When you realize you aren’t practicing what you preach… #youarenotalone

This goes much deeper than loving myself.  This gets into my mental state.

Let me just preface this by saying that this is difficult for me to talk about. For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with some stuff. For my sake, I don’t want to go into details, but I wanted to talk about it.

I went at this alone because I couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t feel like I could talk about it because I felt like what I was dealing with was stupid and not worthy of discussion. I felt like I needed to deal with it on my own, but I was miserable. I didn’t feel like myself, and I even found myself praying that God would heal my mind.

It went deeper than just mental. This was spiritual too, and I was at war. Part of me even felt like I didn’t deserve help, because what was plaguing me wasn’t worthy of speaking about. And that was wrong of me to think.

Whatever you’re struggling with, it’s always important. There is always someone there to listen to you, to pray with you.

In this case, it was my parents. I finally broke and told them just how bad what I was struggling with had gotten over the past few weeks.

Disclaimer: I do want to state that I’ve never been diagnosed with any kind of mental illness, depression or anything similar. I don’t claim to struggle with any of these. But, as a highly emotional person and someone who has tendencies to obsess over things that haven’t happened or mistakes I made, sometimes, my brain can get overwhelming.That’s what happened this time. It happens a lot, I’m afraid to say, but I usually deal with it. On my own.

Again, that’s a mistake. You are NEVER alone. Sometimes, I forget that I deserve help just as much as I know you deserve help. I am bad about preaching these important things but never practicing them for myself. And that is wrong too.

I have to learn to take care of me, just as much as I get the pleasure of spreading positivity around. But I’ve got to work on me.

I’ve heard it said that in order to love others, you first have to love yourself. And I get that. I believe in that. But I forgot to love me. I forgot to take care of me. I forgot that I wasn’t alone, that I didn’t have deal with pressure and emotions alone.

And it got me to thinking. There are others who live this way too. They struggle with their feelings  until it becomes overwhelming, and sometimes, it doesn’t turn out too well for them. Today, I want you to know that you have to take care of you—and that means stepping out and reaching out to someone who can help you: parents, teachers, friends, husband, wife, sisters, brothers, whomever. There is someone out there who can and will help you. Don’t do this alone. You are NOT alone. Please don’t feel like you are. Together, we can overcome anything.

Am I perfect? No. Am I over this I was speaking about earlier? Not completely. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. But I’m working on it, and I know that I can trust my mom and dad with these fears and anxieties. And there is someone out there you can trust too.

#youarenotalone

Questions and doubt aren’t a sign of lackluster faith. #youarenotalone

I haven’t had a chance to post a #youarenotalone post in a while, and when one of my friends was hosting a blog tour for New Name by A.C. Williams, it seemed like the perfect book to feature in the #youarenotalone category. So, let’s all welcome A.C. Williams to the blog today! new-name-blog-tour


I grew up in a solid Christian home, attended a solid Christian church, and had mentors who were all solid Christians. And somewhere along the line, I assumed that being a Christian meant that you were always solid. You didn’t doubt. You didn’t question. You didn’t ask why. You just had faith.

Faith. That ethereal, unreachable, incomprehensible concept with very little practical application. Or if it has practical application, no one knows how to explain it. We just take things on faith. We just believe things on faith. And while those are exceptionally poetic and beautiful statements, they’re immensely idealistic and frankly not very useful when it comes to real life.

It’s easy to tell someone to have faith when they feel abandoned or neglected. It’s a fast, quick answer for the down-trodden: “God has a plan.” It’s the stock reply when it feels like life is spiraling out of control. Have faith. Romans 8:28. Just keep believing.

Newsflash: Faith is hard. And anyone who tells you differently is selling something.

For years, I thought of myself as a lackluster Christian, someone who just wasn’t good enough, because I had deep doubts and trust issues when it came to God. I wanted to believe Him, but I just felt like He’d let me down too many times. And I honestly don’t remember when it happened, but one day the truth hit me like a truck.

God loves me. And if I want to get to know Him better, I have to ask Him questions. Doubt comes naturally to us human beings, and the only way to overcome doubt is to ask questions, to seek answers, to look for truth. And in all of the Bible, not a single person who ever came to the Lord with honest questions was ever turned away.

God welcomes my questions. Questions and doubt aren’t a sign of lackluster faith; they’re a sign of a faith that is growing and alive and real.

So when I started writing the Destiny Trilogy, of which New Name is the final installment, I wanted to tackle this issue of faith in action. I wanted to write character who struggled with believing that God was worth trusting because so many of us are there today. And I wanted to present it in a way that readers could understand that doubting God is okay.

Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you automatically have a superhero kind of faith. It doesn’t make you perfect. It doesn’t make you better than everyone else. Christians are still human beings, and we struggle with faith like everyone else. We still screw up. We still blow our lives up with bad choices, and we still have to face consequences. And we still wonder why we’re following Jesus when nothing in life is going right.

At least, that’s my story. And in New Name, that’s Aura’s story too. She’s done everything right. She’s held on to her faith in spite of danger and pain and horror, and in spite of all of that, things keep going wrong. The question New Name asks isn’t, “Are you a good enough Christian?” The question it asks is, “Can you keep having faith even when nothing goes right?”

That’s faith. And you won’t have that kind of faith unless you struggle, unless you doubt, and unless you ask questions. But the awesome part of God is that He’s big enough to handle it. He doesn’t sit up in the heavens fretting and wringing His hands because we don’t believe Him. He isn’t bothered when we can’t wrap our puny brains around His plan. Nowhere in the Bible (as far as I know) does God denounce having doubt. But He does state that the only way to impress Him is having faith.

Are you a doubting Thomas? Are you a Christian who struggles with taking God at His word? Are you afraid to express reluctance in following Him because you just aren’t sure He can be trusted? Guess what? You’re not alone. Every Christ-follower struggles with those same things, and if they’re honest they would tell you that. But Church culture has beaten that honesty out of many of us and replaced it with an everything’s-always-okay mask.

Don’t give in to that. It’s okay to doubt. Doubting is part of having faith. It’s a step on the journey of getting to know Jesus, so don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be ashamed. And don’t be quiet. Ask questions.

God may be too big for us to understand, but that makes Him big enough to handle our doubts and insecurities too.

About A.C. Williams

acwilliams_headshotAmy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Connect with Amy:

Email: blogtour@amycwilliams.com

Website: amycwilliams.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AmytheStoryteller

Twitter: @acwilliams05

Instagram: instagram.com/acwilliams05

Pinterest: pinterest.com/storytelleramy

About New Name

An unlikely sisterhood.
An unwanted child.
An unthinkable sacrifice.
Aura Morningstar takes the last fragment of the time travel stone and escapes the Knightshade Syndicate by stowing away on a mercenary ship. Despite a rocky start to their relationship, Aura builds a new life with the crew, eccentric mercenary sisters Snow and Rain Stormcloud.new-name-cover

But the consequences of refusing to change history are only beginning.

Aura discovers she is pregnant with Darien Stone’s child. The Stormcloud sisters are pressuring Aura to terminate the pregnancy, but Aura knows all too well the easy choice isn’t always the right one. Can she ever truly accept a child born of rape? Can she face the constant reminder of all she has lost? And if she keeps the child, will Snow and Rain continue to shelter her? Without their protection, Knightshade will find her, take back the time stone, and rewrite history for their purposes.

Aura must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice—Stone’s child or history itself.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon (ebook): https://www.amazon.com/New-Name-Destiny-Trilogy-Three-ebook/dp/B01LBQ3YE0

Amazon (softcover): https://www.amazon.com/New-Name-Destiny-Trilogy-Morningstar/dp/0990555550

Barnes & Noble (softcover): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-name-ac-williams/1125189101?ean=9780990555551

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33146655-new-name

Crosshair Press Direct: http://crosshairpress.com/bookstore/crosshair-direct/

Amy has generously offered to give away a signed copy and e-copy of New Name. The signed copy is open to US only, but the e-copy is open to international residents. Winners will be announced at the end of the Facebook party on March 11th.

Giveaway Link: http://giveawaytools2.com/giveaway.php?sk=25146859047

Join the Facebook party as well!

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