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!

new-name-facebook-party-banner

 

 

 

Guest Post: Three Years of Heartache, a #youarenotalone post

#youarenotalone

Let’s all welcome Lynette Lee to the blog today. She’s sharing her story of abuse and PTSD. She wants others to know they aren’t alone, and it is possible to heal.

**All names have been changed to protect the individuals in this post.**

___

For three years, I spent my life in an imaginary prison, that is to say, a prison that nobody knew about.  I married Ray Snelgroes on May 10, 2006 at the age of twenty-two.  Ray came from an old southern family who was in cotton and cattle.  He was the oldest son of five, bound to inherit the families fortune.  Little small things started happening during the plans of the wedding, but it was brushed aside with an excuse that it was wedding stress and jitters.  There was the time that Ray refused to pay for the photographer and wedding all together, for we discussed that he would just pay for the honeymoon.  But I lost my job, and he refused to help with the preparations.  This was my first sign, and I kick myself daily for not listening.

A month before the wedding, his mother, Carrie, decided to finally get involved.  This was my second sign.  She never wanted to participate before, like she didn’t believe we would get married.  The day of the wedding, she didn’t present a groom’s cake, and she blamed my families friend for this mistake.  People said, “She caused a terrible and embarrassing scene.”  But I wasn’t there.  I was getting ready in the Bridal room at the lodge.  I call this my sign, number three.

Throughout the marriage, she was constantly there, wanting to know about our finances, bills, and family plans.  This put a horrible strain on our marriage, because Ray would tell her everything.  There were things he would tell her and not me.  The verbal abuse started with her and continued with Ray.  After six months, the physical violence started.  I won’t go into any details here.  But after I left, and received counseling, I was helped with sexual, mental, physical, spiritual, and verbal abuse.  It has taken me over six years to overcome these issues.

Of course, I have deep side effects from it.  Struggling with Post Dramatic Stress Disorder is never easy, but I look back on the year I left Ray.  I have come a long way since then.  For the first year of leaving him, I had a hard time being around men, crowds, and amusement parks.  I realized I didn’t want to live my life in fear. So I put myself in the most stressful situations.  At the busiest time, at our local town mall, I would order my lunch at a crowded restaurant, and force myself to eat my lunch with my back facing the entrance doors.  I would slowly eat and try to ignore the people around me, each bite was torture.

As a writer, this is not good for my imagination, but it helped me to be around strange people, especially men.  I did this until I got comfortable, and I could watch people, like I used to.  I am pleased to announce that I did this all without being medicated.   I am not knocking the ones who are. Their situation is different from mine, and if you need the medications, then I encourage you to take them by professional supervision.  But, I refused the drugs.  I didn’t see a point in taking medication to numb my pain, when it would stare right back at me in a few hours or so.

I still have my flashbacks, nightmares, and triggers.  I don’t believe there is anything around this, but they don’t happen as often as they used to.  So, it may be true that time heals all things.  I want to leave here with encouragement.  If you are in a violent relationship there is a way out, make sure you are ready.  Secondly, you can overcome any emotional issues during your freedom years.  There is hope.  I hope anyone who reads this has never had to deal with abuse or PTSD.  And if you are, there are people, like me, who get it and understand.  Embrace your new self, and try to hold on to your old self as much as you can.  Either way, you’re a survivor, be proud.

 

About Lynette:

WIN_20160525_18_31_03_ProLynette Lee is a senior at Southern New Hampshire University; she is pursuing a Bachelors’ in history.  She also studies fiction creative writing, literature, and English. She is a historical fiction writer and is working on a collection of short stories and poems. Currently, Lee is trying to complete her first novel, The Betrayal and to publish The African Promise.  She resides in the Ozark Mountains with her three-year-old daughter, where during her free time, travels to historical sites, hikes and canoes the Buffalo River, and shops in Branson, Missouri.