Sunday - This week the Christian Fiction Review Blog is proud to be touring IF ONLY YOU KNEW, by Mags Storey. The story is about a girl named Joanna Mackenzie, almost exclusively referred to as "Jo". Jo has a few problems. She doesn't know what to do with her life. She considers herself basically a loser. She gets into a situation that is kind of incredible for a gal who thinks she's a loser, seeing two guys at the same time. Talk about awkward. Jo tends to be able to find situations where she can stumble in front of a crowd or say the absolute wrong thing at the wrong time. In other words, she's just like you and me. To top it all off she has this guilty feeling about something she saw a year before the book starts. Now this would have nothing to do with anything except the guy she saw run down with a car is very much alive. This only adds to an already confused mind.
The story is in many ways delightfully written. I think the best parts are her speeches to herself and the reader. Mags Storey uses this medium to help the reader really understand all the quirks of her heroine. She spends a lot of time chastising herself over one thing or another. Either her clothes aren't good enough, or her hair looks a mess, or her makeup is smudged (or not in place) and a host of other things. How many of us spend a lot of our time putting ourselves down? You know what's bad about that? After we do this long enough we start to believe it, and after we start to believe it we will do things to prove just how much of a failure we really are. Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Or to put it another way, you can tell what we really think about ourselvs by the words that come out of our mouth.
There is an antidote to this negative affirmation and it is to find positive things about ourselves and begin to speak to ourselves about them. Personally I wanted to get into art, but after 4 years of college minoring in art and even trying to go out commercially with my art I had to face the fact that my artistic abilities are very limited. However, that does not mean I am limited. I found that I could paint the pictures I saw, not with oils or acrylics, but with words, and in doing so found a more dynamic means of expressing myself. That is why I am a writer, because I still have the heart of an artist. When I was little I used to think my art was better than anyone else's. I remember arguing with my mom at a birthday party in which she gave a prize to one of my friends for coloring a picture better than me. The nerve of her. I was out to prove to the world that I could do better than anyone else. I failed at that miserably. When I was in 6th grade, however, my teacher told my parents that they should have me keep a pad and pen handy because my mind was so active. In my freshman year of high school my English teacher brought back to life my love of reading. What I'm saying is that there were many times when I could have talked myself into defeat because of all that I went through, but I managed, through the grace of God and some really terrific parents, to find positive things to focus on. In IF ONLY YOU KNEW I want you to look at the characters that surround Jo, especially Kat, her cousin. You see, in His eyes we can only be a failure if we chose to be, and if you give Him half a chance He won't let that happen. That doesn't mean everything is going to suddenly go your way. What it means is that you're going to find how you fit in in this life, and you'll see how incredible it is to do so. One thing my pastor tells us is to remember that we are "the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus." If this is true, and God cannot lie, then how wonderful it is to finally find out where we are supposed to function and how dumb we can be to say we are less than extraordinary.
Now don't forget to visit Mags' site. I visited it and although I'm not big fan of the romance genre, she has a really great site and talks about some really interesting things. She doesn't preach at anyone...except maybe herself. You'll find her site HERE
Some of the places you can purchase her book are:
Barnes & Noble
Careful now. You might just find some people posting more than once, also you can visit any CFRB member's site and, hopefully, you will find a standard post. The links below indicate that you will find special posts.
The Christian Fiction Review Blog (known as CFRB) is a ministry that promotes quality Christian fiction in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be shared with others who might otherwise not hear it, at least in a context that they would appreciate and understand. Each book is "previewed" in order to maintain the quality and content of the book. Books that are accepted for blog tours are given to the members by the author to review, according to the number of members requesting a copy. It is the belief and practice of CFRB to post positive reviews as a type of payment for these books. However, I want to emphasize again that these books first go through a preview stage where they are deemed of a high enough quality to tour.