Today on the blog, please welcome author Denise Hildreth Jones. Her recent non-fiction and fiction releases deal with the struggle to overcome an obstacle and the emotional and spiritual healing that must occur.
What does it mean when we rarely belly laugh anymore? Or that our words are far more filled with complaining than compliments? Or that our perpetual response is “Sure, yeah, I’ll do that. No problem,” though it’s the last thing in the world we have time to do? For me, it meant that the alive woman I had been for so long no longer existed anymore. At the age of thirty-eight, with my marriage over, no children to hold, a voice that had long forgotten how to speak up for itself, and a heart as shut-down as a building that had been condemned, I went on a desperate search to come back to life. To reclaim my heart.
The journey was so profound and so life-changing that I decided to capture it in my new novel, Secrets over Sweet Tea. I invite the reader to come to my beautiful city of Franklin, Tennessee, and look past the veneers, the performances, the pretty smiles, and manicured lawns and see how hearts shut down. Some through years of the same disappointment over and over again. Some through their shame. Some through fears. Some through their desperate need to control everything and everyone around them. Then I force those characters into situations that expose how shut-down their hearts truly are and require them to make a choice: live or die.
The choices made in that novel are just like the choices I have had to make on any given day. Am I going to allow this weariness to become the place where my heart settles? Or am I going to “above all else, guard my heart” and refuse to allow it to settle for anything less than the “abundant life” I have been promised in Scripture?
So I also had the privilege of writing a companion nonfiction book called Reclaiming Your Heart: A Journey Back to Laughing, Loving, and Living that takes people to an even deeper study into the shut-down places we live in, that explores how we got there and outlines some of the steps we can take to begin to reclaim our God-designed hearts. It comes with video introductions and a free online study guide with probing questions to take readers to the places many of us have avoided for so long.
I tell people quite often, that reclaiming your heart is a journey, not a destination. I am wonderfully remarried and, in that marriage, was privileged to become the bonus mom to five amazing kiddos. I describe this journey as painfully beautiful. And there have been numerous times in these three years of marriage, and in the pain of a blended family, that I want to run and hide in my fear or anger yet again. But then I sense God wooing me back to the place where he is. Into this abundant wonderful life he has given. To be present, not distracted. To be alive, not shut-down.
God wants you to belly laugh again. He wants you to know that saying no isn’t a bad thing. For many of us, it is the healthiest thing we will ever learn to do. He wants us to know that rescuing people removes their need for him as their Savior. And he wants to offer us an extraordinary life. He came to give it to us. Life. Abundant.
For more information about these two books and Denise’s upcoming “Reclaiming Your Heart” weekend experience, visit her website at www.reclaiminghearts.com.
Don’t miss out on Reclaiming Your Heart, one of this month’s book club pick.
For more news on good books to read, visit the blog to read about this month’s new releases.
We’re excited to be on Pinterest, pinning new fiction, favorite book covers, releasing behind the scenes photos, fiction sneak peeks and MORE!
Thanks for reading!