Hi, I’m Madison and in the interest of full disclosure I want you to know that my identity is a pen name. I share this information for only one reason: I want you to be able to read the words which follow without any doubt of my honesty. While researching how to self-publish I learned that an author’s bio page should not consist of useless facts as much as it should contain an explanation of the author’s heart. In other words: Why do I write? I write because it’s the singularly most fulfilling experience of my life. I write because it's the reason God put me on earth and I write because I don't want people to die without knowing Jesus. Now, if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to explain. In truth, I’m an awful lot like you. I’ve accumulated my share of failures and I’ve lived long enough to collect some regrets, but I’ve garnered enough life experience to keep from wallowing in them. I’ve learned to forgive myself and move on. I’m one of those people who has trouble fitting in with others. I’m direct, assertive, and honest to a fault. Oh, and I’m also a doer. You know, one of those people who jumps in and gets busy as opposed to talking about getting busy. Through the years, I’ve learned that these qualities aren’t really looked upon favorably by most people. My journey began with my birth family and the slow realization that there was never really a place for me within that dynamic. To be completely fair, I was fed, clothed, sheltered, held accountable for good grades in school, and was expected to develop a good work ethic. These are all facts for which I gratefully honored my parents before they passed, but I was never cherished like my siblings. There are no tears as I’ve made peace with my childhood and I only mention it here because it’s part of a much larger picture I’m putting together for you. My mother had me in church from the time I was little. This is another aspect of my childhood for which I’m exceedingly grateful, but, for me, church was something far different than a Sunday duty or a venue for mere social connections. For me, church is where I found God and embraced His life changing presence. Looking back, I realize I latched onto God so fiercely because I was really quite lonely. Oddly enough, though, I didn’t fit in at church. I fit perfectly with God, because of His grace, but I didn’t fit in with people who comprise the church. I want that vitally important distinction stated and understood. God is flawless, the church He left as an extension of Himself, not so much. Let’s face it, faulty people are the only people God has on earth. If the church is to do God’s work in this world then God's work must be accomplished by flawed people. Now, when it comes to being flawed, I qualify in spades, so fitting in at church should have been a given. It didn’t work that way though because I wasn’t allowed to be me; an assertive, honest female who wanted to use her talents for God. I want it noted here that the service I wanted to render was well within the guidelines of the Bible, but the church kept trying to force me to serve in ways that meant little to me. So, after 30 plus years of frustrated, ineffective contributions on my part, I gave up on being “plugged in” at church. However, I want no misunderstanding. I’m in church every Sunday just as God expects me to be. The fact that I don’t fit some preconceived mold determined by others doesn’t exempt me from God’s call to obedience. It’s just that my ministry efforts are now expressed outside the organized body with which I worship. Instead of trying to “fit in,” I now live my faith quietly and genuinely in a variety of ways. The work place proved no different when it came to finding my niche. Either my personality or my work ethic caused me problems. Additionally, I'd find myself bored to the point of tears. Losing my sanity due to boredom wasn't appealing, so I'd move on. Always restless, always unsettled. I was so frustrated because I couldn’t identify my earthly role. I had a great husband I adored. We were raising our kids, working hard at building a life, a financial future and a spiritual home for our family. Still, the tug on my heart to do God’s work was left unfulfilled because, at that time, I continued to remain unaware of my purpose. I’m like you in other ways, as well. I’m well acquainted with pain. There’s the emotional pain that came from being let down by those I love, most of whom were family. This pain, of course, has spanned much of my life. For many years, I’ve suffered with a chronic health condition. So, physical pain has certainly been a part of my earthly existence. I’ve also suffered spiritual pain, the kind of pain known only to those who are vested in Christ. This pain came from the confusion and realization that arises when you seek a holy, perfect God with your every breath, knowing that He can fix your problem, but for some reason refuses to do so. This pain lasted for such a long time I truly began to wonder if I did indeed fit with Him like I’d believed for so many years. Yes, at one time doubt was a very real factor in my life and it only worsened the hurt. I’m also like you in that I wanted my life to count for something. I wanted to do what I could to make the world a better place. Granted, our aspirations might not be the same, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could both leave something worthwhile behind us? As you can see, we tread common ground: regrets, failures, the restless unease which prompts perseverance, pain, and the dreams we have for our lives. Probably, like you, I’m damaged and fearful at times. I'm often insecure because I can’t always see where I’m going. I mean, I know I’m going to heaven when I die, but until that time arrives, it’s necessary for me to forge a life here in this world. I will not lie to you and tell you that a life surrendered to God is perfect and problem free. That's just not the case. Looking back, I see God worked together the aspects of my life so I'd have this opportunity at authorship. I’m here because this is where He wants me. I’ve written these books because they're what He wants from me. It doesn’t matter that I couldn’t see the events of my life converging to this point. God saw it all very clearly and fashioned my journey with His wisdom. I believe with all my heart that writing is my purpose and the very reason He placed me on earth at this time in history. If I’d ever found a comfort zone, a career or ministry work within church, I’d have spent my life busily doing all the things people do, settled and content. I’d never have pursued God and reached this point of understanding about my life. I've come to learn that perspective can be a thorough teacher. Research, study and the production of books take a lot of time, but that’s o.k. I had to be the person I am now, so I could accomplish the task God had for me. I never could've written books like these earlier in my life. I simply wasn’t ready. He used my restlessness and pain to keep me focused on Him, so I could arrive at now. Those within the church won’t understand, much less accept, the concept of out of the box Christian writing. I’ll be judged, condemned, laughed at, possibly ostracized for my efforts. They’ll see me as unholy somehow, less worthy, spiritually inferior to them, controversial at best. I still won’t fit with them. That’s okay because God has used my experiences to thicken my skin. We have to remember, in His day, Jesus was controversial. He never fit with the status quo. Jesus’ presence, His very ministry, destroyed the status quo. He went where others refused to go. To be like Him I must do likewise. The Apostle Paul tells believers to be all things to all people, to reach them where they are (1 Corinthians 9:19-23. The Message). When my body of work is complete there will be something for everyone. My only hope is that I could write more quickly and be used by God to reach more people. God is using the very aspects of me, found so offensive by others, to contribute to His kingdom in a manner which is thrilling and fulfilling for me. The fact that I’m a doer, direct, assertive and honest, are all assets when wielded by God. I see the mess this world is in. It’s too obvious to miss. It’s not getting better despite what the politicians and intellectuals want us to believe. Everyone is so busy amassing stuff they fail to notice two considerations. First, no matter how much you accumulate it’s not going with you when you leave this life. Second, each person actively chooses their next residence. So, while I may not have the personality that makes me the social butterfly everyone wants to know and spend time with, I do have the ability to see that much of mankind is perishing so very unnecessarily. That fact is a double-edged sword which breaks my observant heart. In other words, I might not have the personality for people, but I do have a heart for them. I don't want people going to hell. Most people are so clueless about what waits for them and I want to do my part to change their understanding. So, I write to honor God. I do so by using the abilities He’s given me while giving Him the credit, knowing He used the heartbreaks of my life to prepare me for this ministry, the ministry He’s had for me all along. I write to reach those I can never possibly meet in person, those who are hurting in a myriad of ways, to help them find the God who loves them enough to bring peace to their fractured, fearful lives just like He’s brought peace to mine.
God Bless and Keep You, Madison Willoughby
P.S. Please feel free to write me with your spiritual questions. I may not get to answer everyone individually because I must budget my time, but I’ll post answers for the most frequent questions on my blog, Moments with Madison, which will soon be up and running. Thanks for listening. Have a great day!
firstname.lastname@example.org Madison Willoughby P.O. Box 8 Campbellsburg, In 47108