Guest Blogger: Beth Vogt
***For the first three weeks in May, I want to introduce you to three author friends. They have books that have just released, and each of them has wisdom they’ll share in their posts that guided their stories. I am including links to their books, should you want to learn more. And no, I’m not earning anything from sharing them. I just want you to get to know these authors. Enjoy!***
Some friendships are for a season, and some last a lifetime. Beth Vogt is a life-friend. We’ve walked many seasons together. She was the first person I shared with that God had given me a story. Instead of telling me to wait until my sons were older, she encouraged me to write it. And, she directed me to helpful resources to learn how to write a novel. She’s an encourager, a truth-speaker, an amazing author, and one of the most authentic people I know. I am so pleased to share her words here today. Please help me welcome Beth Vogt!
Last week’s winner of The Joy of Falling is: Anita Ojeda! Please contact me within the next week to receive your book.
I was 21 years old when I embraced living by faith, instead of living by the familiar structure of my religious upbringing.
I’m thankful my parents taught me to believe in God. But I’m even more grateful my then-future husband told me how important his faith was to him. I’ll admit that, at the time, I wondered why he talked so much about Jesus and the Bible. Both topics are a bit extreme for me—especially since we were on our second date.
Understanding that faith was more relationship than rituals altered my life. Hope began to seep into the parched corners of my soul and expanded who I thought I could be.
But this shift in my spiritual perspective also created problems for me, which was something I hadn’t expected. Wasn’t this life change a good thing? Something that would provide me peace?
Instead, I found myself at odds with my family. My parents and siblings weren’t happy with my new-found faith or my choice to no longer attend the church I’d attended for years. Some friends didn’t understand, either.
I was also uncomfortable around other believers – ones who knew all the right words to say, all the songs woven through church services, all the right behaviors at Bible study.
Bible Study? I didn’t even own a Bible, much less know how to easily flip back and forth between different sections or how to quote various verses.
Why was something so good … something true and freeing … complicating my life?
The words to that old hymn about once being lost, but now I’m found were all twisted up. Off key.
It was as if I’d been rescued, only to be left in unfamiliar territory, with no map and no flashlight.
I didn’t want to go back to who I was before. What I once believed. The question was, what would help me move forward?
I had to remember the catalyst for the change.
To remember my newfound faith was a relationship . . . me, in a relationship with God. And while I wanted faith to be easy and for it to make my life easier too, I needed to accept that, just like every other relationship in my life, this one would take time and effort.
I also needed to understand all relationships are complicated. I’d transferred some of my old ideas of God into our new relationship. I needed to let God, not other people, tell me who He was. I needed to let God tell me what He wanted from me, rather than looking for a bunch of “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it” rules.
Most of all, I had to realize my newfound faith offered me grace when I struggled with not getting it right. Strength when I struggled with these problems . . . and the truth that it never guaranteed me I wouldn’t have problems in the future.
I didn’t have to be perfect – I could just be me. Faith doesn’t solve everything – and sometimes it complicates things. But my relationship with God also helps me know Who to turn to when circumstances don’t go the way I plan, whether it be something as simple as not feeling included in a particular social setting to having to practice social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
God is there for the small stuff and the big stuff. He doesn’t promise that knowing Him will solve everything in my life, but He does promise me that He’ll walk with me through every circumstance I ever face.
What about you? What was an adjustment you had to make when you began to believe in Jesus? What’s one thing you learned after you began to believe in Him?
Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers.
How can you choose what is right for you when your decision will break the heart of someone you love?
Having abandoned her childhood dream years ago, Johanna Thatcher knows what she wants from life. Discovering that her fiancé was cheating on her only convinces Johanna it’s best to maintain control and protect her heart.
Despite years of distance and friction, Johanna and her sisters, Jillian and Payton, have moved from a truce toward a fragile friendship. But then Johanna reveals she has the one thing Jillian wants most and may never have―and Johanna doesn’t want it. As Johanna wrestles with a choice that will change her life and her relationships with her sisters forever, the cracks in Jillian’s marriage and faith deepen. Through it all, the Thatcher sisters must decide once and for all what it means to be family.
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To purchase The Best We’ve Been, click here