Although I write fiction I love sharing the blog with those who write non-fiction. Lauren Crews is my guest today. Not only is her genre different than mine, but also her journey to publication. I think those of faith who follow Jubilee Writer will be inspired. Lauren, start by telling us how you began your writing journey.
Becoming an author was never a big dream. I wanted to be a teacher and a speaker, but I soon learned it is helpful to have my own material from which to teach. A friend introduced me to the concept of Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem of the Hebrew alphabet and the imagery of the Hebrew letters.
My word nerd juices took over from there and I began researching the topic. The more I discovered, the more I felt others needed to hear about this perspective of the passage and I began writing a Bible study.
After a year of research and writing, I attended my first Christian writer’s conference. I went hoping I would receive confirmation from God that I had not wasted a year of my life and that I was handling what I was learning correctly. God did not disappoint. I left the conference with a first-place win in their Bible study category, first-place overall in their nonfiction category and invitations to submit my manuscript to all fifteen people I pitched at the conference. My head was spinning!
Wow! That is amazing. What is the name of your latest published project?
I have recently released two books, Strength of a Woman: Why You Are Proverbs 31 and an accompanying devotional Strength of a Woman: 31 Days to Celebrate Your Place in Proverbs 31
You mentioned you did a lot of research for this project. I understand the process of researching for a historical novel. Tell us how you went about researching for a Bible study?
I love the research process. I start with various versions of the Bible. From there I do word studies on almost every word in the verse. I study the history and context of the culture and the last thing I do is read commentaries, journal articles, published papers, etc.
What inspired you to write your book?
I knew I wanted to write a Bible study but during the research process, I came across a quote in a Christian commentary about the Proverbs 31 passage that washed over me like ice water and gave me a new focus. The commentary acknowledged that Proverbs 31 is often read on Mother’s Day an opportunity to honor mothers. However, there are many mothers not worthy of the tribute given on Mother’s Day. I thought to myself, “sure there are some women who probably should not have had children. But to read a statement like that, from a Christian source? This man was piling on the judgment so many women already feel from this passage. You’re telling me even the worst mother can not be redeemed? That God loves her less and nothing in her life can be honored? What about the divorced woman? The single woman with children? The widow? Aren’t they deserving of honor too?” These thoughts set my perspective in stone. They helped me define my target audience; everyday women who are worn down from life to the point that they feel unworthy and not usable by God. They need to experience the strength of Christ and hear their heroic hymn sung over them.
Excellent! I’m inspired by your quest. The commentator’s words really spurred you on.
I think this is when I was struck by how difficult the Proverbs 31 passage might be for women. As I researched, I began to understand how the Jewish woman receives these verses. The passage is referred to as a heroic hymn which is a song in the Bible sung over warriors returning from battle. Jewish men sing this passage over the women of the home on Friday nights during their Sabbat celebrations. Christian women need to experience that kind of honor and I had a blessed opportunity to help them receive it.
Lauren, do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?
Joshua 1:7-9 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I believe this verse was instrumental in my calling to teach the Bible. It encourages me to be courageous but tethered to God’s word. Only then will I have success.
Knowing what you know now if you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?
Hang in there, this is going to be a long journey. You will second guess every decision but keep turning to God for His confirmation.
You write Bible studies and devotionals, what’s your favorite genre to read for fun?
Mystery and historical fiction
Where is your favorite place to write?
At my office desk. I need a quiet place to think, I can’t even have background music playing. It’s too distracting. I’ll light a candle, grab some M&M’s, sit at my desk, and look out the window. When I’m in the writing zone, I feel like I’m entering another dimension. I call it entering the Holy. It’s time well spent with God.
Lauren, thanks for answering my questions and giving us some insight into your heart.
Now I’ll share the back cover copy from Strength of a Woman: Why you are Proverbs 31 click here to buy
The Proverbs 31 Woman seems perfect and is held up as a role model for Christian women everywhere. Would you believe she is a portrait of how God already sees you? You are that amazing woman God sings a song of blessing over.
Based on a word study of the Hebrew alphabet, Strength of a Woman will inspire you to celebrate as you understand the blessings already available to you. Dive deep into the Proverbs 31 Scripture passage and begin to understand the Jewish teachings and the true meaning of the passage. Through this study of the passage, you will:
- Discover the hidden beauty in the imagery of the Hebrew alphabet through word study.
- Understand the challenges you face now in comparison to those in biblical times.
- Embrace God’s purposes versus society’s expectations.
- Enjoy insights into a strong woman’s day-to-day life.
A bit more about Lauren Crews
Lauren is an award-winning author and holds an MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. With twenty years’ experience in women’s ministry, she dives deep into God’s word and is eager to share the many layers with women in all roles of life. She resides in Jacksonville, FL with her husband and two brown labs who have their humans well trained.
Facebook: Lauren Monico-Crews