Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day One with Julie Jarnagin!

Writing!photo © 2009 Markus | more info (via: Wylio)

I'm extremely excited to share my debut novel, Canyon Walls, with the Heartsong Presents readers. I didn't realize until after the book had been contracted that the spiritual theme of the book mirrored my journey to publication.

In Canyon Walls, the director of a summer camp fights to save the camp that changed her life. The tighter the heroine, Cassie, holds on to the camp, the further it slips away from her.

I had strived for publication for years before I felt God calling me to stop writing and give my dreams to him. Stop writing? I couldn't fathom how I would let it go. After a few tears and a lot of questions about why God would ask me to let it go, I submitted to Him.

I soon realized I had been spending so much time and energy on my dream of publication, I didn't know what to do with my free time. I had a single submission out to an editor, but I didn't give it much thought. I had truly handed it over to God. I had a new baby at home, so I obviously spent most of my time focused on my beautiful family. Outside of my family and my job, I didn't have anything to do.

I prayed about it, and I volunteered to lead the 6th grade girls' small group at my church. I learned to crochet by watching videos online. I took a knitting class. I joined the YMCA and started taking care of my body. I still missed writing, but slowly, I found other ways to fill my time and I was thankful for my life and all my blessings. God taught me so many lessons during that time.

About a year after I had handed my writing over to God, I opened my inbox and there it was - an email from JoAnne asking if my book was still available and congratulating me because she wanted to publish Canyon Walls.

God had reopened the door for me to start writing again, and this time, I had a whole new outlook. Sometimes we hold so tight to our dreams or the things we love here in this world when the only thing we need to do is give our hopes and dreams over to the one who created them - God. Psalm 37:4 says, "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

My writing journey taught me I had to put my life and my dreams in His hands, and I had to do that through actions, not through words or empty prayers. I'm so thankful for the journey.

As for Cassie, you'll just have to read the book to see if she was able to save the camp.

Have you ever clung tightly to something and ultimately found freedom from handing it over to God?


  1. I tend to do things full-tilt, and nothing by halves. Often I've run ahead of where God wants me to be and had to pull in my horns, submit to His will, and let things happen in His timing.

    So excited for you with your first novel. Enjoy every minute of it! :)

  2. Good for you for recognizing God's will for you, Julie. I'm sad to say I usually recognize my obsessions only when I'm past them. I hadn't thought of it as me recognizing God's will for me, but maybe that's what powers me past them.
    I had given up writing for a long time due to family responsibilities and now that I'm back at it, I'm looking for His purpose rather than mine.
    Congrats on the release!

  3. Erica - Thank you! It can be so tough to submit to His timing, especially for those of us who are impatient.
    Mary - Great comments. It definitely changes things when you begin to seek His purposes!

  4. I hadn't heard this story, Julie. Thanks for sharing.
    Let's see, there are things I've had wrenched out of my grasp and later returned to me, pressed down and overflowing.