As I count my blessings this week, I count as one of them Michelle Lazurek, a pastor’s wife from northern Pennsylvania, whom I met at Wellsboro’s Bookfest. I didn’t sell many books that day, but it was well worth my time just to chat with Michelle. I want you to meet her too. Be sure to read to the end of this blog to see how you might receive a free copy of Michelle’s book and enjoy a special offer on my books.
(Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Connecticut State University and a master’s in counseling and human relations from Liberty University.)
Michelle, what kind of writing do you do?
I mostly write non-fiction, spiritual growth books. I am also a contributing writer to www.movieguide.org and www.incourage.me, and I write for my community’s website Monday Morning Insights section (www.solomonswordsforthewise.blogspot.com )
My first book, Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, was released in October, 2011. I then published my second book, The Ripple Effect, which is a step-by-step guide for young women to lead small groups in their churches in July 2013.
Why did you write Becoming the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved?
As I read through Scriptures, I was struck by how many times the apostle John refers to himself in his own gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I wanted to conduct a study on it, but found most commentaries made no comment as to why this was so. I decided to dive into Scripture and provide my own insights as to why I think this is so.
The overarching theme of the book is that God is writing a story for your life and you have the opportunity to become a character in God’s story. Based on the theme, the book is organized into three sections: my story, God’s story and your story and includes interactive questions at the end of each chapter to do individually or as a group.
In the book, you share your personal journey, which included rejection from your parents. Did you struggle about including that part of your story? Have you reconciled in any way?
Yes, I did struggle with writing my own story. But it is a part of my story and I understand love in a deep and meaningful way because of the love that was demonstrated to me. I wanted the reader to understand that I wasn’t writing the book to preach to them; I was writing the book because I lived that love. I have since reconciled with my father. Although we were able to bury the hatchet, my mother passed away before the book was written. My sister and I have not.
Why should readers buy your book?
This book helps people understand the concept of love, not just in an “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine” kind of way, but in an unconditional, forgiving way. If readers want to better understand God’s intention of how to love others in this way, this is the book for them.
How did you grow as a disciple while writing the book?
I learned to fall in love with Scripture in a way I had never experienced before. It helped me to mature in my understanding of Scripture and to study it for myself.
How does writing fit into your family life?
I currently work as the director of my church’s daycare and have two children, Caleb, 9, and Leah, 7. Although it is difficult to balance at times, I have a very supportive husband who gives me the best gift ever: the gift of uninterrupted writing time.
You’re a pastor’s wife. Has writing helped (or hindered) you as you fulfill that role
God has merged my gift of communications with my heart for counseling and preaching through the gift of writing. I reach more people than I ever thought I could. I also think writing books and speaking helps solidify me as a trusted authority when it comes to applying Scripture in a practical way. Since my church doesn’t place any expectations on me, if I have a speaking engagement at another church, I am free to do it.
What do you say to others who want to write a book?
Writing leads to thinking, not the other way around. If I waited until I had all my thoughts in my head before I started writing, I’d never finish anything. Open your computer and start writing, no matter what gibberish comes out. Eventually words and ideas will start to flow.
No one ever has time to write a book. So be diligent with whatever time you have. Whether it is 20 minutes, an hour or two hours, set a goal and work until you meet it. If you are faithful to God, he will be faithful to you.
Don’t quit your day job. Only 2 percent of people make a living writing. If you are in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reason. You have to love it, or else you will burn out very quickly.
What is the best part of being an author?
I love changing people’s lives through the written word. When someone comes up to me and says “You really made me think” or “Your words really encouraged me to make some changes” that is the best feeling ever.
You also speak; what are some of your favorite topics to speak about?
I speak on discipleship, and I love to train women to lead through the small group ministry. I believe small groups change people’s lives and help us connect to people in a way that meets their deep longing for connection.
What are you working on right now in either writing or speaking?
I am featured in a devotional that just came out in November, I have a children’s book Daddy, Am I Beautiful? coming out in January 2014, and I’m currently working on book on hospitality called An Invitation to the Table. In the summer of 2014, I will be featured in an anthology called Miracles and Moments of Grace published by Leafwood publishers.
Where can readers purchase your books?
They can purchase the book on my website www.michellelazurek.com on www.amazon.com or on www.barnesandnoble.com The devotional I am featured in Penned From the Heart is only in print and not online so readers would have to contact me to purchase it and I could ship it directly.
What else would you like to say?
Thank you Shirley! It was a pleasure to meet you at Bookfest and I wish you blessings as God uses you in your writing and speaking ministry in the future.
Now, dear Readers. it's your turn: Please comment and tell us why you would like to receive a free autographed copy of Michelle’s book. I’ll put all names in a hat and draw a winner.
Also – A special offer on my books: The devotional book written by Janine, Kim and me, Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides, makes a great Christmas gift. Organized around letters that spell G-R-A-C-E, the book contains daily readings for six months. Our special Christmas price is $15, which includes tax and shipping (retail price, $17.99). That’s a deal! My book, Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories About Women Who Made a Difference, is now out of stock with the publisher but available from me for $20 (retail, $24.99). E-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, address, name(s) of book(s) wanted, number of copies and the name(s) to which the book(s) should be inscribed. I’ll send your order and include an invoice.
Have a Blessed Christmas Season.