My Christian Bio
Write a book with a Christian message? I'm not qualified enough! There are so many more educated, less flawed people. . .who am I???
Well, I come from a long line of Italian/Irish Catholics. I was baptized when I was nine months old, had my first communion when I was in second grade, and was confirmed as a junior in high school. I was married in the Catholic church when I was twenty-three, despite my husband not being Catholic. In fact, he didn't grow up going to church at all. He wasn't an athiest--he just never thought about God!
I'd thought about God even before I was taught. I actually remember laying in my crib (so I could have only been two years old or younger) and talking to God in my head. I was fully aware there was a higher power and more to this life than the here & now. I knew I had come from Heaven just recently and would return. It was really quite a simple and matter-of-fact knowledge that I thought everyone had! I continued talking to God and feeling close/content/secure in my relationship with Him until second grade. When I casually mentioned to others that I heard God, I was immediately told I was lying, and even adults patted me on the head and said softly, “That's something to keep private.”
Embarrassed, I closed off to the connection. But, this meant as the years went on, I grew apart from Him. In junior high I even stopped believing because I went through a rough time and was so angry at God that I turned away entirely. During that same time, my mom began listening to a Christian radio station so she bought me books and magazines she'd heard advertised. It was through reading that I began to hear God's voice again. He reminded me of the connection we'd had when I was a child—there was no way for me to doubt Him when I had vivid memories. He had plans for me. . .my mom had four miscarriages before she conceived me, I was two-and-a-half-months premature, and I'd had a couple of close calls when it came to death. . .I fully accepted Him back into my life when I was sixteen.
Not only do I credit books and magazines for opening my mind and heart again, but also Christian music played a role. I read the Bible for the first time, printed off Bible verses to hang around my bedroom, and attended Christian concerts.
In college, I joined a campus Christian club (The Salt Company at Iowa State University) and started dating my husband when I was twenty. Sadly, his father died from a sudden heart attack a few months into our relationship. Until then, he'd declined when I'd invited him to church. After that, though, he began going with me and a year later I was in complete awe at his faith. We became engaged and, after we got married, moved to Omaha and joined a non-denominational Christian church.
I began working at a Christian music station and first received signs God wanted me to write a Christian book, but I shook my head. I was dealing with some struggles so I didn't feel I had my life together—didn't feel I was my best self—maybe someday. . .
My husband and I had our first child five years after our wedding. When our son was three months old, he was dedicated—and my husband was baptized on the same day. Our daughter was born three years later and dedicated when she was nine months old. Throughout those years I received other signs God wanted me to write an inspirational book. I still told him “no” – pick a better Christian! But he didn't give up on me.
My family continued to attend a non-denominational church when we moved to Waukee, Iowa in 2011 and so, during the fall of 2013, I sat in a service about using our talents for God no matter whether we feel good enough or not. He's the one who gave us our gifts so we must trust that He knows what He's doing when he provides us with our callings. I still felt a mess, but I finally said, “Okay.”
God immediately took the reigns. The 20th Christmas was written in thirty-one days, I signed the contract just two weeks after I submitted to a publisher, and a month after it was published it reached a #3 spot on Amazon's best seller list. Best of all, I've received feedback from around the world of readers connecting and/or being touched by the story and thanking me for writing it. Not only did God make my life-long dream of being a published author come true, but he surpassed it to be a better experience than I could have imagined. My next book, Caged Dove, was published the following year.
What is your speciality? Do you convince yourself that God isn't ready for you yet? It's so hard to remember that He doesn't expect us to be perfect. As long as we're on Earth, we're never going to have it all together. We're never going to have all of the answers. We're never going to feel we're “ready.” That's okay, He wants us as we are. The devil would like you to think that you're unworthy and that you have nothing to offer—how wonderful if you spend your entire life focusing on your sin and not doing what God wants you to do. Don't let that happen. As Proverbs 16:3 says: “Commit yourselves to the Lord and your plans will succeed.”
Update: During the fall of 2015, the non-denominational Christian church we'd attended for 4 years closed, but we loved the new pastor so much that we still sporadically attended the new, smaller version off & on until he left in 2017. We then felt called to become members of Lutheran Church of Hope ever since.