Marcia Moston’s book, Crossing Borders, took first place in the nonfiction book category contest at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in May. It also tied for first place in the Sonfire Media Contest and placed 1st at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference.
Marcia, tell me a bit about yourself,
Three years ago my husband and I traded our Vermont snow shovel for a pool net and moved to the Greenville, SC area. The move turned out to be much more difficult than we expected. Neither of us realized how much of our identity was validated by our previous positions, titles, and places of respect in the community. Our combined degrees and awards filled an office wall. My husband was a pastor, I was a teacher in a Christian school and as head of our church missions, had led teams to three countries in Latin America. But when we crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, we became nobodies—just two unknown people looking for jobs and occupying a pew in one of the gazillion big Southern churches.
I know first hand about that, as we did the same thing just three months ago. Well, didn’t need a snow shovel in Mississippi…but you get the picture. God promises to redeem what we lose, what did you gain in the middle of giving up?
It was at a very low moment that the Lord did what He does so well—show me that although His ways are not my ways, they are perfect, and they are planned.
One day, while looking in the paper for a job, I saw a notice about a writing workshop. Even though I felt a bit guilty about spending the money instead of earning it, I knew I had to take that course. I didn’t realize the instructor was the editor for city journal. We did the usual class thing—write short papers and critique each other’s work. At the end of the class, the instructor pointed to me and said, “Call me.”
You know that’s where I got my start, at the local newspaper. Did you ever call?
I did and she gave me my very own weekly column titled, Finding Home. My writing career was launched, and I had very little to do with it.
From there, I decided to try out my newly-discovered writing skills by entering the annual Writer’s Digest contest. I won Honorable Mention in the personal essay category. Officially considering myself a writer, I pitched and sold a magazine article.
It was as though all my random life experiences, from a tepee-dwelling hippie to a pastor’s wife had come together in life lessons ready to be told, and the Lord was providing the opportunities.
God is so good about not wasting anything, our experiences, grief, disappointments. A favorite verse of mine is Zec 4:10. It’s about not despising small beginnings. I find myself as a writer doing many things afraid. What about you? What have you felt God calling you to do, yet you were afraid? What helped you to step out in faith when you were fearful?
Wow! I wrote a book about that. Before we were in the ministry, my husband came home from a mission trip and jolted me out of my middle class security with the suggestion that God was calling us to serve in Guatemala. After a lot of fear and trembling, we packed up our home and drove from New Jersey to a Mayan village in Guatemala.
Within months of our arrival, everything fell apart. Confronted with fears and confusion about whether we had been faithful or foolish, we returned home.
Call of a Coward is my story about following God’s call for my husband even when it seemed to conflict with my own dreams and require courage and credentials I didn’t have. The journey leads from the highlands of Guatemala to a small Vermont village where God unveils His spectacularly perfect plan, and graciously demonstrates how He is aware of our every dream.
That encourages me so much. Many times my husband and I have stepped out in faith following what we thought were God’s orders, only to find ourselves, too, wondering if we misinterpreted what He was saying. I believe God sometimes is just wanting us to be obedient and leave the consequences to him. That was one of the themes I caught during the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference. What was the most beneficial class or event for you there?
This was my first big conference so I sampled a lot of classes rather than focusing in a particular area. As overviews, they were all helpful. The faculty were so approachable, I felt far less intimidated than I had expected. I do think communication (why is that such a problem for communicators?) needs to be tightened up. For example, directions about signing up with faculty were vague, and I know several newbies were disappointed because they didn’t know about the move to the other building. But I still gave in an A.
What wisdom would you like to pass on to aspiring writers? What is your life verse?
Go as far as you can with what you’ve got, and trust God for the next step, which leads to my life verse: Be still and know that I am God—Psalm 46:10
If you enjoyed getting to know Marcia as much as I did, you can follow her blog at, http://marciamoston.blogspot.com”