Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guest Blogger: Julie Lessman

Just yesterday I posted my review for A PASSION MOST PURE. You can read it here, but I'll give you a little hint -- I really, really enjoyed it! While I haven't read a lot of Christian fiction, I did find that this book was beautifully written and had so many wonderful messages in it. I'm sure you can imagine how excited I am that Julie Lessman, author of the book, agreed to write a guest post for my blog about her...


If there was such a thing as a passion detector, I’m afraid my needle would be off the chart. I do everything with passion, from brushing my teeth with a vengeance … to piping dinner guests’ initials into twice-baked potatoes. But I’d have to say that my two greatest passions in life are God and romance, although my passion for God was once a passionate disregard. You see, I was a hardnosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of 13 kids, a family rife with mental and physical abuse, depression, mental illness and suicide. At the age of 23, I was so angry at God that I actually advocated burning Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. As a wild child of the 60s and 70s, I tried everything to be happy—from drugs, astrology and tarot cards, to transcendental meditation, witchcraft and promiscuity—you name it. My vocabulary—and my morals (or lack thereof)—would have made a sailor blush. According to the world’s standards, I had everything going for me—a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment (at a time when other friends still lived at home), and I was acing an advanced writing course at Washington U., a prestigious college in St. Louis. But I wasn’t happy. I felt a lot like Peggy Lee singing, “Is that all there is?”

Then one day, this annoying gal at work approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. And then it happened—one life-altering moment when she and I were alone—I looked up from my typewriter and said, “Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit saltier back then) makes you so happy all the time?” She said, “I’ve been praying you would ask.”

Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don’t remember now if it was weeks or months, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of a God-sent angel by the name of Joy—pretty appropriate name, eh?

Since then, my life has been a journey of “joy,” because EVERYTHING with God at the center is joy—especially romance! For me (and for my main character, Faith, in A Passion Most Pure), God’s close and intimate presence in our lives is as natural as breathing, just like the lyrics from this Michael W. Smith song –“This is the air I breathe, Your holy presence living in me.” Jesus Christ transformed me, a hard, cynical agnostic (like Charity, the rival sister in A Passion Most Pure) into a person of joy and hope and love (like Faith, the heroine). This is a story I never tire of telling, and hope to do so in all the books I am privileged to write. You might say that A Passion Most Pure is my love letter to a God whose love took me from the dark into His glorious light, and I hope and pray it brings Him—the true passion in my life—the glory He so richly deserves.

I'd like to thank Ms. Lessman for taking the time to write this beautiful essay -- it really touched me!


Myra Johnson said...

So inspiring, Julie! Thanks for sharing your passion for Christ, both in real life and in your writing.

Missy Tippens said...

What an amazing testimony, Julie! Do you have any idea where Joy is now? I wonder if she's reading your books??!! So cool.


Mary Connealy said...

Thank you for writing all that, Julie. I love A Passion Most Pure and I can't wait for the sequel. I love seeing the way you bring passion to everything in your life.

Julie Lessman said...

Myra, Missy and Mary -- thanks so much for your kind comments and stopping by!

Missy, in answer to your question, Joy and I are still the best of friends, even though we live in different cities. And, yes, even though she does not read fiction, she did read my book. And, I am happy to report, she is now an Inspy romance convert, scouring the shelves of Borders, B&N an the like. :)

Pam Hillman said...

Julie ain't lying. Everything she does she does with a passion I only dream of!

Love it, Julie!

And you'll love A Passion Most Pure if you haven't read it. It's a keeper.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and God Bless you both Julies for sharing this inspiring story. It fills my heart!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, Pam, for the plug, my friend!

And thank you, Tracy, for your kind comment -- it blesses me a lot!


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Amazing and inspiring, Julie! You always inspire me, but I'm even more in awe of your relationship with God now that I know your background.

Praise God He got you!



Cheryl said...

I'm Back!! Wow what a nice surprise to read this post.