Welcome to the online home of Audra Jennings, a book publicist and crafter. Here I share about both. I hope you'll find books you'll want to read and crafts you will want to order. I live a rather boring, single life. At times I would like to think I am humorous. The kids I teach in Bible class tend to think so. I also blog about current seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I don't know why, I just do.
Faith Suit Up
Part 2 of an interview with Lauren Gaskill,
Author of Into the Deep
Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies
and smooth sailing. In fact, the waters of life are often tumultuous, crashing
over us. Sometimes we can feel that we’re drowning in a sea of confusion,
division, frustration, complacency, or disillusionment. We need more than a
shallow faith to survive these deep waters.
Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous
Faith (Abingdon Press) is an invitation to dive
headfirst into a life of courageous faith. With endearing warmth and
authenticity, Lauren Gaskill shares
how she and others have learned to swim with Jesus in the deep waters of
life—facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic illness—only to
discover a more authentic, enduring faith that cannot be shaken by
circumstances. In addition to examining the character of God and the lives of
women and men of the Bible who chose to dive deeper with God, she provides
practical examples and tools that help us take our faith to the next level by
learning to make decisions by faith alone, control our reactions to
overwhelming situations, and live a life rooted in love.
You write, “We have to deeply know and trust God if we are ever going to fully
have faith and experience freedom in Him.” How have you learned to trust God on
a deeper level over the years and what have you learned on that journey?
One of the biggest obstacles I had to face was giving up control
because I used to be a control freak. I had to have everything planned out and
go a certain way in order to feel at ease. Once I was diagnosed with
Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility, however, God began to do a work in my heart. I
began to see that it’s futile to try and control everything because in the end,
God is the one in control — not me. And that’s a beautiful thing.
One of the chapters is entitled “Six Things You Need to Know.” What are the six
things you want to make sure readers will take away from this chapter?
I believe words have immeasurable
power. That’s why I’m a writer. That’s why I strive to think long and hard
about the words I choose before I write or say them. That’s why I fight daily
to speak life, love, hope, and truth over myself in order to drown out the
cruel, untruthful things others have spoken over me. Words are powerful no
matter what we are going through, but they are even more powerful when our
faith is tested.
I wish I could forget some of the
things people said to me when the waves of life came crashing in. “You’re never
going to get over this,” they told me. “This is going to haunt you for the rest
of your life.” Or my personal favorite, “Do you have unresolved sin in your
life? Maybe God is punishing you for something.”
When we feel like we are drowning, we are susceptible to believing
the lies and hurtful things we hear from the outside world. What I want women
to know more than anything, is that in their hurt:
God is not punishing you.
You are not alone.
You are going to be OK
Darkness does not define.
You were made for the deep.
God’s love will carry you.
Hebrews 11 is often called the Hall of Faith. Why is it important to study the
faith of our ancestors? What can we learn from them?
The stories of our biblical ancestors aren’t perfect, tidy
stories. Many of them lived complicated, messy and wounded lives, just like us.
But they also had a choice to keep the faith and press on. The same choice is
available to each of us today, and by studying Abraham, David, Esther and all
of the others in the Hall of Faith, we can learn how to overcome our unbelief
by resting in God’s promises, asking for provision and resolving to persevere
just like they did.
What does life look like when we make it a priority to actively pursue God?
When we actively pursue God, our
perspective on and attitude toward life changes. We realize that this life
never really was about us anyway. It’s about getting to know our Creator and
enjoying life with Him. Our eyes become open to the things that truly matter:
loving God and loving others.
What does it mean to “faith suit up” every day? Why is it important and what
does it look like practically in daily life?
From the moment we get up we have an important choice to make: Do
we live the day in a frenzied, selfish state, or do we live the day with a holy
intentionality? One choice leads to chaos, the other leads to confidence in
Christ. As God continues to deepen my faith, I’ve learned that joy, hope,
courage and faith are found when I choose to live the day with a holy
intentionality from the moment I open my eyes. What that looks like is praying
to God and surrender the day to Him; seeking His presence throughout the day;
and reading His Word and declaring His truths over my life.
Here’s a real, practical example:
Let’s say I have a speaking event I’m preparing for. I know I have to “faith
suit up” to protect myself from the arrows of the enemy and also prepare my
heart for what I need to do. If I don’t suit up, I am more vulnerable to being
taken aback by any tidal waves that come up, however big or small they may be.
The book ends with a series of stories about warriors of the deep. What can
women learn from these stories? What makes a woman a warrior?
This is one of my favorite chapters of the book. There is nothing
more powerful and inspiring than a testimony! These women are warriors because
they chose to give God a chance and take Him at His Word. Every day, they
choose to place their past, present and future into His hands, and because of
that choice, their deep despair has been replaced with a deep faith and faith
to overcome anything that comes their way. They are warriors because they have
learned to let go and let God. And that? That is true faith.