forests packed with trees to the stars galaxies away to the picked rose to the blue whale to the cells that make up the fingers that type these letters.

I’m still young, in good health. Yet I am decaying, dying. And so is this world.

Little ones only weeks old die in their cribs from SIDs. Graves fill with bodies of soldiers. The hearts beating under the papery skin of the elderly stop. Sickness and violence rob families of loved ones every way we turn. We can’t escape death. Death is a present reality.

III.

I write about death to see death rightly. It’s not romantic. It’s real, but it’s not normal. It’s not how it should be. It’s not how it will always be. It’s not the end.

I write about death to peer past this destroyed world and remember that there is another kingdom my eyes can’t see.

I write about death so that I can learn to die well.

I write about death because it reminds me to live well.

I write about death because in doing so, in a strange way, I see Jesus more clearly. I see his kindness, for only One of great love would submit to death to save a rebellious, self-destroying, dying people. I see his power, for only One of great might can redeem death itself.

And seeing Jesus more clearly gives me courage. Courage to not fear death. Courage to pray that every sinful, unfruitful thing in me be put death and that I be undone and remade again and again until he calls me home. Courage to believe that one day, death will be a distant memory, and being alive, being with Jesus, will forever be the present reality.

Death will come for me one day, but death will not get the final say over me. Only Jesus gets that.


aKoDCover.jpgA Kind of Death Blurb:

A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.

Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.


A Kind of Death is available as in paperback, hardback, and ebook.

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and UUP.

Don’t forget to enter to win a hardback copy of A Kind of Death along with two art prints and additional book swag!

I can’t wait for you to read Eshe. <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – here’s the Eshe pinterest board, if you’re interested.

p.p.s. – fun fact: Eshe is my favorite thing I’ve written to date.

p.p.p.s. – I get to be published with Savannah Grace again! And alongside Bethany Jennings for the first time! Whoop whoop!

Oh Beloved One Tour [giveaway]

Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Oh Beloved One (OBO for short)–a magazine for Christian young women to remind them that they are beloved!

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A bit about Oh Beloved One.

Oh Beloved One is created by young women who believe that our highest calling in life is to love God and bring him glory.

The OBO team seeks to help other young women love God and bring him glory by providing content that assists readers in taking their next spiritual step.

The giveaway!

You will win a hardcopy of Independent, OBO‘s July/August issue with articles about solitude, breaking out of your comfort zone, and knowing when and with whom you can be honest about your weaknesses as well as everyday how-to’s every girl should know for life and more.

IMG_0800.jpgBe sure to enter this giveaway if:

a) you are curious about Oh Beloved One

b) you are trying to decide if you want to subscribe to OBO

c) you are a girl looking for some encouragement and edification

d) you enjoy getting mail

e) you adore aesthetically pleasing things (if this magazine isn’t #aesthetic, I don’t know what is)

f) the balance between godly dependence and godly independence confuses you

and/or g) you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who would enjoy a copy of Oh Beloved One.

Enter the giveaway here!

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Fine print:

  •  this giveaway is U.S.A. only (sorry, international peeps!)
  •  this giveaway will close on September 23, 2019 (the last day of this blog tour)
  • the winner will be contacted by email

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This Oh Beloved One tour will be running all month long with a couple other giveaways happening along the way, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next stop (it’s with Jane Maree in a few days)!

– Check out the OBO magazine here

– Subscribe OBO‘s mailing list here

– Stop by OBO‘s Instagram here.

I’m so excited to follow the rest of this tour! I’ve known about OBO for a while now, and I’m so jazzed to spread the word about this beautiful magazine for girls.

Have you heard of Oh Beloved One? Do you subscribe to any magazines?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – all photos belong to Oh Beloved One

My Noveling Process [in gifs]

Noveling is a process. It’s arduous. The Arduous Process looks different for everyone, but I just want to share a snapshot of what noveling is like for me, personally.

Obviously, there will be gifs.

Here it is from start to finish (because there comes a point where a novel is finished, right? RIGHT????).

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The Spark of Creation (aka: when an new story idea strikes).

The moment of inspiration is different for every novel, but the moment it takes root, there’s no going back.

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This is the part where I cheat on the novel I was working on by thinking about and creating playlists and Pinterest boards for my new idea. It’s all fun and games in the beginning, when it’s forbidden.

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^^^ me having fun with all the new characters and plot bunnies and worldbuilding nerdiness ^^^

Everything is shiny and new and exciting about this idea, and I’m usually pretty jacked and acting kind of weird around the house.

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It’s very much like the beginning of The Lion King, when everything is bright and hopeful and beautiful.

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I am Rafiki; Simba is the new idea

Drafting Begins (aka: I write the rough draft of the novel).

It’s time to get started! All the Pinteresting and playlist-making and movie-trailer-dreaming has come to this, and it’s time to start actually writing the novel. I couldn’t be happier!

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Two chapters into the novel:

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But I’m not stressed because I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t plot out a novel before I write it; I just start with some inspiration and make most of it up as I go along (because what can possibly go wrong with that?).

This leads us to the next phase: intermittent snacking.

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The time eventually comes to kill off the first character. I usually meet this challenge with a healthy mixture of maniacal zest and sincere sorrow.

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I also tend to get stuck in research ruts, which is where I spend five and a half hours researching one minute detail (which I’ll probably end up throwing out further down the line in the editing process).

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^^^ me after getting stuck in a  research rut ^^^

By this point, we’re where everything is falling apart for the characters, and my main character has reached their lowest point (this is often called “the dark night of the soul”). All their hopes and dreams (and maybe even some of their loved ones) have gone up in smoke. It’s a very traumatic time. For the main character. Less so for me.

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^^^ me watching my characters hopes and dreams (and maybe even some loved ones) go up in smoke ^^^

Inevitably, I slow to a halt and spend a while existential crisis-ing.

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Shortly after this, I complete the first draft, which is hands down one of the most amazing feelings of this whole process.

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Editing Begins (aka: I try to fix up the story to make it presentable to others, and it promptly falls apart).

Editing usually begins well. I typically take a few month break (sometimes even more) between my first draft and my second draft and am thus very refreshed and ready to dig into my novel once more.

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I read the first draft, which often feels like I’m discovering the novel for the first time all over again. Except this time without all the frills and euphoric visions. No, this time, I read it with all the cynicism my dual personality can muster.

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^^^ actual footage of me reading dialogue from my first drafts ^^^

And then I begin to notice that there are some, well, some rather large problems that my witty back and forth banter with myself won’t fix.

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Then, I lose all comprehension of all words, story craft, plot structure, character building, etc..

Enter from stage right: the Google search.

Typical Editing Phase 1 Google searches look like:

  • how to tell if your novel has a plot
  • yikesyikesyikesyikes
  • how to plot a novel
  • why does my main character need to have a goal?
  • how to write a plot twist
  • wHaT IS A pLOt?
  • is my novel trash?
  • save me

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People generally think it’s pretty cool that I write novels, and this is the part (when I can’t recall the difference between an inciting incident and a plot twist) where they ask about it. I can’t help myself but respond thusly:

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Editing Continues (aka: something has gone terribly wrong with the story and I’m still editing it a year and a half later).

It’s usually at this juncture that I find some irreparable plot hole and can’t cope.

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me, not being able to cope with the gaping hole in my plot

Eventually, I do learn to cope…

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because if you can’t fix it, you might as well burn it

As I said, some people are kind enough to check in with me every once in a while. They’ll ask me again about my novel, to which I reply like Edna Mode:

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which is really code for “I’m dying*

Despair and confusion continues.

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And continues…

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After I’ve spent three years of my life editing a novel….

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After I’ve reworked that first chapter approximately 4543 times:

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Again, with the thoughtful, invested people asking me how the novel is coming:

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I am Mike, the inquisitor is Sully, the novel is Boo.

But then I start to get a second (or maybe this is the third? Or fourth? Or fifth?) wind, and things start to turn around. Something clicks in my brain; I get some sort of breakthrough. I see how to take this novel to the next level and end this hell editing.

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we all knew this gif was coming

I respond in the only way I can.

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In general, there is Renewed Vigor, and I’m ready to kick this novel in the butt.

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^^^ me and my Renewed Vigor ^^^

Me to my Renewed Vigor:

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And then, some time later, I finish the novel.

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And there it is, friends.

My noveling process from start to finish. Now, please excuse me while I get back to editing my novel.

What does your process look like?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this was going to be a serious post, but that clearly didn’t happen, lol. Someone *cough cough* let themselves loose on a gif-hunt, and now here we are.

p.p.s. – I think I may have used a record number of gifs in this post. I was also a bit loopy while putting together this post because I’ve been staying up late working on my novel and am thus a little sleep-deprived.

The 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash Wrap-up

Today is the wrap-up for the 2019 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash!

We had 39 sign-ups this year, but sadly 17 of our writers were unable to complete the challenge due to lots of crazy life stuff (heck, I wasn’t even technically participating in the challenge and had a hard time tending to it this year).

But we still have over twenty stories in eight different genres (I’m using that term loosely, haha), and they’re all gathered here for your reading pleasure!

Disclaimer: I own none of the prompts.

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[Contemporary]

[prompt: Younger Now by Miley Cyrus]

Gray by Abigayle Claire.

These Moments... by Micaiah Saldaña.

Symphony of Change by Andi L. Gregory.


 

[Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism]

urban fantasy

Monster Mayhem by Anika Walkes (pg-13 content warning).

War by Just B. Jordan.


 

[Fairytale/Folklore]

fairytale

Home Before Dark by Spruce Holly Nogard.

Lisanthus by Emily Jayne.

Moonlit Dances by M.A. Starr.


 

[Sword and Sorcery]

sword and sorcery

The Chosen One by Julian Daventry.

The Burden of Remembrance by Sarah Rodecker.

Ferra by Alina Kanaski.

Remember by R. M. Archer.


 

[Dystopian]

dystopian prompt

Level 1 by Lila Kims (it’s really a light sci-fi story, but shhhhh).

Lupe by Nicholas Jayne (pg-13 content warning).


[Cyberpunk]

[prompt: Arrow by half-alive]

The Hardest Place by Carrie-Anne Thomas.

Between Remembered and Forgotten by T. J. Priest.

The Chainless by J. M. Jablowski.


[Superhero]

superhero prompt

The Inferno by Nicole Dust.

Pirouette by C.O. Bonham.


[Romance]

[prompt: Be Here Long by NEEDTOBREATHE]

Her Hair Is Red by Laura Frances.

Jesus Has a Plan by Farmgirl Fibers and Arts.


And that’s a wrap!

Dashers, keep an eye on your inbox for a debrief email!

Which story was your favorite? Which prompt was your favorite? Should we have another flash fic dash next year?

With love,

Rosalie