One of the great joys of being a writer is the doors it opens to meeting and encouraging other authors. I’ve known Mari Keisling several years through our church, Northgate Church in Ramsey, MN, but it’s our shared writing interests that helped get beyond the “I know who she is” to “I know her” stage.
Mari is a gifted author of devotions and Bible studies who always compels me to think deeper about my faith. Right now, I’m beginning every morning with her Bible study and debut release LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF GOD’S LOVE: WALK THIS WAY, so I’m very excited to welcome Mari today
Hello, Mari. Thanks for joining me on my blog today! Could you tell my readers a little about yourself?
I’ve been married to my husband Craig for 23 years. We have two daughters, Sarah and Melissa, who are both in college. I work for my church, Northgate in Ramsey, MN, as a database administrator. I am also a seamstress although I’m not “working” right now. I blog as time allows and post on Facebook. I’m also doing some freelance writing for a new devotional app called myDevo.
Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way is a study on the book of 1 John. It’s about abiding in Christ while we walk out our faith in all areas of our lives. The study goes through the disciplines of fellowship, obedience, humility, meditation, and prayer and why they are each essential in our ability to remain grounded in Christ in all we do. And when we do live our faith fully in the light of God’s love in all areas of our lives, our lives are truly an act of worship to our Lord. Too many of us want to separate Jesus and our “church” life from the rest of our life or we don’t know how to bring them together, but because He lives in us, He goes with us whether we understand it or not. Our relationship with Him is of first importance so the best thing we can do is give Him glory and honor everywhere we go.
I truly hope that everyone who goes through this study will feel more prepared, more equipped and more comfortable living out their faith in their everyday life.
Living in the Light was truly a labor of love. I knew in the summer of 2011 that this study would be written, but I had no idea what it would actually be about. I was having a hard time getting my mind around the fullness of God’s love and I thought there was no way I could possibly write a study on the “book of love” as it’s known. But after I had finished a few other projects, I truly felt the need to be obedient no matter how ill-equipped I felt. So I dug into God’s Word and Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way was the outcome.
Don’t you love how He equips us when we’re obedient to His call?! Could you tell us more about this call, your journey to publication?
Honestly, the publishing world is a step out of my comfort zone. I never dreamed of being a writer and still have a difficult time believing I’m a published author. Because I simply felt writing this study and making it available was my purpose, I chose to self-publish. Literally, I was on a website and a link for WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan, came up asking if I was interested in publishing a book. I had never heard of them, but could tell it was a Christian publisher so I clicked the link and the rest is history. I wouldn’t recommend choosing a publisher that way, but for me, I just needed to take the step. The people at WestBow have been great to work with and very patient with me through the process. The hardest part for me was being exposed and vulnerable and, to some degree, giving up control of my work. I understand this is just part of the learning curve and do feel better equipped for the next project.
As an author, I completely understand about feeling exposed and giving up control of your work. It’s not easy, but it certainly makes us better!
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently creating a short Bible study for an event and writing for the devotional app, but also think there will be another full study coming. I wrote a very basic study on Proverbs 31 in 2011. It was my first project, and I do believe I need to expand it one day. 1 Peter has also been on my heart. It’s another project that I’m not sure where it will go, but I know if God wants me to write it, He’ll show me the way and give me the words.
Which authors do you enjoy reading? Have any influenced your writing?
I’ve been told I write like Henry Blackaby although I’ve never read any of his books so I’m hoping that’s a good thing. I’ve enjoyed studies by Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Stormie Omartian. I would say that I’ve been influenced by each of them and their love of the Scripture. They each have their own style and emphasis in the purpose of their writing. I definitely try to maintain my style and not let myself drift toward how someone else writes. There are times when I can’t even listen to someone else give a talk because I start to pick up on what they are saying.
That seems to be a common author problem. 🙂 Yet, it’s so important to be true to your own voice, the voice God gave you.
What’s on your reading list right now?
Chain of Mercy is on the list, but I’ve loaned it out to my daughter while I work on my projects. I’ve recently finished Letters from a Skeptic (Dr. Gregory A. Boyd) and I’m currently reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. I’ve been wanting to read this for a number of years now so I grab a few minutes whenever I can. It’s helping me to stay focused in the moment with my currently crazy schedule.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy yard work and gardening, scrapbooking, playing board games and puzzles. I love deep conversations with good friends and my husband and I enjoy cooking and eating out. I’m not sure why food has always been something we’ve enjoyed but it seems to give us dedicated time to talk. We are less distracted in the kitchen or a restaurant for some reason.
And the most important question: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or no chocolate?
Milk chocolate for sure! Call me old-fashion, but I love the simplicity of it.
Thanks again, Mari for taking time for the interview!
Mari Keisling, author and speaker, is on staff at Northgate Church. She ministers to women regarding topics such as purpose, relationships and discipleship through her various studies and devotional style blog, LYF Moments. Mari and Craig have been married since 1991 and have two daughters. They currently live in Minnesota.
Where to reach Mari~
Where to purchase LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF GOD’S LOVE: WALK THIS WAY~
Mari has graciously offered to give away on e-book copy of Living in the Light of God’s Love: Walk This Way! To enter, in the comments below, please tell us which of Mari’s latest posts on her LYF Moments blog offers you the most encouragement. (You’ll find her recent posts in the right sidebar on her LYF Moments blog.)