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:




Twitter: @acwilliams05



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

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):

Amazon (softcover):

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Crosshair Press 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:

Join the Facebook party as well!






Dear Santa: An Avalon Christmas Carol



Today on Dear Santa!, we have Danielle Shipley. She’s been on the blog many-a-time before, and I’m a huge fan of anything of hers! She recently published her Christmas novella, An Avalon Christmas, Outlaws of Avalon Book 1.5, just this week. And, she’s graciously given us an excerpt of the book!


Merlin entered his bedchamber – at which time a warming fire bloomed in his grate – and exchanged his daytime robe for a nightgown. Then, above the crackle from the fireplace, he heard a clanking noise; a sound unmistakably like rattling metal chains. He scarcely had time to wonder what the clatter might portend when the source came on through his door – his closed door, mind – and passed into the room before his eyes. The body was tall, well-built, and fully transparent, Merlin’s gaze easily penetrating flesh and bone and armor of mail that caused all the clang and jangle.

“Arthur,” said Merlin, incredulously, for the face and form of the phantom appeared every bit that of Camelot’s lord, save for the see-through quality. “Is that supposed to be you?”

“Ask me who I was,” the specter said in a moaning version of Arthur’s voice.

“All right… Who were you, then?”

“In life, I was your king,” he moaned again. “Arthur Pendragon.”christmas-carol-cover-w-text

In life? But Arthur was alive – at least, he had been the last Merlin had seen of him, over dinner. And there was no call for him to have died in the meantime, not in Avalon. What purpose, then, in feigning death? What point to this ghostly charade?

Merlin’s eyes narrowed as the pieces began to fall into place. Scarlet’s strange dress and calling him “uncle”; Gawain laboring in a dismal cubicle; now Arthur clanking around like a wraith. Yes, at last, it all came clear.

“You don’t believe in me,” Arthur observed.

“Of course I don’t,” said Merlin briskly. “I’ve obviously been dreaming since Scarlet’s entrance in a top hat, or earlier. I should have known it the moment Robin brought up the movie on television: We were all of us watching a holiday special like this, today (or maybe yesterday, by now); a film based on that novella by Dickens. You’re nothing but a product of that viewing, none of you; nothing but figments of my subconscious.”

At this, the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook his chainmail with such a dismal and appalling noise that Merlin was tempted to knock the noisemaker over the head, never mind if he did look like his king.

“For pity’s sake,” he snapped, “what are you carrying on about?”

“It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow men,” the spirit howled, “and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in second life, it is condemned to a doom as good as death. It is doomed to wander within but apart from the world – oh, woe is me! – and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”

Merlin blinked at the flow of the ghost’s words. Arthur had been known for many excellent traits, not among them any especial eloquence. His was a royal heart with a common man’s tongue, and was not prone to flowery speeches. For the sake of the novelty of it, Merlin gave the romantic ravings ear.

“Oh, captive, bound, and double-ironed, not to know,” the spirit lamented, “that ages of incessant labor, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed. Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such are we! Oh, such are we! I am therefore here tonight to warn you, my old friend, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.”

“To what supposed fate are you referring?” Merlin demanded – forgetting, in his agitation, that this was but a dream, and so this lecture was surely not to be taken as seriously as its deliverer would have liked. “You are alive and well, Arthur! – that chance and hope of second life of my procuring, it seems I am obliged to remind you!”

The ghost went on as if the wizard had never spoken. “You will be haunted by Three Spirits,” he pronounced. “Without their visits, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls One.”

“What bell?” said Merlin, in a mood to pick at nonessentials. “We’ve never had a bell to toll the hours, here.”

But the apparition vanished before his eyes, without reply.

“Humbug,” Merlin growled, then slapped a palm to his forehead at recognition of the catchphrase.

About the Book
Merlin was asleep, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that…

And yet, when you’re a wizard with a legendary gift of prophecy, who can tell whether a dream may be something more?

In the tradition of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, join Camelot’s court and Sherwood’s outlaws on a spirited holiday journey through Avalon’s past, present, and future.

Where to Buy
About Danielle
Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.