Good morning, dear readers!
Today I have a special interview for you all with Livy Jarmusch from Crown of Beauty magazine! We are going to be discussing specifically the coming release of her new book Secrets of Royalty! You can also read my review of her new book at the bottom of the interview! :)
Are you ready? Let's have some fun!
Bella: Thank you so much for joining us for an interview today, Livy! I’m glad to have you!
Livy: Awe, thanks so much Bella! It's an honor to be here! I love everything you're doing with the King's Princess, and your message behind it. It's always so much fun to connect and chat with sisters in Christ who have similar passions!
Bella: Thank you so much, friend! To start off the interview, how long have you been writing? What’s your favorite part about the writing process?
Livy: Well, I've been writing ever since I learned how to pick up a pencil and start spelling! (Not that anything was ever spelled correctly in my earliest stories, haha.) I've always had a super active imagination, so as a child I was telling stories all the time in my creative playtime. I loved books, and the library was like my second home, so once I realized that I could write my own goofy little stories even as a child, I was hooked! When I was in Kindergarten, I told my teacher that I wanted to be an author when I grew up, so the desire to write was just something I was born with.
Oh, and to answer your second question...wow, that's a tough one! I'd say that my favorite part about the writing process is that moment of fresh inspiration. Whether it comes while I'm laying in bed trying to go to sleep, or listening to music, or praying, I get so excited every time a new idea pops into my mind!
Bella: Where do you most often find your inspiration for writing?
Livy: My biggest inspiration for writing comes from my time with Jesus. God is the King of creativity, and when I'm with Him just worshiping and dwelling in His presence, new ideas are conceived, and then the words just pour out! There are times when the writing process is so enjoyable and effortless, and I know that it must be God releasing His creativity through me! In fact, if I'm not going to God to be my source for inspiration and encouragement, then everything can get blocked up. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them." (John 7:38). I feel like when I write, it's a way that those streams can flow out of me.
Bella: Do you mind telling us a little bit about your new book Secrets of Royalty? What was your favorite part about writing this book and why is it important to you?
Livy: Absolutely! So, Secrets of Royalty is an allegorical fairy-tale about an orphaned captive who lives in a nightmarish place called the Worthlessness Camp. It's a place of chains and torment and lies. Nobody would ever want to live there! Sadly, so many of us do. Our generation daily struggles to try to escape from this place of worthlessness in their own minds. In the story, a glimmer of hope is suddenly seen on the horizon as a Prince riding on a white horse rides in to save the day. Jesus rescues the helpless captive and sweeps her into the royal courts of His Kingdom. But happily ever after has not yet arrived, and the grand rescue is only the beginning! This orphan then goes on an exciting (and sometimes terrifying!) journey through the ups and downs of her life-changing transformation process, learning to think like the Princess that she is, rather than the pauper that she used to be.
Following the fictional story, is a 31 Day Devotional that takes you through a similar journey in your own life, powerfully changing the way that you think about yourself, your relationship with God, and the world around you. Needless to say, I am SO excited about this book! I believe that it is going to release so many teens and young women from chains and fears that imprison our minds, and bring us out into a greater place of freedom and understanding in our royal identity in Christ!
My favorite part about writing Secrets of Royalty was the fact that I was going through a journey quite similar to the princesses in our story! It took several years to write, because I had to wait on God chapter by chapter, to see what He was going to have happen next! This book is so close to my heart, because I feel like it is a beautiful love letter from Jesus, written to the ladies of this generation. I'm just so honored that God allowed me to take part in this whole process, because I really feel like the Lord was holding the pen, instead of me.
Bella: Would you mind telling us a little bit about your magazine and your first book?
Livy: Crown of Beauty Magazine is a website for princess warriors and future world changers! (Which, if you're reading this, that would be you! ;) We have tons of articles, interviews, encouraging advice, and devotionals on our site, as well as full issues to read online. Our purpose is all about reminding girls about their value and worth in Christ. Our first book, Beauty Boys and Ball Gowns covers a variety of topics such as true beauty, relationships with guys, etc, and features some spectacular interviews with Moriah Peters, Kari Jobe, for King and Country, the Duggar Girls, and many others!
Bella: Where can the readers find and purchase your new book when it is released? And do you have any social media where they could follow you and keep up with your future writing projects?
Livy: Our release date is this September! You can find Secrets of Royalty on our website! (www.crownofbeautymagazine.com) It will also be available on Amazon, and Kindle Books. :)
Our social media handles are:
Instagram - @crownofbeautymagazine
Twitter - @FoReVeR_ShineOn
Bella: It was great having you, Livy! Thank you for being an inspiration and I pray God blesses your new book! <3
“Livy’s writing style is so genuine and real. From what I’ve read of Secrets of Royalty, I was captivated by the story that it tells and the truth of it. I found myself smiling and holding back tears at certain points as it so perfectly describes our situation in life. I absolutely loved it! The story she shared described how much our Prince loves us and desires a relationship with us no matter how many times we turn and run away. The parallels she portrayed in her story were so real and relatable. Secrets of Royalty is for sure going to be a book to engage and inspire you in your journey as a princess of the King of kings. Whether you have been a Christian for many years or are just now seeking to know more about what it means to know Jesus, this book will encourage you. Every girl should read it. Keep up the great work, Livy!”
Well, I have finally finished my third YouTube video! In this video I discuss the fears that keep us captive and how to overcome them! I also share my personal testimony of how God called me on the greatest adventure of my life, but to follow Him I had to let go of all my fears :)
Please comment and let me know what you think! :) Thank you all for your support! It truly means the world to me <3
To God be the glory!
There are days when I sit at my computer screen and hit my head repeatedly against the keyboard because nothing worth saying comes to my mind to write down.
And then there are days when it is as if the whisper of God comes close to my heart, beckoning me to share His words with the world. I pray, "Father, may I be your pen," and I write.
Tonight I felt His whisper to share these words with the hurting, wounded heart tonight.
Which basically includes all of us, doesn't it?
For who hasn't been stung by a rejection or broken by a disappointment or shattered by suffering? We have all experienced pain in our own way and the pain of one does not lessen or overshadow the pain of another. We all are hurting in some way and so maybe these words were meant for all of us tonight.
And if you don't know much about God or you don't want to hear much about God right now because you think He isn't involved in your life, don't stop reading.
This isn't meant to encourage you by telling you all the ways that God is going to fix your life and make it perfect or how He is going to make everything better and give you everything you ever wanted. This post isn't meant to tell you that because it's not true.
Being a Christ follower doesn't mean a perfect life and it certainly doesn't mean an easy one. Being a Christ follower doesn't mean never having pain or suffering. In fact, being a Christ follower will probably bring suffering, because if the world hated Him it will surely hate us as well (John 15:18). Being a Christ follower doesn't mean that you get everything you ever wanted and all your dreams come true.
What being a Christ follower means is that even in the midst of tragedy and extreme pain, we know Who is holding us in the middle of it all. We know the One in control and the One who loves us. The One who ultimately knows what is best for us, even if it wasn't what we originally wanted.
John 11:35 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.
Literally only two words, but those two words hold so much meaning.
In the middle of their brother's sickness, Mary and Martha send a desperate plea to Jesus to come quickly and heal their brother.
But He didn't go.
And Lazarus dies.
When Jesus finally shows up at their house, Martha says to Him in John 11:21, "Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died." And I hear it in her voice.
The pain, the questions, the searching.
Where were You, Lord?
And I wonder it too. Why? Why didn't He go?
And as the story goes we know why He didn't come right away. We know why He waited. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in an incredible miracle that gained trust and faith from many watching. It strengthened Mary and Martha's faith and trust too. And at the end, I'm sure Mary and Martha wouldn't have had it any other way because they saw the story God was writing at the end.
But in the middle of the story they felt differently.
That is why they were weeping and the sisters came to Jesus. Lord, if You had been here my brother would not have died.
And what does Jesus do?
Does He fix everything right away to make it all better and perfect? Does He tell them everything is going to be okay and that He has a miracle on the way?
No. He weeps with them.
The Bible doesn't say why Jesus wept in that moment. But I think it was for Martha. I think it was for Mary. I think it was for Lazarus and the Jews and everyone else who was hurting because they didn't see the whole beautiful picture at the end like He did.
And in that moment, Jesus met them in their pain and He wept with them.
I don't know what pain you are going through at this moment in your life. I don't know what you're facing. I don't know what heartaches you hold in your heart that keep you trapped in a prison of suffering. I don't know what rejections you have faced in the last year or the last month or the last week.
I can't even promise you that it'll all be okay. I can't promise you that things will look beautiful tomorrow. Sometimes we don't know the "why" until we get to Heaven and rest in the arms of Jesus.
But I do know that you are loved.
You are alive for a reason tonight. There is breath in your lungs tonight because God has a task for you to accomplish that only you can do, someone only you can reach, and it hasn't been done yet.
You are wonderfully made and you are perfectly you.
You are a masterpiece of the Creator of the universe.
You are wanted by a Prince who gave His very life to rescue you from death and suffering and a life apart from Him forever.
You are chosen.
And you are not alone.
Jesus is holding you in His arms this very moment and weeping with you. He knows your pain and it hurts Him too because He loves you more than your mind could ever fathom. Even when you don't feel it and even when you don't see it, trust that He is holding you.
And He catches every tear that falls.
"The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: 'Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.'"
Bad things are inevitable in this world.
Things happen every day that scare us, that hurt us, that worry us, that destroy us. The devastation around the world that we see every day is shocking. The news reports of another shooting, another attack, another death, another disaster.
It is in times like these that some people get angry and ask the question "Where is God?"
They wonder where He is and what He is doing when such devastation strikes and leaves us without words to describe what we feel.
Yet the question of "Where is God?" is entirely the wrong question to ask.
For why would we have any right to ask such a question when we know exactly where God is during times like these?
He is right beside us. He is the whisper of hope in the midst of pain. He is the healing in the midst of suffering. He is the comfort in the midst of hurt. And He is weeping over what is happening. He is weeping for our pain.
But we're human and we make our own choices and a lot of times people make really, really bad choices. The heartache of those choices are the consequences that we must bear. Because God gives us free choice, it is our choice to do wrong, even if it means hurt in the end. He is a Parent not a slave-driver.
So the true, honest question to ask in times like these is not "Where was God?" No the true, honest question to ask is...
Where were YOU?
For truly, you are the one God has appointed for such times as these. You are the one He is asking to step up and do something. To show up when no one else would.
When a devastation happens it is our responsibility as ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) to show up and bring relief and help. To give food to the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to give shelter to the homeless, to defend the defenseless, to speak for those who cannot (Isaiah 58:6-9). When someone is hurting it is our responsibility to show up and love. To rejoice with them, to cry with them, to comfort them, to be there for them. To show up and do something.
God has given us a holy task of being His hands and feet in this world. When a disaster happens and no one goes to help, the question is certainly not "Where was God?" The question is "Where were you when He called you to go?"
So in the midst of the suffering and disasters that we see happen around us every day, remember to ask yourself what you are doing and where you are when others need you. Don't turn away and refuse to see what is happening because it's easier not facing it. Choose to love, listen, comfort, and help when everything crashes down. Choose to be there and show up. Then when disaster happens, the world will watch the followers of Christ raise up and stand to show His love in the midst of tragedy. And through that they will be able to see that He was there all along.
And don't look away.
"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.'"
I've thought about this verse a lot in the last few weeks.
How easy it is to dream about the future and make our plans, living as if we know exactly what is going to happen tomorrow or even in the next moment. We plan our schedules and days and can even assume that we are in control of them.
But then the unexpected happens and shatters our plans or our schedules. Our dreams fall through and things don't go our way. We have to do something or walk through something we don't want to, rather than getting our way.
The last few weeks, I have planned out a dream that I have too and I acted as if I was in control of the situation and could figure everything out. But when it hit me right in the face that this dream might never happen, I quickly realized that I wasn't in control at all. And that hurt. Because this dream meant (and still means) everything to me. Losing it would devastate me.
And yet I read this verse in Luke.
Some of the final words spoken by Jesus before His crucifixion. A prayer to His Father to save Him from the torture He was about to endure. Yet He still prays...
Not My will, but Yours.
Do we trust God's will enough to pray that too? Do we trust that His will and way is so much better than our own, even if it doesn't seem that way in the moment? Do we trust that He loves us and His will is to be closer with us, no matter what that means?
I know it's hard when you lose a dream. I know it's hard when schedules change and we don't understand why we are no longer in control of a situation.
But what we need to understand is that we were never in control to begin with.
He is God. We aren't. He is control and we are not. He knows what is best and we do not.
So I challenge you as one of my very dear friends challenged me just recently.
Pray for His will to be done. No matter what.
God's will was for Jesus to endure the crucifixion and intense suffering and ultimately die. But this was His will, because in the end, all of Heaven and earth rejoiced and celebrated when He rose from that grave three days later. This was His will because it was the only way for us to be with Him forever and He loved us that much. Yet the disciples, Mary, and the others probably didn't understand God's will when Jesus died on that cross. Right in the middle of it, they probably didn't understand until the end, three days later when He rose again.
So you might not understand God's will now, but trust Him.
It will turn out amazing.
Let's pray together, friends.
Thy will be done.