I’m so tickled to have award winning author, Liz Curtis Higgs, answering my special question for today. Liz’s talents spread from fiction to nonfiction and children’s fiction, with her series Bad Girls of the Bible and best-selling historical Scottish novels winning awards like the Christy and Retailer’s Choice Awards.
She’s a worldwide speaker and encourager to both readers and writers, while her nonfiction books, such as Embrace Grace, are like intimate discussions with a friend about the limitless beauty of God’s grace.
Liz’s own personal ‘birth of faith’ story is as beautiful and certainly one of the reasons her books hold such emotional strength and spiritual depth. To learn more about her story and her many books she offers, check out her website at: www.lizcurtishiggs.com
Now for the Christmas Question:
Of all the novels you’ve written, do you have a scene featuring someone’s ‘birth of faith’ (conversion, recommitment, etc) that you found particularly touching or fulfiling to write? why?
I like to let such scenes happen when and where they will in the story. When the time is right, when the character is ready, such transformations unfold on their own without any help or direction from me. Although I do have a fairly detailed plot in hand before I start writing, I don’t plan the spiritual discoveries. They just happen, sometimes when I least expect it.
In my first novel, Mixed Signals, a contemporary romantic comedy with two heroes and two heroines (and, of course, two happy endings!), one of the characters took me completely by surprise. Of the four main players, Patrick Reese is the least spiritual, the least likely to reach out to the Lord. But on New Year’s Day, standing in his office, he offers up a prayer only he could pray–awkward and funny and self-conscious yet sincere. I remember sitting in my living room, banging away on my laptop keyboard, tears streaming down my face. I was just so happy for the guy!
In my forthcoming novel, Here Burns My Candle, Elisabeth’s spiritual journey is more gradual, with moments of growing awareness along the way. At one point I wrote, “It was as if she knew something she’d not known a moment before. Like lighting a candle in a darkened room and instantly being able to see every corner.” That certainly captures my own experience OF coming to a deeper knowledge of Christ in my late twenties. Proverbs 4:18 describes it best: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”
Here’s a ‘teaser excerpt’ from Liz’s novel Mixed Signals.
He closed his eyes, pretty sure that’s how such things were handled. “Dear God–” he felt awkward yet as certain as he’d ever felt in his life–“Uh…happy New Year.” Happy what? He could tell his palms were sweating.
Norah squeezed his hands and a sense of peace overtook him.
Yeah, Okay. Happy New Year, that’s good. “Thanks, God. For loving me before I loved you. And for Norah. For loving me before I loved her. I don’t deserve all this, Lord. but I’ll take it. I need it.” His chest tightened around his heart even as he felt it expanding, making room for Norah. No, not just for her, For the one who made him, loved him, died for him. Yes, you, Lord. It’s you I need.
In the blink of an eye, the tightness was gone and a sweet, cleansing breath slipped out of him. Whew. Not so hard. Almost as eash as telling Norah he loved her. He had told her he loved her, right?
He cracked open on eye. Yeah, I must have. Look at her face.
She was smiling wasn’t she? Crying, too, bless her beautiful self. What a woman. My woman. Happy New Year wasn’t the half of it.
Pepper here: It’s such a pleasure to learn from you, Liz. May God continue to bless your writing. I can’t wait to get my hands on Here Burns My Candle which premieres in March, 2010.
Birth of Faith Bible verse:
Let’s join with Liz’s character, Patrick Reece, in celebrating the truth that God loved us, before we loved him – when we were unlovable. It’s the heart of salvation. I John 4: 17-19 says,
“In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.”