Does your life need mending? You don’t have to be a pastor’s wife to appreciate Nan’s new book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife…say that fast three times… ha.
Nan is my guest today on Changing Zip Codes. I hope you enjoy this special woman’s story on how she came to publish this book.
Interview Questions for Carol Stratton
The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife
by Nan Jones
1. What was the impetus of writing this book?
Pastors’ wives often live in silent pain. We have struggles, we experience enormous amounts of rejection, and our hearts are often ripped in two through the lonely fires of ministry. That sounds harsh, I’m sure, but most pastors’ wives will agree with me. My heart’s cry is that the pastor’s wife will realize she is not alone—that someone understands how she feels. I want her to walk away from this book with renewed confidence in her calling, with healing deep in her wounded spirit, and the realization that in her darkest moments God was with her—He is faithful.
2. Why this book? How will it help others? Only pastor’s wives?
I served as a pastor’s wife for 31 years. These were some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years of my life. These years were also some of the most trying—not necessarily because of the people, but because of the spiritual battle that raged. Our lives could be turned upside down as quickly as the wind changes in a storm. A pastor’s wife knows what it is to feel completely alone in the middle of a crowd. We are known to have trust issues—wondering who we can really be ourselves with and share our hearts with when we’re troubled. Rejection is another deep-seeded hurt that most folks don’t think about when they consider the lives of pastors and their wives. We love our church people like they are family. When we are asked to leave or voted out because of the annual confidence vote (a rural mountain tradition) it’s like going through a divorce. The pain is unbearable. But most people don’t think about that. I knew that other pastors’ wives needed to know that they were not alone in their struggles and that someone understood what they were going through.
My primary audience is the pastor’s wife, but I have heard from many women who have read the book out of interest and have contacted me to say they have benefited greatly from its content. You know, everyone has struggles and times that they feel like God has abandoned them. That feeling is hard to swallow when we feel like we are walking the talk, serving the Lord, and practicing the disciplines of the Christian faith. But truth is, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. God has taught me to find Him in my darkest hours. The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife teaches the reader to do the same. It is written in a conversational tone with much teaching laced throughout.
The Lord has taught me so much through this journey of service to Him—lessons of His faithfulness, lessons of His pleasure in obedient hearts, and lessons of finding shelter beneath the shadow of His Wing. I am so thankful He asked me to share this with His girls.
3. Tell us how you got started writing.
As a child I was an avid reader and have always enjoyed the power of story. I am also an artist. Around age 10 or so, I realized that I could put my two passions together and paint with my words. That’s when I fell in love with words! I wrote poems and short stories. I made designs with random words. I experimented with rhythms created by different sequences of words. This love of words seemed to ooze out of me. When I was 12 I made a list of my life goals. Writing a book was number one.
Throughout my life writing was a hobby. I used my talent to help with church newsletters. I wrote poems and made cards as gifts. Occasionally I’d write a small piece for publication in an anthology, but writing was still something I did, not something I was. About five years ago my husband and I went through an extensive period of unemployment. It was at that time that my husband encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing full-time. And I did. I created my blog, Morning Glory, began networking with other writers and professionals in the industry, and studied the craft of writing diligently. I still do.
4. Any special daily writing habits?
Not really daily habits, but there are things I enjoy implementing while I write like soft worship music and even a scented candle. I enjoy spending alone time with the Lord every day, especially before I sit down to write. Honestly, if I want to be a vessel for Him to work through (and I do) then I need this time with Him so He can pour into me what He wants me to put on the page. I believe He has called me to do this so I take it very seriously.
5. Who are some of your favorite writers?
Like most writers I have many favorites, but I’ll tell you about my all-time favorite—an author you may never have heard of. Her name is Margaret Jensen. Margaret died several years ago at the age of 91. She was of Norwegian descent. Her father was a missionary in remote parts of Canada in the early 1900s. Margaret’s books are filled with stories of faith and God’s miraculous provision throughout her lifetime. She wrote as if the reader were sitting with her sharing a cup of coffee and conversation. That’s my goal in writing.
Margaret was also a pastor’s wife who endured some intense battles for the Kingdom. In her book, The Sun is Shining on The Other Side, she tells the story of one such pastorate. We had just gone through our first nightmare in ministry. As I read her words I cried. I realized that somewhere, somehow, someone knew what I was going through! I wrote her a 10 page letter to which she replied, “Are you a writer? You must be a writer!” God used her to confirm my desires. He also used Margaret to plant the seed for The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife.
6. Any tips for those starting up?
The word that comes to mind is diligence. Be diligent in all things and write for an audience of One. I found it is imperative to be diligent as unto the Lord. When we offer our labor to Him it makes all the difference because, as writers, it’s our responsibility to plant His love through our work and then leave the harvest up to Him. Frustration will easily set in without this mindset because if we think success is only measured in reaching thousands of readers, but the Lord intends our message to reach just a handful, it’s easy to think we have failed. But that’s not true at all. God’s ways are not our ways. Our job is to be obedient to Him and take each step as He leads us and then leave the results up to Him. If only one person reads our blog, have we done it in vain? No, not if we have done it as an offering to the Lord. I’ve learned that if only one person reads something I’ve written it’s because that person is the one the Lord designated to receive that word. In that knowledge I can cease striving, but remain diligent.
I highly recommend Marlene Bagnull’s book, Write His Answer. It was the first book on writing I read and I still refer to her wisdom often. Also, like it or not, we must be engaged on social media. Edie Melson has an awesome blog, The Write Conversation, that will teach you everything you need to know.
7. What was the feeling you had when you first held your book?
It was totally mind boggling. The experience is almost indescribable because it is so wonderfully surreal. Authors typically refer to their books as their babies and now I understand why that’s a perfect analogy. The author has been pregnant with their manuscript for many, many months—sometimes years. It has been nurtured, cared for by professionals in its gestational state. It’s been given a name and its arrival is anticipated with great expectation. From the time the baby has been conceived until the due date arrives, a love affair occurs between the author and the book. It’s quite remarkable. And yes, the pain of labor and delivery is very real.
I remember crying uncontrollably when I first held The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife—it really was a dream come true. Feelings of thankfulness washed over me and I remember lifting my hands in praise to the One who made it possible. What an amazing moment.
8. How to contact Nan:
Facebook: Nan Trammell Jones
Facebook Community Page: Seeing Beyond the Veil (a place to find the nearness of God when you need Him the most)
Pinterest: Nan Jones, Author
To contact Nan about a speaking event or prayer retreat, please visit her website or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio: Nan Jones
Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. Her devotional blog, Morning Glory, has become a place of community for Christians to find encouragement in God’s Word and comfort in His Presence. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire. Nan has also had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When Nan is not writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: “Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord” as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God’s Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com or her blog, Morning Glory: http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/. Nan has also created a Facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at email@example.com.
The Perils of A Pastor’s Wife will help mend your heart that has been burned in the lonely fires of ministry. Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone.