Today, we have a special treat for all of you! Jan graciously agreed to sit down and answer some of our questions. We loved learning more about her and we hope her answers will be an encouragement and blessing for all of you!
Here’s what Jan had to say:
What’s your favorite footwear: heels, flats, sneakers, flip-flops or bare feet?
It’s January and I’m sitting at my desk wearing my Rainbows (brand name for leather flip flops.) They are definitely my footwear of choice!
What’s your least favorite household chore?
My least favorite household chore is mopping although the Swiffer has definitely made it easier.
Have you always had the desire to write, even as a child?
As a child I liked to write notes, letters, and cards. I won a few essay contests in lower grades but I was not a very good English student in high school. Grammar is a necessary part of good writing but thankfully there are editors!
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey? Why did you want to write this book? Have you had rejections from publishers as an author and, if so, how did you deal with that? Do you have any tips for ladies who want to find an agent or publisher or who are beginning to write?
My writing journey has been a little unconventional. After years of teaching Bible classes and speaking to women’s groups, I was offered an opportunity to put the lessons into book form. Becoming A Woman Who Knows God by Name was written the summer following the sudden death of my 27- year old son. In the days following his death, I clutched a verse from Song of Solomon 1:3, “ Your name is ointment poured forth.” I needed healing ointment to soothe and heal my broken heart. He did not disappoint.
My only advice to someone beginning to write is to write about something you are deeply committed to and personally passionate about. I write because I believe what I have to say can be used to encourage, strengthen, and point others to Jesus.
Do you have one particular place you like to write or maybe a time of day? What’s your favorite writing environment?
My favorite time of day is early mornings. I am clearest and most productive at that time so it is when I usually do my best writing. I fix my coffee, have my personal quiet time, and start to write. I try to put down the ideas and thoughts and not get caught up in sentence construction and grammatical structure when I begin. If I could, I would be on a covered porch with a warm breeze blowing and look out over the beautiful blue ocean. That occasionally works out but most of the time I work in my office at home.
What are some of the things you pray before you write? Did you/do you use God’s names as you pray? How do you do that?
I have a “Note to Self” taped on my desk. It reads, “Not that (I) am adequate of myself, to consider anything as coming from myself; but my adequacy is from You.” (2 Cor. 3:5) I do use God’s names when I write. Elohim is my creator. He made and gifted me with purpose. Writing is a part of His gifting and calling on my life. El Shaddai is all-sufficient to do what I am not able to do. Jehovah Jirah provides all I need to complete what He has started. Writing is healing and Jehovah Rophe is Healer for me and for my readers. When I sit at my computer and begin to write I visualize the Banner of God, Jehovah Nissi being raised up over me, marking the time and place as His. He gives me Shalom, peace, when words get stuck, deadlines loom, and time feels as if it is snatched out from under me. I always want to see my writing, teaching, speaking as an offering of thanks and praise poured lavishly onto the feet of Adonai, my Lord and Master.
What is your favorite book of the Bible or favorite Bible verse?
My favorite OT book is Genesis because I love family and Genesis is full of examples of family relationships. There are so many principles to learn and lessons to apply in our own family relationships. The Gospel of John reveals the most precious relationship of all, the opportunity to become a member of the family of God through Jesus Christ.
Would you share a little of your testimony with us, maybe how you came to Christ and some of your biggest lessons along the way?
My love for the Word is directly related to my testimony. I grew up in church and took Bible classes in school. I was intrigued with the stories and history and believed all of them. But I had no idea how to apply them to my own life. When I was 27 years old I was invited to a Bible Study where I heard, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) I realized I was trying to be a Christian without accepting Christ personally. When I asked Jesus to save me from my sins, and was spiritually born into His family, everything began to change. The Word became my life and breath. That was over 30 years ago and it grows more precious and personal every single day. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from my own testimony was to never assume people know how to be saved. They may come to Bible study, church, have spiritual interests, but not have a clue how to become related to Jesus through the cross. I never want to write or speak and have someone think, “Why didn’t she tell me?’’
Are you still involved in international ministry, such as the outreach in Africa that you talk about in your book?
I am very involved in With Open Eyes, the ministry founded by my late son and his father, to accelerate the sharing and teaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unreached and under-served peoples of the world. I recently returned from a Refugee Settlement in Uganda where our Mobile Messengers are ministering to people fleeing persecution in South Sudan. Although the circumstances are heartbreaking, many are being saved and people are hearing the Good News in desperate times.
How have you seen God use your own experiences with suffering and loss and transform them into “beauty for ashes?”
My own suffering and loss have taught me many things on multiple levels but I think the most profound lesson of all is to witness the redeeming power of Jesus. He takes anything, everything surrendered to Him, and uses it for our good and His glory. He is Redeemer, Restorer, and Reviver of all who trust their suffering and loss to Him.
Thanks so much to Jan Harrison for chatting with us!
If you want to learn more about her writing and ministry, you can visit her at these links: