Friday, January 9, 2009

Mystery Guest Fridays Welcomes Author Lisa Samson!!

Today’s Mystery Guest is none other than best-selling and Christy award winning author, Lisa Samson. Lisa’s latest novel will release in March 2009 and is entitled The Passion of Mary-Margaret (Thomas Nelson). Lisa and I have been friends for several years. We’ve shared writer’s sleepovers at her cabin in the Kentucky hills. And we’ve commiserated and fretted into the wee hours of the morning over our growing pangs in Christ. Welcome, Lisa to Words to Go. We’ll start Lisa, by asking if you’d mind giving us your take on “Being Good”?

LISA: I always equated being good with being busy for the Lord. So, the more I did, the more God would love me. At one point in time, I was writing Christian fiction, teaching Sunday School, leading the worship ministry, typing the bulletin, teaching creative writing at my children's Christian school, writing for a Christian children's radio program, leading a neighborhood prayer group, and taking care of my dying mother.

PATTY: I remember when your mom died. Grief can surely be the final straw on top of a hurry-sick load. What happened that changed all your perceptions?
LISA: A friend took me aside a few years after my mother's death, when my schedule had cleared of a few of those things, but the mentality had not. She told me something God had for me to hear. "I know you're doing good works to please me, but I want your heart."The truth was, I didn't even know how to love God. Particularly God the Father. Jesus, well, what's not to love? The Holy Spirit is here among us. But God the Father was aloof and disapproving. I loved Him because I had to, not because I felt any particular burning affection. And was that really love? Well, probably not. My first step in understanding what it meant to please God, was to begin to understand His great love for me. Let's face it, it's easier to love someone you know already loves you. I had just never really believed He loved me.

PATTY: Why is it, you think, that you’re sticking point was with God the Father?

LISA: I had the old illness of equating my Heavenly Father with my earthly one. (Sorry Dad, but you're in heaven now, so you know.) I never felt I could quite measure up for my father. And then, well, from young adulthood forward, I'd lived with a series of disappointments, prayers not answered the way I thought they should be. Probably a pretty typical drill for a lot of people.

PATTY: Yes. Most of us can relate. Even as parents, we know that we’re not perfect examples for our own kids. What happened next?
LISA: What happened next was a four year odyssey of a Father seeking His child. I pushed Him away again and again. But He held fast, constantly with me, proving to me over and over that He would not let me go. In a way, I was like that child in an emotional fit that a mother must hold tight until she finally calms down and rests her head against the bosom of her loving parent.

PATTY: How have you changed through all of this “letting go” process? Are you tempted to return to your old responses?

LISA: Do I want to "be good?" Well, yes. But the why is different. I want to be good because I want to be like my Father. And that is a completely different motivation. Because when I try to do the things He cares about, minister to the poor and marginalized, welcome the stranger, and other things, I get to know Him in ways I couldn't possibly otherwise and I realize how merciful and all-encompassing is His love for His creation. And then, guess what? I love Him more for all of that. It's a yummy, delicious circle and it leads to intimacy with God and man.

PATTY: Yummy. That’s a good description, like we’re wrapped in delicious comfort. The point of this week’s discussion was to help all of us contemplate the deeper path to intimacy with God—not being good, but in surrendering to a oneness in Christ so that we’re becoming more like him. You’ve helped us cap off this discussion so honestly, Lisa. In the process of this surrender you so aptly describe is where we find intimacy with God because now all of our desires are wrapped up in his. Do you have a favorite scripture that speaks to this intimacy or this surrender?

LISA: “How great is the love of the Father for us, that we should be called the children of God." And you know, "His mercies are new every morning," layers my soul with warmth and hope.

PATTY: Both great scriptures to feast on. Lam. 3:22, 23 is another one of those great morning devotions too! Thank you so much, Lisa, for being our mystery guest today. You’ve given us so much great food for the road to take us into the weekend as we prepare our hearts for worship, in whatever way we deem as our most excellent worship to God.

Thank you for visiting Words to Go—on the Road with Patty. Have a great weekend of intimacy with God who has a passion for you!