Monday, November 24, 2014

What's on Your Christmas List? Weight loss? Respect? A Raise? Relationships? Hope?



INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALEXIS GORING

Book: Hope in My Heart
10 Amazon reviews, mostly five-star

Your book, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, has three different stories where you write about love showing up unexpectedly: weight loss, a coveted Christmas gift, someone who wants a bigger pay check and greater respect, an attorney who needs healing from his parents’ divorce, and a woman’s search for her birth mother. How did your characters grow beyond their problems to hope?

Good question! I believe just like in real life, growing beyond our problems to hope is a gradual process that God takes us through if we’re willing.

Let’s take the example of my character Eric, the divorce attorney who you mentioned above from the final story in my book called Peace and Love. Eric had been dealing with his issues from his own parents’ divorce since it happened at Christmastime when he was younger. He’s a grown adult and has suffered through the holiday season for years because of it. So he decides that it’s time to deal with his issues and he reaches out to his dad whom he has not spoken to in years. I think the key in this case to “growing” is to recognize the fact that Eric decided he had to make a choice. He had to choose to seek reconciliation with his dad. He had to choose to move beyond his issues with his parents’ divorce and seek healing.

And that’s the point—we have to be willing to move past our problems and ask God to show us His hope. The Bible says that God has good plans for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). You’ll have to read my novella to find out how God gave Eric hope in his dire situation.

How do you define hope?

Well first, the dictionary on Google defines hope as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

I agree with this definition because all of my characters in my book about hope are longing for a dream of their hearts to come true. Such as in the story Peace and Love: Eric is hoping to resolve his issues with his parents’ divorce, Kristine is expecting to find her birth mom and Elle desires a full-time job with a sufficient salary and benefits.

I think it’s important to remember that there is always hope when God is in the picture.
So to answer your question, I define “hope” as a desire for a dream to come true or the expectation that there is a rainbow after the rain, a silver lining in the stormiest cloud, a deep anticipation that everything is going to be okay and whatever situation you’re facing will be resolved for the better.

Hope is an anchor like having faith in God, it’s something we hold on to when things get tough. It’s a word that we as Christians have believe in because we know that with God in the picture, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Depression is big problem in today’s society. Victims often don’t think they have hope. What do you recommend for these people?

If you’re dealing with depression, I would first recommend that you pray to God to direct you to a compassionate Christian counselor and effective psychiatrist. You need a psychiatrist to prescribe the right medicine for you that will effectively treat your illness and you need a Christian counselor who can show you compassion, understand your depression and help you through it. I think a Christian counselor could also incorporate Bible-based truth and share Scripture in their counseling sessions with you. It’s important for all of the doctors on your medical team to be effective. I cannot stress the word “effective” enough because as in any profession, there are people who are very effective at what they do and their patients benefit greatly under their treatment.  Then there are also those who cannot help you properly because they are not effective,  Therefore your situation doesn’t get any better, it either stays stagnant or gets worse.

Therefore, I believe that with an effective Christian counselor and psychiatrist along with God leading in your life, you can overcome the dark days your depression brings and hold on to hope of brighter tomorrows. There’s that word again, hope. It’s important to remember that with God, we always have hope.

What is the key to people finding hope?

Knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the key to hope. The Bible says in John 8:12 (ESV), “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

There are two beautiful songs that illustrate this point- “Lifeline” by Mandisa (former American Idol contestant turned successful gospel artist) and “Light of the World” by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (on their Christmas album of the same title).

I love both songs because they share the true message of hope. If you have God in your life, you have hope in every situation. If you don’t believe in God and you don’t trust Jesus Christ then when devastating things happen to you in your life, you feel like you don’t have hope and that’s one of the main reasons why a lot of people go off the deep end. But if you trust that God will work all things together for your good as He says in Romans 8:28 then even on your darkest days, you know that you have hope because God is in the picture of your life story and you trust His will for your life.

 Therefore you know God will help you overcome anything and everything you face in a way that’s best for you and others.

The song “Lifeline” describes how God comes to your rescue. He can lift you out of darkness and save you. He is the One who you can call on who will always be there and help you no matter what you’re going through. God is available to you 24/7/365. Only He has the divine power to save you.

The song “Light of the World” is about how Jesus Christ is as the Bible says, the “light of the world” which I believe is a reference to hope because it means when this world seems dark, dreary and depressing you can look to Jesus and He’ll shine His light (a metaphor for hope) and His Light will break through the darkness of your life which results in you having hope. Just like God sends a rainbow after the rain, He sends Jesus to give you hope for a bright future.

Anything you want to add?

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Ada!  I appreciate the opportunity.

MEET ALEXIS GORING

Author bio: Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

Book blurb:
Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.
In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.
Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.
In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.