“Let’s face it—passion is powerful.
It can drive a woman into the arms of a man,
or a person into the arms of God.”
— Julie Lessman
You know what? I was out of town most of this week, so I’m a littttttttle behind on things and decided to do something a wee bit different today for my Friday Journal Jot.
You see, a few days ago, I ran across one of the very first interviews I ever did after the release of my first book, A Passion Most Pure, and it occurred to me that it just might make a good impromptu blog. The interview was for the blog of a really good friend of mine, author Dawn Kinzer (check her blog out, she’s really great!), so I hope you enjoy it even though it was written seven years ago.
As some of you know, my tagline as an author is “passion with a purpose,” and with the recent onslaught of books and movies like Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought that not only would this interview make a timely post, but it’s an opportunity to give my readers a glimpse into my heart as a Christian author and why I write the way that I do. The interview title is Passion and Christian Women of Today, and it follows the promo below, so happy reading and happy weekend!
BUY A GREAT BOOK, SUPPORT A GREAT CAUSE!!
From now until May 18th, one of my TOP TOP favorite authors, Becky Wade, is giving part of the proceeds from her latest book, A Love Like Ours, to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.
Now, I gotta tell you — if you have NOT read Becky Wade yet, you are missing out. BIG TIME! I started reading Becky when one of my dear friends referred to her as the “contemporary Julie Lessman.” Well, I don’t know about that, but I DO know is there are a handful of authors whose books I will automatically buy and read every single time because they are THAT good, and Becky is one. If you like my books (and you wouldn’t be reading this Journal Jot unless you do), trust me, you will LOVE Becky Wade!!
That said, Becky has a new contemporary romance out called A Love Like Ours, and through May 18th, she is giving part of the proceeds from her book to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, so this your opportunity to not only read a realllllllly great book (I promise you will love it!), but also to help vets who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
Here’s the jacket blurb for A LOVE LIKE OURS:
Many years after surviving the injuries that ended his military career, horse trainer Jake Porter is still wrestling against PTSD. Can his love for Lyndie James return to him the hope he’d lost? Or is his heart too battered to mend?
Passion and Christian Women of Today
Do you think women of today can and should wait for marriage before having sex?
Do you think Christian women who aspire to wait are prudes and/or unrealistic?
Do you think women of past generations had it any easier saying no to sex before having a wedding ring on her finger?
Hi, I’m Dawn Kinzer, and today I’m going to discuss those questions with author Julie Lessman and how they relate to her novel, A Passion Most Pure.
Julie and I started to exchange emails about what it means to be a Christian woman living in today’s world with all the pressures to be sexually intimate before marriage. We decided to share parts of our conversation here …
But first, here is a short introduction to A Passion Most Pure, Book 1 of The Daughters of Boston series and one of my favorite romance novels.
As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brew is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.
Julie, in the story, Faith struggles with her feelings for Collin, even though their lives and morals are very different. I think many young women are attracted to “bad boys,” hoping they might be able to change them. I experienced a similar situation as a young teenager and learned there was nothing that “I” could do to change that person.
Julie’s comments here:
Yes, Dawn, Faith’s attraction to a “bad boy” may not be typical for a Christian Romance, but it certainly is typical for many young women today, especially in our amoral society. And, quite frankly, it was typical for me as a young women as well, just as it was for you. What is it about those bad boys that draws so many women anyway? They’re cocky, rebellious and dangerous—just like sin, I suppose, which is why they lure us so.
But you’re right, you can’t change them, anymore than you can change sin into something good. The best thing a woman can do for a bad boy she’s attracted to is to pray for him – uh, preferably from a distance! 🙂 As a new Christian in my early twenties, I learned that if I stood my moral ground, the “bad boys” pretty much left me alone, along with the heartache that always seemed to follow them!
Faith meets another man, Mitch, who loves her. A woman of passion, Faith still stands firm in her decision to wait on physical intimacy until married. Your book is a historical, but is it possible for contemporary Christian women to fall in love and still remain true to their convictions of waiting until marriage to be sexually intimate?
Julie’s comments here:
Oh my, yes! I know because I’ve lived it, proved it … and ALL during one of the most promiscuous decades of the last century – the 70’s! And it’s not like I was moral from the get-go, either. Like most young people back then, I was a wild child of the 60’s and 70’s who came to the Lord when I was 23, so morality was not something I was used to. Trust me, as a brand-new born-again Christian, it was difficult going from “free love” to “chaste love”! But I had this fire and commitment to God burning inside of me just like my heroine Faith has, and like Faith, I prayed A LOT!
Whenever I went out on date, I would set moral boundaries (just like Faith did with Mitch). I soon discovered when guys realized I meant what I said, most of them didn’t take me out past four dates. This happened once with a guy I particularly liked and one with whom I had a lot of fun, so I actually phoned to ask him why he’d stopped calling. He basically told me that yeah, he’d had a great time, too, but that he could “find a girl who would give him a great time and sex too.” I was stunned, but soon realized that what God’s morality was actually doing for me was keeping the wrong guys away (along with the hurt) and saving me for the right one AND the right time (my honeymoon). And let me tell you—it paid off BIG TIME!! I am celebrating 30 (now 37!!) years of wedded bliss to a man who makes me feel as if I am living my own personal romance novel.
What do you say to people who think that women who aspire to wait are prudes and/or unrealistic?
Julie’s comments here:
Grin. I’d say they don’t know what they’re talking about! Believe me, there’s nothing prudish about my heroine, Faith O’Connor, just as there was nothing prudish or unrealistic about me as a new Christian in my twenties. We’re talking real women with real desires trusting God’s Word to lead them to His best. Easy? No. Doable? Yes, with God’s grace! Before I was a Christian, I was honest enough to know that doing things my way had never yielded me any happiness, only heartbreak. But, WOW, once I started applying God’s precepts, the blessings started to flow and heartbreak took a hike.
You see, I like to think of God as Milton Bradley. He made the game of “Life” and wants us to win (reap His blessings), so he gave us the rules to follow (His precepts). In fact, this is the key message in A Passion Most Pure—Deuteronomy 30, choosing life or death, blessing or curse. It’s really quite simple. If you choose life (doing things God’s way), you will be blessed. If you choose death (doing things your own way), you will be cursed. God didn’t set it up like this to “lord” it over us, no pun intended, but so He could bless us with good things simply because He LOVES us!
This realization came full circle one morning seven years into my marriage. I was still half asleep and feeling down about a nightmare I had. In the dream, I’d been single and depressed about the fact that no one would ever love me. I had been the only unmarried one in a family of thirteen kids until I was 28 years old, so the loneliness and despair in that dream felt more than real! All of a sudden my husband moved in the bed beside me, and the following Scripture drifted in my mind as gently as a whisper from God: “God honors those who honor Him.” I remember lying there with tears in my eyes because once again, God had proved His Word true.
I don’t think many women understand the spiritual connection that happens when two people are sexually intimate and how much of themselves they’re really giving away.
Julie comments here:
I totally agree—most women don’t understand the spiritual connection that happens when two people are sexually intimate. To a lot of women, I think, it’s just a physical thing, but the Bible says that in God’s eyes, the two become one flesh. And when God is looking at it like that, trust me, it’s VERY spiritual!
I kind of have a theory about all of this. The Bible says we are made in God’s image, male and female, so when a man and woman become one flesh, I personally believe that it is a spiritual unity symbolic of God. That said, I truly believe that sex is as spiritual as it is physical, at least in God’s eyes. And when a woman gives that away so casually, outside of God’s precepts, I believe she loses not only incredible blessings from God, but part of her spiritual self as well, making her a little emptier than before.
Do you think the world in general understands that Christian woman are no different when it comes to having passion and desiring it in a relationship?
No, I don’t think the world in general does understand this. I think they perceive Christians as “goody-two-shoes” cardboard cut-outs rather than flesh-and-blood human beings who have made the difficult choice to follow their God rather than their flesh. We all live in the same world here, bombarded by sexual images in a self-gratifying society, but Christians have chosen the narrow road that Jesus talked about. When I meet a woman who has done this and stays true to God’s precepts, I am blessed and inspired.
In the book you showed how God blessed Faith for not giving in to her passion before the time was right.
Julie’s comments here:
Yes, because I believe with all my heart that that is EXACTLY what happens! For Heaven’s sake, I’ve lived it! I KNOW that “God is rewarder of those who seek Him” and that He “honors those who honor Him.” I may have written that message into a fictional story, but the truth of it has been more than real in my own life.
It’s not only unusual—it’s refreshing—to find a novel that includes a married couple who still have passion in their relationship. Patrick and Marcy show their love in the bedroom, but there was only beauty and purity in their actions. You wrote the scenes with such taste. I loved how they interacted with each other in and out of the bedroom.
Thank you, Dawn. For me, Marcy and Patrick’s relationship was one of the most important aspects of this book. As a baby boomer, I get tired of the young people getting all the romance! 🙂
But seriously, I actually had a close friend with a troubled marriage tell me that she loved the book, but she thought that Marcy and Patrick’s relationship was a little unrealistic. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that is exactly the relationship that God has blessed my husband and me with. So I KNOW that it is possible, but not easy to come by without adherence to God’s precepts.
“Wives, respect your husbands”! Not always easy, but application of this precept can unleash blessings galore in most marriages. Marcy and Patrick’s marriage was not perfect—no marriage is. But when God is at the center, I honestly believe that most marriages can truly become all that God intended them to be.
I appreciated that you pushed the boundaries of sexual tension for historical Christian romance and made the story relevant to today’s woman.
Gosh, I felt compelled to! Today’s women are floundering in a sea of promiscuity. Most young women today live with their boyfriends before marriage, and what a sad commentary on today’s society! Nine out of ten women in the U.S. profess some form of Christianity, yet the majority will never pick up an Inspirational novel. Why? Because many don’t feel they can relate to a story without realistic sexual tension. It is my hope and prayer that by writing a novel that is more relevant to the temptations women face today, I can reach them with the truth of God’s precepts applied to their lives, not only romantically, but in every way.